Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Off the Shelf Reading Challenge


You bet your snazzy ass I'm doing this one again. I still have a whole TBR pile to tackle! Hosted by Bookish Ardour, the Off the Shelf Reading Challenge has seven levels and while I'm technically buried, I'm going to go with the On A Roll level, attempting to read 50 books again this year. I have a good feeling about this. I can do it!

1. DROUGHT by Pam Bachorz
3. MESMERIZE by Artist Arthur
4. CATCH & RELEASE by Blythe Woolston
6. TITANIC: DISASTER AT SEA by Philip Wilkinson
7. ESCAPING TITANIC by Marybeth Lorbiekci, illustrated by Kory S. Heinzen
9. AFTERLIGHT by Elle Jasper
10. THE BUTTERFLY CLUES by Kate Ellison
11. DEAD OF NIGHT by Jonathan Maberry
12. PLAIN KATE by Erin Bow
13. PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White
14. NIGHT SCHOOL by Mari Mancusi
16. ULTRAVIOLET by RJ Anderson
17. OVER SEA, UNDER STONE by Susan Cooper
18. THE INVITATION by Diane Hoh
19. EXPLORING TYHE MAGIC WORLD OF HARRY POTTER by Karen Farrington and Lewis Constable
20. BUT i LOVE HIM by Amanda Grace
22. WHEN THE SEA IS RISING RED by Cat Hellisen
23. KISS ME DEADLY edited by Trisha Telep
24. HUMAN.4 by Mike Lancaster
26. HOTHOUSE by Chris Lynch
27. DAMAGE by Anya Parrish
28. ACCOMPLICE by Eireann Corrigan
31. FAMILY by Micol Ostow
34. EMMA AND THE VAMPIRES by Jane Austen and Wayne Josephson
35. LOVE DRUGGED by James Klise
36. CINDER by Marissa Meyer
39. FAKING FAITH by Josie Bloss
40. THE FALSE PRINCESS by Eilis o'Neal
43. THE HUMMING ROOM by Ellen Potter
44. JANE AND THE DAMNED by Janet Mullany
45. AFTER THE SNOW by SD Crockett
46. THREE DELAYS by Charlie Smith
47. SLEEPLESS by Thomas Fahy
48. FUNHOUSE by Diane Hoh
50. DISTANT WAVES by Suzanne Weyn

2012 ARC Reading Challenge


I still have a bunch of them in my pile, so I might as well join the ARC Reading Challenge again hosted by So Many Precious Books, So Little Time. There are three levels with this one and I'll be going with silver, reading 24 ARCs in 2012. That sounds nice and cozy to me.

1. DROUGHT by Pam Bachorz
3. MESMERIZE by Artist Arthur
5. TITANIC: DISASTER AT SEA by Philip Wilkinson
6. ESCAPING TITANIC by Marybeth Lorbiecki, illustrated by Kory S. Heinzen
8. THE BUTTERFLY CLUES by Kate Ellison
9. DEAD OF NIGHT by Jonathan Maberry
10. PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White
11. TYGER, TYGER, BURNING BRIGHT by Justine Saracen
12. GIFT by Andrea J. Buchanan
14. ULTRAVIOLET by RJ Anderson
15. THE KNIFE AND THE BUTTERFLY by Ashley Hope Perez
16. TOMORROW LAND by Mari Mancusi
17. THE INVITATION by Diane Hoh
18. EXPLORING THE MAGIC WORLD OF HARRY POTTER by Karen Farrington and Lewis Constable
19. A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS by Michelle Zink
20. BUT i LOVE HIM by Amanda Grace
21. LAST STOP by Peter Lerangis
23. WHEN THE SEA IS RISING RED by Cat Hellisen
24. KISS ME DEADLY edited by Trisha Telep

2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge


Since I am a YA book blogger, it seemed fitting that I participate in the Young Adult Reading Challenge, hosted by The Eclectic Bookshelf. There are four levels in this challenge and I will be doing the mega size challenge, reading 50 or more YA books. Considering that's nearly all I read, it shouldn't take too much effort to complete it.

1. DROUGHT by Pam Bachorz
3. MESMERIZE by Artist Arthur
4. CATCH & RELEASE by Blythe Woolston
5. THE BUTTERFLY CLUES by Kate Ellison
6. PLAIN KATE by Erin Bow
7. PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White
8. NIGHT SCHOOL by Mari Mancusi
9. GIFT by Andrea J. Buchanan
11. ULTRAVIOLET by RJ Anderson
12. THE KNIFE AND THE BUTTERFLY by Ashley Hope Perez
13. TOMORROW LAND by Mari Mancusi
14. THE INVITATION by Diane Hoh
15. EXPLORING THE MAGIC WORLD OF HARRY POTTER by Karen Farrington and Lewis Constable
16. A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS by Michelle Zink
17. BUT i LOVE HIM by Amanda Grace
18. LAST STOP by Peter Lerangis
20. WHEN THE SEA IS RISING RED by Cat Hellisen
21. KISS ME DEADLY edited by Trisha Telep
22. HUMAN.4 by Mike Lancaster
23. HOTHOUSE by Chris Lynch
24. DAMAGE by Anya Parrish
26. ACCOMPLICE by Eireann Corrigan
29. HEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins
30. LEGEND by Marie Lu
32. FAMILY by Micol Ostow
34. YEAR OF THE BEASTS by Cecil Castellucci
35. SHADOW & BONE by Leigh Bardugo
36. I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga
37. WILDE'S FIRE by Krystal Wade
38. LOVE DRUGGED by James Klise
39. CINDER by Marissa Meyer
40. THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas
43. FAKING FAITH by Josie Bloss
44. SKYLARK by Meagan Spooner
45. THE FALSE PRINCESS by Eilis O'Neal
46. GIRL OF NIGHTMARES by Kendare Blake
49. AFTER THE SNOW by SD Crockett
50. BEYOND by Graham McNamee

2012 Horror and Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge


Yup. I'm doing this one again. Hosted by Book Chick City, the Horror and Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge has two levels, reading 24 or 48 books of like kind. Me, I'll be doing 24. I don't want to over extend myself and since I completed it in 2011, I want to make sure I do the same in 2012.

