Now Available!

The wait is over! Pick up your copy of the third installment of the Bitten series today!

Available in the Kindle Store.

Celia and Victor’s relationship has reached the one-year mark, and they couldn’t be more excited. With the tickets booked for sultry Las Vegas, they’re on their way to a week of fun and pleasure.

Except, the plane ride over threatens to ruin their plans. One little hiccup has Celia frightened of her love and neither knows how to fix it. She’s determined to have an enjoyable trip, though—even with surprises lurking at every turn. With prompting from Victor’s caretaker, and help from a group of Hawaiian witches, Celia will have to navigate her potential magical abilities for the first time. She needs all the help she can get as dangerous enemies jeopardize their vacation, and bring to light their own internal woes.

In this third installment of the thrilling, urban Bitten series, Celia continues to fight for her relationship, while learning more about her lineage as an Umami.

A battle is heating up on the Strip. Can Celia and Victor stay above the fray?

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Review: Die For You

Review: Die For You by Lisa Unger

My rating: 3/5 stars

Spoilers

I found this book at a book sale and it sounded intriguing. Unfortunately, it was only okay–not terrible, but not heart-pumpingly great like you’d expect from a thriller/mystery. I could identify with Isabel, for the most part, so that’s a plus. But I read someone else’s review about despising characters that are authors. I’ve got to say, I kind of agree. I never realized it but I, too, don’t really want to read about an author. I don’t quite know why it would be off-putting in general, but for this book, to me, it was an excuse to tell characterization instead of showing it. Instead of finding out things about the characters with the narrators, we’re told their personalities because Isabel can “read people” with her “writer’s critical eye.” The first example I noticed was when Isabel was introduced to Det. Crowe.

I also didn’t understand the different POV for the multiple narrators. This was puzzling me as a writer, myself. I just want to understand Unger’s motivation. Why was Isabel’s POV in first person, while everyone else’s was in third? Especially when there were so many narrators. I also didn’t really care too much about Crowe’s relationship, even though I did find him kind of interesting.

As for plot, it was okay. I wasn’t expecting Linda’s affair or the aftermath of that. But I also wasn’t very invested in that part. I wasn’t really invested in much of the story; I just wanted to see if Isabel ever caught up with Marcus. Even when she did, I wasn’t very satisfied with his reason for conning her and her family. Or maybe it was because Isabel wasn’t the one to kill him.

I don’t know. I’d recommend this because it is well-written, in that it’s visual. It just didn’t have the depth or thrill I was expecting.

Find more on my Goodreads page here.

Review: The Infinite Sea

Review: The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancy

My rating: 3/5 stars

Some spoilers below:

Again, Yancy gets an extra star because of the action. The book grabbed me in the third act, and now I have the dilemma of deciding if I’m going to torture myself through another book because, as I hate to admit, I’m still intrigued. To hate-read, or not to hate-read?

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Review: Darkness, Take My Hand

Review: Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane

Rating: 4/5 stars

Another Dennis Lehane book. I keep coming back for a reason, right? Well, as usual, I enjoyed his dark tale and of course all of the Boston references and locales. Lehane has a very poetic writing style that I like. He STILL uses the character names in dialogue waaaaaay too much, and it drives me nuts. But I was able to skip over the names, which helped. Luckily the writing and action was a good pace to keep me going.

SPOILERS BELOW:

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Review: The 5th Wave

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

Updated Rating: 3/5 Stars

–Spoilers–

I was thinking of giving this three stars but I added the extra star because the action parts really kept me riveted, which is important. I’m intrigued by the alien invasion and how they killed off so many humans. The main characters are likable and relateable.

So, when I first picked up an excerpt on this book, I didn’t know it was a YA novel. I quickly learned that as I continued to read. Anyone who has read any of my reviews of YA novels know how frustrating they are to me (with some notable exceptions, like The Hunger Games). There’s your warning.

The first section was a bit frustrating. I guess it was a delayed gratification thing. I felt there wasn’t enough forward motion. And a lot that was said was repetitive. It was still interesting, but I so badly wanted to know what was going on in the present.
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Review: The Martian

Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

Rating: 4/5 stars

Some spoilers below:

Well, I enjoyed this book. I liked Mark, which made me root for him. I liked his gallows humor and sarcasm. His log entries were very detailed, which was nice, even though some of the math and science went over my head. I just skimmed through, like, “mm hmm, yup, what you said.” I don’t know all that science stuff so I can’t really dispute its validity. But I liked that Mark kept going. He didn’t stop, he had some goals. And I wanted him to make it.

