Review: Ouija by Katharine Turner

dear-reader3

Check out the Halloween Read-a-Thon here!

My TBR list here!

haunted-house

First, the two main reasons that people are going to have issues with this book: The way this reads like a Middlegrade book and the complete lack of suspense/horror/or anything remotely terrifying.
Second, the reason they absolutely did negatively impact my rating: Because the writing was third-grade status. So simple I could have done this just by watching the movie with absolutely no writing skills whatsoever.
Third, the moment I knew this was going to be bad:

“‘Hey.’ Trevor appeared in the doorway.
‘Oh my god!’ Laine gripped the board tightly. ‘You almost gave me a heart attack.’”

Because, um, why? Nothing happened. Absolutely NOTHING HAPPENED to build up to this “surprise, heart attack inducing” moment.
How many stars do I give this? Sadly, only 2. Maybe a 2.1, but probably not. (Lets be honest, I’m already being generous.)
I went into this book really wanting to like it, but I just couldn’t. This is possibly the first and probably only time I will ever say this but, THE MOVIE IS BETTER.
I feel like I should be stoned now…
Halloween Horror Rating:

bat-rating-smallbat-rating-negative-smallbat-rating-negative-smallbat-rating-negative-smallbat-rating-negative-small

One out of five bats. It was pathetically un-terrifying to the point where I was bored and more interested in the grief of the characters, than the supposedly scary stuff happening.

A total disappointment.
But let’s begin with The Bland And Pathetically Boring Writing.

What I enjoyed personally:

Not much of anything, really. I found that this was one of those moments where the writing was TOO simplistic. It made it difficult to read, because it was so easy I felt like I was reading See Spot Run. I mean, why not include pictures, too?

Oh, wait, they did…

Seriously though. I’ve been trying to find something that I really enjoyed in the writing style itself, and I can’t find anything. I felt it was boring, stilted, lacked suspense, and felt more like it was meant to be read by 10-year-olds.

What I felt was a little questionable:

Um, everything.

First, the writer didn’t seem to understand that as a novel, not a movie the writing needed more meat. There needed to be at least a hundred more pages, all of which should have been descriptors. Okay, maybe not *all* but a damn lot of ‘em. There needed to be more “her heart thumped wildly in her chest as she felt the hairs on the back of her neck rise. She couldn’t see it, but she sensed it there, lurking, looming—coming towards her. She couldn’t force herself to turn, her body frozen in irrational fear, but in the mirror she caught the reflection. It should have been nothing, but that shadow—” Instead, we get the characters running around doing… well, we don’t really know what they’re doing because they’re suddenly downstairs in the dead girl’s room when a second ago they were in the living room. And they’re dying left and right, but they only seem mildly affected by this.
Where’s the drama? Where’s the suspense? Where are the friggin’ ghosts already?! Seriously, even they didn’t manage to be effective in this novel—which is bad, given that it’s basically a ghost story.

Moving on to The Rather Hobble-Cobble Story.

What I liked:

The relationship between Debbie and Laine. It was the closest thing to a really functioning storyline that we could grasp on to and it was the only thing that was convincing as a motivator for the unfolding events. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the sort of depth that it needed to be really *great* or effective and it left everyone feeling sort of… well, maybe like Debbie and Laine should have been dating and the two guys should have been thrown to the wolves.

Regardless, the best part (in the sense of storytelling) was Debbie’s apparent suicide. There was the promise of real depth there when her friends are initially grieving. They attempt to deal with her death in their own ways, wondering how they “missed the signs”. This was the most genuine part of the whole story—and it was only there as a backdrop to the rest of what was going on. Really disappointing.

What I didn’t like:

Most of what happened.

The Ouija Board has the potential to bring some real creep factor to any story—and yet it utterly failed here. There was no sense of foreboding, there was no feeling that they were playing with fire. Instead it was all this “oh, and by the way, a serial killer ghost is after you, kay, bye now”. I mean, that was the feeling I got from this novel and it really left me wishing that more had happened in the story. I think this is more a result of the writing than the actual plot, though I think there are holes there, too, and I think if we’d been offered a little more time to explore what was going on and given a few more details, I would have enjoyed the story more.

Next, Le Characters.

What was good:

The relationship between Debbie and Laine. And the relationship between Laine and Sarah. Both of these bonds were very brief, because the whole story was brief, but they offered the most development and tangible feeling in the whole novel. I also would have liked to explore the Laine/Pete dynamic, because it was, strangely enough, stronger than most here. More compelling. At least, it had the potential to be. But again, it was wholly underdeveloped, leaving it more like this weird “did I imagine a connection there?” thing.

What was bad:

There was almost no character development. No one really changed—or even had the chance to. We actually got the most change from Trevor, I think, and not in a good way. He shifted from the loving boyfriend to aggressive and unstable. But we only get a glimpse of that and the next moment he’s all “but I love Laine so much! Even though I think she’s nuts!” It was really disappointing.