1. MESMERIZE by Artist Arthur
2. AFTERLIGHT by Elle Jasper
3. DEAD OF NIGHT by Jonathan Maberry
4. PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White
5. NIGHT SCHOOL by Mari Mancusi
6. TOMORROW LAND by Mari Mancusi
7. THE INVITATION by Diane Hoh
8. A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS by Michelle Zink
9. LAST STOP by Peter Lerangis
10. KISS ME DEADLY edited by Trisha Telep
11. HUMAN.4 by Mike Lancaster
14. 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, VOLUME 1 by Sam Kieth
16. V WARS by Jonathan Maberry
20. BLADE SONG by JC Daniels
21. GIRL OF NIGHTMARES by Kendare Blake
22. BEYOND by Graham McNamee
23. SLEEPLESS by Thomas Fahy
24. THE INFECTS by Sean Beaudoin

2011 Off the Shelf Challenge FAILED!

Awww. Sad face. At least I didn't miss it by one or two books. That would really piss me off. Nope. I missed it by 20 books. Eek! Check out that gap! But you know what I didn't do this past year that I'm going to do in 2012? Count the damn ARCs. I tally them in with my TBR pile count so why am I not going to count them here too? I don't know why I didn't count them to begin with. I think maybe I thought of the ARCs as a pile unto themselves that functioned separately. Not this time. They're getting lumped in there. Looking back, I doubt adding them in would have done anything to help me get to the finish line but it definitely would have gotten me closer. Here's to completing it in 2012!

Ditched by Robin Mellom

Pub date: January 10, 2012.

High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.

Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat handle first.

Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.

Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.

And then ditched her.

Now, as the sun rises over her small town, and with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven, Justina must piece together -- stain by stain on her thrift-store dress -- exactly how she ended up dateless. A three-legged Chihuahua was involved. Along with a demolition derby-ready Cadillac. And there was that incident at the tattoo parlor. Plus the flying leap from Brian Sontag's moving car...

But to get the whole story, Justina will have to face the boy who ditched her. And discover if losing out at prom can ultimately lead to true love.

Well, I will say I liked the voice. Mellom carried it off with a quirkiness that didn't feel contrived or disingenuous to the character. That voice alone could have carried the story without the ridiculous TV sitcom-like execution of the plot itself shoving the story ahead with dangling tease after dangling tease after dangling tease. That voice, in my opinion, was quite frankly fantastic. It would have been enough. It alone would have made all of the wacky elements that happened in Justina's night seem a little more genuine. It alone would have made Justina feel more real.

Instead the motivating factor of the plot was the execution of the story. Told in twelve and a half minute segments with convenience store commercial interruptions thrown in, it felt like the author didn't trust the story enough to let it tell itself. Instead information was dangled in front of me and the only way to get it was to read the next chapter. Was it an effective method to get me to read on? Absolutely. Goddamn it, I wanted to know what happened. It doesn't mean it wasn't a cheap tactic.

From the beginning you know Justina's night was filled with epic fail. This is not new information. The story starts at the end and is then told from the beginning (see bad sitcom moment above). You know it ends bad. What you don't know are the details and instead of just coming out with it, the story's dragged out as long as humanly possible, with each chapter ending on the edge of a cliff. This story-telling tactic made me irrationally angry, simply because it's such a cheap tactic. The story could have actually been told from the beginning, as Justina lived it and, personally, I think it would have been so much better. It wouldn't have felt like a knock-off of Ferris Beuller's Day Off after being bastardized by Fox. Or enter your choice of outrageous teen movie. So yeah. It's one thing to read a book to find out what happens. That's usually why we read them. But when you already know what happens and reading the book feels like being pecked to death by a chicken, waiting for the story to unfold can become ingratiating.

Not to mention the events that happened fell so far beyond by suspension of disbelief that it stopped being entertaining (see above re: outrageous teen movie). You remember those teen magazines, like Cosmo Girl, Teen People and whatever and they had those write-in columns for embarrassing moments? And they were so ridiculously outrageous that there's no way they could be true (and I remember one editor actually ranking on them for it)? Well shove a bunch of those together and you'll get this plot. So many shit-ass things happened that you have to wonder why Justina just didn't go Cartman and say screw you guys, I'm going home.

That's probably because Justina needs to be on some heavy-duty medication to control that bi-polar psychosis she's got going on. I don't think people this unhinged exists in psychology textbooks. Here's a girl that's so all over the board with her emotions, that's so pessimistic and fatalistic and at times downright nasty, I was really hoping Ian would see the forest for the trees and be like holy shit! And run. People tried to help her and she screamed at them. She abandoned all notion of logic and thought of the worst in every single situation despite the numerous people shoving calm logic down her throat. One second she would show some semblance of rationality and then go completely off her rocker the next. I really just wanted someone to throw a bucket of water on her head and maybe give her a slap or two. Unhinged is putting it nicely. As someone that has a tendency to spiral in the brain department, I can half understand her pessimism but she takes it to an extreme that renders psychiatric help.

The thing is, when I finally found out why Ian ditched her, I didn't feel it was an excuse. Because he just up and left her hanging without an explanation and without some kind of notice until something like a half hour later. Of course the people that did know what he was doing didn't divulge the information but it's not like Justina gave them a chance. Funny that she was just as judgmental of Miss Jimmy Choo Shoes (Allyson?) as she claimed Allyson was of her. Except Justina was unhinged about it. Still, Ian was a dick for doing what he did without letting her know where he was going. I personally wouldn't have forgiven him very easily, irrespective of my night turning out like Justina's or not.

The ending was sugary sweet and quite frankly I'm not sure the parties involved deserved it (see above re: dick and irrational headcase). It was a nice ending to a crazy night (honestly, as if one couldn't see that coming a million miles away, since that's how all crazy teen movies end) but it didn't fit the supposed reality of the situation. Someone should have been slapped and someone else should have been chastised for treating people like shit and using them for their own selfish means. But that's just my opinion.

At the end of the day the story was nominally entertaining in a brainless current teen movie sort of way (because the 80s teen movies are INFINITELY better than this) but I didn't see Justina as too likable of a character so I couldn't empathize with her plight and the lack of, whether it's trust in the reader or in the story itself, on the author's part and thus the execution of the story itself made me want to inflict pain on small woodland creatures. But I can definitely see how some people would get a kick out of this, simply because it's so zany and out there. But it was a little too much for me and the way the story was told was a killer. Plus I don't like sitcoms.

