To celebrate my blog reaching 600 followers, I’m offering up ebook copies of my novel, Waiting for Daybreak, for FREE for three days! And that’s an unlimited number to everyone who wants one!!
What is normal?
Frieda has never felt normal. She feels every emotion too strongly and lashes out at herself in punishment. But one day when she stays home from work too depressed to get out of bed, a virus breaks out turning her neighbors into flesh-eating, brain-hungry zombies. As her survival instinct kicks in keeping her safe from the zombies, Frieda can’t help but wonder if she now counts as healthy and normal, or is she still abnormal compared to every other human being who is craving brains?
In order to get your FREE ebook, go to this page, add it to your cart, then put in the coupon code at checkout for 100% off. You may choose a version compatible with any ereader, computer, and many phones. That’s right, read it for free on your kindle, iPhone, Kobo, and more!
I’m so excited to have so many followers, and you all definitely deserve some special access to my work. So are you ready to grab the coupon code and check it out?
Your coupon code is……
Again, just go to this site, add the book to your cart, then enter the coupon code at checkout for 100% off!
Feel free to share the coupon code with your friends. It will expire on Sunday. And thank you to one and all for being my followers!
To celebrate the new year here on the blog, it’s time to take a look back at my reading stats for 2012. It’s always fun to compile them and see how my reading changes and simultaneously stays the same over the years.
Last year, I read a grand total of 107 books. In 2010 that number was 70, and the year before that it was 52. This year I didn’t make it to my goal of 150, but I think I did pretty damn good anyway. :-)
Total books read: 118
Average books read per month: 9.8
Month most read: January with 20 (I’d chalk this up to New Year Resolution momentum!)
Month least read: Tie between September and December with 4 each. (September was part of a very busy month at work with Orientations for the students. December was the holidays plus a wedding I was in, so…..kind of understandable reading got left behind a bit!)
Longest book read: David Goodis: Five Noir Novels of the 1940s and 50s by David Goodis with 848 pages
Fiction: 86 (73%)
Nonfiction: 32 (27%) This was an 11% increase from last year.
Series: 48 (41%)
Standalone: 70 (59%) I think this is a nice balance between series and standalone books.
–traditional print: 34 (29%)
–ebook: 59 (50%)
–graphic novel: 11 (9%)
–audiobook: 14 (12%) (This more than doubled. I thank Audible for that!)
–scifi: 19 (Winner for the fourth year running! It’s clear what my favorite genre is.)
–indie lit: 16
–GLBTQ: 15 (This came out of nowhere, but I’m glad I found a new genre I enjoy.)
–historic fiction: 15
–fantasy: 14 (I have found a few fantasy books I enjoy, so I will definitely keep reading, although a bit more selectively.)
–urban fantasy: 10
–contemporary fiction: 9
–mental illness: 9
–nonfiction cookbook: 8 (I had hoped to try one new cookbook a month, but I do think 8 is pretty good.)
–African lit: 7 (Thanks to the African Lit reading challenge I participated in.)
–nonfiction memoir: 7
–black lit: 5
–nonfiction environmentalism: 5
–nonfiction history: 5
–YA: 5 (Realizing I dislike this genre led to it mostly leaving my reading, except for older acquired books on the tbr shelf.)
–alternate history: 4
–dystopian: 4 (Shockingly low compared to previous years.)
–nonfiction lifestyle: 4
–nonfiction science: 4
–nonfiction diet: 3
–nonfiction Buddhism: 2
–nonfiction relationships: 2
–American classics: 1
–nonfiction feminism: 1
–cozy: 1 (Given how much I enjoy cozies, I should really read more of them!)
–Cthulhu mythos: 1
–European classics: 1
–Irish lit: 1
–Japanese lit: 1
–magical realism: 1
–nonfiction fitness: 1
–nonfiction reference: 1
–nonfiction social justice: 1
–paranormal romance: 1 (It seems I am truly over my paranormal romance phase.)
–short story collection: 1
Vampires vs. Zombies vs. Aliens vs. Demons:
–aliens: 4 (I think aliens should get more attention next year.)
