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Do you journal? WAIT?! Don’t leave yet.

I know, I know. People blather on about journalling and why you should do it. I’ve even done it in an old blog from almost 4 years ago. And I stand by it.

HOWEVER…

Bad me. I’ve been a shitty journaller and there’s been huge swaths of time between my entries. I took a look this morning and realized I hadn’t journalled since February 3, 2018.

Soooo much has happened in my life since February, good and bad. From negatives such as the death of my beloved pug and snuggle partner, Bosco, and my formidable Nanny who was 90 years old, to the Hubs getting knee surgery and being off work for 3 months, to finding out I was pregnant and then miscarrying in the span of a handful of days, to more positive events such as having 2 books published by Oghma Creative Media and getting to travel to Arkansas for a writers retreat and another trip to Hawaii with the Hubs and long-time friends.

Bosco boy. Forever missed.

8 months of my life fit into a tidy 6 pages. That was it. I could have broke it all down to the details and emotions that filtered through each event, but it’s been some time and those feelings have already faded. As a writer I would need to delve deep into them to express them properly and crying isn’t really my bag. Not today. So I settled for an update as if catching up with a friend I hadn’t talked to in some time.

There’s no wrong way to do it and people do it for various reasons in varying ways. Some scribble about their day. Some take the pen in their fist and angrily vent their greatest annoyances to get it out on the page and out of their heads. All ways are meant to be cathartic or purposeful. For me, today, it was a chance to look at the last 8 months of my life and see all that happened. Time speeds on. No doubt I forget important details I could have included, but these were the events that found me.

I always hope I’ll get back to journallying the way I used to, but life has changed since then. Work is busy and stressful – expected at a homeless shelter – and when I’m not working shift work, I’m working at my writing and getting book 3, 4, and 5 ready for publishing, so essentially, I’m always working.

If nothing else, my entries proved I haven’t spent much time living life or having fun. It’s now Autumn, my favourite season. So I also took a few snaps this morning of the backyard in full Autumn colours. Someone PLEASE learn how to freeze the season so I can have it all year.

Where’s a true Magic when you need one?

 

Original Question:

While I have to sort of laugh at myself for starting the advice question with “I have a friend” but:

I have a friend who is a fellow author. She asked me to read a work in progress ages ago and asked for constructive criticism. I gave her my thoughts. She recently self published the work and asked for reviews. I asked her if she had changed anything from last time. She said yes but from what I can see from my former notes as well as comparing the two files, there weren’t any changes. I had loads of notes and feel like I couldn’t give an honest review because it feels like she is expecting a friendly positive review…it’s not bad it’s just that I guess it’s really not my cup of tea. Do I write a review or do I simply shrug off the review by telling the friend/author that the book genre really isn’t my style (although it is)? If I write a review, should I be honest or should I give her what she wants? Thanks for the advice.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Slice of Advice:

When someone asks for our help and then doesn’t take it, it can be frustrating because you ask yourself why they bothered to ask in the first place. The problem in that thinking is that they didn’t promise to use every piece of your advice, they just asked you what you thought. Helping others out is noble, but expectations they’ll follow any advice needs to remain low. You don’t know that they didn’t take your constructive criticism to heart, all you know is that they didn’t use every change you suggested.

As an author, I know the value of reviews is sometimes in the amount of reviews you get and not necessarily the average they create. You can still make an honest review without making it scathing in any way. Telling them the genre isn’t your style would sound like a blatant lie if they know you at all and will only complicate the situation, so I would stay clear of that option.

Remember, the review is for other readers not the author. Readers want to know if the story is worth their time so pick out something about the book you enjoyed and highlight that—without spoilers—or a character or scene you think that readers would want to know about in order to make a decision about buying the book.

Next time someone asks you to go over their book and to give advice, ask yourself if you’re prepared for them to completely ignore your advice. If you are, then proceed and have fun.

Good luck. It’s no easy position to be in.

If anyone has any further advice to give, remember your manners and add something in the comments.

Original Question:

I’ve been going back and forth about what to do with a book on suicide I’ve drafted over the past few months. It currently sits around 200 pages and includes everything from sex, abuse, and personal stories in between. I want to copyright it and provide it freely because there is such a huge industry revolving around life coaching and people who exploit those who are vulnerable.

