Book Review: Dial Meow for Murder

A while back I reviewed Death by Chocolate Lab. Dial Meow for Murder is the amusing second book in that series by Bethany Blake.

Poor Daphne, once again she finds a dead body. That girl should never go anywhere alone. She finds bodies every time she does. She says she is trying to stay out of this investigation, but she’s not. LOL.

The murder felt super low key in this book. The focus seemed more on the complications in everyone’s lives, which I can’t say made the book any less enjoyable.I’m kind of invested now and I want to see where things are going.

The series also makes me think I’d like to live in a small town. Just maybe not Sylvan Creek, people keep dying there. LOL.

℘℘℘℘ – Four Pages. I can’t wait to get my hands on Pawprints and Predicaments.

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Book Review: Writing Jane Austen

After my mad experience last fall, this was a bit of a natural read. I’ve read it before of course, I adore Elizabeth Aston’s books. She does a delicious series on the Darcy women and then this one, Writing Jane Austen, set in modern times.

The protag, Georgina, has been commissioned by her agent and her editor to write a pastiche of Jane Austen based on a recently discovered first handwritten chapter by Jane. Wow. For some writers that might be a nightmare – sully the memory of one of the most amazing writers in history? Or a dream come true – pay homage to one of the most amazing writers in history.

The kicker of course is A) they want the book ready for PUBLICATION in 12 weeks.

and B)

Georgina’s never read an Austen novel in her life. Gasp. Shock. Horror.

But a series of unfortunate events convinces Georgina she must try. And try she does.

It’s a fun adventure following Georgina around England as she tries to avoid her publisher and her agent and anything to do with Jane Austen while looking as though she’s doing research. LOL

℘℘℘℘ – Four Pages. Amusing. Fun. A titch predictable if you read Austen but a good time none the less.

Fourth Quarter 2018 – One Page Reviews

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Mackenzi Lee

I remember reading a review of this book that highlighted all the “amazing” sex scenes. sigh. 143 pages in and no one has had sex. Yes, there were two groping scenes but only one was even slightly titillating.  Worse the main character is such an ass I don’t want him to get laid. I want him to get shot. Maybe he redeems himself later in the book, I’m sure that’s the point but he’s so nasty and self deluded 143 pages in that I just can’t believe any meaningful transformation can occur.

The House of The Spirits, Isabel Allende

This was a gift from my sister in law a few years back. I tried to read it. I tried to like it. Yawn, yawn, yawn. It’s literary but that shouldn’t be an excuse for page upon page of back story each time a new character is introduced. I should care about them first.

 

Side Note: I have decided this will be the last One Page Quarterly Round Up. You don’t need to know which books I don’t like. I think originally I felt I should justify by rating system by posting one pagers when I found them but now I think you should trust me. Smiles. Plus I want to put less negativity in the world.

 

Kindness Challenge Day 11, plus Allie Potts’ New Book, The Watch & Wand

Day 11: Do an act of kindness to help someone.

Ok the chart said someone older but I promised this to Allie and it would have been unkind of me to break my word on a kindness challenge.

The Watch & Wand by Allie Potts

A few months back I got an email from Allie saying she loved my short in The Box Under the Bed. Why thank you! She also wondered if I would like to read her new book, the second in Project Gene AssistThe-Watch-and-Wand_02.

Lucky for her I have a secret love of YA Dystopia. LOL.

The Watch and Wand. The title alone is a super fun play on the basic idea of the book. It said magic to me, silly me. So I was expecting a bad Harry Potter knock off. So NOT what I got. Woot.

YA Dystopia, I told you that much already. There is two real main characters. A cast of supporting characters who vary in just how supportive they really are. LOL. Don’t trust anyone. Very good advice.

The Magic, however, is technology with a really big dose of how much is really good for us. Can we ever go too far? I don’t want to give away too much.

This was a fast paced and fun read. I slid right through it in one day without any effort.

Here’s Allie…..

Where did the idea come from for the book?
This one is all my mom’s fault. The Project Gene Assist series was originally supposed to center entirely on the protagonist from the first book, Juliane Faris, but one day my mom and I were out walking and she asked me about how I thought a particular side character briefly mentioned in the first book might turn out. The next thing I know, I’m 20,000 words into a completely different novel. Juliane will be back for the next book in the series.
 
I wish that would happen to me. When people ask what I think my characters are doing, I’m always tempted to snark as Agatha Christie did, “You think they send me postcards?” Maybe I should snark less. Which is the more important of these two: write drunk, edit sober?
 
