A reaction to reading TO SIRI WITH LOVE from an #actuallyautistic author.

You know. I started reading that horrific book as a bit of a whim, thinking it wouldn’t be that bad.

I’m the autistic mom of autistic kids, my husband is autistic, we value and appreciate our children and ourselves in pretty much every particular. Are there challenges? Absolutely. But they aren’t anything that neurotypicals don’t deal with, we just deal with them differently.

Usually by communication. We use text a lot with each other, because a lot of times it’s far easier to type or sign than it is to talk.

The point isn’t how we use adaptive technology to make our lives run smoothly, the point is that we communicate.

So I honestly, to the soul of me, didn’t understand how a mother could write and publish a book that would be anything except a joyful celebration of her child’s uniqueness.

I had hoped, foolishly, I guess, that the screenshots of the book I’d seen before reading it had somehow been… not so much taken out of context, but perhaps were just… I don’t even know, overblown maybe?

I didn’t understand how a mother could think those things about her brilliant child.

And never for a moment did I think, reading about Gus, that he’s anything less than brilliant.

He’s so smart I have a feeling he’s manipulating his mom because of how she so very clearly infantilizes him and shows overweening favoritism to his twin Henry, who is also autistic.

Though obviously, neither the author nor Henry know this. Henry shows all the markers of autism, he just presents differently.

We ALL present differently. Which is part of why autism is so hard for most people to recognize when they see it, and that absolutely includes so-called professionals (most of whom are neurotypical) in the field of diagnosis.

It’s a common reaction for autistics when we are abused by ABA practices (to learn to manipulate) especially if ABA therapies are impinged upon us by parents who believe the revolting bullshit that Auti$m $peaks tends to tout.

We learn to do everything in our power to protect ourselves, because we don’t have any choice.

This author… the things she does to both of her sons. It’s utterly appalling.

I can’t, even still, after reading that atrocity… I still can’t believe that a mother could write those things about her kids!

I can’t believe she’d share such personal things about her KNOWN autistic son, without his permission.

Without his knowledge.

Medical information, daydreams about having a ‘normal’ Gus… I just…

Reading that book broke something in me. It really did. It broke a faith I had that neurotypical society didn’t really hate me and the way I’m made.

And a couple of days after reading it and posting my review, I’m still shaken by it. I’m recovering, but it’ll take a week or more to regain my emotional equilibrium.

The outpouring of love and support I’ve received from the autistic community and a large number of neurotypical people have restored my faith in most of humanity.

“Autism parents”, however? They’re on my shit-list for life.

You can read my full review here, with links to the live-tweet threads I did as I broke it down, chapter by chapter.

If you want to know about the experience of being autistic, the hashtags #actuallyautistic and #askanautistic are far better resources than pretty much anything else I can think of.

 

Atypical

I’m apparently a masochist. (Why, yes, I actually did know that.) Because I just tried to watch the Netflix show Atypical.

I’m autistic, so are my kids.

My choosing to watch that show may possibly have been one of the most painful things I’ve ever inflicted upon myself (and considering I’m a recovered cutter, that’s rather saying a LOT.)

Breaking down the thought process that led me to that… I was annoyed that a show I liked (Musketeers shhhh, it was trash, but it was fun trash w/hot people in cool clothes and it didn’t irritate me too badly) had wrapped at three seasons.

AND I heard today that Atypical got renewed.

AND I saw some ppl in a facebook group I’m part of lauding what a wonderful show it was and how glad they were that it was renewed.

AND I’m sick with something flu-like and I can’t sleep.

AND I’m rather massively and perpetually annoyed at Netflix for constantly canceling diverse shows I adore. (Musketeers was a BBC and/or creator decision, not Netflix, SENSE8, Marco Polo and The Get Down was Netflix and I’m still sore about that.)

I still pay for the service for two reasons, 1) My kids like the cartoons and it’s better than letting them watch youtube vids when I need 30 seconds of peace. 2) I’m waiting on the Sense8 series finale.

Frankly? After that? If Netflix doesn’t clean up their game I’m out. It feels like they’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what will stick, then when they find something that people love (like any of the above mentioned shows) they pull it for whatever reasons they have. I’m betting on cis-allo-het-white supremacy by the people who run the joint, but hey. I’m annoyed at Netflix.

