Unnormal Normalcy

Just News and Ramblings From Your Average Author

Post-Storm Update

That was not as bad around here as most other places in New York. The central part of the storm passed us by, thankfully. Did cause some issues this morning, though. At least we still have all of our trees intact and the creek out back didn’t try to drown us.

NaNoWriMo starts on Thursday! Yay! I’m still struggling to come up with a title for mine… I am once again using November to finish something I started over the summer, like last year with MtbB. I think I’ll do this every year. Yay for being a rebel! They should make NaNo Rebel tee-shirts… By the way, feel free to be my buddy!

And it’s that time of year… voting! And by that, I mean for the Goodreads Choice Awards (though election voting is also a very good idea).

October 30, 2012 Posted by | Life, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing | Leave a comment

Fish & Chips Review

Title: Fish & Chips

Author: Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban

Published: December 2010, Dreamspinner

Source: bought from Dreamspinner

Goodreads Description:

Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are back on the job, settled into a personal and professional relationship built on fierce protectiveness and blistering passion. Now they’re assigned to impersonate two members of an international smuggling ring-an out-and-proud married couple-on a Christmas cruise in the Caribbean. As their boss says, surely they’d rather kiss each other than be shot at, and he has no idea how right he is. Portraying the wealthy criminals requires a particular change in attitude from Ty and Zane while dealing with the frustrating waiting game of their assignment. As it begins to affect how they treat each other in private, Ty and Zane realize there’s more to being partners than watching each other’s backs, and when the case takes an unexpected turn and threatens Ty’s life, Ty and Zane will have to navigate seas of white lies and stormy secrets, including some of their own.

My Thoughts:

Lovelovelove this series. I truly adore these characters and I cannot wait to get ahold of the next book. I love how their roles basically became less acting and more expressing their own feelings. I’m a little sad that Zane isn’t ready to admit he’s in love yet, even though he clearly is. That being said, despite Ty’s “I have a problem, I’m in love with you” speech, my favorite scene remains the one where he deals with Zane being drunk. Zane deserved that – worse even – for almost getting Ty killed, but it’s great to see Ty actually doing something to help instead of just letting him deal on his own. And when Zane finally realized Ty almost died, I wanted to hug him ’cause he was so sad. I’m getting this whole series in paperback so I can reread it easier. So, Amazon better hurry up and ship them to me! I need these guys forever!

Rating: 5/5

October 14, 2012 Posted by | Reading | Leave a comment

The Warded Man Rant

Negative review/rant-y thingy. **SPOILERS**

Title: The Warded Man

Author: Peter V. Brett

Published: March 2010, Del Rey

Source: PaperbackSwap

Goodreads Description:

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

My Thoughts:

This started pretty good, then went downhill fast. I just stopped reading after Leesha decided to have sex with Arlen. Yep, you just got raped and you’re okay with that. And you just don’t care about your own values anymore. Really? You were the only strong female character in the entire book. All the others were not good to their men, controlling, and had no independent bones in their body. I’m so angry with this that I just can’t finish the last 50 pages. Women do not get over rape that fast, and do not start having sex with men they hardly know so soon after it. I’m just so frustrated with the terrible portrayal of women in this book that I will never read anything else by this author. This had so much potential, if only he actually thought well enough of women to make them more than sex-craving, totally dependent pieces of flesh. They were all exactly the same and very flat characters. The author’s sexism ruined the book.

Rating: 1/5

October 12, 2012 Posted by | Reading | Leave a comment

Update to Review Policy

I have been getting a lot of emails lately from people who want me to review their works. This is great, I really want to help promote other writers’ books. But I’m busy with school and work and my own writing. I have one simple request:

Sell your book to me. Tell me why I should read your book. Have I read a book similar to yours? With similar themes and characters? Draw on that.

Say something like this: “I saw you enjoyed Book by Author. If you liked that book, you’ll like mine too.” And then tell me all about it.

I just don’t have time to respond to everyone who just sends me a generic email, because I don’t have time to read every book set in front of me. If you want me to read and review your work, tell me why I should.

