This week I read:
I just started:
2020 is the end of an era. Literally. When I started this blog (almost 10 years ago), I knew that I wanted to write. I just wasn’t sure what.
Looking back through my archives, I see book reviews, hiking adventures, recipes, quotes, memes, writing advice . . . I was all over the place. But the important thing, the only thing, really, is that it got me putting words on the screen.
Behind the blog scenes, there were magazine articles, nonfiction stories, and a ton of short fiction created. And that is where I found my writing home – in the land of make believe.
Fast forward to the present. I’ve written dozens of short stories and have a stack of finished novel manuscripts. I’ve had an editor tell me no one would ever publish the story I submitted to him only to have it accepted the same month by Suspense Magazine. I’ve had agents ignore my queries, request my manuscripts, reject my manuscripts, refer me to a colleague who they felt the manuscript would be perfect for only to never hear from said colleague . . . and still, I write.
I’ve felt my skin thicken from tissue paper to paperboard. I’ve cried my way through the bad writing days, laughed my way through the good, and stopped myself from punching a wall countless times during edits.
It’s been a long, sometimes painful, often frustrating journey. A building an author platform as an adult mystery author, realizing that all of my novels had teenage characters and it was those characters who I most enjoyed writing, expanding my reading list and develoving an ABSOLUTE love affair with YA novels, realizing that at my core I am a YA author and whoops, now I have to start all over again kind of insanity.
So . . . here I am. This is my year, so stay tuned. I hope to have some big news for you coming soon.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a YA book, and after my love affair with the Pretty Little Liars series, I was read for a ‘little’ something, and monsters turned out to be that thing.
This book deals with the usual teenage angst of family issues, feeling like you don’t belong, not fitting in, and feeling like you have to compromise yourself to satisfy the demands of peer pressure, among other issues, yet it takes it one step further with a murder, which creates a mystery.
The plots seems plausible enough. The writing is good, the characters well-developed, and the suspense keeps the pages turning. There was enough angst to satisfy my YA craving. It was good, but not quite everything I was hoping for. (I think my standards for this one may have been impossibly high.) 4 stars.
This book was strange. While the basic premise wasn’t the freshest, what the author did with it kind of was. By just adding a few oddities, the author took an old trope and made it feel new. And fun.
This story has a little bit of everything thrown into the pot. Murder. Mayhem. Ballerinas?????
Add a dash of a girl’s correctional facility and a dollop of the supernatural, and you’ve got yourself (or I’ve got myself) something I’ve never read before. With a base of good writing, pacing, and suspense, that makes this book a tasty dish to this reader. Definitely not going to suit everyone’s pallet, but I enjoyed it. 4.5 stars!
There was something kind of beautiful about this book. There were some things that were pretty silly and hokey, too, but those things didn’t really diminish the beauty. And while the book is probably best described as Young Adult, I feel it speaks to a broader audience.
When you break down through the walls of drama, growing pains, teen angst, grief, and everything else going on in this story, this book is about finding yourself. And how easy it is to lose yourself. And the importance of forgiveness. It’s about the fragile line that we all walk during the course of our day to day lives, and how easily one choice or decision can spiral out of control – or makes things right. It’s both complex and simplistic; therein lies the beauty. 5 stars!
I’ve read a book by author Hannah Jayne before, and after reading a second, I’ve got to say that this author is one to watch! Her twisty, suspenseful mysteries centered around YA characters are big on thrills and chills.
The books may be a bit melodramatic at times, but hey, I remember being a teenager, and most of the time, it works. Ms. Jayne is a master of creating a dark, creepy atmosphere for a reader to escape to for a while. Best of all, while I had suspects and suspicions, I wasn’t completely sure what was real and what wasn’t until the end. There were a couple of loose ends left frayed and unexplained, but the bottom line is that I really enjoyed this book. 4.5 stars!
John Green can write. I don’t think anyone disputes that. He creates characters that feel authentic and real, but this book left me severely underwhelmed. I’ve never read another book that won the YA Edgar Award, but I can’t help but feel like the bar may be pretty low after reading this ‘winner’.
This book wasn’t a total waste of time, it’s a good coming of age story that held my interest, but it pales in comparison to Green’s other books that I’ve read, and the ‘mystery’ left me wondering about my definition of mystery. I suppose that maybe his other books set my expectations too high. 3.5 stars.
This book by Dutch author Marieke Nijkamp got off to a bit of a rocky start. It introduces a lot of characters and scene changes before you have a chance to find your footing (knowing who is who, etc.). But it quickly gains depth and momentum, and by the end I not only knew the characters, but I cared about what happened to them as well.
The book could benefit from another round of editing for consistency (details like the auditorium is either soundproof, or you can hear the gunshots around the school), but nothing major. As far as books about gun violence in schools goes, I would have liked to have seen more insight into the shooter’s motive and choice to turn to violence. A quick and easy young adult read. 4 stars.