I also implicitly state that I’m also hoping to create an audience for my writing. At the same time, I’m concerned I too will draw the wrong attention and it may just be perceived as airing my families dirty laundry. The bulk of the work I want attention for is my fantasy writing which I wanted to release at the same time. So if people wanted to support me they could purchase the fantasy work. I know there’s a lot to process here so thanks very much in advance!

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

Slice of Advice:

Let’s tackle the first book. It sounds like a purge piece you hope others will identify with and help them through their own experiences. I love these because they reinforce the notion of everyone having family secrets or traumas and experiences they hide and making them public removes the stigma of feeling the need to hide them. Good for you for even flirting with the idea of putting it out there. Is it airing dirty laundry? Hells yeah it is, but it’s been stinking up the whole house for far too long. I say shake it out on the front porch and let the neighbours stare. Before you know it, they’ll have their own hanging from their porch swing and you’ll all be chatting about it over the sounds of sweeping the remanence of all the shame and embarrassment onto the front lawn.

Expect to encounter a neighbour or family member who will slam their doors on you or try dragging you back into the fog of seclusion, but persist, and understand that they too are allowed their embarrassment, but it doesn’t mean you have to squat in it with them. A range of emotions will hit you when you hand over the first copy to someone or post somewhere public. Feel what you need to but ensure some of that is pride for refusing to remain hidden.

Your story, your perspective, your voice.

You said you wanted to distribute it for free. There’re many ways to do this—make available on blog and all social media venues, donating to a library or organization who helps those with similar experiences in your book, talk about it on a local radio show, share with other bloggers, etc.—as long as you still plan to do everything you would for any other published works including getting a cover artist and editor to ensure the content is tight and readable. Which means it won’t be free for you, so be prepared to put out some cash without the expectation of a return, though it sounds like you’re okay with this.

Bridging the gap between a non-fiction novel and a fiction novel isn’t easy, though I do know someone who is in the process of doing this. They’re using their same name for both titles, but there was discussion on if they should use a pseudonym for one or the other. That’s a personal question you’ll need to mull over if you haven’t already.

They’re different genres with different audiences. The only thing they have in common is you, so using one to create an audience for the other is tricky. As you post things about your non-fiction novel, you can direct them back to your website where they will see that you write in multiple genres but treat them as the two different beasts they are as your marketing game will need to be on point and there’s lots of books out there that can help.

Check out Rachel Thompson’s book ’30-Day Book Marketing Challenge’ and her site in general. She’s an advocate for many things and the book helps with all genres.

Whatever you choose to do, ensure you take extra care of yourself and any raw feelings the non-fiction book may cause. Choose a pace that works for you and reach out if things become overwhelming.

Good luck!

If anyone has any further advice to give, remember your manners and add something in the comments.

Original Question:

Hey Sami-Jo, here’s a question for your advice column. How do you help a family member who is becoming increasingly paranoid and anxious and clearly needs help, but refuses to believe they have a problem and need help? This person has stressed out his wife of many decades to the point where she’s ready to divorce him (although she has said that before). I suspect the answer is “you can’t help someone who doesn’t want help”, but I promised I’d try to help them figure it out. Based on the results of my googling, there may not be a solution, but if you want to tackle this one, go ahead. And thanks for listening, oh wise advice columnist.

Photo by Matthew Bennett on Unsplash

Slice of Advice:

Helping anyone through a mental health crisis is difficult. Helping family is worse. Things tend to degrade into personal jabs and lashing out in ways meant to hurt the other because they have personal information to chuck at them. Having someone else without any stakes in the situation is always better, but difficult to get involved when the person in crisis won’t admit they need help.

Since the person in this case is a senior, it can be difficult to separate age and mental health related symptoms. You said the man has been stressing out his wife, but not for how long, my concern is this may be Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease in which case I would recommend the wife and/or other supports look into those resources to see if they have a way to become involved in a natural way to lessen the paranoia or feelings of collusion. A doctor or relevant medical professional can also do this.