Ban Factor: High - Just the drinking, drugs and sexual references alone would have the banners fanning themselves in anger.

80s Awesomeness! ~ 141

Yup. That little purple man is the one and only Prince. Who is now represented by an unpronounceable symbol. Or TAFKAP, The Artist Formally Known As Prince. He used to make super awesome music way back when. And he even used to be a super sex symbol. I'm guessing it was the music. But he did come out with a pretty epic New Year's song not really used until years later, the last time we really thought the world was going to end. You know what I'm talking about. It's only appropriate that I use it on this New Year's Eve.

It's okay. You can sing along. You know you know the words.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Freaky Friday :|: 141

Title: The Accident
Author: Diane Hoh
Published: 1992
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 176

She appears in Megan's mirror one day, nothing more than a wispy, shadowy plume, glowing with an eerie light. Her voice is faint and hollow, like a distant echo. The voice of a young girl.

Strangest of all is her request.

"I beg you to trade places with me, Megan. For just one week. Let me live again."

Megan is overcome with fear. Yet she is drawn to the shadow in the mirror, unable to look away. Fascinated by the oddly soothing voice, she listens to a tale of a horrible accident many years before. A tale she would never forget.

Gradually, Megan begins to realize that she has no choice. As terrified as she is, she knows she must make the trade.... (

Okay. This one sounds good. Like I need to go hunt this one down good. This is why I love YA horror. Love it!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

101 Things You Thought You Knew About the Titanic . . . But Didn't! by Tim Maltin

Published November 29, 2011.

Ever since that night, fact has merged with fiction about what really happened. Now, for the first time, Titanic expert and author Tim Maltin gathers together all the key elements surrounding the disaster and presents a fascinating, compulsive and accurate account of what really happened. Taking as his lead one hundred and one oft-quoted theories about the fateful night, Maltin uses eyewitness testimony to rigorously examine each one in chronological order, and in so doing tells the true story of the Titanic and the night she sank with the loss of 1,500 lives. (

The sinking of the Titanic was one of the worst tragedies in modern history, evidenced by the fact that, as a whole, we're still salivating over it 100 years later. We're still eager for information about it, we want to know the people, we still want to learn things we didn't know, and for some god awful reason, we want 1996's Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet released in 3D. Apparently there isn't a god.

But that's besides the point. As a crazy Titanic enthusiast myself, having been reading about the ship since I was roughly eight, thus coming across new information is a pretty big rarity, it was refreshing reading 101 THINGS because it did shake some rumors and clear up some cloudy moments about the Titanic for me. Of course, and I say this not patting myself on the back but just as someone that's done a shit-ton of Titanic reading, I already knew a lot of the stuff presented in this book. But that's okay because I still got a kick out of it.

Really it's all in the presentation. Maltin pulled right from the source, relying heavily on the transcripts from the hearings after the Carpathia docked in New York, and also from the hearings in London. It's astounding to read words spoken by Lightoller about how sure he was that the Titanic didn't break in half before sinking. I mean, he was SO sure. Of course, we now know that to not be the truth. And one of the pieces of information I didn't know was that the Brits tried to whitewash the whole thing. Bad, Brits. Bad. Another piece of information I didn't know: even if there were enough lifeboats to fit everyone on board, there weren't enough able seamen to man them, thus rendering the boats useless. How's that for a paradox. Really, those people were screwed anyway.

So there's really something for all levels of Titanic interest in 101 THINGS. If I can find new information within these pages, then anyone can. And it's told in a manner like you'd hear a good teacher talking about it. It's not just information regurgitated back at you simply to get it out. It's evident in the tone of the information that Maltin has a great interest in the Titanic and he's enthusiastic about it. You can't fake that so when you're reading you, in turn, get enthusiastic about the information you're given. You won't be able to help it. It's infectious.

101 THINGS would be especially wonderful for those just coming across the Titanic and wanting to know more about it. It's the Cliff Notes version of what you can find scattered throughout the referential material floating out there. Definitely a good place to start. And it's a good book to have to round out your Titanic knowledge. I can almost guarantee that there'll be something in there that even the most interested Titanic aficionado might not know. So give it a whirl. You'll be able to envision it all as you read. In this case, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but it's vivid. That's for sure.

Ban Factor: Low - It's a book of Titanic facts. What's there to ban? Knowledge?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Published April 1, 2007.

Before he knew about the Roses, 16-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity. Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high-schoolers. Then one day Jack skips his medicine. Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before. And it feels great until he loses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer team tryouts.

Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: He is Weirlind; part of an underground society of magical people who live among us. At the head of this magical society sit the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game. A magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death, the winning house ruling the Weir. As if his bizarre magical heritage isn't enough, Jack finds out that he's not just another member of Weirlind, he's one of the last of the warriors at a time when both houses are scouting for a player. Jack's performance on the soccer field has alerted the entire magical community to the fact that he's in Trinity. And until one of the houses is declared Jack's official sponsor, they'll stop at nothing to get Jack to fight for them. (

You know, with how big of a fan of THE SEVEN REALMS series I am, it really pains me to say that I wasn't too big of a fan of THE WARRIOR HEIR. I mean it really does. I tried. I really did. But I didn't love it like I do THE SEVEN REALMS. Considering THE SEVEN REALMS was written later, giving Chima time to hone her craft, and considering how effing awesome it is, maybe my expectations were too high. It's not often I start out with books that came out later in an author's career. But in this case I'm glad I did because I honestly don't know if I'd keep reading this series, let alone more of Chima's work, if I had started with THE WARRIOR HEIR.

It's not the writing. Not really. I found the same type of prose in THE WARRIOR HEIR as I did in THE SEVEN REALMS but the former was missing something. Heart, maybe? The story was decent enough but it felt like it was skimming the surface of what Chima is truly capable of. Again, something else that could be chalked up to higher expectations. It just felt kind of done before. There were some good original elements in there, like the sleeping dragon stone and the portrayal of the underground magical society and the whole battle between the Roses and the lengths they go to in order to sabotage each other. But I wasn't really into it. I found it kind of difficult to pick up the book again once I put it down. It was hard for me to get into.

Maybe it had to do with Jack. I think I felt him more like a pawn than an actual character. I felt the plot move him more than he moved the plot, like he was just coasting along and going with the flow. He wasn't a stand-out character to me. I found him blending into the background too easily, getting pushed out of the way for the big kids to handle it, getting a somewhat easy way out. I wasn't too big of a fan.