The friendships between each of the characters had so much room for development, but instead they fell flat. I was left thinking that these characters were just cardboard cutouts of people, stand ins for the real things that had yet to arrive.

Finally, a section for Tropes and Other Much Hated Things:

There’s the Missing Parents trope. I think this novel counts as YA and falls into the same My Teenager’s Running Rampant, But I Really Can’t Be Bothered As A Parent trope. There’s also the My Boyfriend Takes Over My Life trope, though in a very small capacity. There’s the I Had To Grow Up Too Fast To Take The Place Of My Absentee Parent trope, always a fun one.

There weren’t a lot of Horror Tropes here, though fans of the genre will notice some. The Final Girl(s) being the main one, but also some “playing with something we shouldn’t” and “it’s just a game”.

Would I recommend this? No—there just isn’t enough here to be bothered with, sadly enough.

sincerely3

E.C. Orr

Book Information:

ouijaTitle: Ouija
Author: Katharine Turner
ISBN: 0316296325
Language: English
Approximate Length: 224 pages
Stars: ★★☆☆☆
I have a used softcover copy.

Review: What Doesn’t Kill Us by Stephanie Henry

dear-reader3

First, the two main reasons that people are going to have issues with this book: The mega insta-love and the “he’s so perfect, omg” characters.
Second, the reason they did negatively impact my rating: Because this story relied so heavily on the characters and the story and neither were executed well enough for that.

Third, the moment I knew how I was going to feel about this story:

“Why does the sound of him saying my name make my insides melt?”

Because this quote is like all of the quotes. This quote shows what the writing is like and it shows how the rest of the novel is going to work—an instantly, for no apparent reason love sick girl is won over… with absolutely no effort on the young man’s part. Why did I pick this quote? Because there was absolutely nothing leading up to it. She just suddenly feels jiggly in her insides because he’s cute. I mean, jeez.

How many stars do I give this? 2.6 because it’s got holes and only so-so writing.
It has a wicked hook and there is potential… but the writing just wasn’t up to standard and in the end, there was too much rushing in a story that should have been twice as long.

But let’s begin with The Bland And So-So Writing.

What I enjoyed personally:

The fast-paced nature of it. As I mentioned, it’s got a hell of a hook and that helps a lot with a story like this. The first chapter really sets the stage for the story—for Drew anyway. And that helped a lot with getting through the rest of the story. I’ll also mention that I didn’t mind the switching POV. For this story, I found it helpful and with only one perspective, the story probably wouldn’t have been even this good.

What I felt was a little questionable:

The fast-paced nature of it. I know, I just mentioned this as something I liked, but let me explain. The story started off fast, which is good, but then it got bogged down by things like “Craig Morgan”. Is there a reason we have to say his full name every time? It started to feel like you were saying He-Who-Must-Be-Named-Every-Time… Like, give it a rest. But that aside, I’m actually talking about how Drew’s life is now. By chapter two it’s all “and no one likes me and I’m the bad boy and I don’t expect anyone to care…” All of which was important, but the author sped through it like lightning and I was just left scratching my head thinking, “Why do I care?” Because I didn’t. The stuff with his family was horrible—but I’m not really sure how it spilled out into his high school career. Was it just a result of gossip? Did his father spread the rumors? We don’t know. Because there’s nothing to let us know. Instead, we get a rapid fire break down of what’s going on and it just needed more… development. The start of something was there, but the author seemed so hellbent on getting through that she didn’t much care whether we were following or not. I needed longer scenes, or at least more developed ones. What are the characters thinking? Why are they thinking that? Why are they so hooked on each other? She tried to tell us, but I just didn’t buy it—and that’s a flaw in the writing, not necessarily (though additionally) the plot.

Moving on to The Too-Fast, Too-Insistently-Intense Story.

What I liked:

That the story is about hope and overcoming the bad things. I don’t necessarily think that reading has to teach us anything, but I think when it does and it’s not overly preachy, that can be really beneficial and add something to the story. In this case, I think it did. It’s about forgiveness and love despite differences and, ultimately, about finding hope. I’m not sure it’s really enough to save the story, but I appreciated it all the same.

I liked that Hailey was blaming her initial attraction on mystery. Oh, he’s the bad boy, so I just want to know, not that I’m really into him! It’s maybe not written well enough or followed through on later to be truly believable, but I thought that was a better way of tackling the otherwise overwhelming insta-love found here. I wish the author had stuck with it a little longer and dealt with Hailey’s drive to not have feelings for Drew.

What I didn’t like:

A lot.

I didn’t like the insta-love, as I’ve mentioned. It was excessive and that’s dangerous in a story that is literally about that love. Because it’s all about the getting together, not the being together in a story. It’s about the fighting to be with one another that lends enough drama for a story to really exist. That’s why we end up with love triangles and parental disapproval and wrong side of the tracks stories. Because there has to be a struggle and if we don’t get one, the story is, unfortunately, boring. We need the drama, and there was a lot lacking here—even when it wasn’t.