That is one of my absolute favorite Hemingway quotes and fantastic advice! I’m going with writing drunk because in some cases that’s the only way to keep your confidence up enough to finish that first draft and without that first draft, no amount of sober editing will help you.
Laughing. Touche. So how long were you drunk then? I mean how long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
A solid agonizing and hair pulling year. Note to other writers out there contemplating setting their novel, not in the immediate present, but not in the far-flung future either, that setting is tough! You have to have technology that is somewhat advanced by our standards, but not too advanced, and there is always a risk that technology you choose will be out of date well before you finish the writing. By contrast, I have been able to write the first draft for an entirely different story, currently sitting in my work in progress folder, in less than three months.
Now you know why all my stories take place in the past. There’s no changing that. Except, well, that’s kind of what I do. LOL. Bet you’d never guess what I majored in? What’s something most readers would never guess about you?
 
I am as vertically challenged as I say I am on the about me section of my blog. People always seem to act surprised by how short I am when I meet them in real life for the first time even though I’ve never treated my height, or lack thereof, as a secret. Apparently, I have a larger than life personality.
Of course you. All authors do. It’s how we survive the process. Each book we choose takes a little. How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?
 
I love how you worded that. The Watch & Wand and the Project Gene Assist Series is a blend of science fiction and fantasy with a smidgeon of post-apocalypse thrown in there for fun. It’s all the elements I grew up reading, however my first book, An Uncertain Faith is a mix of women’s fiction and cozy mystery, which is a genre mash-up that chose me.
 
It sounds like there might be a story behind that story. Too bad, it’s just about time to wrap this up. So leave us with some words of wisdom. What’s a good writing secret or time management secret?
One of the best tips I ever came across was to schedule fifteen-minute writing sprints rather than hour-long blocks of time. Not only is it easier to fit into the average day craziness of my regular life, I find my bottom is much more willing to stay seated and my brain willing to dream up words if I know I will only be in front of a screen for a short period of time. It also relieves a lot of pressure on me. If I the ideas just aren’t flowing during a session, I know I will have the opportunity to try again later without feeling like I’ve wasted a day.

Want more Allie? You can catch her on social media:

Twitter: @alliepottswrite

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alliepottswrites/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/alliepottswrite

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alliepottswrites

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Stop laughing. You know you’ve been tempted to read it. This version is by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame Smith.

I don’t know why but this book didn’t set off my “Don’t screw with the canon” alarm. I love Jane, I do. I reread all her books every year. I read a lot of spin off books. My favorites being the entire series by Elizabeth Aston. And Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was just another spin off book.

How did I like it? Hard to say. I enjoyed reading it, mostly. Some things rubbed me wrong. Some things I thoroughly enjoyed.

The good:

I love that some people close to Elizabeth fall prey to the plague. It’s not just red shirts.

I love that there are some honor deaths, from people I wouldn’t have expected it from in the original. I can’t decide if Sean is implying that he loved her more than Jane implied or that he loves his own self image more than Jane implied. I don’t want to get too specific in case you decide to read.

I love that the girls are warrior in service to the queen, that they’ve been trained to be warriors. And I love that it’s yet another thing Elizabeth is judged for.

Things that rubbed:

By the end, I felt every time Sean mentioned the seven cuts, I was being cut. Too much. Too often. Too lame. No specifics.

The sexual promiscuity. It was a big deal in the first book. Way too casual in this one and in conflict with aspects of the story the new author didn’t change. If sex is casual then why does everyone assume Lydia was kidnapped. And if it’s so shocking she ran off with Wickham, then all the other sex cannot be so casual.

The eating of a heart. Ick. And really when the country is over run with zombies, I’m not sure anyone would be eating internal organs.

℘℘℘ – Three Pages. Overall a fun read. If you like Austen and want another way to read Pride and Prejudice for amusement, give it a whirl.

Book Review: Unsolved Mysteries of American History

This book was a gift, I think. Maybe it’s been on my TBR shelf for so long, I can’t remember. Unsolved Mysteries of American History, by Paul Aron.

If you’re looking at that title and thinking cheesy titillation and misinformation was contained with the covers, you might be right. At least part right. There is some gasp, shock, and awe writing going on but there is also a strong measure of interesting information. The author compiles other people’s research and theories and only occasionally proposes his own theory.

The chapters are short snippets that make for convenient reading. Maybe ten minutes a topic. And each chapter ends with a bibliography. I like that. I can go read his sources on a subject that interests me and learn more.

℘℘℘ – Solid 3 pages. Interesting read. Interesting design. Limited target audience. If you aren’t a history geek, this would bore you quickly. If you are a history geek, you know 90% of the material already. So it’s the in between, those with an interest and a high school level history knowledge who would most gravitate to this book.

Book Review: The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever

If I remember correctly I grabbed The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand at a Scholastic book fair for less than a dollar. The premise sounded funny. Three high school students set out to make the greatest zombie movie ever.

This book is hard to analyze. It frequently made me smile but never made me laugh – so not really a comedy. It was decently written. But it never bothered me to put the book down. I think it was 3 weeks before I finished it.

The ending really rubbed me wrong. Build, build, build, splat.  They failed to make a movie. Shocking. Totally couldn’t have seen that coming.

℘℘ – Two Pages. Completely forgettable but will occupy your time if you have nothing else to hand.