Mark’s log entries make up 100% of my positive review. The rest of the book…

Okay, so to start, I was aware of Andy Weir’s story before reading this, so I know he’s an amateur writer. But the sections outside of Mark’s log entries were hard to get through. He’s just not the best with dialogue. All the other characters were flat–except maybe the Ares 3 crew. I could differentiate their personalities. Everyone else sounded the same. Oh, except for Annie’s potty mouth and Mindy’s constant “um”s and “uh”s. I get that she was nervous but reading “um” in every line of dialogue is annoying. And as for Annie, her constant swearing felt more forced than anything. And I’m not opposed to swears, in the least. I did think at first that maybe Venkat was different from the rest too, except there was a part when he was in China when he slipped into this attitude because he was tired, which is understandable, except he sounded like Mark. The same with Mindy. She catches a ‘tude and sounds like Mark too. Many of the characters get attitudes but they all slip into that same snarky voice.
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Review: The Abstinence Teacher

Review: The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta

Rating: 3/5 stars

Some spoilers below:

This book was okay. I picked it up when I saw a few reviews for “The Leftovers” claiming that this was one of the reviewers’ favorite books by Tom Perrotta. Perrotta is a sort-of Boston-based writer, something that tends to make me give an author a chance. Plus, I liked “Election” and “Little Children” (the movies, I haven’t read the books) and after discussing it further with my book club, I liked “The Leftovers”, well, more or less.

Anyway, all of that’s to say that I was interested in reading another of his novels. My lucky day to come across this in the thrift store. When I first started this, I was less than enthused by the writing style. It felt a bit flat. But I kept going and was able to get past that and decided to continue since I was reading it so quickly. One thing that kept tripping me up was that a lot of the character descriptions were similar–so-and-so had a “boyish” face, so-and-so was some variation of “plump.” It’s nice that these are real-world people who aren’t rail-thin but I kept noticing it. The “boyish” term was actually bugging me with its continued usage throughout the novel.

I also found Perrotta’s non-linear storytelling a bit confusing at times. I didn’t mind at all that it was non-linear. After reading “The Leftovers” and then this, I realize the author enjoys leaving you hanging on major events. But sometimes it took a few seconds for me to get the passages lined up in my head. I definitely don’t know how much time passed. I assumed the beginning was somewhere near the beginning of the school year, so Sept. But then at the end, Randall and Greg say they’re getting married in August, but that they were moving to MA first to gain citizenship. I don’t know how long that takes.
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Review: A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Well, this book has been out for a while, and it’s a popular bestseller, so I probably won’t really add anything new. I had picked up this book two years agi. I was deciding between this and Divergent. Divergent was okay, but wasn’t really piquing my interest. Not to mention my usual complaint with YA books: the sophomoric prose. And then I started Game of Thrones. GRRM can write, that’s for sure. He knows how to build a world and make you feel like you’re in it. Even though I just said that, I did put the book down for some reason. After watching the television series this spring, I decided to finish the book.

So, yes, great imagery, great characters, my favs being Jon, Tyrion, Dany, and Jorah, to name a few. I love how well the show-runners were able to transfer the story to television. One person that stood out for me was the difference with Varys. He seemed really creepy and off-putting in the book, whereas it was toned down on the show. And Littlefinger was toned down just a tad for the show. He had a more acerbic humor in the book. One change that I didn’t really like was at the end, with Dany. I liked how on the show they had her climb into Drogo’s pyre because of her grief. My eyes glazed over in the book during the visions she was having gazing into the fire.

I’d heard complaints about how GRRM can ramble on, which wasn’t too evident here. There were a few moments where I thought it strange how much detail was given to clothing when it didn’t add anything to the scene, but I think that only happened twice.

And I know, how can I criticize someone as great and marvelous as GRRM? Well, my only complaint that I really hope he doesn’t do in his other books is with his use of vague pronouns. There were several times throughout where I had to pause a moment to figure out which character he was referring to. It’s confusing (the only reason why I give 4 stars).

But that’s it! I really liked this book. It took me a very long time to finish this book (OK three months isn’t that long) but that probably has more to do with me. I just don’t have as much spare time lately to dedicate to reading.

A Thought on Critique Groups

I enjoy being a part of a writing group. It’s great bouncing ideas off other people, seeing how they write and how they come up with ideas, and having a regular group of people to see. Even with those pluses, one has to remember that writing is personal. People can be possessive. I’ve found that my thick skin may not be as thick as I thought.

So, I had a moment recently where I took it personally when the group was discussing plotting. It seemed to them that my story was all over the place. I didn’t see it that way. I had been giving them scenes piecemeal, and changed some of the characters’ motivations, and since it’s so long already, I eventually saw how they could get confused on the plot. But that’s why I posted the outline!

Okay, so it’s still fresh for me.

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Narrator Styles

More from The Writer’s Circle:

narrator types

I generally stick with limited third person or first person, although my vampire series is more Observer-Narrator. I wanted the narrator to be a character. I’d love to try out the Unreliable Narrator next. I have seen that method done well (Gone Girl) and okay, but not bad enough to make me put the book down (The Girl on the Train).