Additionally, why the heck didn’t she have more reservations about him? She was all, “he’s demented!” and then “I want to jump his bones”? How do you get from one to the other in a straight line? I don’t know, but Hailey did.

And that’s how we end up with this gem:

“I haven’t heard why he’s a supposed murderer. What did he do to get that reputation?”

Um, I don’t know, like, MURDER SOMEONE? I hear that killing is the leading cause of murder-related deaths these days…

The whole party scene. From the moment with her dad to the next morning, I was rolling my eyes. And that’s a lot of eye rolling. I didn’t buy that Hailey was just suddenly super comfortable getting tossed—because the author didn’t sell it to me. She told me, “Yep, Hailey’s on a bender!” which seems so out of character for her, despite the circumstances. Not that that is necessarily an unwarranted reaction, but Hailey just seemed so… natural about it that I found it unbelievable. And the whole “Oh, Drew is here! Now I’m feeling super sober—despite the, like, six shots of tequila”? No. Just no. Have you heard of alcohol poisoning? Have you heard of drunk the next day? Have you heard of puking in the bushes?

None of that happened and that seemed… unlikely. It just made everything else that happened lacking it realism to the point where I was just shaking my head.
Honestly, there’s more. The whole dad thing. How can we have the characters not freaking out about this? Yeah, they get a little upset, but then it’s like “oh, but if you see it from his point of view…” No. He does not get a point of view. Because a-holes do not get point of views. Ever. Because they are, in fact, a-holes. And he was. The most selfish jerk ever… and no one called him on it. It was just like “oh, Hailey, you just need to learn to forgive him.” Um, no. At all, no.

I thought the Val-Craig thing was useless. I thought the father thing was… poorly executed. I thought the mom thing was sort of out of left field and didn’t add anything really to the story other than a “and they all lived happily ever after!”

I know there’s a lot I didn’t like and I wish it weren’t so, but when the writing isn’t great, we need the story to carry us and vice versa. We had neither of these things here and it shows.

Next, Le Characters.

What was good:

Drew being a good guy and supportive of Hailey. Perhaps a little cliché? But I appreciated that he wasn’t just some bad boy that she was trying to change. He was legitimately a good person.

Hailey being able to look past the wage differences of their families. I don’t think it was shown enough, though they mentioned it several times, but it was nice that the money really didn’t matter to her.

The mom freaking out after what happened with Hailey’s dad. It was probably the most realistic reaction of everyone in the book and while it was annoying on some level, I appreciated that it was genuine. We didn’t get enough genuine in this, I think, and I’m grateful that it showed up here at least.

What was bad:

The fact that there was really only one “bad guy” (two if you count the party, but that was all so surreal…). Everyone else wasn’t a bad guy, even when they seemed like they were a bad guy—or really should have been. Did it help the story that Craig was a decent guy despite his reputation? No, not at all. It would have been more beneficial if he played a larger actual role, but he’s so peripheral until the party that it’s moot point. And what’s the point of forgiving the dad? He broke so much trust, wrecked a lot of lives, and didn’t even think he did something wrong! Staying with a child in a loveless marriage is the dumbest thing a parent can do and doing it for the sake of the child is just an excuse. Especially in this circumstance.

Finally, a section for Tropes and Other Much Hated Things:
I’m just going to list them here, because… yeah.

• The Poetically Deep Kid In Bad Boy Clothing
• The Preppy Popular Cheerleading Rich Girl With A Heart Of Gold
• The Shallow Best Friend Who Only Loves Shopping And Boys

And that’s not even dealing with the assumptions the characters make about each other—everyone seems to buy the stereotypes in this book until otherwise proven. Like “Craig Morgan Reads a Book” time or the “Cheerleader Listens to Country” or the “Bad Boy Likes Poetry”. All of it makes these huge assumptions about people they don’t even know, and everyone gets offended even as they turn around and do it to each other…

Would I recommend this? Sadly, no—but if you can get past the bad writing and the poorly developed plot and the really bad insta-love, you might enjoy this. But I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone.

sincerely3

E.C. Orr

Book Information:

what-doesnt-kill-usTitle: What Doesn’t Kill Us
Author: Stephanie Henry
ASIN: B00E5Z7PWM
Language: English
Approximate Length: 259 pages
Stars: ★★★☆☆
I received a free ebook version in exchange for an honest review.

 

Update – Blog Format

dear-reader3

Sorry, I know I JUST did a blog update post, but I’m super busy right now (I know, story of my life, broken record status there) so I thought I’d do a post about what I’m thinking of doing with the blog.

I mean, other than what I am doing.

First, I’ll get some more reviews up soon. I’ve just finished up book 2 in the Lux series, so I’ll get that review written up and posted soon. I’m working on Ouija for the Halloween Read-a-Thon, so I’ll hopefully get that one taken care of, too. (I’m so behind with that it’s not even funny…) I’m actually looking through other people’s blogs (finally) so I’ll drop some comments and likes. I’ve been missing out on people’s posts so I’m trying to do rapid fire catch-up! Which is only about half effective, because I can’t spend any more time on it right now…

Later. Definitely later.