Please please please, this will make my life so much easier. Thank you.

September 26, 2012 Posted by | Blog Tour, Promoting, Reading, Writing | Leave a comment

Two Mini-Reviews – The Strain + Campus Visit

So yeah, this thing called school. I’m still reading. All the time. Amazingly. But for some reason I just can’t write thoughtful reviews right now. It’s like, my mind won’t let me actually THINK about what I just read, deeper than just a surface feeling. Like my mind is too tired after thinking all the time for school that anything else is just… meh. So I think I’ll be sticking with short reviews about my general feelings for a while. Unless I read something that makes me just have to write more than that. So here we go, one book I didn’t like so much and one book that I really loved:

Title: The Strain

Author: Guillermo del Torro and Chuck Hogan

Published: June 2010, Harper

Source: PaperbackSwap

Goodreads Description:

In one week, Manhattan will be gone.

In one month, the country. In two months . . . the world.

At New York’s JFK Airport an arriving Boeing 777 taxiing along a runway suddenly stops dead. All the shades have been drawn, all communication channels have mysteriously gone quiet. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of a CDC rapid-response team investigating biological threats, boards the darkened plane . . . and what he finds makes his blood run cold.

A terrifying contagion has come to the unsuspecting city, an unstoppable plague that will spread like an all-consuming wildfire–lethal, merciless, hungry . . . “vampiric.”

And in a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem an aged Holocaust survivor knows that the war he has been dreading his entire life is finally here . . .

My Thoughts:

I honestly don’t know how I feel about this book. Calling it a vampire story doesn’t sit well with me. The creatures are more of a cross between vampire and zombie. It just felt completely weird to me. I don’t really understand how someone possessed by a virus can end up intelligent like the Master, but the others just seem like droids. I don’t even know how to describe how weird I felt about this book. Probably not my cup of tea.

Rating: 3/5

______________________________

Title: Campus Visit

Author: Stella Huerto

Published: August 2012, Dreamspinner

Source: Dreamspinner

Goodreads Description:

Damian Garza and Alex Murphy became best friends in their closed-minded small town, remained inseparable through Alex’s coming out, and have stayed close while studying at different colleges. They’re close enough that Damian dares a shocking e-mail confession: he’s bisexual and wants to experiment with men. With Alex.

It’s supposed to be a simple friends-with-benefits arrangement, one weekend only. That one weekend turns into two, then three, then a whole season of unexpected passion. But life after graduation can’t be ignored: soon Damian will be obliged to return to his family’s orange orchard, and Alex will fly off to his dream job in Europe. Unless they can admit their feelings to each other—and the world—their time as best friends may be over.

My Thoughts:

I honestly could not stop reading this once I got to the second half. I thought the first half was fun, seeing one friend helping another know what he really wants. It was something I had ever read about before. I don’t know how realistic it was, but definitely fun. Once they started obviously falling for each other, I just couldn’t wait to see them actually admit to it. I almost cried when Alex left, seeing how much pain they were both in, but seeing Damian finally come to terms with himself and what he was feeling was great. Definitely a very sweet story. I would read it again.

Rating: 5/5

 

September 20, 2012 Posted by | Reading | Leave a comment

What Stress Does to Me

Well, my classes started this week, and I am super super stressed about the interview I have Friday morning for an internship. So stressed that I can’t do anything productive at all. Nothing. My face hurts from clenching my jaw so hard.

Anyway, in an attempt to de-stress, I started stalking Cassandra Clare’s blog. I have only read the first three books of The Mortal Instruments, and I’m taking a hiatus from reading the series until I either, (a) decide for some reason to keep on reading, or (b) I find out that she fixes this silly Magnus/Alec mess she made. But I stalked her blog to see what she had to say about the Magnus/Alec (I refuse to be a super fangirl, thus, I don’t use “Malec”) situation. This is my conclusion from fairly recent posts.

One fan asked her: any chance we’ll get to meet new guy characters in City of Heavenly Fire? and will they be cute?

Clare answered: You’ll have to wait for Dark Artifices for new hot guys. :) [OK, there may be some cameos from the TDA characters in CoHF. So that counts a bit.]

