Saturday, October 30, 2010

"you were wrong" is oh so right

Today, I'm going to be reviewing you were wrong by Matthew Sharpe.

Matthew Sharpe's novel [you were wrong] is something I highly recommend.

A detective story of the oddest kind, where the mystery trying to be solved is life itself, which is sometimes too large, cruel, and ever-changing to seem anything but confusing. The book is narrated by a guy named Karl, who has been apathetic and coasting through life, until an event near the beginning of the novel causes him to realize what he's been missing... sort of.

Because Karl hasn't been participating in society for the entirety of his adult life, he doesn't really understand the subterfuge that people participate in on a daily basis. He's not an idiot, he's just innocent. Rather than interacting with other people his age, Karl has mostly been interacting with the high school students to whom he teaches math. Karl is actually somewhat of a math genius, and tends to try to understand the world in mathematical terms. This trait he has is endearing - Karl's sense of logic is impeccable, whereas his grasp of emotions is clumsy and incomplete. His innocence makes his fumbling with the situation unfolding throughout the novel confusing and large and interesting, like the adult world seen through the eyes of an extremely precocious child.

Released at the end of August this year, you can pick up a copy at amazon, find an independent bookstore to purchase it from at indiebound, or, of course, pick up a copy at your local Borders or Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

NaNo 2010

November is once more near, and with it comes the challenge to write a first novel draft of at least 50,000 words.

If you're accepting the challenge, as well, make sure to let me know your username, so we can spur each other on to the final word count. :)

The other day on Twitter, I said I was "outlining" my NaNovel. This was somewhat of a lie, as I suck at outlining, and ended up with just a bit of brainstorming.

My idea this year is to write a story about and entitled "Road Rage."

My narrator will be a young, rich female (currently unnamed) who lives primarily in the Midwest b/c her parents think this is a better place to raise kids. I say primarily, because in the summers, her family vacations in a mansion on their own private island off of the Southern California coast.

With all of that money, she doesn't necessarily have an accurate conception of life and how it works.

I think I'm going to open the novel on an incident in which the female narrator wrecks her car in - you guessed it - an incident of road rage. Her parents fight over the number of accidents she has been in and whether she deserves a new car. (Dad is for; mom is against)

As a result of their argument, the narrator is introduced to Pierre, a guy a few years older than she, who uses a phony French accent around her parents and smokes copiously when they aren't around.

And then...

So what do you think? Do you like the idea? Dislike it? Have any ideas as to names for any of the characters, save Pierre? Do you think first person narrative is a good idea? Or would 3rd person work better?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Let's Talk About the Kids

So... I have been crazy busy. I've still found time to read, because that's one of my relaxations & escapes, but I have been getting behind on reviews. So today you get a 2 for 1 deal! That's right - I'm going to review TWO books in ONE blog entry! Do you feel special? Because you are.

The two books I'm going to write about today are:

Museum of Thieves

and Radiance

Both of these books have been written for a middle-school aged audience. Both books felt appropriate for that age group.

I will look at Lian Tanner's Museum of Thieves first.

Tanner's book is a fantasy. It primarily follows the activities of Goldie, a young girl who is always getting in trouble in the over-protective society she lives in. The adults in the community, frightened by all of the horrible things that can't really be explained but just exist (i.e., plague, children dying, etc.), have allowed their freedoms to be quashed in order to be protected.

This book did a really good job of pointing out that kids need to be kids. That it's good for them to have enough freedom to find strength and have fun. That it's bad for them to feel like their life is in peril at every turn. For while bad things do occasionally happen, the good things don't often happen, either, if you only focus on protecting yourself.

I liked the characters in this book. I liked the world that Tanner created. I liked the messages, and I had fun reading this book.

Now, on to Radiance, written by Alyson Noel. You've probably heard of Noel's Evermore. It's the first in a series of books, none of which I have read, but which have sold well.

Radiance was my first Noel novel, and it was okay. I think it would mean more to the teens who have read Evermore and are avid fans of that series, as Radiance follows the adventures of Ever's younger sister Riley after the car crash that left Ever pretty much all alone in the world.

Riley is understandably upset that her life has been cut short because she wasted the time spent on Earth hounding her sister, and now she will never have boobs. That's kind of this book in a nutshell.

Riley is learning how to be dead, which is remarkably like being alive, except that you can materialize shit and have whatever kind of awesome wardrobe you want. Really, I found this book somewhat depressing.

"Don't worry about your life getting cut short. You still get to go to SCHOOL in heaven! & you get assigned a JOB! It's pretty much all of the soul-sucking shit people hate on Earth, but it's NEVER-ENDING because you're dead now!"


Anyway, Riley was probably a realistic tween, which means that she got on my nerves. She was impulsive, disrespectful, and somehow, amazingly good at everything, anyway.

I don't really recommend Radiance unless you're a big fan of the Evermore Immortals series and want to round out your collection. It's okay, but I much preferred reading Museum of Thieves.

Both of these books are now on sale. Have you read them? What are your thoughts?