The first episode of Atypical (all I managed to get through) lasted 40 minutes. I did a thread on it for my twitter peeps.

It felt like a lot longer, and I think it took me three hours to get through with the number of comments I had about it. I will NOT be going back. I have no idea how any autist managed to get through it, though I’m pretty sure several have.

I’m left with the feeling that if that’s what most neurotypical peeps think of us? There’s no way on the goddesses green earth that you’ll ever understand us.

Because you don’t even try.

A mutual on twitter who is also autistic reached out and shared their threads, in case you’d like to see someone else’s opinion. Share with authors permission.

April is MUCH stronger than I am. I don’t even want to watch it for the coded autistic sister.

A general opinion thread on the show

 

Author Spotlight & Interview LEIGH M. LORIEN author of JIGS AND REELS

 

I’m pleased to kick off my series of authorial interviews with my friend Leigh who has a book out this week!

I loved JIGS & REELS, it’s a sweet, sexy m/m romance novella. It has voice that leaps off the page and grabs the reader by the throat. I’m picky, and I loved it at beta reading stage, the version I bought is going to be even better. 🙂

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I sent Leigh a list of nosy parker questions and here’s what she said.

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  • What do you write? Queer romance. Meaning I don’t just write cisgender/allosexual characters. I have asexual, aromantic, transgender, and nonbinary characters in the works.
  • Why do you write it? Because I can’t not. Because the world is diverse and I am queer and why shouldn’t I write it? I write because I don’t know how to stop, and there is a community—to which I belong—that desperately needs to see themselves in stories. I’m asexual, but I didn’t realize it until I was 26 or 27. I’ve never seen an asexual character in anything mainstream, and even in indie/not mainstream things, I had to go hunting to find asexual representation. I wonder how different the past ten years of my life could have been if I’d known about asexuality when I was in high school. So I want to help put more queer characters out there, because we need it. (woo, getting deep on the second question)
  • Where do you write? I usually write on my laptop, in bed. This often results in waking up at 2am and realizing I wrote 12 pages of the letter f. Woops.
  • How long have you been writing? I started writing as soon as I could physically write letters and words—I made Sonic the Hedgehog story books when I was 4 or 5 years old—but I developed the habit of writing when I was eleven. I discovered Dragonball Z one weekend, and then, on a four-hour car trip later that same week, I wrote a Dragonball Z fanfiction by hand on a legal pad in the back of my dad’s car. So I have been writing consistently for over 15 years, but I think I’ve been a writer/storyteller since I was a toddler.
  • When did you first realize you wanted to be an author? This is an odd question for me, because I’ve been writing for a long time, but I’ve never actually considered myself an author or taken my writing seriously. It was a hobby, something I do to blow off steam, something I do because the ideas keep popping into my head and I have no way to get them out if I don’t write. About a year ago, I was thinking about picking up a hobby that I could make money from (crafts or something) when I suddenly realized I already have that hobby. And thus began my pursuit of publication.
  • What do you enjoy most about the writing process? – The brainstorming. Coming up with ideas is so much more fun than molding them into things that make sense and stringing them together in a coherent plot. Nothing quite equals the excitement I feel when I’m coming up with new ideas, talking ideas over with other people—hell, I like to talk about/brainstorm other peoples’ ideas as much as I like to talk about my own.
  • Where do you find inspiration? Books, TV, music, movies, real life. My ideas start with the vaguest concept sometimes—an emotion I want to capture, a single line of a song, the dynamic between two people having a conversation in the grocery store, a picture of beautiful scenery. I can’t even do yard work without thinking up ideas for stories.
  • What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I like gardening, hiking, photography, running, and anything that involves cute animals.
  • How many books have you written, and which is your favorite? Why? If you count first drafts, I’ve written five. How many of those will see the light of day remains to be determined. My favorite is probably the one I’m currently revising, which is a contemporary romance with BDSM and an asexual character. The characters bond over steak dinner and a conversation about Star Trek on their first date. I’ve poured a lot of myself into this book.
  • Do you have any advice to other writers/authors? Don’t compare yourself to other writers! It’s not a competition. I know it’s tempting to compare your accomplishments to other peoples’, but don’t. The only person you should compare yourself to, is you. As long as you’re still moving forward, no matter how fast or slow, you’re doing just fine.
  • What do you think makes a good story? Likeable characters. I can let plot holes and worldbuilding issues slip under the radar as long as I’m wrapped up in the characters’ emotions and struggles.
  • As a kid, what did you want to do when you grew up? As a child, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I love animals. As an adult, I realized I don’t have the constitution for that line of work. I’ll stick to adopting too many pets and pay someone else to handle the boo-boos and icky stuff.
  • Do you read a lot? What are your favorite genres? I don’t read as much as I should, but I love urban fantasy, science fiction, crime/mystery, and romance.
  • Where did your love of books/writing come from? I can thank my mother for that. My mother read to me when I was little. She read me a lot of Dr. Seuss, which she enjoys, and she enjoyed reading it to me, so I think I just naturally learned to associate books with joy and fun. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love books.
  • Who are some of your favorite authors who you feel have been most influential to your writing?I can’t point fingers at the authors who got me started on romance, because I blame fanfiction for that, but I can point fingers at some who influenced how I write. When I first started writing around age eleven, my voice was influenced by Douglas Adams and Lemony Snicket. More recently, it’s Jim Butcher and Kevin Hearne. That kind of dry, dark, sarcastic, witty humor… except way more queer than any of the above. 😀