If there’s been a change in medications, even ones for blood pressure or ones unrelated to any mental health specific, they could cause these issues as well. I also wonder if they get regular physicals where a doctor may be able to track any changes.

The previous threat to leave was not followed through with, so the husband may not believe them and categorizes it as empty threats. You’re right, you can’t help those who refuse help. Though, the issue here isn’t just the husband suffering mental health symptoms, but the wife who is suffering because of them as well.

They can try and broach the subject with the husband about getting help, with the addition of any added information they may get from a medical professions or resource like the Alzheimer’s Society or Schizophrenia resources if those are the symptoms they’re experiencing, but not to do so until they’re ready to take action with their own welfare.

If the paranoia and anxiousness is to the point they’re experience abuse because of it, then it would benefit for them to be able to stay with family or friends, but they would need to figure this out before broaching the conversation since it could result in further abuse or no change from the husband. Moving out doesn’t need to lead to a divorce but putting their safety and well-being first is sometimes a step towards a better outcome. Personal boundaries are important, and they can still be a source of support for their husband outside of the house.

If the wife doesn’t want to leave, this is also understandable. ‘For better or for worse’ is a vow many people will take to their graves. In this case, I would recommend they look into resources for themselves. One-on-one counselling with an abuse counsellor, support groups for family experiencing the same mental health symptoms as their loved one, or even crisis services through an over the phone organization to get her through the moment of crisis and help give perspective and clarity.

No matter if her husband wants to seek help she needs to help herself. The whole giving yourself oxygen first on a plummeting plane is the easiest analogy here. She needs help as much as he does, and she needs it first before she can help him.

I don’t know the city to look up resources, free or otherwise, but you can help her by doing a simple Google search, making a few calls, and/or attending preliminary appointments or support groups with her depending on how much you want to get involved.

I hope they work out a way to help their husband that includes helping themselves.

 

If anyone has any further advice to give, remember your manners and add something in the comments.

Hey guys!

Huh? Well, that was easy. Arm in arm with the anonymity of a keyboard and editing options, saying hello to a bunch of strangers is simpler than blinking. Walking through the doors of McCormick Place in Chicago and seeing the thousands of people milling around ranging from readers, bloggers, authors, librarians, advertisers, publishers, and anything else you could possibly think of that’s related to the publishing world, PLUS the expectation to talk to them and make future contacts?

Cha’right bud.

Simple eye contact was a no-go. It granted permission for people to talk to you, to ask questions, to hand you something you might not want, and to seek something from you that you might not have to give.

Smiling was an invitation I couldn’t commit to so chances were my resting bitch face was securely in place.

Out of my comfort zone is, well, uncomfortable. Obviously. But I did push myself to make conversation when I had something to say and handed out a Fabulous Fictionistas bag with all the ladies info inside to at least 5 people. Okay, maybe 4. But they were a great marketing tool for someone comfortable reaching into the cavern of possible rejection.

Pointing out which Fabulous Fictionistas were the outgoing type was a cinch. They were the ones running around making contacts and finding old ones to reinforce plans. I’d like to think one day I’ll have the fortitude to do so as well, but this year – my first book conference and year as a published author – was not my year.

I did find ways to learn, even if observational rather than active.

I learned Disney had great breakfast foods and wearable swag.

 

Daphne and Sami-Jo enjoy the wonders of sustenance and wearable swag

Daphne and Sami-Jo enjoy the wonders of sustenance and wearable swag

 

I learned most companies had stacks of books to give to people and would rather have you take it than cart it back home. So I collected a crap ton of free ARCs (advanced reader copies).

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FREE BOOKS!

 

And had a wonderfully painful time of lugging them around and then fitting them in my suitcase and carry-on while remaining under flight weight requirements.

One thing the venue could have used was a reading nook to get cozy with them while you rested your sore bodies, but the most you got was the cafeteria.

So while it seems the event may have been a waste of time since the whole purpose is to network, it wasn’t. Learning is different for all and, in this case, I like to think of my experience as laying the foundation for future years and experiences of whats expected of me. I went in blind and emerged aware of my current limitations and of those peaks I’d like to reach.

Worth every penny.