I was far more interested in Ellen, for all her standoffishness. And I was hoping there would be more going on with Will and Fitch. I will avoid spoilers but I think shifting into their POVs, in some cases more often, would have benefited the story, given it a little more depth. I did like Longbranch. She played her role well and came off as quite a likable villain. A bit cookie-cutter but I liked her attitude. And Linda was pretty cool too but I felt she was shunted to the side a little too easily. I would have liked to have seen her be more prominent in the story than what she was. She would have provided a good balance for female strength in the story.

Don't get me wrong; it's not a bad story. There's an excerpt of THE WIZARD HEIR at the end and that looked pretty interesting. Just the excerpt made me feel like I'd connect with it just a little more than I did with THE WARRIOR HEIR. But it's not THE SEVEN REALMS. I don't want to say skip the first series and go to the second because this one definitely has its merits. As opposed to what it's not, what it is is a really good fantasy story. If Chima does nothing else, she builds her worlds marvelously and even though I think we're cheated out of some of that world here, what bits and pieces you do get are exceptionally vibrant and stand out on their own. Plus I don't want what happened to me to happen to you: you read one of the most awesome series ever and then go backwards to the author's debut work which, while still good, still provides a pretty big gap.

I think it'd be neat to see Chima's writing improve through the series. I still don't think I'd continue with this particular series because I wasn't thrilled with it but it's not lacking in writing. That's for sure. THE WARRIOR HEIR is very well written and deserves applause for that. So if you, like me, weren't thrilled with THE WARRIOR HEIR, hang in there. I can't vouch for the rest of this series, although I do want to read it at some point, but I can vouch for THE SEVEN REALMS, which is amazing and so totally worth it.

But, you might like this one just as much. They're two different types of fantasy, this one being more urban while THE SEVEN REALMS is more high so you need to take those genre differences into account when reading them because if you lean to one or the other, it's obviously going to color which one you'll like more. But give THE WARRIOR HEIR a try. It definitely deserves it. Not my favorite but it could be yours.

Ban Factor: High - A fantasy world with no Christian godly influence. Big banner fail.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Republished October 4, 2011.

Martha wants to be happy for her father. She likes his new wife-even if she's a terrible cook-but she doesn't understand why they had to leave Chicago and move to this horrible house in the country. It's big, broken-down, and miles from anywhere, alone in the woods with nothing on the property but an overgrown cemetery. But at night it doesn't feel empty.

Conor-her new, weird stepbrother-chose Martha's new room for her. It's dark and drafty, and no matter how she tries to fix it up, she can't sleep easily there. At night, whispers come from the closet, filling Martha with a sense that something terrible happened here. She's right. Not long ago, the house was the site of a gruesome murder. When Conor and Martha's parents leave town on their honeymoon, the two teens will find out why the dead don't rest easy at the old Bedford house.

Hooray! 90s YA cheese is re-emerging! My evil plan is working! What?

Yes, TRICK OR TREAT was originally 90s cheese of my now major obsession. No, it's not a total turd like some cheese is. I was actually really surprised reading this and realizing just how well it transcended time. Initially I thought it might have been updated but with the mention of records, cassettes and VHS tapes, my fears were eased.

I am always super giddy for horror and sometimes that eagerness comes around to bite me in the ass. Not this time. While TRICK OR TREAT may come off as your standard haunted house story, the twist at the end will have you totally creeped out. I certainly didn't see it coming. Then again I'm not really adept at spotting those kinds of things in advance so take that as you will.

Martha comes off a bit insufferable, a drama queen and a definite whiner to begin with so it's really not a surprise when no one believes her when she starts complaining about the creepy house and her cold bedroom. And Conor is a bit of a creep factor. He's really elusive and isn't straight forward when he speaks. Some people might find that mysterious. I pegged him as a baby serial killer. Enter the absentee parents that leave their teen kids alone in a house for weeks while they honeymoon (brilliant!) and you have the beginnings of a super horror story.

So while Martha comes off as a bit ingratiating eventually I did get past her initial complainer attitude and start to sympathize with her plight. The house was affecting her so badly that it was starting to show physically. And still no one believed her. But by the time people started seeing the forest for the trees, it might have been a little too late. Or was it?

TRICK OR TREAT is one of those old school YA horror books that actually has some genuine creepiness to it. Chances are you won't want to read it in the dark. Or during a thunder storm. Or around Halloween. Because who knows what you'll see when the lightening flashes on that old, dying oak in your front yard? Or equally creepy lawn element? TRICK OR TREAT is a good piece of nostalgia that transcends the current YA market and injects some honest to god horror back into the YA world. I love it. I need more.

Ban Factor: High - Horror and crazy bitches. A deadly combination.

Monday, December 26, 2011

In Trouble by Ellen Levine

Published September 28, 2011.

Jamie and Elaine have been best friends forever, and now they’re finally juniors in high school. Elaine has a steady boyfriend, and Jamie could have one—if she'd just open her eyes and see Paul. But Jamie has a bigger problem to worry about.

Then Elaine gets "in trouble"—something they thought only happened to "other" girls. Are there any good choices for a girl in trouble?

Carolrhoda Lab does it again with another gripping story that I get to gush about. Although I will say this is probably my least favorite out of the CL books I've read. I still think very highly of it but I do feel it was lacking something that the other CL books had, mainly depth.

The situation that Jamie and Elaine go through is terrifying. Hell, it's terrifying now, let alone 60 years ago where you were either biblically virginal or a whore, irrespective of what happened to you to get into that "in trouble" position. Elaine's problem was really front and center and while it pulled me in, it also pushed me away from Jamie a bit, and it was her story. So a bit of a flaw in the story-telling. You could really feel for Elaine through Jamie. You could feel her impossible situation but at the same time you could feel Jamie's helplessness when it came to helping her friend. Elaine was a bit lost when it came to the other half of the problem and I know I got frustrated right along with Jamie when Elaine just couldn't see the forest for the trees.

And then things start opening up about Jamie. The little flashes seen throughout the story come to light and things start to click into place. That horror that was projected onto Elaine comes right back around to Jamie. Her situation's different, though. Jamie had more support and options. But here's where I think the story starts to fizzle, when it really gets into Jamie's problem.

