Author Spotlight: Lysa Daley

Dear Reader;

I haven’t done an Author Spotlight for a while and honestly, it was because I haven’t felt like doing it on a REALLY well know author (like Suzanne Collins or Veronica Roth or one of the classics, you know?), so I’ve been putting it off. But recently I had the privilege of reading an AMAZING book and it’s just occurred to me that I should definitely do a little bumping!

Today my focus is on Lysa Daley (I’ll list her website below as well as the book information). She’s written only one book with the second coming out this coming May! (I’m so excited!) The series is a trilogy, The Dark Skies trilogy as a matter of fact, and it’s about aliens.

Now, now, before you all start running for the hills, I want you to know that I am not a huge alien reader. In fact, aside from Ender’s Game, I can’t think of a single alien-focused book that I’ve read that I really enjoyed. And if you recall, Ender’s Game doesn’t necessarily have a lot of involvement with the actual aliens. Go figure. But I saw that this book – Unvelied: Dark Skies Trilogy book 1 – was being offered as a RAR (read and review, where the author provides a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review) and I thought, what the heck, right?

I’ve been doing a lot of RARs lately and I’ll be honest: So many have been bombs. Really bad bombs. A few have been just so-so, not really getting me invested enough to check out sequels and earning an average rating of about three stars (out of five). In fact, the ones I *thought* I was really going to enjoy ended up being disappointing to say the least. So by the time I reached this one on my list, I was nervous. In fact, I was downright dreading it.

Then I read the first 2 % of the book and was floor. It was AMAZING. I thought, “what voice! What character! What believability!” Honestly, my real thoughts there. I thought the writing was incredibly well done. It wasn’t over the top and flowery as some books can be these days (which is not necessarily a bad thing, but can get very tedious as with September Girls by Bennett Madison), and it had real character in just a short amount of time. Astrid (I know, it took me a minute to get past the name, but it’s okay, it’s a Sci Fi novel, remember?) has a very spunky, slightly sarcastic, well developed voice and attitude that make her very believable as a teenager who has been dragged all over the place. She’s not overly full of herself, but not mopey either. She’s just normal, which of course she’s anything but. She’s relatable, the kind of girl you imagine yourself being friends with and getting coffee with, so down to earth that you’re just like, “Yep, you and me, total BFFs.” Daley nailed her voice so perfectly that I was almost afraid it would drop off, because it was so good at the beginning.

But it didn’t.

This was one of those stories, where the novel held its own right up to the end. No questions asked. Ruby was very good at the best friend, balancing out Astrid’s own personality, with a natural upbeat, fashionable sound, but not overly annoying personality of her own that was just as strong and believable. Within a few chapters, I was invested in these characters and they continued to defy my expectations. Whenever I thought, “Oh, this is just another stereotype” it was BAM, let me show you how these characters have DEPTH. It was amazing.

I could go on and on about Unveiled, as I am inexplicably in love with it, but I’ll just post my review later. Instead, I wanted to mention that Lysa Daley has done a fantastic job of creating a wonderful, adventurous and engaging debut novel that has a very strong voice and an interesting plotline even for someone who doesn’t usually invest time in Science Fiction. I was incredibly impressed.

In a sea of mediocre authors (growing in numbers daily), I was impressed and so pleased to come across Ms. Daley. She has blown me away and I look forward to her second book, Uninvited. I really encourage you all to check out Unveiled. I know it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really hope that you give it a try anyway. Why? Because being an author is hard – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Hard to get your work out there. Hard to get a shot in a world where the mediocre and the dumbed down are so often taken for genius because they’ve been swallowed whole by the masses. Even if you don’t like the story, you’ll like the writing. Yes, it’s YA. Yes, it’s first person POV. Yes, it’s about aliens. And YES, it’s brilliant.

Give it a shot, because you might be a little surprised by what you come across.

Sincerely,

E.C. Orr

P.S. I wanted to mention that I did receive a copy of this book for free. I also wanted to mention that Ms. Daley has NO idea that I’ve featured her here on my blog. I pride myself on being honest, even when I feel bad for not liking something, because I feel it’s important to give credit where credit is due. I have in no way received any monetary compensation or otherwise been compensated for this post or my review.

Lysa Daley’s website: http://www.lysadaley.com/

Book Information:

Title: Unveiled: The Dark Skies Trilogy book 1
Author: Lysa Daley
ASIN: B01B8QD8RG
Language: English
Approximate Length: 411 pages
I have a free e-book version.

**Keep an eye out for book 2 Uninvited coming out in May!**

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Review: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepherd

**Also published on Goodreads**

Dear Reader

After watching the series for so long, I was really excited for the books (I know, they came first, but I hadn’t gotten a hold of them until recently.) But now that I’ve read book one, I gotta say, seriously not impressed. The girls were completely unlikable (beyond moments of feeling bad for Spencer and a little on the Hanna self esteem thing). The sex, alcohol and drugs was just too much. And I kept thinking, these girls deserve more or less what they’re getting…

The characters were pretty unlikable which is always a strike in my book. Emily was probably the most likable, but even she was sort of… hard to get along with. She was too much of a pushover without enough redeeming individual characteristics that made her her own person. She just felt like some token lesbian character (which annoys me, especially since Jenna from Hex Hall was so epic, awesome, and just happened to be a lesbian, because lesbians are just normal people and are not just some stereotype thrown in for the sake of having a “diverse cast of characters” thank you very much). Allison was unlikable (which was the point), but honestly, I had less of a problem with her than the other characters. Aria was snobby and superior. Spencer was, quite frankly, a boyfriend stealing, judging, overly competitive jerk (with moments of sympathetic character development, which I appreciated). And Hanna? God, Hanna was awful. All of the depth that seeped into the show (which, okay, maybe took a few episodes to really happy) is obliterated in the books. She is Queen of the Unlikable. Yes, I felt bad for her at times, but it wasn’t enough to justify who she’d become.

The writing was okay, the events that take seemed very unrealistic, and I’ve already mentioned my disdain for the characters. Not to mention, the most interesting part was Ali’s death and they barely even dealt with that! This book felt like one long, annoying, mean girls prologue and I was really disappointed. All of this “poor little rich girls” stuff has become obnoxious. Is this really how the other half lives? Because if it is, I’ll deem myself lucky for not having money in my pocket. It hardly seems like a fair trade.

I have the next three in the series, so I suppose I’ll get to them, but I wouldn’t really recommend this series unfortunately.

Sincerely

E.C. Orr

P.S. There’s a chance that this series will get better, but honestly, the first book was so off putting that it’ll take me a minute to get to the others, which I’m only going to read because A) I have them and B) I want to see if they get to be anything even half as good as the series.

 

Book Information:

Pretty Little LiarsTitle: Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars #1)
Author: Sara Shepherd
ISBN: 006088732X
Language: English
Approximate Length: 286 pages
Stars: ★★☆☆☆
I have a 2006 publish date soft cover edition, not the TV-series tie in.