Saturday, September 30, 2017

This Week on Books Direct - 30 September 2017

This Week on Books Direct -
30 September 2017

This Week on Books Direct - 30 September 2017

Here's a list of some great articles you may have missed this week. Enjoy!

With all of the competition these days, how do you get your kids to read books?

Why I Can’t Wait For My Son To Be Reading Books by Hans M. Hirschi

Kirsten Oliphant interviews Chris Syme about how to sell more books, which really means how to get more readers.

How To Sell More Books (aka How To Get More Readers) by Kirsten for Create If Writing

The National Book Foundation announced their 5 Under 35 honorees for 2017 today, and in a fun twist, all five nominees are women and three are women of color.

The National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 Honorees Are All Women by Megan Reynolds for The Muse

Where To Celebrate Banned Books Week 2017! by Maggie Jacoby for Banned Books Week
How did you celebrate Banned Books Week?

Where To Celebrate Banned Books Week 2017! by Maggie Jacoby for Banned Books Week

Junot Díaz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, called for more help for Puerto Rico.

Author Junot Díaz Calls For Help For Hurricane-Battered Puerto Rico by Michael Schaub for LA Times

The founding text of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been returned to followers of Joseph Smith for $35 million, setting what is believed to be a new record for the most expensive manuscript ever sold.

Book Of Mormon Sets New Record For Most Expensive Manuscript Ever Sold by Alison Flood for The Guardian

4 Tools To Research Competitors On Social Media by Ana Gotter for Social Media Examiner
Do you want to learn more about your competitors’ social media activity? In this article, you’ll discover four tools for researching your competition on popular social media platforms.

4 Tools To Research Competitors On Social Media by Ana Gotter for Social Media Examiner

If you want to make it in the writing industry, you need to learn the lingo.

Talk Like A Copy Editor And Learn Something New In The Process by Shundalyn Allen for Grammarly Blog

Podcasts are a great source of inspiration for writers who like listening to information. Many podcasts also are accompanied by notes and transcripts so you can reinforce your learning through different styles of presentation.

Why Podcasts Are Perfect For Writers by This is Writing

The French writer Marcel Proust paid for glowing reviews of the first volume of his Remembrance of Things Past to be put into newspapers, letters by the author reveal.

Marcel Proust Paid For Reviews Praising His Work To Go Into Newspapers by The Guardian

If you enjoyed this blog post, please visit the other This Week posts for links to more great articles.

Friday, September 29, 2017

"23:27" by H. L. Roberts

by H. L. Roberts

23:27 by H. L. Roberts

This review opportunity for 23:27 by H. L. Roberts is brought to you by YA Bound Book Tours.

These were all the things that you would expect from being famous. The bait that the producers of the industry would tempt you with to get you on their side.
What they don't tell you though are all the inner tragedies that come along just as quickly. They don't tell you about the heartache that occurs when you realize that this wasn't what you wanted at all.
They don't tell you about the pressure that's always on the verge of crushing you when you're forced to do everything that the public demands for and not what you truly desire.
They don't tell you about the self hatred that would soon take over your entire being at the thought that you will never be good enough.
No - they don't tell you these things at all.
But, Lilith Rose will.
When Lilith Rose, lead singer to one of the most famous rock bands around gets tired of all the lies and secrets that comes with being famous.
She decides that it's time for all of it to stop and ends up revealing everything on a Facebook live stream.
The result ...
"Part of me wants to die tonight, part of me wants it to be an accident, and part of me wants someone to notice and save me." - Lilith Rose.

In the beginning, that was all there was. Seconds, minutes, hours pressed together, forming a mask of illusion that could never be dropped. A wall of steel grew around their hearts, one that couldn’t be broken. The United Misfits image could never be distorted.
It was wrong. It wasn’t right. No matter what her heart told her, it was wrong. Every flutter that skated through her stomach. His every skipped heartbeat, meant nothing. She was nothing. He was nothing. They were nothing.
It had been said many times, by many different people, the most broken person in the world could hide behind a perfected smile and a fake laugh. This could carry out a person’s persona, something that never even existed to begin with. That would never exist. Laughter and smiles filled with fake truths and real lies could hide what that person wanted to show, to tell, the truth.
In the end, she wanted to break free, but chains restrained her, blocking each and every move before she could make a single one, turning her into a prisoner. A captive in her own life.
Those chains squeezed tighter and tighter, never loosening their grip. They choked her from the inside, wrapping her tighter with every deceitful accusation and fake persona they put in her life. Deadly thoughts clouded her vision and stomped through her mind. Both of their minds.
Their hearts were noosed, yanked in every which direction. Like a snake. Until it all stopped. Until they both stopped fighting.
And when the fight dissipated, she could no longer turn away from the deceitful ways that they had so graciously bestowed on her.