Anyway, the other thing I wanted to mention was the formatting, right? I don’t necessarily mean design (though if people have comments on that, feel free to share! I’m still practicing the whole design thing, so yeah, hints are great), but rather content? And scheduling.

Poo, Mondays.

First, I was thinking of doing a Book to Movie Monday post. You know, talk about all the YA books that have been bastardized, I mean, turned into movies? So many of my favorites are movies now and some of them have bombed so bad… Others I’ve enjoyed, though I like them for different reasons than the book. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it every Monday though… So maybe an every other week thing? What do you guys think?

That Weird Day Before Monday…

Second, I was thinking of an NA Sunday. This blog is all about YA, but I’ve read *some* good New Adult books (though not many). I was thinking I could have a sort of “free” day with Sunday and post NA books instead of restricting only to YA. Do you think that would be okay? Or would it just throw off the whole feel of the blog?

Because Everyone Loves Thursday.

Third, I wanted to do a Throwdown Thursday OR a Throwback Thursday. I could compare two books (like Vampire Academy versus Strange Angels or The Hunger Games versus Divergent – or more aptly, against Battle Royale, but I haven’t read that one yet…) and maybe do voting for a winner in the comments? What do you guys think? Like the idea? The other one, the Throwback, would be going back and talking about books I’ve read in the past that I really enjoyed instead of maybe some of the newer ones? (Though, really, I’m so behind on the times sometimes…)

And The Rest Of the Whatever Week.

I have a couple of other ideas floating around – a Freebie Friday, talking about books I’ve gotten for free or as ARCs and maybe doing a Wednesday Recap or a Terrible Tuesday for books that I’ve really disliked and why – but those three are the big ones I was really thinking about.

I’d love to hear from you guys! How do you set up your blog? Do you like to do a system of what to post when or do you do it more fly by the seat of your pants? Should I just nix the themes and stick with how things have been?

Leave me your opinions below! And I’ll do a real post sometime soon!

sincerely3

E.C. Orr

Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

**Hey guys! Let me know what you think of my new reviewing format! I’m going to be using this template in an effort to make more accurate and unbiased – or at least informative – reviews!**

dear-reader3

First, the two main reasons that people are going to have issues with this book: The excessively hateable hot and cold of Daemon and blame it on the ‘mones (hormones) mentality.

Second, the reason they didn’t relatively impact my rating: The writing was freakin’ good, even when the characters were being stupid/annoying/generally unbearable.

Third, the moment I fell in love with this story:

“I hated Daemon Black—if that was even his real name—with the vengeance that equaled the solar power of a thousand suns … The son of a bitch blew up my laptop.”

How many stars do I give this? A solid 3.98. Because my god the writing is addicting! Even when I thought people were being dumb or I was having a WTF Mate moment! It’s that good.

Let’s begin with The Butterfly Inducing Writing.

What I enjoyed personally:

That Armentrout has once more brought me into this fairly fantastical and slightly unrealistic story with no qualms. Aliens? No problem. Crazy dark shadows coming to get you? Sure thing. Sexy boy next door who is so ‘effing mean you have to like him? Yep, still there with you. Really, it didn’t matter what was going on, I still bought it because Armentrout successfully drew me in with her writing. Katy was consistent, even when she felt like she was all over the place. Being in her head effectively made me feel like I was her—both loving and hating Daemon right along with her. It was great. Armentrout is very effective with the first person and puts you right smack dab in the middle of what our MC is feeling.

What I felt was a little questionable:

There were mistakes. Spots where the story seemed to jump forward—weren’t they just on her porch? How are they now walking in the forest? I wasn’t sure if these scenes were maybe forgotten/meant to be added to before the final product or if it was a transition issue, but I noticed it a couple of times and felt it was a little jarring. These were the only moments that really took me out of the story and I didn’t appreciate that. Thankfully, they were few and far between.

Moving on to The Twilight With Aliens Story.

What I liked:

That there was no insta-love. Yes, there is no denying that Katy was instantaneously drooling over Daemon—and really, can you blame her?—but as soon as he speaks, she hates his guts. It’s really quite refreshing. They both try so hard to hate one another, to not let the other get under their skin, that it moves the story along mostly through romance (once more, the “genre” of the piece is merely a vehicle for romance) without making you want to gag about how goo-goo they are over each other. I really appreciated that.

I also liked the “other form” of the Luxen. I won’t get into specifics here, because I’m trying to stay spoiler free, but I will mention that their other form is humanoid but with some noticeable differences. It’s a little weird, but I liked that they weren’t just basically humans from another planet. They are intrinsically different and I think that adds more credence to the whole love story. It’s real love if you can overlook such a large difference, yeah?

