Welcome to the May meeting of our Book Review Club! We have a wonderful line-up of books this month. Interestingly enough, we've reviewed more adult books by far. Always a little out of step, I chose two young-adult books. ;) Please grab a coffee and a cookie and make yourself comfortable. Below my review are links to a slew of great reviews by fellow bloggers.
Just last month, my good friend Maureen McGowan (we met online, then discovered she lives within walking distance of one of my sisters in Toronto!) celebrated the release of TWO young-adult books. Both Cinderella: Ninja Warrior and Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer are part of the Twisted Tales series, where fairy tales get a contemporary makeover. In these delightful totally revamped versions, the very capable heroines save themselves and land the prince. In addition, these books are reader interactive, meaning the reader makes choices regarding the path of the story. You can just imagine how much Child #4 is enjoying Maureen's books!
Here's a quick recap of the stories a la Maureen McGowan:
Me: Maureen, I've always had you pegged as a genius. And these books clinch it! I mean, seriously, CINDERELLA and SLEEPING BEAUTY must have been really tough to write. You had to come up with and keep track of a variety of plot lines. How tough was it? Are you an outliner or a panster? Were there moments when you were pulling your hair out?
Maureen: Genius! Ha! I wish. There were many times while writing this book when I concluded I was exactly the opposite of a genius. And yes, hair pulling was involved. ☺
Normally, I’m a hybrid between a plotter and a pantser. I like the idea of plotting and outlining in theory, but if I’m not forced to do a full synopsis before starting, I typically give up at some point, assuming I’ll figure it out as I go along. Even when I do have a book fully plotted ahead of time, I usually think of something great while writing that takes me off in other directions. Then I have to stop midway and re-plot.
The Twisted Tales books forced me to plan more than I usually do, because the alternate routes circle back into common sections. It was both really fun and really hard to imagine different ways in which the plot could unfold yet still lead to a single ending.
Me: Where do you do most of your writing? At home? At a coffee shop? In sweats?
Maureen: All of the above. ☺ I typically like to work in coffee shops, but it depends on the time of year, my mood, and how disciplined I’m feeling. I was at a talk with screenwriter and director Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of our Fathers) recently, and he said he always writes in public. His reason resonated with me. He said: because writing is such a solitary profession, working in coffee shops or hotel lobbies makes him feel like part of humanity. I’d like to think that’s my reason, too. (And not the easy access to butter tarts.)
Me: What are you working on now?
Maureen: My taxes. Oh, you meant writing-wise… I’m revising a dark young adult novel set in a post-apocalyptic world and just starting another young adult novel that, well, I’m not really ready to talk about, yet.
Me: Thanks, Maureen! Best of luck with the Twisted Tales books and ALL your writing projects!
And here's a rare photo of Maureen at the age of 13, the age of many of her readers. I don't think she could be cuter! Maureen's wearing her favorite sweater.
Oh, and Happy Birthday, Maureen!
As promised, here are links to amazing reviews by amazing reviewers! Pleae click through to discover books you'll want to read.
MIDDLE GRADE/YOUNG ADULT BOOK REVIEWS
Stacy Nyikos: A MILLION MILES FROM BOSTON by Karen Day (middle grade) **A mother + daughter review**
Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES by Barrie Summy (middle grade, mystery) *Honestly, I didn't pay her!*
Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: CHIME by Franny Billingsley (young adult, fantasy)
ADULT BOOK REVIEWS
Scott Parker: SUPERMAN by Tom De Haven
Sarah Laurence: THE TIGER'S WIFE by Tea Obreht (literary)
Stacy of The Cat's Meow: THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER by Jael McHenry (women's fiction)
Patti Abbott: EMILY, ALONE by Stewart O'Nan
Kaye of the Book Review Forum: HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET by Jamie Ford
Beth Yarnall: IMPULSIVE by HelenKay Dimon (romance) and PERFUMED HEAT by Judy Mays (erotica)
Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: HEADS YOU LOSE by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward (crime fiction/mystery)
Beth of From the Desk of Bee Drunken: THE CAZALET CHRONICLES by Elizabeth Jane Howard
Linda McLaughlin: GOD IS NOT ONE: THE EIGHT RIVAL RELIGIONS THAT RUN THE WORLD-AND WHY THEIR DIFFERENCES MATTER by Stephen Prothero
(Reviewers: You more than know the scoop by now. ;) If I missed your link or made a mistake, email me or leave a comment, and I'll hop right to correcting my mistake. Thank you all so much for your reviews!)