Jamie attempts to terminate her problem on her own which results in some terrible moments in the story and I will say I had some tears but the story reached a point where it just zoomed by and before I knew it it was over. It left me wanting more and I think considering the situation of the plot, it would have rendered that. Instead there's a fade to black moment, some skimming and the end of the story. It's Jamie's story but as a reader I was never privy to Jamie coming to terms with her decisions. She made them, yes, but any repercussions she had were skipped over. I think the story could have been so much more had those issues been drawn out more.

IN TROUBLE really is a good story and a quick read but I think it's quickness does more against it than for it. That depth that I think is required for such a topic is absent and the focus is really on the wrong person. And then the story ends far too abruptly to have any real resolution. But it's still good. I liked what I was reading. I could connect with Jamie and I felt everything she did. But overall IN TROUBLE lingered on story elements that should have been shorter and dashed by moments that should have been more drawn out. I ended up feeling a little robbed at the end. I wanted more, especially for the topic. Yes, it sucked what women had to go through back then when they got "in trouble" and it's because of that that I don't feel it should have been glossed over when it got to be Jamie's turn.

Still, I'd recommend to read IN TROUBLE. Just keep in mind going in that for the topic, the story doesn't go very deep.

Ban Factor: High - Teen pregnancy. That's all you need to know. Context doesn't matter. It's all about premarital sex and teen babies.

Beware of the Review Bomb!

No, it's nothing bad. I just have to put up a bunch of reviews this week to purge what I have left of my 2011 standing pile. I'm far too OCD to carry over books read in 2011 into 2012. Nope. So that'll pretty much all I'll be posting this week so I can get it done. Expect a few more than my normal two reviews a week. Review bomb! Five more reviews to post before the end of the year.

Winter in Wartime by Jan Terlouw

Published October 3, 2011.

Michiel feels resentment towards his father, a mayor, seemingly only interested in maintaining the status quo between the town and the German Army. He worships his uncle Ben, an adventurer in contact with the local resistance. During the winter, Michiel's loyalties are tested. When he discovers an injured pilot in the woods, Michiel must find a way to keep the wounded man alive, hidden from the increasingly desperate occupying force.

As Michiel mounts his own small resistance, he becomes aware of the currents of Resistance that are swirling through the town. A German soldier is killed and his death must be revenged so they take six townspeople, threatening to shoot them if the murderer does not surrender. They compromise and shoot only one--Michiel's father.

I'm a total sucker for novels set in the European theater of World War II and the fact that this was autobiographical only fueled that fire. I don't know what it is about that war, but I'm drawn to it. It's like I can feel these experiences in my heart and it just keeps pulling me in.

Writing-wise it had a couple of things going against it: it's a translation so some of the beauty of the language was taken away; and, in my opinion, it's written by someone that had a story to tell but wasn't necessarily a writer. And that's okay. The writing as I read it could have been a result of the translation or it could have been the way in which the author told the story. Had it been anyone else, I might have been more critical of the writing but keeping these two factors in mind, coupled with the fact that the story was pretty short, I was able to push the flaws in the writing aside and just read the story. That's not something I'm able to do very often at all. Another testament to how much I love this era of story.

And the story was amazing. Just the notion that the author's real-life experiences fueled WINTER IN WARTIME was such a fantastical feat. That Michiel aided in hiding a British pilot in the woods. How someone so young was working for the underground movement. How he could lose his father simply because the Germans were being retaliatory. It's horrifying that this was real. And it's almost unbelievable. But I believe it. It's probably one of the reasons why I keep reading WWII-era works: writers can't make this stuff up. They really can't. What happened during that time was just so fantastical that creative liberties really need not apply.

It reminds me of THE THINGS THEY CARRIED by Tim O'Brien (who himself never went to war), which is a Vietnam-placed work of metafiction. And it's entirely fictional but it could have happened. And maybe it did. I guess that's true of any war story in general. While the stamp on the spine says fiction, there are things going on in war that one just can't imagine so who's to say it never really happened?

WINTER IN WARTIME is another excellent addition to any WWII nut's reading collection. The point of view is switched so you're not getting a war story in the sense that there's actual fighting (think BAND OF BROTHERS). You're getting the point of view of a boy living in a country occupied by the Germans. You see the daily life. The fear. The blackouts. It's a different aspect of such an expansive war. And you feel it. Despite the writing, despite the translation, it's an amazing story and it deserves to be read. If you're at all interested in WWII, you won't want to miss it.

Ban Factor: Low - It's an historical. Clean except for a couple background killings. Overlookable by those that don't read.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Added to the Pile + 99

Haven't had one of these in a while. Which I'm okay with. It's been over a month since I've acquired new reading. Is it bad that I'm kinda cheering about that? Not that I hate books, obviously, but my TBR pile is just so massive that I'm starting to begrudge adding to it. But I'm weeding it out for the new year and while I'm drastically cutting it down, I'm leaving myself with literally piles of books that I'm not sure what to do with. I'll have to figure that one out.

In the meantime, from Orion Nova Buzz Promotions, I received the following -

DEAD OF NIGHT by Jonathan Maberry

Things I've Learned from Books + 131

Beware of that chick that's all "Let's be BBFs!" right when you move into town. There's a good chance she's a crazy bitch. A little bit of paranoia never hurt anyone.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Christmas Poem, From Me to You

aka why I stopped writing poetry, especially poetry with rhyme scheme. Enjoy!

Twas the night before dinner of the holiday kind;
My wife's on amphetamines and I'm losing my mind.
My testicles were grabbed by her fist without care
For I didn't know the green beans didn't go there.

I asked for fresh turkey 'cause that kind's the best.
And dear Kevin claims it was all in good jest.
But since there's now wild poultry shitting in my shoe,
I want to weld his ass to the toilet seat using the strongest of glue.

Will someone get this fucking bird out of here?

Linda's got a list of who can eat what and when -
Constipation for Nana and acid reflux for Ken.
So now your bathroom's filled with laxatives and Tums;
When it comes to bodily functions, god forbid people remain mum.

Rod's car's got an exhaust leak yet he backs it up the driveway.
Carbon monoxide death be damned; gasoline's a good smell to have around anyway.
What holiday's complete without your token screaming baby?
At this point a jackhammer to my skull really wouldn't faze me.