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Blurb & Excerpt:

LENGTH: 18,020 words
RATING: flame rating 3

Elijah works in a cubicle, lives with his parents, and never goes on dates. It isn’t an exciting life, but it’s safe and easy and that’s good enough.

Then he meets Peter, a whirlwind of a man who leads a traveling renaissance band. Peter represents everything Eli usually avoids, but his boisterous enthusiasm is infectious… and his band needs a fiddle player.

When Eli agrees to fill in for a weekend, he awakens a part of himself he thought long gone. With Peter’s help, he shakes off the dust that has settled on his soul and remembers how to have fun.

But when the band asks him to join them permanently, is Eli’s newborn sense of adventure — and insane crush on a man he barely knows — enough to make him leave the safety of a life he’s clung to for years?

EXCERPT:

“Wait, what?” My heartrate spiked and I swallowed against a sudden wave of nausea. No one had mentioned this before. Morrison’s? We hadn’t practiced Morrison’s. I knew the tune, but man, I was not prepared for this. The past few days were really pushing the limits of my spontaneity for the week. Month. Hell, I hadn’t been this spontaneous in years. Seeing my anxiety, Peter caught my shaky hand as I reached for a bottle of water. My eyes widened and I glanced around, but everyone else had better things to do than watch my every move.

“Hey,” he said softly, and brought my hand to his lips for a kiss, like an old-fashioned gentleman. “You’ll be great. You know these songs, you’ve been on stage before, nothing is different.”

“No?” I said in a choked whisper. He wasn’t letting go of my hand. His skin was soft, smooth as silk, warm, and dry. Well, it had been dry before he’d grabbed my sweaty mitt. “I don’t know you guys at all. I’m going to fuck up, I’m going to miss a cue or, or, play a song too fast or too slow or get up there and forget how to play everything I’ve ever learned. I’m going to be too stiff, people are going to look at me and think I’m a zombie or something, some kind of weird fiddle-playing corpse, an animatronic fiddler. I don’t move around much, that was something Toby always told me, too. My ex … band leader. Toby. He got on my case, said if I was going to be so still I might as well just sit in a chair for all the more entertaining I was on stage. I have no stage presence. I just –”

Soft fingers touched my lips. He didn’t put any pressure on me, but the mere presence of the touch made me shut up. “Shh,” Peter cooed. He met my eyes and smiled, but it wasn’t an impish, teasing smile this time. It was gentle and earnest. “You’re not going to forget those songs.” The fingers brushed back along my cheek until he cupped my jaw in his palm, thumb coming to rest on my lower lip. Why was I just standing there like an idiot? Do something! Those bright eyes had me hypnotized. I couldn’t have pulled away if I’d wanted to.

