Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Books I've Read: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies

I picked this one because of the title.  And because I've been intrigued by the title ever since I first heard it last year.  Unfortunately, the book doesn't really live up to the title.

Aspen is part of a family who must perform regular rituals to keep the cliff towering over the family's hometown from crumbling and falling.  The ritual involves reaching into people and taking something away without their knowledge and offering it to the cliff.  In this way, the family have kept  the cliff upright, and the village safe for centuries.

But when you have the ability to take things from people, the temptation must always be there to do it at other times too.  To help them, or to help yourself.  Even when the cliff doesn't need repairing.

And this is where the book started making me uncomfortable.  Aspen has had a crush on a girl for a long time, but she's in love with his best friend, Theo.  All it takes is a little digging and Aspen finds the part of her that loves Theo and removes it.  Boom.  Break-up.

And it keeps happening.  Aspen is so insecure in his newfound relationship he keeps removing things from the poor girl to keep her focused on him.

So when Aspen makes some discoveries about his own past and the way his father has used his abilities on Aspen, I didn't really feel much sympathy for him.  Taking these person thoughts, ideas or even sobriety from people without their knowledge is creepy.  And that there are consequences is invitable.

So while I loved the title and the basic premise behind the novel, I can't say I recommend it entirely.  The ability this family has makes me uncomfortable on a moral level and the complete lack of recognition they seem to have of how insidiously creepy their actions are made this fall flat for me.

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

Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow in this paranormal suspense novel about a boy who can reach inside people and steal their innermost things—fears, memories, scars, even love—and his family’s secret ritual that for centuries has kept the cliff above their small town from collapsing.

Aspen Quick has never really worried about how he’s affecting people when he steals from them. But this summer he’ll discover just how strong the Quick family magic is—and how far they’ll go to keep their secrets safe.

With a smart, arrogant protagonist, a sinister family tradition, and an ending you won’t see coming, this is a fast-paced, twisty story about power, addiction, and deciding what kind of person you want to be, in a family that has the ability to control everything you are.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Weekly Goals 18-9-17

I didn't get as much revising done last week as I had hoped to.  Too many other things to do...  But I'm 20 chapters in, so I'm not feeling too bad about it.  Almost halfway!

But this week I need to turn my attention to something else.  Hopefully it won't take more than a couple of days, and then I can get back to what I was working on.  I'd like to get through another five chapters this week, if I can.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 15-9-17

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

So what am I celebrating this week?

It's Friday!  It's been another long week and I'm looking forward to the weekend.  Not that it looks like it will be a very restful weekend, but hopefully there will be moments.

My book is now for sale at my favorite bookshop, which is very exciting.  And hopefully it will be in circulation at the library very soon too.  

It's my son's 13th birthday today.  I can't believe I have a teenager...

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Books I've Read: Ultimatum

I'm going to be honest, I didn't love this one.  I thought it was going to be much more exciting than it actually was.  And the cover is terribly misleading...

The book takes place over a couple of days as Oscar and Vance watch their father die in a hospice.  Vance's sections also feature a series of flashbacks showing his life in the months leading up to this point and the relationship - or lack of - between he and Oscar.

I was frustrated by both brothers as characters.  Yes, they were very different and struggled to find common ground on which to base a relationship, but that's not uncommon.  Just because you're related doesn't mean you are alike in any way.  But when you've lost your mother, and have to deal with an alcoholic father, you'd think there might be some level of camraderie or support for one another.

Nope.  Not in this book.

Which was its real failure, because without even that little bit of humanity, the ending rang false.

This is one of those really frustrating books which felt like it had the potential to be something amazing.  Something powerful and hard-hitting that would offer an emotional kick to be felt for months afterward.  

But it didn't.  And I was disappointed by it.

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

It’s not Oscar’s fault that he’s misunderstood. Ever since his mother died, he’s been disrespected by his father and bullied by his self-absorbed older brother, so he withdraws from his fractured family, seeking refuge in his art.

Vance wishes his younger brother would just loosen up and be cool. It was hard enough to deal with their mother’s death without Oscar getting all emotional. At least when Vance pushes himself in lacrosse and parties he feels alive.

But when their father’s alcoholism sends him into liver failure, the two boys must come face-to-face with their demons—and each other—if they are going to survive a very uncertain future.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Weekly Goals 11-9-17

I had a pretty good writing week last week and am now 16 chapters into my revision.  This week, my goal is to keep going, and hopefully get through another eight or so.

I didn't do any writing over the weekend because I was busy with my friend, but I don't regret it.  We had a good time and it was amazing to catch up properly after all these years of not speaking face-to-face.

At work, my goal this week is to get through all those little jobs I've been putting off because I never have time for them.  I'm hoping this week I will have time...  It's probably a vain hope, but I'm determined to try.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, September 8, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 8-9-17

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

So what am I celebrating this week?

I got a box of print copies of my book in the mail.  I've been a published author for some time now, but it wasn't until I actually held a physical copy in my hand that it felt real.  Now to try and sell a few of those puppies!

One of my best friends from when I was twelve is staying with me for the weekend.  We've stayed in touch for over 30 years, despite living on opposite sides of the world for most of that time.  I haven't seen her since the last time I visited the States, way back in 1998!  So I'm looking forward to a weekend of catching up, and getting a chance to finally show her around my city.

What are you celebrating this week?