Who the hell invited all these people to spend the night?
Linda said she heard the weather's supposed to be a fright.
Considering I heard record warmth and sun, I have to wonder
Whether the dyslexic meteorologist fed people a blunder.

Oh Jimmy! Oh Charlie! Oh Nancy! Oh Claire!
The dog really doesn't like it when you stick ornaments up there.
C'mon Carol and Bill, would you help me out a little here?
For the safety of my keepsakes, pen your young up somewhere.

The kitchen's ablaze and the smoke detector's going off.
Why the hell is Frank's mouth starting to froth?
Apparently swallowing Alka-Seltzer and Coca-Cola too
Will make a distant relative of Cujo out of you.

So help me, Frank, if that takes the lacquer off the table I'm sticking your head in the oven.

The turkey's now destuffing my antique couch
And Greg, the hemophiliac, just arrived and I swear I heard 'ouch.'
Now here's Kathy and her emo boyfriend, Nick.
Does he wear eyeliner and her jeans to purposely be a prick?

Rosemary's baby just vomited on my widescreen TV,
Proof positive that an exorcism would be good: Flee, demons, flee!
Too bad I already called the priest and he told me nice try.
They actually need to sizzle under holy water for the evil brand to fly.

My Christmas tree that I had spent hours perfecting
Now lies askew against the wall, the notion of holidays it's now vehemently rejecting.
Only half of it is lit at any given time
And the angel's getting sodomized by a holly vine.

Where the shit did you kids learn about that?

Linda just yelled at me for swearing at the children.
Obviously she doesn't know that my outbursts are prudent.
220 over 180, how the hell am I not dead?
I guess drowning it out in eggnog works in nitrate's stead.

There are crayons in my canned cranberry sauce
And the youngest of Carol's spawn just told me to fuck off.
Whose brilliant idea was it to get Greg to chop potatoes?
Blood's not good as far as gravy goes.

I think our neighbors just called the cops
Because the door is echoing with authoritative knocks.
Turns out cousin Willy got caught with his pants down again
And thinks we're nothing short of a bail bondsman.

I don't care about Bubba. Maybe a round of Christmas bitch and wreath around your dick will teach you to keep your clothes on, asshole.

My house smells like farts and there's bird shit on my china.
I really hope this pain in my chest if nothing more than angina.
I'm expected to be smiley and greet our guests with Christmas cheer.
To that I say bite me you all. Just let me self-medicate with beer.

And the winners are . . .

I have some Michelle Moran/MADAME TUSSAUD winners to announce! So let's have at it!

The winner of the MADAME TUSSAUD prize pack is -


And the winners of the signed MADAME TUSSAUD bookplates are -

Bookish in a Box

Congratulations! All of the emails have already been sent out. And a huge thanks to everyone who entered!

80s Awesomeness! ~ 140

If you've noticed my 80s Christmas movie theme this month, you're probably looking at the Die Hard poster and going WTF? But it's a movie that takes place on Christmas Eve. At a Christmas party. It's the ultimate guys' hard-on Christmas movie. With lines like -

Hans Gruber: [Reading what McClane wrote on the dead terrorist's shirt] "Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho."


Theo: [as the SWAT Team closes in]
[over the CB]

Theo: All right, listen up guys. 'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except... the four assholes coming in the rear in standard two-by-two cover formation.


and John McClane: You throw quite a party. I didn't realize they celebrated Christmas in Japan.
Joseph Takagi: Hey, we're flexible. Pearl Harbor didn't work out so we got you with tape decks.

- how could you go wrong?

Yippee-Ki-Yay, Motherfuckers!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Freaky Friday :|: 140

Title: The Invitation
Author: Diane Hoh
Published: August 1996
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 176

It arrives on crisp, ivory paper with elegant gold script. It is an invitation to a party like no other, an invitation to death. (

I won't lie. A little more information would have been helpful. It could be good. It could not. Only one way to find out.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Shift by Charlotte Agell

Published September 30th, 2008.

In fifteen year-old Adrian Havoc's world, Homestate rules every aspect of society: identity cards need to be carried at all times, evolution is a forbidden topic of discussion, and religious education is enforced in daily "rapture" doses. If life weren't hard enough, now come the threats that the end of the world--SHIFT--is quickly approaching. But Adrian refuses to accept things as they are. He sets out for the toxic Deadlands on a trip that may very well alter the course of the universe. (

SHIFT had such crazy potential if you're reading the blurb but getting into it, it just felt rushed. Scenes changed in a jolted, jerky sort of way and information was thrown at you without much explanation. Like how the US got to be in this Homestate situation to begin with. Apparently nuclear bombs dropped and took out all of Massachusetts. From what I could tell, Adrian was living in either Connecticut or Rhode Island. Based on driving distance and the directions they were talking about traveling and through which states, those are the only two options that made sense. What didn't make sense was how the entire region wasn't affected by nuclear fallout.

By the time I got to the end of the book I just felt like all of the information was dumped on me and then ran like water on Teflon. It could have been so much better if the pace was slowed down, situations were dwelling on a little more and things weren't so forced. Odd and awkward inserts of curse words throughout the story made it a little weird to read. Every time I came across it it just felt misplaced and it was jarring to read as a result. The psychic sister was nothing more than a tool that helped advance the plot more easily and the penguin was just an excuse to get them to travel. Once it was set free, it stopped serving its purpose and to me it ultimately felt like a sorry excuse to once again further the plot.

Adrian is a bit of a non-conformist with a mother that apparently doesn't care much about him because he disappears for days at a time without her so much as worrying. His whole character just felt like it was trying too hard so I never really connected with him. Shriek, as I said above, was just a plot-serving tool that made sure the pieces were set up for Adrian to nicely resolve the conflict. It felt way too easy and because it was so rushed I was left unsatisfied at the end.

There were some neat concepts and I think the world was broaching on something that could have been awesome but I just felt not enough time was spent in really digging into not only the story but the characters. They were caricatures in their own story instead of actual people. I couldn't believe a lot of it because of the distance I felt. SHIFT felt like a paint-by-numbers story created to ride on the dystopian wave. It had potential, but it's execution was weak and lacking. I can be left wanting in a book but there has to be some satisfaction there. Here there really isn't much. The writing was decent but in a simple kind of way. There wasn't much going on between the lines and I felt that was another area where it could have enriched the story more.