And I didn’t want to. It had been way too long since I’d had affection. Hell, even if it had just been last week, I figured Peter would have been able to entrance me. He just had that energy about him, that insane, hell bent for leather, bright-eyed confidence like he could go out the door one day intending to get the newspaper and end up taking over the world. Katie had a similar sort of energy. I was drawn to it like a stupid moth to a lamp. And, much like a stupid moth, I could not actually obtain that energy for myself. I just bounced around it until it became too much to handle and I dropped.

“We’ve had two fiddlers since we got together, and a couple other temp stand-in members,” Peter said, still holding my hand, still caressing my lip with his thumb. “We’re used to adjusting to new members, but I don’t foresee it being an issue. You and I click, musically. You pick up on cues like a pro.”

“Well,” I said, my voice matching his soft timbre, “you’re not exactly subtle.”

Peter laughed. “No time in life for pussy-footing around.” He let go of my hand and brought his other hand up to cup my other cheek, holding my face. He was taller than me, I realized. Not much, but just enough that I noticed when he tipped my face up towards his. He didn’t lean in though, just kept smiling. “What kind of cues are you picking up on right now?”

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New Book Review: ASSASSIN’S FATE by Robin Hobb

Dark Adult Fantasy

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BLURB

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The stunning conclusion to Robin Hobb’s Fitz and the Fool trilogy, which began with Fool’s Assassin and Fool’s Quest

“Every new Robin Hobb novel is a cause for celebration. Along with millions of her other fans, I delight in every visit to the Six Duchies, the Rain Wilds, and the Out Islands, and can’t wait to see where she’ll take me next.”—George R. R. Martin 

More than twenty years ago, the first epic fantasy novel featuring FitzChivalry Farseer and his mysterious, often maddening friend the Fool struck like a bolt of brilliant lightning. Now New York Times bestselling author Robin Hobb brings to a momentous close the third trilogy featuring these beloved characters in a novel of unsurpassed artistry that is sure to endure as one of the great masterworks of the genre.

Fitz’s young daughter, Bee, has been kidnapped by the Servants, a secret society whose members not only dream of possible futures but use their prophecies to add to their wealth and influence. Bee plays a crucial part in these dreams—but just what part remains uncertain.

As Bee is dragged by her sadistic captors across half the world, Fitz and the Fool, believing her dead, embark on a mission of revenge that will take them to the distant island where the Servants reside—a place the Fool once called home and later called prison. It was a hell the Fool escaped, maimed and blinded, swearing never to return.

For all his injuries, however, the Fool is not as helpless as he seems. He is a dreamer too, able to shape the future. And though Fitz is no longer the peerless assassin of his youth, he remains a man to be reckoned with—deadly with blades and poison, and adept in Farseer magic. And their goal is simple: to make sure not a single Servant survives their scourge.


REVIEW

First, I’ve been reading this series since not long after it first came out. Fantasy has always been my first and most enduring love. You do have to read the series to understand this book.

The blurb calls this a stunning conclusion to the series.

It’s right.

Robin Hobb is one of the very few (Less than five now) established authors I still auto-buy. Price of books and my anemic book buying cash and all. But I always buy the books about Fitz.

I bought this one release week and I’ll be completely honest, I had trouble getting into it. Passive voice. It’s my Achilles heel in reading and it will always throw me out of the story. So when I first picked up this story, hoping to escape, it irritated me enough to put it down when I caught several instances of passive voice in the first few pages.

I’m glad I finally got around to picking it back up again.

Man, when it finally grabbed me by the throat it pinned me down and held me almost unable to breathe for an entire weekend.

By that I mean I got NONE of my chores done, my hubs brought me dinner because I kept forgetting to eat and I forgot to make coffee one day because I was SO ENTHRALLED by the story. COFFEE people, I forgot COFFEE!

Now. I read fast, but this book is almost 900 pages long, I started it late at night on Friday and just finished it. A little before midnight on Sunday.

I didn’t do much of ANYTHING except read all weekend because I had to know what happened to Fitz and Beloved.

Had to.

It’s really good. I cried. A lot. Ugly, messy, cry, and I’m still content with how the story ended. I wish it hadn’t HAD to, because these were the only characters by this author that I connect with, but it’s still a fantastic conclusion. Even though my heart aches.

I’ll miss these characters, miss looking forward to new books with them. Badly. Sadly, Bee doesn’t do it for me as a character.