Also, I got to meet ALL of The Fabulous Fictionistas. They are as amazing as they promised and I had an hilarious time getting to know them in person and learning a plethora of knowledge to use for my future as an author while we all work as a team on the path to rule the world.

BEA17 is in New York and I can’t wait to meet up again. Maybe 2017 will be the year I talk to more than 5 people.

As an introvert these things are difficult. Have any fellow introverts out there found ways to use this as an advantage? Or to bypass the shyness and do more than chat about the overpriced water? (Because I failed in that mission as well).

If so, let me know. 😀

 

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Click cover for Goodreads Page

 

 

Genre: YA Thriller/Horror

 

Synopsis:

Violet Sumner has a stalker.
Between her largely dysfunctional family of two and the friends she doesn’t feel particularly close to, Violet thinks he’s the least of her problems. What she fails to understand is that the guy is no prankster and soon people turn up dead or missing. Because of her.
Things change when Violet’s best friend disappears and realization sinks in that the stalker means business. Denial put aside, Violet has no other option but to accept the help of police Sergeant Willard Kelley and his rather sweet protégé, to come to terms with the seriousness of the situation.
Yet nothing could’ve prepared her for her close up with the psycho.
Who will survive in this tale of obsession and misplaced devotion?

 

My Star Rating: 3-5stars

 

My Review:
Violet’s life was turned upside down at a young age by tragedy, but with ample caffeine and amusing snark she manages better than most. When odd things start happening, she fluffs it off as the lesser of problems in her life, until they become unavoidable and people start paying for her inattention.

 

Monica-Marie Vincent brings her readers on a journey with Violet as she navigates a cruel world and somehow picks up a stalker. While Violet tries to figure out what’s going on, we meet a cast of lovable characters, even ones you love to hate, with depth and intrigue that has you wanting to know more about them. Hard part is deciphering which one has the craftiness and psychopathic tendencies to unravel Violet’s already tenuous grasp on life.

 

Roses are Red…Violet is Dead is classified as YA, Violet being 17 years old, so readers should be aware of language and sexual references for that age group. Having been a 17 year old girl, I thought it was still rather tame, yet realistic, and enjoyed the honest banter. Violet is someone you could picture having out with around the cafeteria table, catching a movie with, and lounging at the local coffee shop and chatting with for hours.

 

If you’re looking for a teen thriller without the normal supernatural angles, pick up Roses are Red…Violet is Dead and get guessing who hatched the plan to get Violet’s full attention. I guarantee you’ll be wrong the first few guesses.

 

Enjoy an excerpt:
“Can I get a tall black coffee to go, please?” he asked as he whisked past me to the counter.
            Jordan nodded and grabbed the cup, casting a worried look in my direction. She hadn’t missed that I wasn’t comfortable with Colton. Her movements were swift, but for some reason they seemed like slow motion to me. It took everything I had to glance up at Colton’s face. Since when was he a fan of coffee?
            Colton’s posture was relaxed as he leaned on the counter, smirking in my direction. “Fancy meeting you here, Vi,” he fired off cockily. He chuckled as he handed Jordan money with one hand and took the coffee with the other.
            “Well, I’m here every morning. What’s your excuse?” I rolled my eyes as I put my hand on my hip, my spine straightening to my full height of five-foot-four.
            “Decided I needed a little ‘pick me up’. What’s better than a nice steaming cup of coffee?” He held up his cup like he was going to cheers with mine. I clutched my cup a little closer to my chest.
            “Didn’t you have to drive out of your way to get here?” I refused to meet his gaze.
            “Yeah, so?” He challenged.
            “So? Coffee isn’t even your thing.” I stepped back and held my chin up defiantly.
            “I wanted to come and see a friend. Is that OK?” He flashed his notorious megawatt smile.
            “Colton, we’re not friends. Shelby and I are friends. You and Blake are friends. But you and I, we’re not friends.” I gestured between us, emphasizing my point.
            “Yeah, because you are the only reason in the world that I would come here.” He licked his lips as he pushed himself into a standing position. A predatory smile emerged. “Aren’t we a little full of ourselves this morning?”
            I could feel all of the blood draining out of my face and into my feet. Feet that refused to move toward the door. Silently, I tried to will Jordan to say something, anything, but she had made herself busy behind the counter. My dry mouth couldn’t form any words to rebut what Colton had said. All that was missing was for me to be standing there in my underwear like one of those nightmares where you go to school naked, only I was standing in the middle of Starbucks.
            “It doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to be such a bitch to me. I’m your best friend’s boyfriend. Maybe it’s time you come to terms with that.” A slow, smug smile spread across his face.
            “Whatever. I’m going to be late.” I tossed my hair over my shoulder, turned to wave at Jordan, and fled the store like he was chasing me.

