Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Books I've Loved: Monday's Not Coming

I loved this book.  It was one of those stories I picked up to read a few chapters in the morning, and didn't put down until I had read the whole thing. It's about friendship and loyalty and deception and delusion and unfolds so delicately that the ending is a complete surprise.

Claudia and Monday have been best friends forever, so when Monday doesn't show up on the first day of school, Claudia is concerned.  As the days pass, with no sign of Monday, she becomes increasingly worried.  Especially since she can't seem to get her on the phone either.

Claudia has always depended on Monday, to champion her, to help with her schoolwork, and to run off the bullies who moment her.  Yet she remains gone.  And Claudia's mother doesn't seem as concerned about it as she should be, considering Monday practically lived in Claudia's room for years.

And April, Monday's sister, isn't any help either.

As Claudia searches for answers to her friend's disappearance, it becomes clear that no one can really remember when they last saw Monday.  Or where.  It's like she's vanished through a crack in the space-time continuum and left no trace behind her.

This book was real and raw and compelling.  The MC is flawed and has her own, real issues and problems to suffer through.  Her parents are protective and struggling with their own problems.  They are hard-working people who want the best for their daughter.  They stay in touch with their roots even as they forge their way to a better life and social class.

The ending was devastating, but I won't go into that here lest I ruin the book for you.  Just know that it's a complete surprise without feeling like it has come out of nowhere.  Once it has been revealed, the clues are all there through the rest of the story.  I'm almost tempted to re-read, just so I can enjoy those moments.

Highly recommended!

But you don't have to trust me.  Here's the blurb:

Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.

As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Weekly Goals 28-1-19

I'm at the weird stage of book promotion where there isn't a whole lot more I can do until the book is actually available.  But it feels wrong to stop trying to find new places to approach or things to try.

But I think I will try to take a few days off from promotion to dive back into the revision I was doing before I went on holiday.  There is still work to be done there, so I'm going to try and revise a few chapters this week to keep my mind off the impending release of The Sidewalk's Regrets.

And I'll probably do some more obsessive searching for new and different ways to promote the book and get more reviews...

What are your goals this week?

Friday, January 25, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 25-1-19

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?

Despite being a short week after the long weekend, it was a busy one so I'm celebrating the weekend.

I have sent out review requests to about 400 bloggers now and replies (mostly no) are still trickling in.  I'm hoping to get a few more yeses this week, and will send out a more requests over the weekend.

Only a week to go before release...

I know it's boring, but that's really about all I have to celebrate this week.  It's been one of those weeks where all I've done is work and do promo emails.

Fingers crossed next week will be more exciting.

What are you celebrating this week?

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?