What I didn’t like:

How much of a jerk Daemon is.

Okay, let me clarify, I hated that he was such a jerk to Katy—and that she still liked him/spends time with him regardless. Now, it’s not so simplistic as all of that. There are reasons which sort of justify it all, but in the end, Daemon is such a jerk to her—whether he actually cares or not is besides the point—that it’s really hard to think “hm, I can totally see myself overcoming this small personality flaw to see the inner beauty”. Because, really, when a guy’s a jerk, he’s a jerk. Period. Chances are, you’re not going to change him. And there are reasons/explanations, blah blah blah, but it made it really hard to see why Katy was so hung up on him (I don’t care how sexy he is) until really late in the book. That’s slightly problematic for me.

Additionally, I kept feeling like this was Twilight while I was reading it. Not in that horrid, bad fanfiction kind of way, but rather this is what Twilight *should* have been. Well-written, charged with danger and emotion, full of things actually *happening* not just “Oh, Edward looks like a Greek God!” But the similarities remain. The outcast characters who are… different. The bubbly sister who just loves and cuddles you, insisting her brother is your long lost love. Not to mention the whole “I hate you, but not really” hot cold thing with Daemon… I mean, this reads so much better, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling, no matter how I tried.

And finally, the Whole. Damn. Thing. With. Simon. Seriously? Everyone told you not to be an idiot. I’m not saying it was Katy’s fault, because Simon was the a-hole, but I wish she had listened to the instincts that everyone else seemed to have. Especially since she didn’t even like him. Again, not her fault. Never her fault. But I did want to shake my head at her a little. I couldn’t help it.

Next, Le Characters.

What was good:

The snark. Oh my god, the snark. It was all over the place and it was beautiful. I want all of my characters to be jerks to each other now. They need to have witty, scathing comebacks and they need to make comedic, totally inappropriate, I like to make you made hilarity. Like, all the time. Seriously, I really enjoyed the dialogue in this and that is because Armentrout made some wicked lovely characters here. Screw the romance, them verbally sparring with one another made me want to get a flag, throw on a foam finger, and paint my face like Braveheart. It was awesome.

It made me like Daemon even when I hated him, and that’s pretty darn impressive. Additionally, I actually did like Katy. She wasn’t just a “oh, I’m so plain” Jane. Instead, she was a self-aware, struggling to find herself teen. She didn’t want to be Jane. Instead, she wanted to be Joan. As in badass Joan Jett. I appreciated that she tried to go against her initial, shy instincts and fight back. I think it showed us some struggle and growth.

What was bad:

Um, I hate to say it, but Dee. See, I liked her. A lot. She was fun and bubbly and the kind of BFF everyone wants. Beautiful and fun, but so over the moon for you that she forgets all that and slums it with us poor mortals.

But that’s sort of the issue. She’s known Katy for 2.436 seconds and there’s our insta-love… She just has to be Katy’s friend. Nevermind the danger or the problems it causes. She has to. Even though she doesn’t know a darn thing about this girl. Nope, nada. Just that she’s the new neighbor. It felt too much like a means of introducing the romance and giving us a reason why Katy and Daemon would ever hang out despite their mutual hatred. I just couldn’t buy it, even with the reasons Armentrout supplied to convince us of why she would do this.

Also, is it just me, or is Dee basically Alice from Twilight? Serious.

Finally, a section for Tropes and Other Much Hated Things:

Paranormal As A Vehicle For YA Romance – or SciFi in this case. A bit of But Why Would He Want Me? And a smidgeon of It’s Dangerous For You To Be With Me – But I Want You Anyway.

Really, other than some of the typical teenage romance stuff and some Must Have scenes in YA (the dance, Halloween night, a moment in the woods/at the beach/otherwise outdoorsy smoldering hottimes), I didn’t feel this was excessively tropey. Yes, Katy was sort of Plain Jane. Yes, Daemon was a wee bit Greek God of Hotness. Yes, Dee did embody the Pretty Best Friend. But I feel like most of them moved past these molds also, or at least made an effort to.

Also, Katy was saved a lot by Daemon—but she did some saving, too! It was pretty awesome considering she’s only human.

Would I recommend this? Yes—if you enjoy teen romance, love-hate relationships, a little bit of paranormal (because it reads more like paranormal than SciFi), and you appreciate some snarky characters.

sincerely3

E.C. Orr

Book Information:

obsidianTitle: Obsidian (Lux #1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
ISBN: 1620610078
Language: English
Approximate Length: 335 pages
Stars: ★★★★☆
I have an ebook mobi format.

Sex in YA – Appropriate?

WARNING: Before continuing, please be advised that this post shall contain certain terms that may not be appropriate for younger readers or might make some readers uncomfortable. These terms will be used for the purposes of properly defining terms such as erotica and will be centered on sexual euphemisms for genitalia. If you are uncomfortable with these terms, please read no further. If you would like to read the gist of this post, but are thoroughly offended by the terms, please leave a comment or contact me on another page/post/email and I will be happy to provide you with a summary minus the terms. Thank you.

dear-reader3

Continue reading “Sex in YA – Appropriate?”

