Review: Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold

I received an ARC of this from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.

5 stars
Absolutely fantastic!

Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold was a beautiful and important book. And written in a way where you go “holy sh*t” right as you finish it. It is, in my opinion a metaphor for rape culture and victim blaming. But written in the guise of a modern day Red Riding Hood story. This is a story of the ingrained power of the feminine. And regaining power as a female.

There are a couple of triggers in this book.
1. Mentions of Rape/abuse.

2. Victim blaming. (Not from the POV of the author.)

3. Mention of abortion (this does trigger some people so I wanted to include it here.)

#AMMConnect Round 7

Ok so I’m doing this post a bit late, but I still have time! This is my #AMMConnect post.

My name is Kala Godin. I am a physically disabled woman and writer living in Alberta, Canada. A year ago I self-published a poetry collection. And I’ve been writing with the intention to be published since graduating high school, which was about 5 years ago. 

Since then I’ve had a couple of writing jobs, mostly writing for websites as blogs or columns. Most recently I wrote about my physical disability at SMA News Today, I was with them for a year.

Along with poetry, I also write fantasy, horror, and paranormal in both the Young Adult and Adult age genres. Because of my poetry background, I like to write lyrical descriptions. 

My project for round 7 of Author Mentor Match is a YA dark fantasy. The basic concept is what happens when modern teenagers looking to get away from the world, try to become gods instead. What an obsession with power does to a person’s morals. And what that amount of power does to someone’s personality. I like to play with the idea of what a monster is and what it isn’t.

I think I’d be a great mentee simply for the fact that I’m willing to put in the work. Yes, I’ve self-published before, but my intention was always to be traditionally published. A great writing career isn’t a book that is hyped up and then the author disappears. I want a consistent writing career. I want to publish books and have a consistent readership. Ultimately everybody thinks that they want the hype of Twilight or Harry Potter. But those didn’t end up being consistent careers. That’s not what I want.
I take criticism well, and I tend to be better with blunt criticism rather than sugar coating. I like to get right down to what the problem is. Of course I like to hear what I’ve done well. But if I can make it better, that’s what I want to do. 

The only thing is that I tend to work slowly, but that is due to the physical disability.

I have a couple of pinterest boards for some of my characters.

Asteria 

Kai 

Loki 

And a general aesthetic.

I hope you browse through the boards and get a sense of who my characters are.

Here’s the link to the original #AMMConnect post. 

Review: The Last Confession of Autumn Casterly

I received an ARC of The Last Confession of Autumn Casterly by Meredith Tate from Penguin Teen Canada in exchange for my honest review.

I’m rating this as a 3.5 stars.

It was a good read, with a very interesting concept.

But there was quite a bit that I didn’t necessarily enjoy about it. There were a couple of parts that I think could have actually been taken out. I understand that suspense novels have dead ends sometimes. But there was a lot of instances in the book where we were leading up to something that would be a dead end. Some  didn’t even make sense. I think if we would have taken at least one of these out it would have helped the pacing of the book.

Also I wasn’t sure that the plot twist at the end made much sense. It felt weird and detached from the rest of the story and it the characters.

However it was easy to read and I like the speculative twist that was the main part of the story. It was a fun read! 

October Update

Hello, I hope everyone is having a good fall! Or whatever other weather you are having! I haven’t given a proper update in a long time. For one it’s hard to update you on writing. That’s because it can be hard to see progress until a project is complete. What I can tell you is that I have completed my first readthrough of my manuscript. And I’ve started my first round of plot edits. 

In october I had my first book signing. It made me nervous but was a great experience.

Since my last update I up-ed my reading goal to 40 instead of 30. So far I have read 36 books for the year. Nearly there!

In the House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt: 1 star

DNF… I buddy read this one with my mom. It was terrible. The writing style seemed similar to Emma Donoghue’s in Kissing the Witch. Which is a style that I tend to like. It sounds poetic and seems to flow well. But in this story it didn’t work. We often didn’t know what was happening. 

Aphrodite Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer: 4 stars

Received an e-arc from Netgalley. I loved it a lot. Almost all of the poems were relatable in some way or another. I read them all, and I never found myself wanting to skip one. The art inside is also beautiful. Ultimately I think it’s a really well-done poetry collection. 