Praise for the Book
"There are ups in 23:27 and there are downs. There were moments I wanted to launch the book at the wall because I was so frustrated with the characters. But there were moments I could have cried because I felt so incredibly sad for them and I just wanted things to work out. The emotions this book brought out in me is the whole reason I read. I want to feel something. And Roberts made me feel so much so fast I could hardly put the book down." ~ Cassandra Fear
"A really captivating read. Couldn't put the book away! A must read for young Adult readers!" ~ Marie Julien
The writing style is superb. The author took two of my favorite things, reading and music and put it into one beautiful story. If you guys are thinking of reading this book, take a chance on it, and let yourself be surprised." ~ Tracy Thomas
"I fell in love with the characters and just wanted them to be happy. There were moments I just want to cry or yell at a characters. This book is just too good! This is Ms. Roberts debut and let's just say she has hit it out of the ball park!" ~ Korina
"H. L. Roberts’s writing style is breathtakingly beautiful. She brings her characters to life in a way that you can’t help, but be drawn into the story. Roberts is one talented lady! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her. [...] My advice is take a chance on this book you won’t regret!" ~ Kayla

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Lilith has been the lead singer of The United Misfits since high school. As their success grew, so did her feelings for fellow band member Alec. But their relationship threatened the band's future. Lilith had to make a hard decision, one she now regrets and is about to make public via a Livestream broadcast. The lives of Lilith and the rest of the band members are about to change forever.
The story is told from both Lilith's and Alec's points-of-view, recounting events in the present and the past. The first 40% of the book deals with the lead-up to Lilith's suicide attempt, while the rest of the book focuses on the aftermath of her actions. The Livestream is compelling, if predictable, but what follows is not compelling and is, in fact, boring. *Spoiler alert* Lilith's time in the treatment center is glossed over. Three months pass, and then we get her a fleeting account of her stay. She is writing to Alec but he's not replying although, according to his story, she's not writing to him! More miscommunication and people interfering in their relationship. Just leave them alone, already! So frustrating! Why don't the other band members ask her why she isn't communicating with Alec or tell her that he is writing to her every day? Then six more months pass with no further details. Meanwhile, the whole band is in limbo while they are waiting for Lilith to get out. When she finally does get out, she's with Markus. What the ...? Then another six months fly by until there is only a week left to the wedding. Then, the night before the wedding, Alec finally makes his move. Aargh!
Believe it or not, it was 23:27 when I started reading this book, that means 11:27pm. This time is never actually spelled out in the book but occurs about 40% in, when a crucial event occurs. Why is the title relevant? Perhaps it has nothing to do with time but is a reference to the Bible: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.Matthew 23:27. That certainly seems to fit with how Lilith sees herself.
I had a number of issues with this book: *spoiler alert*
·       We have no idea what the characters' ages are.
·       Alec drinks and sleeps around in order to forget Lilith. He keeps wishing he could go back in time and change things, yet he continues to act badly.
·       Lilith reveals that management forced her to break up with Alec for the band's image because of their color: he's black and she's white. This is the only time that we learn that Alec and Jase are black, although it appears to be crucial to the story.
·       We hear too much from Alec and not enough from Lilith.
·       Why does the character of Chloe-Grace have such a beautiful name only to have it shortened to CG?
·       Why do two band members have names starting with J (Jaxson and Jace) when they're not even the twins?
·       What is the relevance of Alec and Jace being twins? They could simply have been brothers.
·       In addition, there is the annoying stammering by a number of characters, unrealistically polite swearing by rock stars, unbelievable behavior from everyone, and some confusion of timelines.
There are also numerous editing errors, including:
·       misplaced commas,
·       incorrect use of apostrophes,
·       missing words,
·       incorrect words,
·       awkwardly phrased sentences (e.g., "I shot up from my chair so fast it fell back, slamming into the ground and ran to the hallway tugging on my shoes."),
·       short choppy sentences,
·       overuse of sentence fragments,
·       incorrect prepositions,
·       formatting errors (the last paragraph of each chapter is cantered),
·       lame similes (e.g., "My head shook and tears fell like apples from trees onto my cheeks."),
·       repetition of a whole chapter (Chapter 4 is a duplicate of Chapter 3 minus the incorrect heading),
·       inconsistencies in tense (written in the past tense with occasional lapses into the present tense),
·       too much smirking and crying,
·       constant descriptions of looks, smiles, facial expressions, touches.
This book has potential if it receives a complete re-edit.
While the characters' current ages are never actually mentioned, I place this book in the New Adult category, as they are no longer in school.
Warnings: suicide references, alcohol consumption, self-harm, coarse language, casual sex, mental illness.

Some of My Favorite Lines
"So much love I could barely let my mind wander there without my heart threatening to melt from my chest into a puddle at my feet."
"It tore my heart out knowing the people would never know who I was because Star Records and Management turned me into a stranger even I didn’t know."
"He was kissing me. My best friend; the guy I had fallen in love with ages ago was kissing me. That was the best moment of my life."
"I had to break my boyfriend's heart and in turn, break my own."
"I stopped living as much as I could without actually ending my life."
"She’d become my purpose in life, my only purpose."
"Part of me didn’t care. The other part always would."
"I used to think happiness was just an illusion. Something people made up to tell an engaging story or to sell a good book."
"Happiness would never exist for me."