Review: Mortality by Kellie Sheridan

dear-reader3

Okay, so, I really wanted to give thus five stars, but there were a lot of little mistakes throughout that really just needed another set of eyes to fix. All the same, I can’t completely ignore it, so this is actually a 4.5 star review!

So, this was an engrossing tale of the zombie apocalypse that has torn apart society. In the wreckage, people have tried to rebuild, but it’s like the wild west, lawless and dangerous and not always for the reasons you expect.

At first, I kinda didn’t like Savannah. I thought she was a little too eager, a little too cocky, but by the end of the book I wanted her to ride off into the sunset with the guy of her choosing and Apocalypse Boy BFF Zack who is one of my favorite characters. He’s the strong, loyal, realist guy in all of this and it makes him very likeable. Alex is a jerk, Cole I’m undecided on (still) and Marybeth can shove it where the sun don’t shine.

Plot. It was well thought out and decently original, though it follows most of the same tropes of zombie apocalypse stories, but they were well done, coupled with a fast paced style and flow that makes them engaging and worth reading. I at first didn’t understand why Zarahs story was so important (beyond the obvious) but by the end I appreciated their paralleled tales.

All in all, I would recommend this to any zombie fan, especially if you like YA, strong (but not over the top) female characters and a good look at what it might be like to make it through the end – one way or another.

sincerely3

E.C. Orr

Book Information:

mortalityTitle: Mortality (The Hitchhiker Strain #1)
Author: Kellie Sheridan
ASIN: B014AYUCR2
Language: English
Approximate Length: 211 pages
Stars: ★★★★☆
I have both a boxset ebook copy and a physical softcover copy.

Update

dear-reader3

I feel as though I should apologize! I haven’t been on my blog much lately and I feel sort of bad for that. October has turned into a super busy (and way stressful) month for me, which irks me to no end.

Where are the pumpkin spice lattes? (And, well, everything really.)

Where is the pumpkin carving?

Where are the bad horror movies?

WHERE IS MY DARN COFFEE??!?!

Oh, wait, that last one isn’t really an October thing… Anyway, I really just ended up swamped by work. Deadlines got moved up (which was not my idea) and as a result, I can’t get anything done on time. Worse, everyone wants me to do MORE. More revisions. More writing. More outlining.

Whatever.

All of this accumulates until we are left with just one thing: An annoyed E.C. (Who is prone to random crying fits that really have no bearing on anything and are making my significant other stare at me as though I’ve grown a second head… but we won’t talk about that.)

Anyway, I really just wanted to let everyone know that I haven’t forgotten you all! This has been an awesome experience to reenter the blogging sphere and I’m not giving it up. I just haven’t had the chance to be as active as I’d like. But I’ll get started on some more posts, some much overdue comment replies and some blog perusing. Additionally, I swear I WILL get back to my How To Write A Novel series.

Eventually, lol.

There you have it folks. I’m not done yet, just having that pesky Life Happens problem. I’m still doing the Halloween Read-a-Thon (which, if you haven’t checked it out, link is here; my TBR is here) and have started Ouija! I’m about 25% through.

Stay tuned for updates. And feel free to comment below with… well, whatever you’d like! Tell me what YOU do when life gets in the way! How do you deal with stress? What’s eating you lately?

Sharing is caring!

sincerely3

E.C. Orr

P.S. – I just found out how to delete stuff off my Kindle that I didn’t want. Lol. I feel accomplished.

Review: Sam I Am by Heather Killough-Walden

dear-reader3

I was pleasantly surprised by this!

This was a well written stor and despite some mistakes, I really enjoyed the read! The author managed to pull threads of my favorite holiday through to create an original, engrossing tale. I obviously loved the Halloween elements and enjoyed the idea of Sam altogether. I wish there had been a bit more on the magic witchcraft side of things, but I appreciate the fact that the story didn’t drag because the author was trying to explain everything. There were a few plot holes or at least things that I felt needed more explaining, but the story was pretty well formed and mostly coherent.

The characters were decently developed. I think Logan was edging towards too perfect, but just barely. Dom was everything I want in a male lead and I liked that there was a useful adult in the mix – unusual in YA. I hope to see more of Meagan in book 2.

Overall, I am impressed. I hadn’t been expecting much.l, but I got a great, fun, Halloween read out of it. I would recommend to fans of Halloween, mild romance, and some supernatural fun. Will definitely be reading book two!