Year One, and Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts: 4 stars

It’s pretty rare that I will pick up a book by Nora Roberts, because I tend to think that she writes only romance or mysteries. I actually picked up this series because of the controversy that happens between her and Tomi Adeyemi, the author of Children of Blood and Bone. I wanted to see what the fuss was about on Tomi’s end. Quite honestly I found the whole debacle hilarious, as the books are not similar at all. Anyway yes, these books definitely do have romance in them. But that’s not the main point. Originally I thought this was a duology, but then I found out that the third one should be out around December. This is a great series. 

The Weight of a Soul By Tammy Elizabeth: 1 star

DNF… Received an e-arc from Netgalley. I stopped reading the book at 20%. I just didn’t gel with it. I found that there was a lot of info dumping right at the beginning, that didn’t really need to be there. 

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix: 3.5 stars. 

I buddy read this one as well with my mom. It was good, though the first third was slow. But it was necessary to the rest of the book. If you have a weak stomach though, maybe check out some spoiler reviews to prepare yourself.

Betty Bites Back: Stories to Scare the Patriarchy edited by Mindy McGinnis, Demitria Lunetta, Kate Karyus Quinn: 3 stars

 I received an e-arc of this from netgalley. The beginning of it was interesting enough, but then around 60% through the book I noticed that I didn’t enjoy the stories as often. To the point that there was a number of them that I skipped. It’s an interesting premise to write an anthology about, and some of the stories were executed well. However I don’t think all of them necessarily lived up to it. In my opinion, only about half of them interested me.

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey: 5 stars

SO GOOD! Review done.

Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao: 3 stars

Physical arc from Penguin Teen Canada. Full review here. http://www.kalagodin.com/2019/09/17/review-song-of-the-crimson-flower-by-julie-c-dao/

Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall: 5 stars

Physical arc from Penguin Teen Canada. Full review here. http://www.kalagodin.com/2019/09/30/review-rules-for-vanishing-by-kate-alice-marshall/

Wilder Girls by Rory Power: 5 stars

This was weird and so good! And kinda gross, but still really good. I don’t really get why people are saying that it’s like Lord of the Flies… 

Currently reading: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia 

Well that’s pretty much all I have to update you with. 
Happy reading and writing!

Review: Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall

 I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
5 Stars

I like scary books. Scarier, the better. 

And Rules for Vanishing was perfectly freaky. It’s format is written to mimic The Blair Witch Project.  But it manages to take that concept to another level entirely. 

Holy hell this book was incredible and spooky. Kate manages to genuinely freak you out for a very large portion of this book. And the plot twists… omg!

*chefs kiss*

The writing style and the format of this book was phenomenal.

Review: Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao

First, I would like to thank Penguin Teen Canada for providing me a physical ARC of this. I am honored to have received a copy!

Review: 

3 stars

This review doesn’t contain spoilers.

From what I understand this is a companion novel from one of her other series. I have never read anything else by her. And I can happily say that you don’t need to in order to understand this book.

What I loved most about the book was actually the setting, history, and politics. And I don’t like politics, so that’s saying a lot. 

Julie did a really wonderful job of putting you right into the world. Showing you where they live, and how. The setting was very beautiful; in just a couple of lines you can tell exactly what the characters are seeing.

However I was not highly invested in the main story between the main characters. There was a lot of side characters though that I would have liked to know more about. The main story is very soft. Starting softly and ending so as well. The stakes don’t seem very high, and even when they do, I didn’t feel that there was enough emotional build up to feel strongly about what was happening. 

I also felt that a lot of the timing of certain point reveals was quite a bit off. One character served only to confirm the plot points that were already known by the characters. To the point where you can actually tell when we would be interacting with that character. It was almost always a chapter after a big reveal, only for them to confirm what we already knew. 

If you like books that don’t necessarily have a lot of emotional turmoil, this would be perfect. I find that this book would be a good palate cleanser. Or if you like books that don’t have super high stakes, then I would definitely recommend this. 

An Announcement!

Hi everyone, I’m excited to announce some really cool news! On August 23rd, from 11am to 3 p.m, I will be doing a book signing at the Chapters location in Red Deer, Alberta. Copies of my poetry collection Witchcraft and Monsters will be available for purchase at that book signing.
Come on over to say hi, ask me any writing related questions, and maybe pick up your next read!
I hope to see there!

Review

Review of Aphrodite Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer

I received an ARC copy on netgalley of this poetry collection, in exchange for my honest review.

“To sing of love is almost always to sing of war.”

I’ve followed Trista’s journey as a poet for a very long time. All the way back before her collection Honey Bee, when she was still only on Tumblr.

From there her poetry has grown, while never losing touch with who she is. And always having a consistent voice.