 

 FREE GIVEAWAY! Follow the link for chances to win a signed copy!

Where to buy:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1B2SLqV

B&N: http://bit.ly/1C2rAzb

iTunes: http://apple.co/1IfCSm3

Author Bio and Contacts:

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Monica-Marie Vincent:
Monica-Marie Vincent writes Young Adult novels about troubled teens and even more troubled parents. She currently lives in Sacramento, CA although she would rather be in her home town of San Francisco. Thanks to her very put upon husband Monica-Marie is always well stocked with coffee, Diet Coke, and Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos, so she wouldn’t have to move away from her writerly lair to do mundane things like shopping.

As mentioned in my author bio, and for anyone who knows me, I LOVE pugs. Their chubby little bodies, big watery eyes, and curly tails, they have the makings of a cute factory built into their punched-in faces and I can’t get enough.

For anyone who owns Pugs you are aware that they are precious assholes for many reasons, but first, here’s my fur babies.

 

      BOSCO

      7 years old, fawn coloured, male, territorial pisser 

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MORTIMER

Bosco’s son, 1 year old, mix-coloured, male, destroyer of couches

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We love them both. Losing either would leave us devastated, but these fur babies (like any babies I imagine) can be such buggers while still being your whole world. Here’s some reasons why we love/hate Pugs.

PUG POSITIVES

Irresistible: Cuteness factor surpasses the ability to NOT squish their faces. LOOK AT THEM! Those eyes are always sad, even when they’re happy. The perpetual ‘puppy-dog eyes’ set to Break Your Heart mode 24/7. And those noses and curly tails are an overload of joy. Have you seen a Pug pant? They smile and their tongue hangs out…so cute.

Durable: Pugs are a small breed but by no means fragile. They play fight with the bigger dogs without hesitation, no fear, no thought they could be chomped to death in one bite, they just want what that King Sheppard has and they’ll get squirrelly in order to make it theirs. This also means you don’t have to worry about them jumping off the couch and breaking something. Tight hugs and rough-housing are an everyday occurrence.

Cuddles: Pugs are HUGE cuddlers. If you need some cuddles, Pugs are there every time. Their little bodies are like a heat pack for your sore back or upset stomach. Like most animals, they’re good at sensing your emotions and will be on your lap or in your face trying to make you feel better.

People Friendly: Pugs LOVE people so they’re great for company and kids. If you’ll show them some attention and pet them, or have food, they’re all over you, trying to sit in your lap or lick your face. Just give in. The payout is precious.

Energy/sleep: These high energy pups will tear through the house knocking over anything in their way, but once they stop they sleep for hours, which leads to loads more cuteness.

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Bosco (back) and Mort tired out after some play time.

 

Unfortunately, Pugs come with some not-so-pretty issues. Since you love them, you deal, but you should be aware before you add one to your family.

PUGNACIOUS PUPS

Separation Anxiety: Pugs don’t like to be alone, and when they are, they like to make you regret it. 10609366_10152890594118488_120740000_nHere’s a picture of my couch arm Mort destroyed one day and he had others pups with him. Now picture it along the entirety of both couch arms down to the wood. Yup, we ditched this couch. Bosco has done worse but I don’t have pictures. He’s chewed everything possible and somehow got into a container of butter, slathered himself with it, and then ran all over the house. Pugs need other dogs or people with them, so it’s not good for them to be alone for elongated periods of time while at work or out of house. Yes, they will follow you into the bathroom room and even the shower/tub if you let them. They hate being without you.

Health Issues: Because of the very things that make them cute, Pugs have a variety of potential health issues.