Ban Factor: High - With swearing and the breaking down of a devout Christian regime, the banners would be twitching.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Giveaway Reminder and Some Winners!

Okay. First the reminder -

Tonight's the last night to enter to win a Michelle Moran MADAME TUSSAUD prize pack or one of three signed bookplates! So get your entries in by tonight at midnight, EST, for your shot to win.

And now for the winners of my Holiday Book Grab Giveaway!

And the winners are . . .

Cinnamon @ A Thousand Little Pages
Natalie @ Mindful Musings
Samantha D

Congratulations! All emails have been sent out and I'm just waiting to hear back from one person. Hooray! A huge thanks to everyone who entered!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Blue So Dark Only .99 for Kindle!

In case you haven't heard, Holly Schindler's A BLUE SO DARK is available for Kindle for a mere .99! To add to that, Holly's even willing to sign the copy via Kindlegraph! So what are you waiting for? If you haven't read A BLUE SO DARK yet, now's the perfect time! Go out and buy it. You know you got a dollar.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Contagion by Joanne Dahme

Published October 5, 2010.

Rose Dugan is a young and beautiful woman living in Philadelphia in the late 19th century passionate about keeping Philadelphia’s water reservoir clean and healthy. But when Rose starts receiving threatening letters, warning her to convince her husband to shut down his plans for a water filtration system or else, things take a turn for the worse. A conspicuous murder and butting heads cause Rose to search for the culprit, the truth, and a way to keep the people of Philadelphia safe from contagion in more ways than one. (

I almost gave up on this one. Am I glad I stuck it out? Meh. It was okay. What had me wanting to put it down originally was the language. Names were heinously overused in dialogue and for me, that really stands out. People don't say each other's names when talking to each other that often. It just ends up sounding stilted and it was used so much that it grated on me enough to want to walk away. Plus the plot was really lagging at the beginning. It didn't seem to be going anywhere and it was heavily involved in the intricacies of water filtration. Good on the author for knowing her stuff, but I think far too much of that knowledge was transferred to the page unnecessarily. There were points where it really bogged down the plot and I started not wanting to pick up the book again when I put it down.

But once Nellie died, everything picked up and the suspense held me to the page enough that I wanted to keep reading. Just barely. Another pervasive irk was the insistence of people's clothing. Regardless of the POV, both Rose and Sean were exceptionally detailed about what people were wearing. Again, good on the author for being historically accurate, but again I think it was a little too much knowledge transferred to the page for my liking. I got the images the first time around. By the 25th time, I was over it. But the plot, once it picked up with Nellie's death, I was able to push aside these issues that I had and it kept me engaged in the story.

For all of the rather useless information that was dumped throughout, Dahme definitely knows how to write suspense. I absolutely wanted to know if Sean had ulterior motives and if Patrick really was the slime that he appeared to be. I really did want to find out who was behind Nellie's death and whether Patrick's faithful housemaid was just a bit touched or if she was really dangerous.

Really, the best part was how Dahme connected something as innocuous as water filtration to something sinister. It's so subtle yet so horrifying but absolutely believable. In people's bids for power and money, I wouldn't put it past them to make sacrifices out of others. It's been done before and I have no doubt it'll be done again. So while Dahme was heavy-handed with the water works information at the beginning, it did serve a bit of a purpose later on in the story. I think it would have been just as effective without so much but since she's heavy into Philadelphia's water treatment herself, I think it's only natural that it would be front and center in a story like this.

The most infuriating part of the story for me was Rose's insistence at defending her husband despite all of the evidence overwhelming him. Maybe it was a voice of the time, which I do believe. But I'd like to think that even women who were bred to stand by their man would exhibit some kind of independent thought. And since we get to be in Rose's head for half the story, you'd be able to see if something like that cropped up. But how she'd melt at a touch from her husband and forget her worries made me want to scream. I couldn't stand it. It did get very bad towards the end and really colored my vision of Rose but keeping the time in mind, I'm wondering how many options she actually had.

The ending I found both too easy and nominally satisfying. It's a decent juxtaposition. I don't want to spoil it so I'll just say that it wrapped up really abruptly and I think it gave Rose an easy way out. It saved her from actually having to fight and stand up to anyone. That bothered me. But at the same time she did stand up to people, as much as a woman of that time could. So can I really fault her for not being stronger? I don't know. But I was, in some part of me, satisfied with the ending. It rounded out the story nicely and left Rose's life open. It ended in a good spot.

Overall, the suspense was good and if you stick with the plot, it will pick itself up pretty nicely. The story had it's pitfalls but the plot was good enough to just cancel all of that out. Not one of my favorite reads but I'd recommend it just to see how good suspense can be.

Ban Factor: Low - Another historical set in one of the prissiest times in American history. They're really digging if they find something they contest in this one.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Do They Know It's Christmas?

Every year I have the unrestrained need to bake around Christmas, simply because it's the only time of the year I allow myself to eat my favorite cookie, anginetti. If I went all unruly, I'd be the size of a house. So I figured I'd share not only another one of my favorite Christmas songs but some virtual cookies. Since I can't actually share them with all of you (holy crap, image the electric bill! not to mention my hands), I figured a photo is the next best thing. :) From left to right, anginetti (anise), biscotti (anise), amaretti (almond). Yum!

Giveaway Reminder!

Just a reminder that today's the last day to enter my Holiday Book Grab Giveaway! You don't want to miss your chance to win one of five surprise Christmas presents so be sure to get your entries in by midnight, EST, tonight! Good luck!

Things I've Learned from Books + 130

Independent thoughts save lives. Literally. Maybe next time EVERYONE is pointing their fingers at your husband and shoving evidence under your nose, you won't ignore it and end up buried alive. Maybe? Stand by your man only goes to far.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

80s Awesomeness! ~ 139

Nothing says awesome like a mogwai for a Christmas gift. Just don't feed it after midnight (then when the EFF are you supposed to feed it?), don't get it wet and if one has a mohawk, just throw it in a microwave now.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Freaky Friday :|: 139

Title: Funhouse
Author: Diane Hoh
Published: July 1990
Publisher: Point
Pages: 192

When the Devil's Elbow roller coaster goes off track, killing one teenager and maiming two others, everyone thinks it's just an accident . . . except Tess. She saw someone tampering with the track. Then another "accident" occurs in the Funhouse and Tess may have been the intended victim.