Somehow, I had also missed that Beloved is gender-fluid throughout the whole series, and though they aren’t named that way, it’s quite clear when I think about it. I suppose I could be coding it, but I really doubt it. Probably one of reasons I’ve loved these books, and reread them so many times for so many years.

I will say: Content Warning on a deliberate mis-gendering by Fitz for Beloved. That stung a bit to read. It worked for the characters, story, and world though, so it’s not a complaint. Just a warning.

SCORES

Readability: 5/5 star-1586412_1920 It’d be around 9 or 10 if I could rate that high on my system. I didn’t quite drop my tablet on my face, but that’s only because I’m trying to discipline myself into actually SLEEPING at night.

Arcs: 5/5 star-1586412_1920As I finished this last installment, I have to wonder if Ms. Hobb had this entire series planned from the get go. The series arcs, relationship arcs, and multiple trilogy arcs are so masterfully done. SO well done. It’s amazing. Truly.

Craft: 4/5: star-1586412_1920 I wish I could give it a full on five-star rating, but I did have trouble getting into it because of the passive voice. I found a couple of sections dragging and would’ve advised the author cut a few scenes to speed pacing. Still loved the book and the sheer scope of this story… it’s freaking phenomenal. Hobb carries well her laurels of being one of the best fantasists in the genre.

 

 

New book review: MASK OF SHADOWS by Linsey Miller

Dark, Young Adult Fantasy, Gender Fluid main character, LGBTQIA+

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

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BLURB

Perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, the first book in this new duology features a compelling gender fluid main character, impressive worldbuilding, and fast-paced action.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

REVIEW

I don’t read a lot of YA because it has to be so dark it pretty much isn’t meant for younger kids for me to enjoy it.

This book did not disappoint. It’s upper YA, the main character is in their late teens and they grew up hard, an orphan from a war. They’re a thief who becomes an assassin. PERFECT.

I first asked for the book from Netgalley when I heard through Twitter that it had a gender fluid main character.

Being non-binary and the parent of someone I think is likely to decide they’re enby too, I couldn’t click on the request link fast enough.

The voice in this lifts up off the pages and grabs you from page one. I fell in love with the MC, Sal, by page three and by chapter three the book had hooked me good and hard.

It doesn’t feel like a debut novel. (Though, as an author/editor/publisher, I know most debuts aren’t the author’s first book.)

It felt so amazing to see a gender fluid character being accepted for who they are. Not a lot of fuss or muss about it. I even loved Sal’s prickliness about the issue. It’s perfect.

Content Warning for a misgendering by one of the antagonists.

The story was fast paced enough to keep me flipping pages and I fell more and more under Sal’s spell the entire time I read. Nearing the 3/4 mark I once again bemoaned my inability to draw well enough to capture my ideas because there is a scene between Sal and the love interest Elise that I want to draw soooo badly.

I’ll just have to wait until someone more talented than me does so.

I just loved this book so much. I love it enough that I’m preordering a hardcover copy for my DD, who I have a feeling will be enby when xie figures xyrself out.

Side characters are real and well developed with their own clear motivations and lives. Quirks that bring them to life. The auditions chilled my blood and made me need to know what would happen next.

I will critique it a bit here though because I do feel, from an editorial standpoint, that it could have been deepened better with more physical description of the characters, things like facial expressions, how their bodies are positioned within the rooms. The assassination and battle scenes are fantastic, some of the more passive scenes needed a bit more depth.

I craved more backstory of the world (because I loved it so much). It wasn’t needed but I do like very richly detailed stories and I wanted a bit more detail. Grounding the scenes in the five senses would have made me feel the story more.

I’d also say that adding beats to lead into scene breaks would be helpful. It felt a little jumpy from one place to the next, almost retconned at the end. A chapter detailing what happened from the end of climax chapter to beginning of denouement chapter really would have tied things together very neatly.

The climax felt rushed and little confusing, I had to actually go back and reread it to make it clear in my mind what was happening. That’s where grounding the scenes really could have helped more because I shouldn’t have to go back and reread to keep track of what was going on.

I also really should’ve FELT the sadness of what happened. I didn’t, which made me sad. Gah, reviewing without spoilers is hard.

