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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: KILLING RUBY ROSE by Jessie Humphries (Skyscape, 2014)

From AmazonIn sunny Southern California, seventeen-year-old Ruby Rose is known for her killer looks and her killer SAT scores. But ever since her dad, an LAPD SWAT sergeant, died, she’s also got a few killer secrets.
To cope, Ruby has been trying to stay focused on school (the top spot in her class is on the line) and spending time with friends (her Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks are nothing if not loyal). But after six months of therapy and pathetic parenting by her mom, the District Attorney, Ruby decides to pick up where her dad left off and starts going after the bad guys herself. 
When Ruby ends up killing a murderer to save his intended victim, she discovers that she’s gone from being the huntress to the hunted. There’s a sick mastermind at play, and he has Ruby in his sights. Ruby must discover who’s using her to implement twisted justice before she ends up swapping Valentino red for prison orange. 
With a gun named Smith, a talent for martial arts, and a boyfriend with eyes to die for, Ruby is ready to face the worst. And if a girl’s forced to kill, won’t the guilt sit more easily in a pair of Prada peep-toe pumps?

Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Audience: Young Adult
Length: 306 pgs

Rating: 3

Review: A solid, good book. Really well written with some out-of-the-ordinary characters and some serious decision making and hard stuff. Still witty and funny though! I often judge a book by how quickly I read it (once I hit half-way on this one it was hard to put down) and how compelled I am to read the second in the series, if it has one (not that much, in this one's case). But...I'm not sure how fair that is in this case. The book wrapped up really well and is a great standalone. But...on the other hand, I'm not so into the characters that I want want more.

There were some moments of unbelievability for me--mostly, for a scene or two when these happened, I had to suspend my belief for a second. A couple had to do with character motivation and how I thought I'd seen the character developing and then that contrasting with the situation she was in. Without giving a big spoiler, I can't explain it beyond that. However, the story still worked well and this didn't detract from my experience too much.

Language - 4 (damn, hell, and ass all used frequently. Two b*****, and two sh**, a handful of cases where pretend swearing is used, like "effin" or "a-hole")
Sex - 2 (There is talk about desire and wanting to go further. Nothing happens.)
Violence - 4 (Ruby is a tough, physical girl and she is put in tough, physical situations several times.)
Overall Rating - PG-16

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Review: KISS KILL VANISH by Jessica Martinez (2014 Whitney Finalist)

From Amazon: 
Love. Betrayal. Murder.

Valentina is living a charmed, glittering life in Miami—falling in love for the first time, showered with gifts and affection by her father, surrounded by friends—when one shocking moment shatters everything she thought she knew about herself, her boyfriend, and her world. With no one left to trust, Valentina sheds her identity and flees to Montreal, where she finds work posing for a series of portraits by a pompous young artist. Valentina has always been at home in the art world, but she's never felt quite so alone.
Valentina's carefully constructed new life comes crashing down when someone from her past resurfaces, putting her safety in question and her heart on the line. With betrayal at every turn, Valentina must untangle the deceptions of those she once loved and race to find her own truth—before it's too late.

Genre: YA Contemporary Thriller
Audience: Young Adult
Length: 432 pgs

Rating: 4

Review: First, love the cover. Second, loved the book. I had a lot of things to guess about, and in a good way, I never knew whose loyalties were where. The world between Valetina's memories of Miama and then Montreal and all of it was lovely. I love how she weaved the memories with the mandolin playing. Loved how V found friendship in unexpected places. The ending . . . I talked with a friend about this. It was somewhat weak. I was okay with it, but it could have been better. (And of course, as an author myself, I knew how I would've done it.)

Language: ? (I'm usually very good at keeping track of content, but for some reason I didn't when I read this book. I remember some language...)
Sex: 1 (It is implied that Valentina and her boyfriend have slept together. It is discussed how Marcel and his brother sleep with multiple girls and party hard.)
Violence: 3 (It's a thriller.)
Overall Rating: PG-13

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Review: SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi (Harper, 2011)

From Amazon.com
I have a curse.
I have a gift.
I'm a monster.
I'm more than human.
My touch is lethal.
My touch is power.
I am their weapon.
I will fight back.
No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon. But Juliette has plans of her own. After a lifetime without freedom, she's finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she'd lost forever.
In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a riveting dystopian world, a thrilling superhero story, and an unforgettable heroine.

Audience: Young Adult
Genre: YA Dystopian, Fantasy
Length: 368 pgs

Rating: 4

Review: Good book. I can't say that it blew me over or anything, but I liked the writing style. It was very literary and poetic, which I can usually dig. It has an interesting dystopian premise. It was well written and I rode right along with Juliette for and enjoyed. I am interested to see where the story goes from here, but I don't know if I'm compelled to read the other books in the series right now or anything.