  1. Muzzle formation can cause tiny or collapsible nasal passages creating difficulty breathing.
  2. Multiple eye issues that can all lead to blindness. Also, the eyes get the brunt of damage with no snout to protect them. Poor Bosco has damaged one with a stick and now both have a discolouration growing from the inside of the eye and slowly blacking out his vision.
  3. Their mouths are formed in a way that makes it difficult for water to wash away particulates in their mouths, which if not cared for manually by the owner, can lead to decay or extractions.
  4. Their face folds need to be cleaned and monitored frequently. Too dry or too wet and they could crack and become infected. Since they have to put their whole faces into their food and water bowls, they get debris stuck and it can rot. It’s amazing how quickly the face folds get gunky.

I could go over 20+ more and only scratch the surface, intestinal issues, knee issues, many others, so please DO NOT get a Pug unless you have a great vet and intentions on using them regularly, as well as the time to devote to your fur baby.

Stubborn: Training can be a test of wills. Ours sit, give a paw, come when called, but all of these are done when they feel like it. Think of a Pugs attitude like a cats. They want to please you, but in the moment if they’re really not feeling it, they don’t try. Instead, they look at you with the cutest eyes ever and try and get away with anything and everything possible. With this comes an issue with clipping their nails. Bosco always hated it, and we blamed ourselves for not doing it enough at home, so with Mort I was diligent in cutting his nails multiple times a week to get him used to it. Nope. As soon as he got a bit older and realized what was going on, he would fight against it like I was trying to remove his feet from his body.

High Energy: This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it means you need to provide a lot of play time and outdoor space for them to run and play. They may be small but when they get those pudgy bodies moving the momentum has them knocking over chairs and people. If you don’t run them tired, they have plenty of energy to get destructive. They get bored. If they’re awake and don’t want to play with the over-priced toys you bought for them to gut in 24 hours, then they find stuff to get into and the result isn’t always fun to clean up later. We found that after 3 years Pugs tend to slow down. Bosco is chill and hangs out (yes on our desks), but Mort is a ball of energy as most puppies are. Pugs are not little lap dogs that shiver and shake. They need to be active.

Just like with kids, Pugs have their positives and negatives, but are worth it if you have the time to make their lives happy. And when my mother-in-law got her own Pug bundle, Desiree, and Bosco and Desiree were left alone for a few minutes too long, we suddenly had a family on our hands.

1615059_10152357480453488_2030031925_n1011211_10152357565538488_378372059_nWe kept one pup – Mortimer – originally because he was born pure black, but he changed colours. A bugger from the womb. The light one in the middle is ‘Shadow’ and she now lives with my Aunt and Uncle. The other was named ‘Emma’ and now has a great owner who owns another Pug who needed a pal. Raising them was exhausting and I NEVER want to do it again. Ever. But I’m glad we did it this once.

If you want a companion who is small but full of attitude and needs you like your best friend, then a Pug is for you.

 

 

 

 

Plus, LOOK AT THOSE FACES!

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Baby Mortimer.

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Sleepy Mort

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Bosco cuddling with my brother

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Loving sitting on my desk. Such a clown.

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Mortimer, sick of pictures

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Bosco as a baby

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Bosco-bugger stealing a hair tie and hiding under the bed

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Mortimer wishing the tub was lower so he could jump in

 

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Click cover photo for Goodreads page

 

**Any spoilers are unintentional and I apologize in advance if I let any slip that ruin the story for you. The purpose of the reviews are to highlight books I’ve read as part of a personal reading and blogging challenge for 2015. Read here for my personal expectations. I have not been asked by authors to do these reviews, I’m just reviewing as I read.**

Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal – YA (Young Adult)

Synopsis: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography.

 

My Star Rating:

4 stars

 

My Review:

After given this book from mother with the only description of “It’s weird. Just read it and tell me what you think.” I had to give it a try. Sifting tumblr_m3rxb53fhf1qe5r69o1_500through it before reading, the first thing I noticed was pictures. I haven’t read a picture book in many years, and as soon as I saw the odd photos, I was already hooked. To my extreme delight, as you’ll find explained in the back of the book, besides some “minimal postprocessing, they (the photographs) are unaltered.” Saved from flea markets and old trucks, Riggs uses photos from the collections of 10 others (including the cover photo), injecting them into the narrative to illustrate Jacobs journey in finding answers about fairy tales his grandfather told him all his life.

