Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Books I've Read: The Love Interest

This was one of those really frustrating books which had a fantastic premise, but was let down somewhat by some not-great writing and numerous flaws in logic.

Set in an unspecified future, people of great promise are identified young.  To ensure their secrets are shared with 'the powers that be', these promising young people are paired up young with a carefully selected Love Interest who will spy on them for the rest of their lives.

Becoming a love interest is competitive and boys are groomed from a young age in compounds until they are deemed ready to be sent on assignment.  Divided into bad-boys and 'nieces', each target is sent two love interests, one bad and one good.  The pair then vie for the girl's attention until she picks one over the other.

In a twist though, the unsuccessful Love Interest doesn't get returned the pool and sent out to try and woo another unsuspecting woman, they are killed.

The MC in this story is Caden, a 'nice'.  He is paired with bad-boy Dylan to woo Juliet, a budding young scientist who is developing dangerous weapons in her home-laboratory.  Armed with the best training possible, the two young men are sent out into a world they have never experienced to make Juliet fall in love.

What they didn't expect was the bond that forms between them two of them, something that complicates the fight to the death.

There was so much I enjoyed about this book, especially the subversion of the love-triangle trope, the awkward, unrealistic dialogue from the Love Interests who had never experienced life outside the compound, and the whole idea of manufacturing happily-ever-after love amongst teenagers.

Unfortunately the book was let down by some flat, un-interesting characters and some pretty glaring holes in the story's logic.  Some of the writing wasn't top-notch either, but I'm not 100% that wasn't on purpose to illustrate how out of step with the real world both Caden and Dylan really are.

And let's not even talk about the ending...

So while this is a reasonably enjoyable read, I didn't love it.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

A thrilling YA debut about teen spies disguised as "love interests"--whoever gets the girl lives; but the one she rejects, dies.

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection.
Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome.

The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be - whoever the girl doesn't choose will die.

What the boys don't expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

From debut author Cale Dietrich comes a fast-paced adventure that is full of both action and romance and subverts common tropes.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Weekly Goals 21-1-19

With only 10 days before my new book is out, this week is still about publicity.  I have reached out to close to 500 reviewers and have sent out about 15 ARCs to the ones who have responded positively.  Hopefully I'll hear back from a few more over the next couple of days.

Now it's time to try some other routes to try and get the word out.

And the kids come back today, so my already stretched time will get just a little more stretched.  Luckily they don't have to go back to school for another 10 days, so I don't have to get them up and ready for that any time soon.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, January 18, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 18-1-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

What am I celebrating this week?

I made it through my first week back at work for the new year relatively unscathed.  And like some kind of reward, Monday is a public holiday, so next week will be shorter.

On Tuesday I had the opportunity to see one of my all time favourite singer/songwriters perform a very different kind of show.  Nick Cave, whose music I have loved since I was a young teenager, came and did an 'in conversation' here.  Which meant he sang a few songs, just him and a piano, and answered questions from the audience.  Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but I was pleasantly surprised at how few stupid or non-question questions were asked.

The kids are away until Monday, so my partner and I have been taking advantage of their absence and  have been going out on our own.  On Thursday night there was live music at the Botanic Gardens and we took a picnic dinner and went to that, and tonight I think we may go to a movie.


What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Books I've Read: Only A Breath Apart

While I enjoyed this book on some levels, there wasn't really anything particularly unique or different about it. The characters felt a little flat and in some cases cartoonish in their broad-stroke execution (except for the psychic, Glory) and the plot followed a predictable path. I never really believed in Jesse's curse or the attachment he had to the land he was so desperate to own, despite the number of times he stated the connection.

And Scarlett's situation didn't ring true to me either.  If her father really was as controlling as he seemed to be, I don't believe she would risk breaking his rules so often.  Sure, that kind of control can stifle, but if being caught results in violence against the people you care about, I don't believe that's something she would risk.