Number of stars:
–5 star reads: 16 (14%)
–4 star reads: 50 (42%)
–3 star reads: 33 (28%)
–2 star reads: 17 (14%)
–1 star reads: 2 (2%)
Looking at my stats, I can see one thing rather clearly. My number of highly rated reads went down, and simultaneously some genres I enjoy went down while genres I don’t enjoy (generally) went up. I think it’s important for me in 2013 to focus in more on reads I am fairly certain I will enjoy, rather than books I think I should read. I also would like to read more in the genres that as a writer I am currently (or intend to) write in.
On the other hand, I have definitely enjoyed adding diversity to my reading. I’m very happy to see how much more diverse my reading is now than it used to be when it comes to areas of the world and representations of various perspectives. This is something I would like to hold on to.
I also would like to even out the number of books read per month to a more consistent number. The difference between 20 and 4 is huge, and I would like to see my reading not fall by the wayside if possible. Granted, some of that numerical difference was due to reading chunksters versus graphic novels, so I suppose it’s important to keep in mind that a number is just a number. :-)
Overall, this was a great reading year. It was incredibly varied, and I think I learned more about myself and what I enjoy reading (not to mention writing). For 2013, I hope to read 120 books, an average of 10 books a month. I also will be doing the Mental Illness Advocacy Reading Challenge again, as well as the Finishing the Series Reading Challenge. Beyond that, I will continue tackling my tbr pile. Hopefully, my 2013 will see me finding a few more gems than I found this year.
Happy 2013 everyone! Any suggestions for my 2013 reading goals?
Sophie Mae and her best friend decided to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) as soon as the opportunity popped up in their small town. One day when they’re volunteering at the farm, a dead body is found in the compost heap. Sophie Mae is determined not to get involved this time, after all, she’s got enough on her plate with her soap making business and trying to make a baby with her husband, Detective Barr. But Barr’s boss asks her to help identify the body by talking to the folks in the community , and she just can’t say no.
Cozy mysteries consist of a mystery (that’s not too explicit or bloody) paired with an unlikely investigator, some sort of crafting, a good dose of humor, and a punny title. In other words, they were basically made for me. (Some even come with recipes!) So when this one popped up on NetGalley, I snatched it up, and I’m so glad I did! McRae successfully pulls together everything that makes a cozy great.
The plot is excellent. The murder mystery isn’t too gory, but is also realistic. The body is found in a compost heap, yes, but it’s just a dead body. There aren’t slashed off heads hanging out in tea kettles or something. Everyone is appropriately disturbed by the finding. There’s no ho-hum just another day element at play. Although I admit I had figured out whodunit before the end, the why and when were still a mystery. Plus I never felt that Sophie Mae was being stupid and just missing something. Why it was taking her a bit to see whodunit made total sense. I also really appreciate that GLBTQ people are included in the plot without a big deal being made out of it. They are just another character, which is just how I like my diversity in genre literature.
The characters are fairly three-dimensional for a cozy. Everyone had something I liked and didn’t like about their personality, even the heroine, which is key to characters seeming realistic. There were also a wide variety of people present from Sophie Mae’s best friend’s daughter to an elderly friend of the family. This range is something that is often missing in literature, and I liked seeing it here.
What I really come to cozies for, though, I admit, is the integration of crafting. In this case the theme is participating in a CSA, so parts of the book are devoted to how a CSA works from acquiring your weekly allotment to figuring out how to use it to cooking with it. I really appreciated the quips about having so much of a certain produce that they’re coming out your ears. I also really enjoyed the scenes that discussed taking real time out to cook dinner and what that feels like, such as talking about how garlic smells when you first throw it into a hot pan. I know not all readers enjoy this, but honestly that’s part of the point of a cozy. Taking the time to linger on crafts and talents that take time to cultivate but are well worth it, and McRae incorporated this element very smoothly into the book. I do wish some recipes or CSA tips had been included, but it’s possible I just didn’t see them since I had an advanced copy.
Overall this book has a dash of everything enjoyable about a cozy mystery. Recommended to cozy fans, particularly those in or considering a CSA.