Another fan asked: in city of heavenly fire, is alec okay? I mean after the break up :( — also in the dark artifices, since it isn’t set SO much in the future, will simon and isabelle and alec and jace and clary and magnus and all that jazz be in the dark artifices as well? I mean, as supporting characters.

Clare answered: Alec spends a lot of time drunk-dialing Magnus. Alec is ok.It’s part of being human: you live, you love, you get your heart broken, you go on. Maybe you get that love back and maybe you get a different one. Alec has good friends and family  that love him and that’s what he’s relying on at the beginning of Heavenly Fire. As for Dark Artifices, those cast members of Mortal Instruments who survive will be checked in with — they’ll be twenty-two, twenty-three, years old, so adults, really. The whole bunch of them are not going to hang around, hogging the narrative, because it’s Emma and Julian and Mark and the rest’s story, not theirs, but we’ll know what they’re up to — who’s married, who stayed together, who didn’t…

So, if we look at these answers together, she is basically saying that the characters from the new series will have cameos in the final book of TMI, but there are no new guys added to the cast. Following that same line, the characters from TMI will be making cameos in the next series. She basically hints that something will happen with Alec, because she could have just said, very simply, “you move on.” But look at what she really said. Maybe it’s a character making an appearance from the new series, but writing about a relationship where one half doesn’t have a major part in the story seems pretty freaking difficult.

My opinion: She’s going to fix this mess.

At least, I hope so. Because the other option is that one of them dies.

Worse, they get back together and then one of them dies.

Or they both die.

Crap.

September 5, 2012 Posted by | Life, Reading | Leave a comment

The Summoner Review

Title: The Summoner

Author: Gail Z. Martin

Published: January 2007, Solaris

Source: PaperbackSwap

Goodreads Description:

The comfortable world of Martris Drayke, second son of King Bricen of Margolan, is shattered when his older half-brother, Jared, and Jared¿s dark mage, Foor Arontala, kill the king and seize the throne. Tris is the only surviving member of the royal family aside from Jared the traitor. Tris flees with three friends: Soterius, captain of the guard; Carroway, the court¿s master bard; and Harrtuck, a member of the royal guard. Tris harbors a deep secret. In a land where spirits walk openly and influence the affairs of the living, he suspects he may be the mage heir to the power of his grandmother, Bava K¿aa, once the greatest sorceress of her age. Such magic would make Tris a Summoner, the rarest of magic gifts, capable of arbitrating between the living and the dead.

My Thoughts:

For being such a huge book, this was a fairly easy read, and I really did enjoy it.

I really like Tris. I think he’s awesome, especially with his super-cool powers. And the fact that he is completely different from his nasty brother is awesome. I feel like he’s going to return to fight his brother and be all, “hey, big bro, I gots epic powers and you just have an evil vampire who does everything for you!”

Kiara is pretty awesome too, all warrior woman in charge of her own destiny. With a mini dragon. And the vampires were pretty cool, especially Gabriel. I liked how he didn’t bother to help Vahanian until he had no choice, when they first met up.

All the other characters were just meh. I didn’t care what happened to them, really.

Where I got completely lost was the ending. I don’t understand why King Staden felt the need to arrest them just to bring them to the castle. Weren’t they going to seek aid from him anyway? I thought the knights knew that Tris’ group knew they were there… why did they need to make the king think the group needed to be arrested?

And Berry. I don’t understand the method behind her ruse at hiding the fact that she was a princess. And how the general who arrested them didn’t recognize her and blow her cover. It doesn’t work for me.

Finally, how did Vaharian, the seasoned adventurer, not know that Dark Haven was the refuge for vampires? After the king makes him the lord of Dark Haven, he doesn’t seem fazed, and doesn’t seem to understand why Carina tells him to expect to see more of Gabriel. Seems weird that he doesn’t know something like that.

Overall, though, I enjoyed this read. On to the sequel!