About the Author
H. L. Roberts
H. L. Roberts is a short story writer and a contemporary novelist from a small town in Kentucky. She is currently in her third year of college where she is majoring in English Literature and minoring in Psychology. When she isn't reading a book you can find her raising awareness about mental illness, suicide prevention, and epilepsy.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

"Love and Other Hazards" by Claudia Riess

Love and Other Hazards
by Claudia Riess

Love and Other Hazards by Claudia Riess

Love and Other Hazards by Claudia Riess is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Love and Other Hazards is a novel about urban singles stumbling toward fulfillment in an odyssey of sex, love, and parenting.
Glenda Fieldston is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her seven-year-old daughter, Astrid, when Eugene Lerman comes walking by with his eight-year-old daughter, Meredith, a schoolmate of Astrid’s. The families spot each other, Glenda and Eugene engage in long-range cursory assessments, and then they go their separate ways.
But not for long. Glenda and Eugene cross paths professionally soon after, and circumstances at work bring them into close association. So begins a friendship fraught with complications. Glenda’s independence is self-imposed and fierce. Eugene’s was foisted on him by a wife who left him. Although Glenda’s and Eugene’s personal demons are incompatible, their longings are, confoundedly, in harmony. Their cautious friendship is further inhibited by past and present relationships, and it remains to be seen if they can break out of their set ways to make a break for uncharted love.

Glenda Fieldston's agile little daughter hoisted herself onto the pedestal of the tall bronze statue of the Roman emperor. Only then was she able to reach his genitals. Glenda did nothing to discourage her. The child had never seen a naked man, and Glenda guessed this was as good a time as any to make use of the hands-on theory of learning.
Some twelve yards away, Eugene Lerman was exiting the hall with his daughter Meredith trailing behind him, rhythmically clicking the heels and toes of her patent leather shoes on the marble floor as if she was on a Broadway stage instead of here at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Raising her eyes to an imaginary audience, she caught sight of the girl on the pedestal.
"Hey, that's Astrid Fieldston! Isn't she gross? She goes to my school!" Eugene, hanging back, looked in time to witness the last bit of anatomical exploration. He was annoyed with himself for feeling a prudish twinge.
The museum guard, who had been distracted by Meredith's tapping feet, turned. His lanky frame tensed. "Get off there!" he ordered, striding across the hall. He glared at Glenda as Astrid jumped off the pedestal to her side. "Don't you know better than that, lady?"
Glenda concealed her alarm. "Don't get excited, we weren't going to steal him," she assured him.
The guard shook his bony finger at her. "You just observe the rules, ma'am." He marched to the wall, where he positioned himself for a possible showdown, feet apart, arms akimbo. "Fresh!"
"What are you looking at?" Astrid challenged, and Glenda noticed Meredith Lerman, one of Astrid's elementary school nemeses — a year her senior, in second grade — crouching across the hall as if preparing to attack. On meeting Glenda's glance, Meredith tossed her braids and scurried after the man Glenda assumed was her father, grabbing his hand and tugging him onward, not without directing a parting tongue-thrust of scorn at Astrid. Meredith's father was a dark-haired figure with a coat slung over his shoulder, and Glenda thought he looked a bit lost and confused. Her own vulnerability bounded out to meet his, but she instantly drew it back, as if it were a flaw he had tricked her into revealing.
Astrid hiked up her jeans. "Can we go now? I'm starving."
Glenda smiled and shook her head. "Already? It's only four-thirty."
"My stomach is making noises."
"That was Meredith Lerman, wasn't it? I met her mother at a parents' meeting last year."
"Mrs. Lerman ran away from home," Astrid said bluntly.
Glenda frowned. "Mrs. Lerman? But she was going to law school."
"Meredith said so. Cheryl told me. Can we go home and eat?"
"I think it's a story."
"It's not."
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"This book starts out quickly and grabs your interest. Then comes excitement and greater depth. This is a warm and fast-moving story." ~ Alan H. Covey, M.D.
"I enjoyed this book about relationships, parenting, love, being guarded and in control as well as letting go. This story takes place in NYC. The characters are interesting and feel realistic. A fast read." ~ Amazon Customer
"I really enjoyed this novel. The characters were well developed and the novel really made me reflect on life. I cared about the characters in a way that I have not in a really long time. If you want to read a novel that might be somewhat different than what you are used to then this is the novel for you. Enjoy!" ~ Maryann Pereira
"An incredibly well-written, compelling story of love, its perils and more. I loved it." ~ M. Glenda Rosen
"What a different and exciting take on the subject of love, with surprise and intrigue on every page! Hope the author produces another book as enthralling as this one." ~ Niki

About the Author
Claudia Riess
Love and Other Hazards is Claudia’s fourth novel. Her fifth, a sequel to her art suspense, Stolen Light, is in the works. The author divides her time between the Hamptons and Manhattan with her husband, Bob.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of five copies of Love and Other Hazards by Claudia Riess (US only).