Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: The Traitor in the Tunnel (The Agency #3) Y. S. Lee

Queen Victoria has a little problem: there's a petty thief at work in Buckingham Palace. Charged with discretion, the Agency puts quickwitted Mary Quinn on the case, where she must pose as a domestic while fending off the attentions of a feckless Prince of Wales. But when the prince witnesses the murder of one of his friends in an opium den, the potential for scandal looms large. And Mary faces an even more unsettling possibility: the accused killer, a Chinese sailor imprisoned in the Tower of London, shares a name with her long-lost father. Meanwhile, engineer James Easton, Mary's onetime paramour, is at work shoring up the sewers beneath the palace, where an unexpected tunnel seems to be very much in use. Can Mary and James trust each other (and put their simmering feelings aside) long enough to solve the mystery and protect the Royal Family? Hoist on your waders for Mary's most personal case yet, where the stakes couldn't be higher - and she has everything to lose. Goodreads.

I absolutely love The Agency. Mary, a female private eye in Victorian England is smart, funny, brave, and a little hot-headed. I especially love that she manages her own style of intelligent banter, without sounding like a repeat of every other "snarky" female lead. Lee's lighthearted mysteries are full of Victorian details that let the reader feel completely sucked in to a different time and place. It is some of my favorite historical fiction.

James Easton. *sigh* I really don't know where to begin with him. He is infuriating, and I love him. While I admire his high morals, courage, and stubbornness, the amount of time they keep him away from Mary is maddening. Which I suppose is the point. Well done, Ms. Lee, well done.

I do have to say I was disappointed in the treatment of Felicity and Anne, Mary's handlers. I felt like the issue there took place and was over a little too quickly. The Agency is listed as a trilogy, with The Traitor in the Tunnel being book three, but Goodreads has a fourth title listed, but not yet published. YAY! Maybe it will clear up a few lingering questions, like who is the girl in the blue dress??

Rating 4.5/5 stars
YA notes, mild language, mild suggestive content 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Main Characters...

I had hoped to have a review for you today. I picked up a new book by an author I have always thoroughly enjoyed in the past, but sadly, I just couldn't get into the story. I tried, I really did. I read about 250 pages of it's 400+ before giving up. The writing style was what I'd come to expect, the plot was sufficiently twisted but still... The problem was the MC.

I didn't connect with her. At all. I never understood what drove her to do the things she did, why she didn't do other things sooner, or why she was so darn pouty.By my stopping point, she was in a pretty tense situation, and I just didn't care. So, my question is: What makes a great MC for YOU?  At what point in the story do you stop and say Oooh, I like her/him?

Obviously, we're all different, and not everybody clicks. That's fine. That's the way it should be, actually. So it is understandable that we all find books where we never really like the MC. So, here is question #2. If you find yourself with an annoying MC, do you put the book down? Why or why not?

That is all for today! But if you're in the mood for more blogging, may I recommend this?   

Monday, July 23, 2012

I Refuse to Title This Post.

For those of you who've followed me for a while, you've heard me rant about how much I hate Titling my work. But I have new followers and this is my blog, so I'm doing it again.

I can write a novel. But I can't come up with a title. WHY? Why is it so hard to come up with a one or two word phrase to encompass the entirety of a book? Okay, I know very few titles actually accomplish that, but they do accomplish intriguing a potential reader, giving hints about what is hidden between the covers of the book, or at least sounding cool. Gah! I've got nothing. Fortunately, I only seem to have this problem with novels. Short stories, I can name. But novels, I had less trouble naming my child. Sad, but true. I'll quit ranting now and go back to flipping through the thesaurus.

* On a side note, I did survive VBS. Thanks to all who were concerned.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Random Post

Did you know 13 is a LOT of 2-3 year olds? Yep, that is how I'm spending my "writing time" this week. Wrangling toddlers for VBS. So this may very well be the only post I do this week and for that I am sorry. However, if anyone notices a lack of posting for several weeks, would you please come bail me out of the insane asylum? I'll give you cookies. Thanks.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Now I Get It.

On the recommendation of a friend, I read Stephen King's On Writing several months ago. I mean, what better source to learn how to be a successful author, right? There were a few nuggets of wisdom I put into immediate practice, and several that I thought, "Well that's just plain weird." One of these oddities was Mr. King's suggestion that, after a manuscript was written, the author should put it out of sight for a while to let it "incubate" before revising it. Incubate? I thought. Am I trying to write or hatch an egg here? And so I filed it away and ignored it.

You may have caught my post earlier this week about having some short stories accepted in an anthology. Even though the deadline for submission was in June, I knew I would be working on a different project, so I wrote, re-wrote, sought advice on, polished, and sent off my submissions back in Mach. When I received my acceptance email, I went back to re-read my first story, and to my horror, I instantly spotted three grammatical errors on the first page. And yes, I *do* claim to be a professional editor. Then it got worse. There were phrases, whole sentences even, that made me go "huh"? I have no idea what they meant, and I wrote them.

And now I get it, Mr. King. Time is the best, perhaps only way, to make sure you are looking with fresh eyes on your work, not simply seeing what is supposed to be there. Since I will be spending the rest of my free time in an editing cave this weekend, I hope you all have a lovely one.  :P

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Yay Me!

I just found out that TWO of my short stories are going to be part of a new anthology, Holiday Magick. My stories are titled "Marked" and "Easy as Pie," and the anthology has a projected release date of May 21,2013. That's all the info I have for now, but you can bet I'll pass anything new along as I get it. :)  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: A Breath of Eyre, Marie Mont

Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre…

Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known—and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own… Goodreads

Okay, I'm a little behind on posting this due to the blog hop, so I'll get right to it. This is an awesome book. I felt completely connected to Emma. This is a girl who turns to books, (some of my favorites no less) to escape her everyday problems. Familiar? I think so.

The lot is a seamless retelling of Jane Eyre, along with a few twists. On reading the jacket blurb I was interested to see how Mont would have Emma live Jane's life without sounding totally corny. Without spoiling anything, I can only say she did it! And the ending... Again, I'm trying to do this spoiler free,so... As much as I love the classics, the book wouldn't have been nearly as good if Mont hadn't been brave enough to change the plot.

On a side note, this novel does tackle some pretty serious issues, such as underage sex, drinking, and drug use, as well as suicide, but it does so in a tactful, responsible way. There are two other books in this series my Mont, and I can't wait to get my hands on them!

Rating 4.5/5 Stars

Notes Language, Drinking, drug references.

Friday, July 6, 2012

And the Winners Are...

Haley H. and Becky P. Congrats and thanks to everyone who entered. Keep an eye on this blog for important updates and more giveaways!