Drawing me into his world of creepiness (my favorite), I wanted to know the answers as much as Jacob. Not a typical supernatural thriller, Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children are rather desperate and hanging on to old notions of life Jacob finds difficult to understand. With a mix of history, not only in the vintage photographs but in the story as well, Jacob navigates this odd turn of events as well as any storybook bumbling hero who is everything but a hero, but strives to save those he cares about in a time and place he knows little about.

peregrine2Miss Peregrine is an odd old bird keeping the whole lot in line. Her children her life as she keeps care of them like a school house head mistress. Each child with their own story and Riggs pairs them well with these creepy photographs.

The deserted island in Wales hosts a wealth of interesting characters you want to pull up a bar stool and chat with, if you can understand them. The world Riggs created alongside this island a place you could picture getting lost on and finding folks like Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children.

For a sixteen year old kid who had a life designed for him while in diapers, Jacobs finds himself on a journey all his own.

Read for the adventure, linger on the vintage photos, and imagine yourself in the life Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children live. Running away to a circus will seem boring in comparison.

 ransom

 

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Also find: The sequel ‘Hollow City’

Author Bio and Contacts:

3046613 I grew up in Florida, went to Kenyon College in Ohio, then film school at USC in LA, where I still live. I write books and screenplays, blog daily for mentalfloss.com, and make short films.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is my first novel. I’m really excited about it — it was challenging and rewarding and I hope people like it. If you read that and like the found photographs in it, you might be interested in a book comprised entirely of found photographs that I have coming out January 2012 from HarperCollins. It’s called Talking Pictures. You can find sneak peeks by doing a search for “mental floss talking pictures” (I included a number of images in blogs there) and I made a kinda-sorta book trailer for it, which is on my youtube page: youtube.com/ransriggs.

Also, watch out for a Miss Peregrine book trailer, which I’m working on right now! I get to go to Belgium and film inside creepy abandoned chateaus, which I’m *really* looking forward to.

Website: http://www.ransomriggs.com

Twitter: @ransomriggs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ransom-Riggs/191481354199281

Those who don’t know me personally may be surprised (or maybe not) by the many creeptacular touches to my life. To me, these things add depth in an otherwise catalog existence I have no interest in becoming a part of.

Don’t get me wrong, I can point at any Ikea room and appreciate most items in the perfectly designed arrangement, but where’s the personality? If I wanted to point and order I could hit up a drive-thru.

No thanks.

Give me dark, gritty, and unpolished any day.

Among my most obvious creep-friendly items, is my choice in art.

 

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Angelina Wrona is a favorite. 8 of her prints adorn my walls with her girls captivating eyes and somewhat taboo themes. As soon as I bought one I wanted more, and the 8 I have are nothing compared to the amount I crave to add to them. So far I’ve held off, but only because where I normally buy them have moved in a different direction and are not selling them or changing up the ones they have as frequent.

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Along with wall art, there’s also a few desktop goodies…

 

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And cell wallpapers….

 

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And my own past attempts at photo-manipulations…

 

IMG_0023photo manipulation Dirty And Alone

 

Instead of stowing away your inner creep factor away until Halloween or so the in-laws don’t judge you, let it show all year around. Maybe it’s something more subtle as in a few pieces of jewelry or piercings, or something more in your face like full goth gear. Either way, your art shouldn’t be hidden, it should be celebrated and recognized as a part of who you are.

Let your freak flag fly, Dreamers and Screamers.

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Click cover photo for Goodreads profile

 

**Any spoilers are unintentional and I apologize in advance if I let any slip that ruin the story for you. The purpose of the reviews are to highlight books I’ve read as part of a personal reading and blogging challenge for 2015. Read here for my personal expectations. I have not been asked by authors to do these reviews, I’m just reviewing as I read.**

Genre: Paranormal Suspense – YA (young adult)

Synopsis: Heading off for a weekend in Las Vegas with her friends, Jessie Ralle has only one worry—how to make it through the road trip in the same car with her Ex, Jimmy Kelter. The guy who broke her heart five months ago when he dumped her for no reason. The guy who’s finally ready to tell her why he did it, because he wants her back.