**I should make a quick note on this. Yes, I really enjoyed this book. I did not, however, feel that it was truly groundbreaking or extraordinarily amazing. I thought it was MUCH better than expected and enough that I didn’t feel bad for paying the three bucks to read it. And I will read the others, too. But if you don’t like Halloween and you get easily distracted while reading, this probably isn’t for you. I personally really liked it, but I think there are a lot of readers that might not feel the same way.**

sincerely3

E.C. Orr

Book Information:

sam-i-amTitle: Sam I Am (The October Trilogy)
Author: Heather Killough-Walden
ISBN13: 9781301163373
Language: English
Approximate Length: 147 pages
Stars: ★★★★☆
This is currently only available in ebook format.

Bookish Book Lover Tag

bookish-book-lover-tag

Thanks to mreadsbooks for tagging me! And sorry for taking so long to do this one – I lost the link  -.-; I love, LOVE that this one is so long! They’re so much fun that way. 🙂 On with the tag (finally)!

banner-rules

  • Use the banner!
  • Answer the questions with LOTS of book covers!
  • Tag your bookish friends!

banner-quesitons

heart…books are you currently reading?

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee | Seeing Evil by Jason Parent | The Boy with Words by C.E. Wilson | Flawless (Pretty Little Liars #2) by Sara Shepard | House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski | The Independent Publisher by Jarrod Jenkins

I’m always reading a lot at once these days, but the ones I’m currently focusing on are Seeing Evil (it’s a RAR that I need done by the 6th of October), Boy with Words (an ARC that I’ve had for a while), and The Thousandth Floor. The others are just what I go back to when I have spare time and don’t feel like reading anything else. Flawless is just tedious at this point and House of Leaves is really complex, but I’m determined to finish!

heart…the last book you finished?

The F#ck It List: #1: The Best Friend by Rae Lynn Blaise

This was… okay, but not really what I usually read. It’s smut and very short and basically PWP, so I wasn’t super thrilled with it. The writing was *okay* so maybe if it had been longer, I would have enjoyed it more. But if you just want a short smut read, this isn’t a bad choice.

The one before it is more appropriate for this blog!

Courage (The Dreughan, #1) by Lena North

Not a great read, but not utterly terrible. Also not in my typical genre, it was a fantasy. The idea was great, the execution only so-so. But it was okay.

heart…favorite book you’ve read this year?

Okay… I can’t pick just one. SO, here we go. My favorite books from this year! (There are a lot!)

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan | The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin | Night Broken by Patricia Briggs | Unveiled by Lysa Daley | Mortality by Kellie Sheridan | This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers | The Dead of Summer by Heather Balog

I guess if I absolutely HAVE to pick one, I’d say This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. It’s sort of hopeful and heartbreaking all in one. And it was a gift from a super special awesome best friend of mine, so that gives it some extra brownie points!

heart…genre you’ve read most this year?

Hm, I think YA Paranormal takes the cake. I’ve actually read a bit more of a variety than I usually do this year – there were some contemporary, some zombies, some romance and fantasy and urban fantasy – but I think the strongest thread through my Have Read list has been paranormal.

Mara3

heart…genre you’ve read least this year?

Haha, nonfiction? Smut? Historical fiction? There are a lot of genres I shy away from, honestly, and it’s because I mostly don’t enjoy them (such is the case with nonfiction). I’m not strictly opposed to Historical fiction, but I have a harder time getting into it. I have to be in the right mood, I suppose.

REIGN
My guilty pleasure… Reign — 2013 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

heart…genre you’d like to read more of?

Horror! I love horror movies, yet I rarely read specifically horror books. Sometimes zombies, often paranormal, but rarely horror. I’m going to fix that this coming month, but I was a little surprised with myself when I realized I hadn’t read much in the way of horror!

trick_r_treat
Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

heart…how many books have you read this year – and what’s your goal?

I’ve actually surpassed my goal! My Goodreads reading challenge goal was 50 books and I just surpassed it at 52 books! And I’m hopefully not done yet. There are a lot of books I still want to read, so we’ll see what that number ends with. 🙂

readingchallenge

heart…last book you bought?

if-i-was-your-girl

If I Was Your Girl by Mereditch Russo

It came TODAY! I’m so excited for this book – I’ve been eyeing it since I first saw it on Goodreads and I finally just splurged. I’ve heard a couple of different things about it, but I love the cover and the idea of the story, so I’m really hopeful!

heart…book you’re saving up to buy next?

Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marshall | Caraval by Stephanie Garber\

There are a ton that I want, but those are the top two!

heart…how many books you last checked out of the library?

Three. I’ve just switched to a new library (we’ve moved in the last year) and one of their rules is that you’re on probation when you get a new card. So I’m limited to three books until I’ve been proven trustworthy lol.

u-of-a-library
I miss the U of A library…

heart…book you can’t wait to read?

ouija

Ouija by Katharine Turner

It’s kind of silly, but I’m super excited for this because it’s the one that really kicked me into October/Halloween mode.

heart…series you recommend to everyone?

I know this is going to be cliche, but I’m going to say Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.