Dun dun dun! I think I may own this one. Buried somewhere in my stack o' cheese. I'll take it. Anything taking place at an amusement park is an immediate win for me. The Lost Boys has ruined me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

And so this is Christmas . . .

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Michelle Moran Giveaway!

I'm a big fan of Michelle Moran's books so to have the opportunity to help her celebrate the paperback release of MADAME TUSSAUD on December 27th, I was more than willing to get all over that.

So here's what's going on. First, be sure to head on over to the website for Michelle's Heads Will Roll Giveaway starting tomorrow, December 15th. The top ten people with the most liked photos of themselves at Madame Tussaud's will win a signed copy of MADAME TUSSAUD!

But right now you don't have to wait. Now I'm giving away a signed paperback copy of MADAME TUSSAUD along with a pair of earrings (look below!)! Awesome, right? And three other winners will get a signed bookplate! How's that for Christmas presents?

You know the drill. Just fill out the form below for your chance to win!
  • Open to US residents 13 years of age and older only.
  • Must be a follower of this blog to enter.
  • One entry per person per email address.
  • Duplicate entries will be deleted.
  • Giveaway ends 12/21 at midnight, EST.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lily Renee, Escape Artist by Trina Robbins

Published November 1, 2011.

In 1938, Lily RenĂ©e Wilheim is a 14-year-old Jewish girl living in Vienna. Her days are filled with art and ballet. Then the Nazis march into Austria, and Lily's life is shattered overnight. Suddenly, her own country is no longer safe for her or her family. To survive, Lily leaves her parents behind and travels alone to England. Escaping the Nazis is only the start of Lily's journey. She must escape many more times—from servitude, hardship, and danger. Will she find a way to have her own sort of revenge on the Nazis? Follow the story of a brave girl who becomes an artist of heroes and a true pioneer in comic books. (

I'm always amazed by the survival stories that come out of occupied Europe, and Lily Renee's is no different. For such a young girl to have to leave home alone, travel to a foreign country where she barely knows the language and try to ride out the war, it's amazing adults were able to do it, let alone a girl that was barely a teenager. But she did it and it really puts the trials in one's life into perspective. Escaping from the Nazis, then from prejudiced English, traveling to America and then fighting adversity to become a pioneering name in comics kind of makes the daily grind of one's life pale in comparison.

But she did it without a thought about it. It was survival mode and Lily did what she had to do to make it. The story is a simple one, told in simple language but it doesn't need to be dressed up. The story itself is already grand. Flowery prose need not apply. Plus the illustrations to go along with it make it stand out all the more. As if you couldn't picture Lily's story in your head just from the words, the images were there to help. Rich and colorful and sometimes frightening, Robbins didn't hold the story back and Timmons and Oh were relentless with the illustrations. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

Whereas something like MAUS, while amazing, is probably too graphic for a younger audience, LILY RENEE tells a realistic story without being gruesome so it makes it a little more easily digestible for a younger reader that might not be able to handle the images in like comics. It'll make them see without making them see too much and it does it without sugarcoating. I'd like to see LILY RENEE, ESCAPE ARTIST in all classrooms as a teaching tool, it's just that good. It's just one of many stories coming out of that time and I'm glad it did. It shows a fight of will and of character and I think everyone should be reading stories like this, just to see what real survival is.

Ban Factor: Low - It's a vanilla historical graphic novel free of swears and anything lewd. Unless banners are offended by the troubles of a young girl escaping Nazi-occupied Europe, they're going to keep their grubby hands off of this one.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why Your Emails Get Deleted Unanswered

  • Because you call me Bites.
  • Because you call me LitBites.
  • Because you call me nothing at all.
  • Because you send me mass emails and I've never worked with you before.
  • Because you're self-published.
  • Because I've never worked with you before.
  • Because you send me your entire manuscript as a PDF attachment.
  • Because you shower me with praise for my blog but can't get my name right.
  • Because you tell me you've read my policy and yet you still insist on contacting me.
  • Because you actually have read my policy, quote from it, and request anyway.
How to remedy this -
  • If you've never worked with me before, don't bother formatting an email let alone sending one. Read why here.
  • Get my name right. It's all over my blog. There's no reason why you should be calling me Bites.
  • Take me off of your mass emailing list or I will spam you.
  • Don't send me anything as an attachment, ESPECIALLY if I've never worked with you before. Don't be presumptuous in thinking I'm actually going to read anything you send me, ESPECIALLY if it's 400 fucking pages.
  • Don't lie to me. It's a bad foot to get off on. And I will know if you're lying. It will be heinously obvious.
  • Your mom may think you're special, but I don't. Don't read my review policy and decide you're so super awesome that you should still request a review. You're not. Your tactic will fail.
Quite frankly, I really don't care that my review policy and it's update post are a little lengthy. If you want any iota of hope of me reading your work, you'll read it and follow it as closely as humanly possible or I will release your email into the internet void like a fart into a hurricane. I may not present myself as a professional in connection with my blog but that doesn't mean professionalism should be checked at the door when authors are trying to get their books read. Do it right and save yourself a lot of time. I respond to all of my emails. If you don't get a response from me, even if it's a nice decline, it means you sent me an email when you shouldn't have because you couldn't be bothered to actually read my policy. Which, in turn, means I couldn't be bothered to consider your email.

So, at the end of the day, all you have to do is read my policy. I'm not taking on any more new books at this time and I'll only accept reviews from an approved list which only I know. If you don't think you're on that list, you're probably not. Listen to your gut. If you're self-published, don't even bother, even when I lift my restrictions. I'm not reviewing your books. Considering the bulk of the review request emails I get are from self-pubbed authors, it only furthers my belief that they're unprofessional and it probably reflects in their work. No, I don't feel bad about it. Why? Because they shouldn't be emailing me to begin with. If they read my policy, they'd know that.

READ MY POLICY. I didn't create it because I was bored. If you can't bother, neither can I. And for the love of fuck don't think you're better than it and attempt to request a review anyway. You'll only anger me immensely and I might be so inclined to respond. Trust me. In that instance, that's the last thing you want. At this point, I'm just fucking tired of people not being able to follow directions. As seemingly educated adults, it really shouldn't be this big of a problem. It saddens me on the inside that it is.

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