Review: Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno

I received an ARC copy of this book from Harper Teen Canada in exchange for my honest opinion.

5/5 stars

This book was incredible! I was hoping to enjoy this book when I requested it but I know that I don’t typically like contemporary. Rules for Being a Girl was a really wonderful surprise. The premise is important and hard hitting; I never stopped rooting for the main character.

Feminism is really important in our society. It can be written really well, or sometimes it isn’t handled well at all. Sometimes it’s preachy, catty, or non-inclusive.

Do remember being a kid? One time someone fed you vegetables, and suddenly it tasted really good, and you realized that it was prepared right? That’s the best way I can explain this book. Feminism, prepared just right.

The writing was easy to read and flowed well. You couldn’t even tell that it was two different authors.

I would recommend this book to everyone.

March 2020 writing update

I’m really terrible at giving writing updates, wow. And considering this website is supposed to be an author website, I guess I should give you updates on author related things.
So in February I applied for Author Mentor Match which I have linked so you can see what it’s like if you want.
Long story short, I didn’t get in. But what it did allow me to do was have a deadline to finally finish my book, write the synopsis, and write a query letter. Pretty much everything that you need to submit to an agent.
In my opinion, it wasn’t a total bust. It makes you prepare for what the next process is going to be. And then it also gives you a taste of what the waiting is like. Agents don’t get a hold of you right away. In fact sometimes it’s four to six months that you could wait to hear back. Most of the time you don’t get a response at all if it’s a rejection. You look at each agents guidelines and see how long it could be that you could wait for a response. If it’s six months, and you waited seven or eight months, chances are that’s a rejection. And unless you actually have another agent wanting to give you representation, that’s the only time that you contact other agents back. Otherwise you can’t contact them and ask if they received your submission. Or what their answer is, because they are too busy.
It’s a pain in the butt, but understandable.
So what did I do? I adjusted my query letter to be able to submit to agents, and that’s what I’m doing right now. Submitting to six or seven agents at a time and well, waiting for feedback or rejections, or until it’s passed their response time.
Or you know, waiting for somebody asking to read more of my manuscript. That’s always a goal.
While that’s happening I actually have three other projects on the go. Which isn’t something I used to do. I didn’t like working on more than one project at a time. But if writer’s block hits, it’s more productive to start working on something else then not working on anything at all.
I can’t really tell you much about either project, I can tell you that one is a poetry collection. Another is an adult paranormal romance that is a crossover into horror. The final, the one with the least amount of work done to it, is a young adult book that will feature a physically disabled main character that should be in the vein of The Magicians or Ninth house. That one will be an #OwnVoices novel.
Other than that I also attended an online writers conference called WriteOnCon, it was amazing and well worth the money. And actually incredibly cheap. I ended up getting the more expensive ticket, it was like $30. Worth it in my opinion. You also have a really long time to access the videos and blogs.
That’s all I have in the way of an update. You should hear from me in a couple of weeks about another book review.

Have a good day!

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: 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. 

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!