Rating: 4/5

September 1, 2012 Posted by | Reading | Leave a comment

The End Review

Title: The End

Author: Nora Olsen

Published: December 2010, Prizm

Source: PaperbackSwap

Goodreads Description:

When World War Three breaks out, seventeen-year-old Julia is on a school trip to Amsterdam, while fourteen-year-old Marly is trapped in a prison for delinquent girls. They both discover magical amulets, and try their best to save themselves and those around them. But it looks like their best will not be enough, as nuclear war threatens the survival of the human race.

On her journey home to New York, Julia is joined by three other queer teens–the mysterious and alluring Ginger; lipstick lesbian Vikki; and five-thousand-year-old Skilly, who has an amulet that grants him eternal life. When Julia and Marly meet, they are immediately attracted to each other. But romance has to take a back seat as the five friends learn the true powers of the amulets. Can they travel through time to save the world from total destruction?

My Thoughts:

I have mixed feelings about this book.

Not a whole lot was really explained. Why was Marley taken away from her family? Why was she in juvenile detention? Skipping school doesn’t seem like a realistic reason… What is actually happening while they are trying to save the world? I wanted more insight into the day-to-day planning and the actual things they did. How did everyone know that these kids had really saved them? Why would any of those kids made that public?

The ending was too abrupt. Gog bringing Muldoona back to life and wanting to marry her again… uh, what? Ginger makes zero sense to me. All of a sudden she has a kid? And she is swayed by Muldoona but helps the other kids but seems to think they all hate her yet she suicide-bombs Muldoona. The heck? Also, the magical fighting was just a giant confusion in my head.

Skilly was a serious jerk, being all, “I never let anyone wear my amulet lalala, five thousand years and I’ve watched everyone I love die because I’m a heartless jerkface rawrawr.” And why is everyone wasting time making out and having sex when they’re supposed to be saving the world?

I’m a bit frustrated.

Rating: 2/5

August 17, 2012 Posted by | Reading | Leave a comment

Inheritance Review

Title: Inheritance

Author: Christopher Paolini

Published: November 2011, Knopf

Source: bought at Target

Goodreads Description:

Not so very long ago, Eragon – Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider – was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders.

Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chance.

The Rider and his dragon have come farther than anyone dared to imagine. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaesia? And if so, at what cost?

This is the spellbinding conclusion to Christopher Paolini’s worldwide bestselling Inheritance cycle.

My Thoughts:

I decided to read this book because I wanted to know how it all ends.

I ended up having to scan the last two hundred pages. I have never read a slower book filled with nothing but frilly wording. Paolini drags everything out as long as he possibly can, and so many times I felt like demanding he get to the point.

His failure to put Eragon and Arya together enraged me. I was expecting to finally see them together, but of course not. That would have been too logical.

I’m just so beyond disappointed and frustrated with this book. What a total waste.

Rating: 1/5

August 10, 2012 Posted by | Reading | Leave a comment

I’m Alive, I Swear!

Sorry for the unplanned hiatus. I’ve had a lot going on: getting ready for school, working, working out, getting distracted by the Olympics, reading stuff online instead of books from my TBR pile, trying to write, trying to plot out my novel for NaNoWriMo, and other stuff. I’m also struggling to read Inheritance by Christopher Paolini. For my thoughts on that, here is my recent Facebook status:

I just don’t understand why I’m having such a hard time getting through Inheritance. I think it’s Paolini’s writing style that is bothering me. I think my preferences have changed since reading Brisingr, and I’m really bothered by the overly flowery-flashy way he writes. Especially battle scenes where he paints beautiful pictures of graphic death. And he uses the flowery-ness to drag out scenes that don’t need to be dragged out so long. And I’m not even going to get into his refusal to actually put Eragon and Arya into a romantic relationship like they so obviously should be in. I’m halfway through the book, and I’m going to finish it because I want to know how this series ends, but I may throw the book out a window when I’m done.

And that is why it is taking me ages to read it. Not the fact that it’s over 800 pages long. I just can’t get into it, but I NEED to know how it ends!

And I’m going to force myself to get back into updating here. I just have to structure the time it takes to write a post into my day, or I’ll never get back on track!

August 6, 2012 Posted by | Life, Reading | Leave a comment

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