I want to mention that I *would* recommend The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins to most people, but I also know that it’s not for everyone. I personally love it and think that most people should at least give it a shot. But THG is different than HP. It deals with things that maybe younger kids aren’t really equipped to deal with yet. HP does eventually, too, but it did it in such a way that you grew up with the kids and I think that is a little different than THG. And I think that HP is a little milder regardless.

heart…author you’re hoping writes more?

Heather Balog. I loved The Dead of Summer and I really hope that she writes more. She has several adult books, but I wasn’t all that interested in the summaries. Really, I want her to write more YA books, because this one was SO unexpectedly good. Loved it.

heather-balog
Heather Balog

heart…a few books your heart adores?

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater | Divergent by Veronica Roth | Sisters Red by Pearce Jackson | This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers | The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

heart…series’ conclusion that makes you sad?

Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Look, everyone had their issues with Allegiant. I’m not necessarily saying that I didn’t approve of the ending or that I hated the series because of the ending. Instead, I’m saying that it made me sad. It broke my heart. And that’s for two reasons. First, because of what happened (not going to spoil it if you haven’t read it). I’d grown so attached and… yeah. That was just heartbreaking. Second, because it was OVER. I’d devoured these books and it was truly upsetting to know there would be no more. Even if I didn’t like Insurgent and Allegiant all that much. I still hoped that the series might somehow get better again and return to the amazingness that was Divergent.

heart…books on your wish list?

O.O SO MANY BOOKS. OODLES AND OODLES OF BOOKS. Seriously, there are a ton. I’ll list only a few, but know that there are MORE!

 

banner-tags

…and anyone who wants to do it!

(Also, if you’re doing this, just tag whoever you want – no minimum number for tagging!)

Thanks for making it to the end guys! Hope you have as much fun as I did!

sincerely3

E.C. Orr

Musings

dear-reader3

Every so often, I look up the books that I’ve ghostwritten. It’s a very strange experience, but sometimes it’s just really nice to see that I do, in fact, have something published out there. Maybe it’s only half mine, or maybe it’s completely mine, and maybe legally it isn’t mine at all, but at least I can look at it and think, “I accomplished something.” Even if no one will ever know it.

It really can be an awesome experience – but it’s also sort of sad. It makes me feel bad, because I can’t share with anyone what I’ve done. There is no excitement with my friends over book covers and release dates or anything else for that matter. All of which is only a small, small portion of writing. But sometimes, it’s an important one.

Yes, it’s awesome that I have finished something.

Yes, it is awesome to see it floating out there in the world.

Yes, it is awesome that I can honestly say that I’ve done, more or less, what I’ve set out to do.

But it’s also heartbreaking to know that I can’t claim it as mine. And it makes me want to ask, “Why do you guys need a GHOSTWRITER? Why can’t you just  hire me and I can be your author?”

Wouldn’t that make more sense? Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Ah, but there are logistic issues with that. I’m a ghostwriter – not a writer-writer – because I need the money up front. You (meaning: client) are hiring a ghostwriter so that you do not have to pay royalties and can set up a fast write and release scheme that will (hopefully) earn you more money and your author more followers.

So are we saying that in the end my life’s dream is all tied up in money?

Yeah, pretty much.

It’s a sad, pathetic thing, but if you’re hoping to be an author and make money, you’re probably dreaming. You can be an editor and make money. You can be a publisher and make money. But you can’t be an *author* and make money.

If you’re looking to do that, you’re probably going to do it my way. Ghostwriting. Yes, there are those out there who have made it big. Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, etc. etc. But they are the exceptions, not the rule. And do you know how many times Rowling was turned down before she was picked up by a publisher? Some ridiculous number. I think it was around 10 or so times. And do you know what she was doing while they were turning her down? Probably starving, or close to it. Because you make money for working and if writing is your work, then you’re probably not making a lot of money.

It’s the sad truth, folks, but few and far between are wealthy – or even breaking even – as authors.

My recommendation? Make sure that your significant other can and is willing to support you as you endeavor to reach your dreams of writing. Because you’re probably not going to make it without a little help.

Sorry guys. I really didn’t mean to be so bleak about all of this, but I can’t help feeling sometimes that I’m just being drug through the mud so that someone else looks spotless holding my trophy. (Exaggerated, but feelings so often are.)

All of this started because I went and looked at my most recent project to see if it had been published yet. (It has this month.) I saw how pretty the cover was and I felt utterly depressed to see the name of the author on it.

I’ll have to remember for next time that I cannot be trusted to look up my own work.

Ultimately, I’d like to say that I understand this is part of my job. I know what I’m getting into and I signed up for it, but sometimes it’s hard to remember why I do this. (Then I’m broke like I am this month and I TOTALLY remember again. It’s nice to have money.)

What do you guys think? Do you think ghostwriting is maybe a little unethical – or totally valid and okay so long as the client pays the ghostwriter accordingly? Do you have any personal experience with ghostwriting or these feelings? Am I just being moody (probably; sometimes my hormones just like to have a little party)?

Let me know in the comments below!

sincerely3

E.C. Orr