Leave it at this, something bad happens, and I didn’t feel the bad as much as I should’ve. With what happened, I really should’ve had an aching chest from Sal’s responses, and I didn’t. I wanted more of that.

I had a few issues with the likelihood of the lead in to the next book, as well. It just doesn’t make sense that what happened, could’ve happened in a palace with guards and what not around. It fell a little flat for me. But anyone who knows me, knows I’m incredibly picky and a gifted developmental editor, sooo… it’s just me saying, gods this is so good, but it could have been better IF.

Yes, I drive my husband nuts.

Absolutely none of my critiques ruined the book. I’m still buying one for a gift and I’ll be eagerly looking for the second book in the duology.

SCORES

Readability: 5/5 star-1586412_1920 I’m a character driven story lover, and Sal is so REAL in this book that I feel like I know them, that they could walk through my door and I could have (very carefully policed) tea with this amazing young assassin. I stayed up past my bedtime until I forced myself to put the book down.

Arcs: 4/5 star-1586412_1920 Here I’m probably being too picky. It is YA and it felt it, but what can I expect from YA? The arcs are solid for the age group. Character and story arcs are very good, romantic arc was sweet and made me go awwww, more than once. But it’s also why I don’t read a lot of YA because I always want MORE. More real, deep, gut wrenching… more visceral description, more sex… Regardless, arcs are extremely solid and well expressed for the age range.

Craft: 4/5: star-1586412_1920 Absolutely excellent leap-off-the-page-and-strangle-you-characterization. Amazing pacing. Needed beats in between scenes, needed a tie it all together chapter between climax and denouement, needed to have the scenes grounded in the five senses. Story is fantastic, page turning, and the gender fluid character is deftly handled. I caught one homonym error and a couple of uses of passive voice that the story would’ve been better served without. Other than that? It’s excellent. (Do keep in mind that ARCs are uncorrected, so the final book you get when released may not have those issues.)

Go and do the pre-order thing already! (It makes a huge difference to the author if you preorder, because then the publisher knows to put more money into marketing and that people want to read that kind of book from this author.) I promise this book is worth it.

You can pre-order from:

Amazon

Indiebound

Barnes & Noble

Book Depository

You can connect with the author, Linsey Miller via her

Website

Twitter

Reviews

Yeah, yeah, we all know we need to review books.

I mean… we DO know that right?

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Backing up, just a bit in case you DON’T know.

Reviews sell books for authors. There is NOTHING you can do more to support an author (other than buying the book in the first place/asking your library to buy the book) that will help them more.

Because people read reviews, they look at the star ratings on Amazon/Goodreads/B&N etc.

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They decide whether to buy a book based on what other people have said.

Even as something as simple as I LOVED IT with a 5 star rating can help sell a book to the next person who might enjoy it. It doesn’t need to be a long paragraph on why.

Those help, of course, (if you look at the reviews section of my website, I go to great length to tell my readers why I liked/didn’t like something).

But that very fact of ‘how books get sold’ is why I RELIGIOUSLY review everything I read. Even if it’s something I didn’t like, or wasn’t a ME book.

I still review it.

As far as algorithms go on places like Amazon and Goodreads, reviews count for visibility too. The more reviews an author has on a particular book, the higher their rating on Amazon, meaning it’ll show to more people who might be looking for THAT kind of book. I assume it works the same on non-amazon sites.

But, that’s just background to what I really wanted to say.

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I wanted to say thank you.

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has left me a review, anywhere.

I read my reviews, I mean, we as authors are told we shouldn’t, but honestly? I want to know if I’ve fecked up somehow, so reading reviews is the best way to do that.

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I… don’t yet have a bad one. For which I feel incredibly fortunate.

I know… the first bad one is gonna sting like blazes.

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BUT… right now, as I’m sitting here proofing my next release, ILAVANI, for July sale, reading reviews, (some which were new to me) from my author central page, and seeing the OVERWHELMING support for my work. The sheer hunger for the kinds of things I write…

Y’all give me faith.

That what I’m doing is really needed. That my voice has worth in a world where I can’t land a publishing contract.

That my words, my work, my writing… is wanted.

That, it’s so important.