Now typically with poetry collections, I tend to skip a poem here and there. As they just don’t click with me. However with Trista’s poetry, I can find something to connect with in each poem. Whether it’s the whole poem, or simply just a phrase.

Her writing always manages to spark emotion. I will be giving this collection a 4.5 star.

“She says, “I thought you weren’t looking for love.”

I say, “That doesn’t mean I’m not hoping it will find me.”

A reading update, because I don’t have a writing one.

So far this year I’ve read 25 books is here. My Goodreads goal was 30, so it’s looking like I’m going to have to up that pretty soon.

I’m going to give you a reading update, instead of a writing update, because I don’t have one of those yet. I’m hoping to have one by September. During August I’m going to try to edit my manuscript into something that’s ready to query.

So since I talked to you last I’ve read about three to four books.

The Strange the Dreamer duology by Laini Taylor. (both books are undoubtedly five stars)

This series was one hell of a wild ride. It was beautiful and immersive, filled with so much detail. Because of its size, it’s a little intimidating to start. But once I finished the first book I knew immediately I had to pick up the second one. Thank God I had both.

Laini Taylor is seriously a master at what she does. There was multiple times that I couldn’t actually decide what genre it was. And that didn’t bother me, in fact I actually enjoyed it more because each page was a surprise.

I attempted Women Talking by Miriam Toews

(No stars)

This was rough. I was buddy reading this book with my mom, and if she wasn’t reading it out loud, I wouldn’t have even made it as far as we did before we DNF-ed it. We only made it 20 pages in. And it’s not a very long book. But quite frankly, it was boring.

I wanted a story about what happened to the women during the process of it happening. Instead you’re thrown into a story of a back-and-forth debate about what happened afterwards. I don’t think the synopsis gives a good interpretation of this. As I didn’t realize what we were getting into.

And the rerelease of The Near Witch by V.E Schwab.

(Also 5 stars)

I found out about this book before it was re-released, but after it was out of print. I always wondered what the first book was. And was a little bit sad that it didn’t make it very long. I can only imagine how happy she was when she found out that it was being re-released. Because I’m such a fan of her writing, I just about cried when I opened the first page. I’m ecstatic that this book is out again, when the market is more ready for it. When readers are ready for it. It’s a soft story with sharp teeth. And like everything I’ve read by this author, it’s phenomenal.

I’ve currently started Year One by Nora Roberts and The House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt.

…Hopefully I’ll have an update soon!

Mid-year Book Freakout Tag

All right, prepare yourselves because I’m jumping on this train too! Here’s my Mid year book freakout tag. I have no clue who originally started this tag, but I’ve seen it around a lot recently.

Here we go.

1. HOW MUCH HAVE YOU READ?

I’ve read 22 books so far this year!

2. WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN READING?

Three were 5 stars. Six were 4 stars. Five were 3 stars. Two were 2 stars And one was 1 star. 5 were no stars because I ended up dnf-ing them. Out of the dnf-ed books, I will retry only one of them.

4. BEST SEQUEL YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2019

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. Which as of right now (July 16th) I’m only 390 pages into but I can already tell it’s the best sequel that I have ever read.

5. NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET, BUT WANT TO

Wilder Girls by Rory Powers just got released, but I need it in my hands RIGHT NOW!!

6. MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab, Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw, and Sea Witch Rising by Sarah Henning

7. BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Ohhh man I don’t like this question… Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, I didn’t even include this on my list as read because I didn’t click with the writing on the first 2 pages. And 180 Seconds by Jessica Park.

8. BIGGEST SURPRISE

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. There is so much hype still surrounding this book, and sometimes that can be hard. I’ve read plenty of books that were hyped and I didn’t like them. This book is also huge, so it’s a little intimidating. But I absolutely fell in love with it.

9. NEW FAVOURITE AUTHOR (DEBUT OR NEW TO YOU)

Laini Taylor

10. UNDERRATED GEMS YOU’VE DISCOVERED RECENTLY

Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw, it’s a nonfiction book written about Shane’s life with Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 2. I also have SMA type 2 and I related to it.

11. REREADS THIS YEAR

None, I very rarely reread.

12. BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

None so far. Though Muse of Nightmares has brought me very close.

13. BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

14. MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE BOUGHT SO FAR THIS YEAR (OR RECEIVED)

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab, The white jardcover re-release! Under the dust jacket is a wonderful foiled surprise.

15. GOALS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR

Read as much as humanly possible!