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Gideon the Ninth Review

Des and I both loved this book. Here’s the video if you’d like to see our complete explanations. However, in summary, these are the three reasons why we thought Gideon the Ninth was an amazing title:

  1. The characters were each distinct from each other
  2. The world-building was gradual but also deep
  3. The tropes were twisted in satisfying ways

If you liked this video, don’t forget to check us out on our YouTube channel every Monday for new posts. Have you read Gideon the Ninth and what did you think of this title?

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Book Review: Warrior of the Wild

This YA book was an intense rite of passage/coming of age story. I was excited to read it based on the stellar book blurb as provided on Amazon. It was easy to read, so easy in fact that I finished it in a single afternoon. So, even if you’re pressed for time, this book is a good one to snag up and devour. In this article, we’ll go over what worked and what maybe needed some work.

The Plot

The plot was super simple and direct. In fact, it seemed so linear, and so clear, that there was little doubt that it needed to go any other way. One thing led to another, which led to another, in a simple and logical sequence. Spoilers: There weren’t any plot twists that the reader couldn’t have seen coming. And that was delightful. Many works of fiction these days have a “plot twist” for the sake of sensationalism and it comes across as not well done. So, I appreciated that this book went straight to the point without muddling up the waters.

What do you think? Does a book need a plot twist to be “good”?

Relationships and Retribution

friends of clara

The story deals a lot in relationships; be that father-daughter, daughter-mother, romantic, friendship, or even enemies. Basically, Warrior of the Wild has a lot to say about how we interact with other people. In fact, it comes off preachy at times with how much it has to say about interacting with others. That wasn’t a major sticking point for me, but it was an interesting thing to note.

SPOILERS

My biggest beef with the book is that the MCs father gets off scot-free. HE GETS OFF SCOT-FREE. Her mother does get a measure of punishment, but her father is the leader of the village and while the MC stands up to him, she doesn’t actually do anything to him. So, yeah. I took a bit of issue with that.

However, the rest of those that caused her grief got punishment and she also made positive relationships with other people to help her gain confidence in herself. Basically, she ends in a much healthier place than where she started and she seems much more competent in expressing her own needs.

Logic to Overcome Enemies

All of the victories the characters had felt earned which is a sticking point for many people in fantasy. Each enemy had a specific trick to overcome them and the MC and her friends had to figure out what that trick was to complete that task. In other words, it felt fulfilling every time they defeated an enemy.

The final opposition was especially fulfilling because it was a task that was assigned to the MC pretty much at the beginning of the book and it was something that had been building up until that final moment. After that, the book wrapped up quickly, so it was clear that this was the conflict’s focal point. And at no point was it clearer that the MC was the one with the skill and know-how required to defeat this enemy.

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5 Books on My Reading List

Here are some books I’ll be reading/reviewing soon. These are in no particular order, so stay with me.

1. Warrior of the Wild

Warrior of the Wild by [Tricia Levenseller]

I read this one a night ago and will be doing a review of it on Youtube here soon. I didn’t put it down after I started it. Can’t wait to tell you all what I think. It was great, it was stellar. Simple, compelling, and easy to read.

2. Somnium

SOMNIUM Beyond the Darkness by [A.D. Sterling]

I saw this one on my twitter feed and I’m interested to see what’s in it. It looks like it might be dark fantasy? It really have no idea based on the book blurb. There’s no genre indicators there so it might be entirely mundane, horror, surreal, or fantasy. Not sure, but interested to find out.

3. Gideon The Ninth

Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb Trilogy Book 1) by [Tamsyn Muir]

I heard this one described to me as lesbian necromancers in space. I was of course like bring it on. So, I’m interested to see where this one will go. I’m a few chapters in at the moment and I’m dying to finish (pun intended).

4. Heart of Obsidian

Heart of Obsidian: A Psy-Changeling Novel by [Nalini Singh]

This one looks like it’s going to be thoroughly problematic. I’m excited to see if it proves to be just as troublesome as it looks. It’s supposedly a villain-falls-in-love-with-protag story and I’m expecting I’ll be disappointed, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. That’s half the fun, now isn’t it?

5. Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You'll Ever Need by [Jessica Brody]

It’s the book that has everyone in the writing industry chatting like crazy. So, I guess I will succumb to their whims and partake in this event. But more seriously, I expect that I’ll read this one piecemeal and since it is a technical books I suspect that I’ll be reviewing it in chunks.