My critique partners and betas tell me they love my words. By and large they know me though, lol, my beloved CPs have the unenviable job of thumping me over the head with my own stubbornness…

I’m stubborn. Trust me on that.

Betas have the thankless job of reading something before publication… so, their words are incredibly important and I absolutely could NOT do this without my CPs and Betas.

Hearing from strangers, who have bought my book(s), read it, loved it, and then taken the time to review it for me?

That’s yet another level of gratitude.

I have so, so much gratitude for everyone who helps me in this writing journey.

I’m never going to be one of those authors who doesn’t appreciate those who read their words.

‘Cause without you all? I’d be nothing more than a writer telling stories to myself over my keyboard.

Thank you. So very much.

Edited half smile

Review: MIRANDA AND CALIBAN by Jacqueline Carey

*I received a free digital ARC copy from Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Dark, Young Adult, Historical Fantasy
Available Feb 14th, 2017
Available for pre-order now.
miranda-and-caliban
Description
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I grinned like a maniac when my request to review this book was approved because it’s been on my must-read list since I first heard about it. I’m a die hard lover of Shakespeare and of Ms. Carey’s work, so to be able to read for review a retelling of The Tempest by one of my all time favorite authors made my day.
I stayed up ’til 4 am reading it, dropped my tablet on my face three times before finally admitting I couldn’t finish in one sitting.
Ms. Carey’s deep, lyrical style captures the relationship between young Miranda, her magus father, and the wild-boy Caliban. With elements of Tarzan, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, the tale is intricate. Ms. Carey’s signature style of prose makes itself known and transports the reader to another world. A darker one where kids grow up under the aegis of power and vengeance.
In places, as the children learn one another, the story is joyful, in places it’s fearful and as they age into teens, in a time when a daughter’s duty is-by God’s will-her only righteous path… heartbreaking.
As usual with Ms. Carey’s books, I didn’t want the story to end.
When it did, my heart remained so sad. This isn’t a happily ever after type of tale, but it is beautiful, rich, dark and oh so very real.
I do hope there is more of Miranda & Caliban’s story to come. There would be room for it, in how the tale comes to a close… and I’m western enough that a sad–ending leaves me wanting.
Dare I say it? I’m thinking it… Miranda & Caliban could come to stand alongside some of my favorite tragic romances if the story continues. Considering that most of those romantic couples and moresomes are written by Ms. Carey herself, that’s not too huge of a shock. Lol, though nothing will ever top Phedre and Joscelin from Kushiel’s Legacy… these two could come close. If you like Shakespeare, Jacqueline Carey’s writing, dark fantasy with realistic twists… hie thee hence and pre-order the book.
Mild spoiler in the form of a trigger warning.
I do have some concern in that the word savage is used in regards to a dark haired, darker skinned individual, and I would have been much happier if Caliban had been blond and blue eyed with that terminology used for him. On a scale of heeby-jeebies caused by the use of the word, mine are low because there aren’t any stereotypical cultural references. He’s referred to as savage and wild-boy, which he is, in the Tarzan/Julie of the wolves sense. I can’t judge it perfectly as being stereotypical or not. I may not be experienced enough to do so, but I’d be derelict in providing an honest review if I didn’t mention that the use of that word for Caliban did give me pause.
Scores:

Readability: 5/5 stars: Readability… lol, tablet dropping on face at 4 am level of OMG I have to finish it.

Arcs: 4/5 stars: It’s harder for me to judge this one, meaning it’s getting a bit lower score. If it’s JUST this tale, and no other, if we never find out what happens after the end, the ARCs are truncated. If there is more of the story to come, as I’m dearly praying there will be, then it’s just the beginning of the series. The characters did grow from childhood to adolescence, they learned the basics of who they are and what they will do, and not do, so in that sense, the ARCs are complete enough. It’s the romantic ARC which is truncated, or maybe I’m just not happy with that part of it. (I’m a die hard romantic, I like a HEA.)

Writing Craft: 5/5 stars: My editor brain slept through the book except for two sentences which used filter words (feel… when to describe what the character was feeling would’ve been stronger). It wasn’t enough to drag me out of the story even a little.

Would I buy it for a friend?

I’d buy it for a friend who loves JC, or dark YA fantasy or dark fantasy in general.

Buy the Book!

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