Sex - 2+ (Passionate kissing, discussing going further and their desires.)
Language - 4+ (Some characters are definitely bigger potty mouths than others, so naturally when they're on screen, per se, there's a lot more swearing. Damn, hell, and shit are all used frequently. A handful of uses of ass; one each of Jesus in vain and of bastard)
Violence - 3+ (Because of the world and certain characters there is a lot of maybe gratuitous violence, just for show. Some graphic. A lot of fighting.)
Overall Rating - PG-16 (Although, I wouldn't recommend it to my 17yo sister, but that's a personal thing.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

SON OF WAR, DAUGHTER OF CHAOS by Janette Rallison (July 2014)

From JanetteRallison.com: Aislynn is accustomed to watching for the enemy. Her parents instructed her from the time she was young to look for people with the signs: greater than normal strength, eyes that can glow green, and the ability to jump long distances. Over the years, Aislynn has come to view her parents’ fears as quirks—things that get in the way of having a normal high school life. 

When Aislynn’s mother dies under suspicious conditions, her father doubles his restrictions. But all his precautions can’t stop the boy with glowing green eyes from finding Aislynn. She realizes too late she’s been drafted into an ancient Egyptian war, whether she’s prepared or not.

Genre: YA Paranormal
Audience: Young Adult
Length: 368 pgs

Rating: 3+

Review: Okay. I admit, I had a really hard time deciding how to rate this. It was so fun. So Janette Rallison. So well written, witty, and a good book. So why only a 3+ instead of like a 4+ or 5 like it probably deserves? I had a serious, serious problem with one of the love interests for Aislynn. Going into my issues would produce major spoilers, so I won't. I just . . . disagreed. We'll leave it at that.

But, beyond that, it's a good book. It has some fun action and some unique plot twists and turns. It was well written and well thought out. I enjoyed it and to be honest, read it really quickly. I love Aislynn, and most of the characters (hahahaha). They were each pretty solid.

Sex - 1 (Some somewhat passionate kissing and hickies. Ha!)
Language - 0
Violence - 2 (It's an action book but nothing gory or graphic.)
Overall Rating - PG-12, just for themes, etc.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Release Day Reflections!

The. Day. Is. Here.

As I was laying in bed last night thinking about what today might feel like (still kind of surreal if you're wondering. I'm sure that's because I can't walk into a book store and see PLAYING FOR KEEPS on a shelf), I thought about how slow this process really is. And considering that things with PfK moved pretty quickly in the book world makes that all the more funny. If I had a nickel for every time I heard "When is your book coming out" over the past few years, I'd already be a rich author. So I thought I'd make a timeline to show the non-book people out there how "quick" the process is.

* Late 2012 - Writing - I can't nail down a date that I actually started writing PfK. I know I was writing it while I was pregnant with Squishy and I think that I finished it in early 2013.

* Spring 2013 - Editing - I finished and sent it out to beta readers.

* May 2013 - Pitching - Went to Storymakers in Provo, Utah and pitched the book to Kathy Gordon at Covenant. She loved it and requested to see it. I went home and edited and edited some more and sent it to my CP extraordinaire, Kaylee.

* July 2013 - Submissions - I remember this date exactly, July 24th, because I remember it was Pioneer Day, a holiday in Utah.

* February 2014 (SEVEN months later) - Acceptance - I received an email that started my dreams of being a published author coming true.

* January 2015 (ELEVEN months after that!) - Getting a publication date - My editor emailed me that she'd gotten my book into the 2015 line, which was actually a surprise for me. I expected it wouldn't get in until 2016 at the earliest.

* March 2015 - Cover - I got the cover for PfK, which I loved and adored. Want to see it again? I knew you would. ;)

* Later in March 2015 - Galleys - I got the proof for the inside of PfK to read over and make sure we didn't miss any last minute typos. Once I sent it back, it went to press!

* Today, June 1, 2015 - HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY! - Today PfK officially released!

Were you keeping track? That's about 3 1/2 years from finishing to publication. And that is SO FAST. Seriously, guys. I have been dreaming about this day, about having a real live book out there and published since I was little. I've been serious about getting it done for about eight years now. Just wait until someday I do a timeline for KISSING A SUPERHERO. I'm guessing it will have almost a ten-year span by that point. Ha!

Want some links so you can go get PLAYING FOR KEEPS? Okay, you've got it.

Get the book and ebook at Deseret Book: https://deseretbook.com/p/playing-for-keeps-ppr

Get the book via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Playing-Keeps-Ranee-S-Clark/dp/1621088502

Add it to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25264002-playing-for-keeps

About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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