4 out of 5 stars
Hello my lovely readers!
Just a couple of quick blogger and writer related updates for you all this week.
First off in very exciting blogger news, you all may remember me telling you about the new initiative called Bookstore Book Blogger Connection, which is all about connecting online reviewers and reviews with brick and mortar bookstores. Welp. I popped on over there to check in on how things are going and lo and behold there were some photos from a bookstore showing off their new displays with book blogger quotes, and my recommendation for Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner was one of the two shown off!
Not that this isn’t cool enough already, but what moved it up a level in the squee factor is that this is from a bookstore in the Netherlands! The American Book Center to be exact. And they look pretty damn cool. There’s something that’s just extra-exciting about being part of a bookstore that isn’t even in my country. So thanks, guys, for sending the shots to the Bookstore Book Blogger Connection website. You gave this blogger warm glowy feelings, and I do hope the display helped introduce more readers to the awesomeness that is John Brunner’s writing.
In writerly news, I got to participate in Ang’s blogoversary over on Eastern Sunset Reads. She gave Waiting For Daybreak her top rating of four paws (out of a possible four), saying, “I was expecting Waiting for Daybreak to be a book mostly about zombies and fighting them, but what I found was more a journey into a survivor’s psyche. I don’t know what was scarier, the zombies or being in Frieda’s mind.”
I also was able to contribute a guest post to her blogoversary where I talked about her theme for the month on where a love of reading came from for me. My guest post is quite personal, and I really enjoyed writing it. Big thanks to Ang for inviting me to be part of her special month!
Although my blog tour is not still going on, book bloggers are always welcome to request review copies of both my novel and my novella. I appreciate any and all signal boosts. :-)
That’s it for the news for this week! I hope you all have completely awesome weekends. *waves*
In a world where the 1% has taken over the government and resources and the rest are left to fend for themselves, the Symmonds siblings seek to keep starvation at bay with their divining abilities. Everyone knows diviners can find a water source with two rods, but the Symmonds siblings can find much more, including lost people. When they are asked to find girls most likely stolen by the government for sex slavery, they must face a choice. Should they risk it all to save them?
I actually hesitated over whether or not to review this book because it does not appear to be available for sale anymore in spite of coming out just this February. This shows me that perhaps the author is already aware that it wasn’t quite ready for publication, so why pile it on? But I did promise a review in exchange for a copy, and I also review everything I read, so I ultimately decided to review. But I will keep it short and try to offer simply constructive criticism.
There are two issues with the book. One is some awkward sentence structures and flat-out wrong grammar. This is something that could be quickly fixed in another editing pass, which I recommend. The other is larger, though. The world building is confusing and weak. It took me until around 75% through the kindle book to finally figure out what was going on in this world, and some of it was still unclear. For instance, what I think is a branch of the government (still not sure) is called the “Jacobs,” but they are just called the Jacobs for so long with no other information that at first it seems that they are a rival family or something. The little information the reader does get about the dystopian world is delivered via information dump. It’s not smoothly written into the story. It is told to the reader like a confusing history book. If this wasn’t a review copy, I would have quit in the first chapter, because it’s simply not pleasant to receive information via info dump. The dystopian world itself, though, is interesting and timely. It’s based around the Occupy movement’s rhetoric about the 1% with the wealthy ultimately blatantly taking over. I could see a lot of people really enjoying the mix of that with the more fantastical element of divining. The characters are also fairly well-rounded and easy to tell apart.
Overall I would say it’s a good idea and a good first draft, but it needs some reworking and editing. I hope that’s what this author is doing and that she keeps at it, because her ideas are definitely unique.
2 out of 5 stars
Source: Kindle copy from author in exchange for my honest review
Currently unavailable to buy, but check out the author’s website
That’s right, you can now choose between an ebook or a print book when reading Waiting For Daybreak! The print book is printed up by CreateSpace and shipped by Amazon. It costs $7.99. Check it out here.
Interesting fact: the print version is 172 pages, and the kindle version is about 104 pages.