An Offer of Review

Are you a self-published or traditionally-published author that wants some more reviews? Message me on Twitter and I’ll put it on my next reading list. Trust me, it doesn’t take me long to read through something if I’m having fun.

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Reviews writing

Beta Readers: Work Shouldn’t Be Free

Ah, as a writer I know things are tight for all of us. We aren’t paid nearly enough for the work we do and it wrecks me to know that I’ll make so little return for my sweat and tears. But you know what else irks me? The stigma against paying good and honest workers. So, let’s talk about Beta readers and why their work shouldn’t be free.

Beta Readers, A Debate

Beta reading is a passion, but it’s also a job. This post by Nat Russo is enough to prove that. The post is 4 Things Every Writer Should Know About Beta Readers and I was quite enjoying what the article had to say about Beta reading. Yes, you need to be specific with your beta readers. Check. Yes, you need to look for good beta readers and develop a relationship with them.

But then I stopped dead in my tracks.

“Under NO circumstances should you agree to pay a beta reader. That’s simply not how it’s done. If someone approaches you to beta read your work and tells you they’ll do so for a fee, run in the opposite direction.”

Nat Russo

I reread it.

I mean, I know that this has been a charged topic for a while in the industry. But here, in an article with such a business-like and driven tone, to see this blatant disregard for paying people for their labor I was taken aback.

If you’re sending your document to a Beta reader you’ve done everything you can possibly do in your own power to make it better and now you need someone (I agree with Russo in that is should be a fellow writer if possible) to go over it with unbiased eyes. You need a beta reader. And if they’re expected to take hours out of their day to read over and break down your work, how is that not a job worth paying for?

The Policy Of Not Paying Passion

Wouldn’t it be worth paying someone for that kind of time? They’re giving you their time and, if they really are a fellow writer, they’re giving you time they could have spent on their own projects. I don’t wanna hear the they should do it for the skill they’ll gain or that they’re paid in the pleasure they get from their work arguments. That justification is the very thing that keeps creators from getting paid in real wages. Somehow people think that satisfaction will pay the bills. If only, if only.

Don’t believe me? Don’t believe that people try this stunt all. the. time? Watch this comical but mildly horrifying skit by a pianist. Yes, things really are like this in the creative industry. And no, it’s not okay. And what’s worse, in not paying Beta readers we are merely perpetuating the issue in our own industry.

Paying People, A Good Way To Live

I see signs that the “paying Beta readers” stigma is going away, albeit slowly. In this article is says that most Beta readers are charging 10$ per 10,000 words. Honestly, that’s pretty fair because Beta readers are supposed to be less skilled than editors, they are supposed to be pre-production. So, charging .001 cents a words seems reasonable.

For more articles about paying Beta readers, check out this post Should beta readers get paid?

I’d like to see a day when creators are paid for the work they do, and so let’s start with the things we can control. We can do an exchange for the work our Beta readers do. We have control over that.

But, I don’t have money either!

I’m a writer and we also get paid so little for the work we do. If you really don’t have money, but your fellow beta reader is a writer as well, then perhaps you could exchange manuscripts? Perhaps you could work something out where you don’t have to pay the whole amount all at once? Perhaps, perhaps. There are options, but it’s really best to, if you can, pay them in money.

After all, that’s how you would like to be paid as well.

What do you think? Do you think beta readers should work out of the goodness of their hearts? Or do you agree that they should be getting some compensation for what they do? I’d love to hear your perspective in the comments below.

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Reviews

Book Review: Misty of the Chincoteague

I was in a secondhand bookstore and went a little crazy—as many of the book-enthused are prone to do—with my book buying. As I was rounding up the goods, something caught my eye. Before me, on the shelf, was one was one of my favorites: Misty of the Chincoteague. So, not only did I immediately snatch it off the shelf, but I also determined that I would re-read it and see if it was as good as I remembered it to be.

For my full review, watch the video below:

Basically, this book was good for me as a child. The author, Marguerite Henry, has a firm grasp of metaphor and simile. Also, they know what emotions will hit you hardest. By no means is this book any less deep because it is a children’s book.

I must admit, Marguerite obviously has their strengths and weaknesses. While she’s strong with her metaphors, she struggles with other writing concepts. Despite this, the book was still a fun read and I would absolutely read it again.