And finally, if Scarlett really does have even a glimmer of psychic ability, wouldn't she be able to predict when breaking the rules is a bad idea and choose not to?  Even if she wasn't entirely aware why she felt that way, a gut feeling, or a little voice in her head might alert her to the fact doing what she is doing will not end well for her.

And don't even get me started on romances that begin as intense childhood friendships.  I know they do happen, but in most cases, as people grow up, they change.  Their interests and ideas diverge and a friendship that once felt inseparable, just drifts apart as people find new friends who better fit the person they have become. 

It was not a difficult read, and certainly filled a long ferry ride adequately, but it doesn't make the top of my list of favorite romances. Thanks to Net Galley for the chance to read in advance.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

Jesse Lachlin is cursed.

So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.

Scarlett Copeland is psychic.

Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Weekly Goals 14-1-19

I'm back from the beach!

We had perfect weather the entire time we were away and I swam in the sea every day.  It was surprisingly warm for this time of year, as was the weather which got above 34 degrees a couple of times - almost too hot!

But like all good things, the holidays must come to an end, and now it's time to get back to work.

While I was away I received ARCs of The Sidewalk's Regrets so the next couple of weeks is all about  sending out review copies in the hope of getting some reviews on or around the release date (1 February).  So if you are interested in reviewing, just let me know!  I made a start on sending requests to reviewers before I left for holiday, and have had a few responses so far, but need to do much, much more.

Which of course means that writing and editing is on the back burner until at least mid-February because the time I would have spent writing will be taken up doing marketing and publicity.  But it's important, so I will do it, and then get back to my pre-holiday projects again.

What are your goals this week?

Wednesday, January 2, 2019


And...  I'm on holiday.

Heading to the sunny (hopefully) beach house where we only get internet if we walk down to the campsite near the sea, or go into town.

So I will not be blogging until I get back.

Until then, be good to each other.  Have a very happy New Year and may 2019 be the year all your dreams come true.

And here you go.  My annual photograph of the beautiful place we go on holiday...

Monday, December 31, 2018

Yearly Goals

Each year I write myself a letter outlining my goals for the year ahead.  Then sometime around the middle and at the end, I check in to see how I'm doing on achieving those goals.  So here we go for 2019.

Dear Me,

2018 was a crazy year and while I somehow managed to achieve most of what I set out to do, it feels like it was more by accident than by design.  So my first goal for 2019 is to plan ahead more.  Think about what might be coming up before committing to things and set aside time for the things I really want to do.

I have a book releasing on 1 February and I really want it to sell better than the last one.  So my first goal for the year is to figure out the best way to market this new book, and the other ones, to generate sales.  The subject matter for this one is less controversial than in Stumped, so hopefully that will help with sales, but getting reviews and getting them in the right places is crucial.

I would like to publish another book in 2019.  I have three that are very close to being ready to go, so I will endeavor to get at least one of these polished and ready to go out into the world.  And send it out.  If I'm lucky, I may even have all three ready to go out at some point during the year.

I also have three or four manuscripts in various stages of completion that I would like to go back to and finish.  I'm not sure any of them are actually much good, but going back and re-reading them will let me know if there is anything worth salvaging in any of them.  And if there is, I will work to finish any of these I feel are worth the effort.

At the moment I don't have any burning ideas for a new book, which is probably a good thing considering how many unfinished projects I have lying around.  But should something come up during the year, I will jump on that idea before it squirrels away again.  And I will write the hell out of that idea.

I was pretty good with my exercising in 2018, so I want to keep that up.  And my weekday intermittent fasting too.  I even plan to buy some scales in the new year so I can keep track of my weight, rather than relying on how my clothes fit to tell me if I've gained or lost weight.  The goal is to lose at least 5kg by Easter.

And my final goal is to read more.  I'm not going to get my Goodreads reading goal in 2018, which tells me I'm not reading enough.  So I need to get on top of that.

What are your goals for 2019?