Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Being An Awesome Fan | How To

I came across an article on MTV that Maggie Steifvater shared with her fans on Facebook.  It's a discussion between Cassandra Clare and Maggie Steifvater, discussing and sometimes debating the pros and cons of being accessible to their fans/readers online, appropriate responses to fans based on the gender of the creator/author, social media quirks, and more.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the article that kind of highlight some of the things that maybe we, as sometimes fans, and sometimes readers, can be more awesome at in regards to the content creators we are interacting with.

On negativity in social media: 

"I get told all the time by fans that they hate me — but they mean it as a compliment. I suppose it can be argued that both of these constructs come from a good place, a place of affection. But as someone who loves words, I see a culture shift to a place where being enthusiastic and positive is no longer cool." --Maggie Steifvater

On interacting with fans and readers going forward:

"I think that women authors in particular are asked to be nice online. Always nice, always nurturing, never aggressive. It seems like this should spare them the slings and arrows of online misfortune. But in reality, it just takes away our weapons. I looked around at authors like Chuck Wendig and John Scalzi and I thought — they get to say what they want. When something’s bullsh-t, they’re allowed to call bullsh-t. That. That’s what I’m going to do. If you hate me, you can hate me because I called it as I saw it, not because of some imagined slight. I’m going to stand up for what I believe in." --Maggie Steifvater

On cruel fans:

"I mean we, Maggie and I, are women whose fans are often young girls and women, and they’ve grown up in this world that tells them that successful women are monsters, and that any woman who acknowledges her hard work or success is to be deplored and dehumanized. You often see people talking about female writers and creators saying, “She thinks she’s so great,” “She thinks she’s a Queen!,” “She thinks people should bow down to her,” etc; there’s usually no evidence of that beyond the fact that they’re successful and not self-loathing. I wish that wasn’t a problem for women — I wish these young girls were growing up in a world where it was okay for them to think they were so great." --Cassandra Clare

"She is generally seen as a creator, and I am seen as an author. Those things seem like they should be the same, but I think someone who self-identifies as a fan is far more likely to press physical boundaries than someone who self-identifies as a reader." --Maggie Steifvater

On how to be an awesome fan:

"Engaging passionately and critically with my work, buying the books legally, regarding me as an individual, not making assumptions about my motivations or my politics, buying me an F12 Ferrari in charcoal with black wheels. You said awesome, not just great." --Maggie Steifvater

"Obviously my books mean an enormous amount to me and are so close to my heart, so when I see people loving them, living inside them, it means the world to me. I think being an awesome fan also means being kind to other fans, and kind to yourself. Know that loving a book doesn’t make you a nerd or a geek, it makes you special and amazing." --Cassandra Clare

I'm hoping that's enough to inspire you to head over and read the whole article in all its insightful glory, but just in case, here are the things I gleaned from it as guidelines on how to be an awesome fan:

Treat others the way you want to be treated.  

Oh, wait.  It's as simple as that?  Yep.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Jamieson Brothers Novels by Angie Stanton | Review

If you're old like me, and remember Hanson in high school?  No?  Oh c'mon.  Admit it.  The Jamieson brothers - Garrett, Peter, and Adam - make me think of the Hanson brothers - what were their names again? Oh, right.  Lost in the everspace.

Rock And A Hard Place

The first book in the series follows the middle brother, Peter, who is the songwriter and lead singer of the group.  The boys' mom tries to make touring and traveling a family affair to keep the boys grounded and to keep them bonded as a family (which is a delightful touch), so they all ride together in a bus.  Peter lucks into love, loses it, and spends the rest of the novel trying to find the girl he loves again.

What I liked about this story, and what drove me to want to pick up the next book in the series, was the innocence.  The teens were so innocent, even though they hadn't been sheltered from reality, they had such high expectations of humanity, even after hardship, and that kept the story grounded.  I loved that it wasn't a typical love story and that its heroine, Libby,  was someone you can be proud of, someone you can point out as a conqueror of her situation, and that made me happy.


The second book picks up with the youngest brother, Adam.  He's determined to spend his week-long break, unheard of in his world of successful music-making, at a photography arts camp as a regular teenager.  So, he heads off, shaving his head to try to fool his fans.  He, too, finds love, just not as easily as Peter did.

The thing I realized at the end of this one is that these books, unlike many summer-romance trilogies, aren't overtly formulaic.  While Peter & Libby's story was pretty squeaky clean, Adam & Marti's deals with heavier teen issues such as unprotected sex and the possibility of teen pregnancy, underage drinking, and rebelliousness you rarely see in the baby of the brood.

The difference in the two was so striking, it led me to the third, even though Garrett was probably my most hated character throughout the first two books and I knew he'd take the main stage on this one.