But what Jessie doesn’t realize is that Jimmy is the least of her problems.

In Las Vegas she meets Russ, a mesmerizing stranger who shows her how to gamble, and who never seems to lose. Curious, Jessie wants to know his secret, and in response, alone in his hotel room, he teaches her a game that opens a door to another reality.

To Witch World.

Suddenly Jessie discovers that she’s stumbled into a world where some people can do the impossible, and others may not even be human. For a time she fears she’s lost her mind. Are there really witches? Is she one of them?

My Star Rating:

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My Review:

The synopsis leaves so many holes it’s difficult to review without spoiling, but I’ll do my best.

Witch World was a roller coaster for me. In the beginning I was unimpressed, made no connection with Jessie the main character, who I felt was dramactic and  arrogant, plus I couldn’t envision the direction Pike was headed and floundered on putting the book down all together. Then along came Russ and he peaked my interest as the first character worth my emotional investment.

Russ is an immediate mystery and captivated Jessie as much as he did me. While his description painted him deliciously, his prowess in gambling let us know something about him wasn’t normal, and as interaction between him and Jessie continued, so did my curiosity, keeping me flipping pages I thought I was done with.

Then the left hook hit and I fell in love and read for hours, losing sleep, and waking up for work with a reading hangover. When action scenes hit, Pike held me within the emotion of his characters and kept me holding on. Even when Witch World was introduced I wanted to discover the differences and understand the new game Russ taught Jessie.

The relationship between Jessie and Jimmy fell flat for me. I didn’t understand the love between them, but it’s possibly because Pike was so focused on Russ in the beginning, that Jimmy became insignificant and uninteresting in comparison. I’d like to say I understood, but I didn’t.

The duality of Jessie was confusing as well. We all have our polarizing aspects of personality, but Jessie’s felt forced by the author and lost authenticity. Something I found myself questioning and shaking my head at when it crept up into extreme actions and reactions that made no sense and had me disliking Jessie all the more.

At one point a significant death occurred. I was shocked. Not only at the fact this character was gone, but that not enough attention was brought to this fact. The disappointment made me want to shove the book into a snowbank, but I kept on hoping Pike would redeem himself and find a way for the reader to mourn the character. Nope. The opportunity never came.

Once I pushed away the disappointment in order to read on, I was clobbered by a history lesson. A few, actually. While I enjoy historical facts and the depth it brings to certain characters, this was too much, and I felt myself skimming, happy for it since it did nothing for the story but leave me dissatisfied again when a characters dies and I’m left wondering why.

I gave Witch World a 3-star rating because the plot points and characters that were good, were really good, but the others lacked depth and created frustration as the reader. I still think anyone who is a Pike lover should read this, but understand it won’t be the best piece of writing you’ve ever read, while won’t be the worst worst either. I’m all for making the reader feel a myriad of emotions, but it needs to be for the right reasons.

I do see there’s a sequel. And even though I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the first, I will still definitely check out the second and other Christopher Pike novels.

Where To Buy: Amazon.com – available in paper and ebook formats

Also Known For: Thirst Series (In my To Be Read Pile)

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Click cover photo for Goodreads link

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Bio and Contacts:

19954Christopher Pike is the pseudonym of Kevin McFadden. He is a bestselling author of young adult and children’s fiction who specializes in the thriller genre. McFadden was born in New York but grew up in California where he stills lives in today. A college drop-out, he did factory work, painted houses and programmed computers before becoming a recognized author. Initially unsuccessful when he set out to write science fiction and adult mystery, it was not until his work caught the attention of an editor who suggested he write a teen thriller that he became a hit. The result was Slumber Party (1985), a book about a group of teenagers who run into bizarre and violent events during a ski weekend. After that he wrote Weekend and Chain Letter. All three books went on to become bestsellers.

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CPikeForever

Simon and Schuster: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Christopher-Pike/1080960

Website: ChristopherPikeBooks.com (not working at time of review)