Tuesday, May 16, 2017

We Are Moving!

It has been a long time coming and the site is 100% done yet, but it will be live this week. I've decided to make the shift to a full website and expand on the content I have been delivering. I'll still be doing book reviews and guest posts but I want to branch out, provide more valuable content, and hopefully make more connections.

This decision was not easy but in the end, I felt it best. There are simply more options available on a WordPress site, least of all, monetization. I promise not to overdo the ads but I also am hoping to offer some awesome products and, down the line, courses for authors.

UPDATE: The site is live and bringing you MORE great book reviews, guest author posts, and more! Please join me at - BooksByViolet

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom who's always there for me!

Whether she's helping me fit my siblings for their paper costumes....

Conducting a science experiment with my daughter....

Entertaining my son while we wait for our table at a restaurant...

Or cheesing it up with me at a football game (Go Irish!)....

My Mom is always there. Here's to you, Mom, on Mother's Day. I hope you're having a fantastic day, we love you!!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Book Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Gah! I loved American Gods! I curse myself for not reading it sooner!

The mythology alone was enough to keep me engaged. I mean, seriously? The physical embodiment of gods trekking around America? Freaking fabulous! Add in beautiful prose and memorable characters and it's easy to lose yourself in Gaiman's world.

Following Shadow on his journey across, and even behind the scenes of, America is one of my favorite adventures ever. Aside from the changing landscape, there's a familiarity to so many places given that I've travelled America enough in reality to relate to many of the scenes. I grew up devouring so many of these legends that it felt like a walk down memory lane - the pleasant kind.

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The Verdict on American Gods

If you haven't read this yet, read it now. Especially since Starz has brought the story to the small screen and the cast looks amazing!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Book Review: Borne by Jeff Vandermeer

I enjoyed The Southern Reach Trilogy (3 Book Series) but I loved Borne: A Novel.

From page one, I had to know more about this world. Beautiful descriptions of a traumatized world and the intricacies of relationships in the aftermath of the apocalypse make for a glorious journey, one I intend to repeat. This is one of those books that you can read over again and again and take away something different every time. My favorite kind of book!

At times, it's tough to sympathize with any of the characters, but that's part of the beauty of Borne, it makes you consider what you'd be willing to do, how far you'd be willing to go.

The Verdict on Borne

Read it. Don't wait. Put aside everything else on your TBR list and move on to Borne. It's fantastically, heartbreakingly beautiful.

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Trouble With Teen Fiction....

There has been a lot of discussion about adults reading teen fiction. I admit that I'm not impressed by adults who only read teen fiction, especially if they only read one sub-genre in teen fiction. Sure, it's fun and easy to set aside in our busy lives but I would argue that this trend is negatively impacting teen books.

My daughter recently authored a candid letter to teen lit authors and it made me think about the direction the genre has taken. I can't help but agree with my kid.

Have you ever read adult reviews of teen books? I have. Many of them. It saddens me that adults have had such an impact on the teen lit world because of these reviews that fail to consider the teen perspective on life, the very people the books are meant for.

Complaints about boring love stories have led to the advent of hypersexualized relationships and unrealistic love triangles to say nothing for themes of the "change to snag your man" variety. Are these really constructs we want to normalize?

Stalking Jack the Ripper, a favorite of my daughter's but it was slammed by adults for being too feminist. Is that really a bad thing when it comes to teens, in today's world? And, that's your complaint? Really? As a mother of a tween daughter, I'd rather have that point driven home. We need to empower our young women and as authors we are in unique positions to do that. Settling for nuances may fly in adult literature, but, it's a little different in the teen world.

The message I'm seeing on these teen book reviews is more sex, less feminism. Go now, take a look at these reviews and who is doing the reviewing.

No wonder my daughter is so frustrated, no wonder kids have these ridiculous ideas about love and adulthood. It's what they read and then what is translated to tv and film for them. It's what they are told life is like, ideals based on the dreamworlds of adults who are driving the changes in teen lit.

Incidentally, I let my daughter join Goodreads so she could balance out the adult reviews on teen lit. We are working with her friends and their families to grow our initiative. Hopefully, it takes off and teens can reclaim their genre.

So what can you do? How can we change this? Next time you read a book meant for teens and decide to review it, think before you write. Consider who the story is meant for and if it hits the mark for that demographic. Think about your children, your nieces and nephews, or any other teen you know and consider what affect the book would have on them. Would it teach them something? Are the characters cardboard cutouts or realistic in the modern world?

If you're looking for more, more sex or depth or development, maybe consider some adult books instead and leave the teen books to the teens.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Book Review: The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim by Shane Peacock

I stumbled upon The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim as a recommendation because of some other books I've read with my daughter. We both thought it sounded awesome so we gave it a go. Autumn finished first and you can find her review her awesome review here.

The book starts out strong, with an excellent premise about a kid who can literally immerse himself in a story and consequently is plagued by terrible nightmares of monsters he's heard about or read about. It's a rather brilliant concept and the execution was passible. There could have been a little more character development and it felt choppy at times. Still, it only took me a few hours to finish it and I wasn't disappointed.

The Verdict on The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim

We will definitely be seeking out the sequel. This book paid homage to classic horror tales and despite a fair lack of character development, offers stunning descriptions and a unique take on teen horror/fantasy.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Book Review: Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser

Another of my anticipated releases, Almost Missed You almost missed the mark.

A novel about love and loss and missed connections, Almost Missed You follows the lives of Violet, Finn through their eyes and the eyes of a close friend, Caitlyn, whose own marriage is rife with secrets. Though they seem to be happily married, Violet is floored when Finn disappears with their young son.

I almost didn't read past the first chapter. The writing style did not appeal to me at all. I actually found it quite boring and ended up skimming large portions because I couldn't stand the narration. Honestly, if the book had been longer, I probably would not have finished it.

The story was decent. Some parts struck chords with my own failed marriage but not enough to make any of the characters relatable. I think I liked the kids the most - Bear, Leo, and Gus - because they reminded me of my own kids and their absolute cuteness sprang off the page like a jack in the box.

The Verdict

I don't know. It was alright. I mean, I read it and it left me feeling nothing special other than perhaps a touch annoyed. Then again, as much as I try, I simply cannot get into these types of books. I'm sure fans of these romance-centric, broken-heart novels will love it.

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