Under The Spotlight

Garrett is really a douche of an older brother.  This book picks up after the band hits some major issues, and Garrett loses his way a little.  It's the story of him trying out a new profession, and chasing a girl who wants more than anything to make her own way in the world, without her mother finding out, and teaching him some much needed life lessons along the way.

Character crossover between the three novels is very well-done.  And it seems more plausible than convenient.  Under the Spotlight sheds light on previously unexplained behavior and brings a great close to the three-book series.  Really, it does.

So, if you're looking for a trilogy that's already out, that you can binge at the beach, poolside, or under a massive forest canopy, put this one on the list.  It'll keep you guessing, keep you interested with its unique characters, and most of all, keep you entertained, page-flipping as fast as your little eyes can bear.

Angie Stanton also wrote the recently reviewed Royally Lost, so if you want another to add to your vacay queue, it's a safe bet.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monsters: Daughter of Smoke & Bone | Quote of The Week

(the Kindle edition is currently on sale for $2.99, click the pic to take you there)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West | Review

The Distance Between Us playfully explores judgmentalism, acceptance, and self-worth in a complicated coming-of-age romance.

Caymen Meyers works at her mom's doll shop.  Her hometown is small, but it's rife with the have- and have-not- types.  Raised by her single mother who used hush money from her rich father's parents to start the doll shop after being a teenage mom disowned by her own family, Caymen has grown up mistrusting the rich because of her mom's experiences.

She takes on more than she should, planning to put her future on hold until she can get the doll shop in better financial shape for her mother before she embarks on her own life.  And, she is delectably sarcastic, making it a sheer pleasure to read the dialogue in this book.

The story proceeds down a path of her love life - an angle she's yet to explore.  Does she choose the hot, tattooed lead singer of the Crusty Toads (of whom her mom approves) or the adorable, playful heir to a hotel fortune (about whom she lies consistently to her mother)?

It's just quirky enough to keep you on your toes, with enough twists and dips to make you doubt Caymen's every move.  I found Caymen to be quite relatable, even though I've never lived in a tiny apartment above a doll store with my mother.  She was real, refreshing, and made decisions using both her brain and her heart, which I think is a good way to make decisions, personally.  The boys could have been stereotypical, but West gave them just enough quirks and faults to make them deeper-than-average for a book of this genre.

Parents: There is a bit of language.  Not a ton.  Nothing beyond kissing, albeit passionate most of the time.  As mentioned above, a lot of haves vs. have-nots, and there is a lot of familial drama.  Her mom is sick throughout most of the book, but she doesn't pick up on it until someone spells it out for her, but she does handle it well.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan | Review

Daughter of Deep Silence held onto me and still hasn't let me go.

Libby O'Martin isn't who anyone thinks she is, not even who she thinks she is.  When the Persephone goes down, and she is rescued by her father after the Coast Guard stopped looking, she's thrown into a life she never wanted.  A life she never planned.  A life that left her empty and cold and seeking revenge.

Now, months after her father - the last of her living relatives -  has passed, she returns home to put her calculated plan into motion.  To exact revenge on those responsible for her mother's and friend's deaths.  But the story is twisty and fluid and reactionary, taking you down paths you've never considered.

The way Ryan weaves the story together, with dreams and flashbacks that seem inconveniently timed for the story, kept me reading far into the night, taking it upon myself to try to solve the mystery when I wasn't even close to having enough information to solve it.  I judged the characters and their motivations completely inaccurately, and was pleased to be wrong.  There are so many angles that you don't even get the chance to consider until Ryan wants you to consider them that it's nearly impossible to figure out why the Persephone fell before she reveals it to you.

The main character is such a piece of work that she can't even figure herself out, so you have no idea what she's going to choose or act on until she does.  Ryan did a fantastic job of laying the psychological ground work for this mystery/thriller of hers that I'm almost sad it's a stand alone.  Sad it's resolution was so complete and perfect.

The only thing I have to criticize is the repetition of phrases throughout the book.  "Distance between us" was used at least three times that I noticed to describe romantic tension in the book.  Sure, it's a nitpicky thing to point out, but it is the only thing that stood out to me as annoying.

Parents: Libby has no parental figures in her life.  Either murdered or died of natural causes, she really has no one to guide her.  Make sure you discuss that with your teen.  Otherwise, the book is fairly clean.  No bad language that I can recall and nothing beyond kissing scenes, though they were pretty intense kisses. *wink*  She does resolve the fact that she has nothing to live for, and put her life at stake as a means to an end at one point, but she snaps out of it, and ends up fighting to live.  It's definitely something to chat about, but not really something I can see pushing a teen one direction or the other if their fragile.  But you're the expert on your teen.  Not me.  Use your discretion as always.

Today I start my last treatment of chemotherapy.  Do a little dance with me?  Thursday I'll be disconnected and we can totally party down in a few weeks once I'm recovered.