This is episode number 99. I'd already purchased a book for the big one hundred, but I've decided to call it quits, again, with this one.
I hate to say goodbye. I love podcasting, meeting fascinating authors and introducing people to the first chapters of great books. But, I'm not getting the feedback to keep going. It got harder and harder to get authors to interview. I'm not sure why that was, if it was their fear of being interviewed, or my self doubts about whether they would really want to be on the podcast. Maybe I should have been more assertive. In addition, subscriptions and downloads have decreased steadily over the last two months. With the podcast taking up half of the creative time I have each week, I think I should focus on getting some of my novels edited and published.
If you're interested in finding out what I'm working on, you can find me at PhilipCarrollAuthor.com, on facebook at Philip Carroll Author, or you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
This weeks episode is:
Turtles all the way down by John Green, author of "The Fault in Our Stars" and other very popular novels.
I chose this one because it was chosen as the number 2 Reader's choice on Goodreads for Young Adult Fiction. It was 7,000 votes behind number one (The Hate U Give) with at 52K and a whole 30,000 ahead of number 3 "One of Us is Lying" which I reviewed a few months ago.
It has 4.5 star average on 695 reviews on Amazon.
It was published on Oct 10, 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
#2 in Books > Teens > Literature & Fiction > Coming of Age
#2 in Books > Teens > Literature & Fiction > Social & Family Issues > Depression & Mental Illness
#2 in Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Mental Health > Anxiety Disorders
Here's the blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.
In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.
The Amazon preview has the first chapter and a bit of the second. I'm going to read you all that is included:
John Green creates an intricate voice in the thoughts of Aza. I can see why he is so popular. He's created Aza to be witty, thoughtful and self reflective, just as teenagers would like to picture themselves. Probably more witty and self reflective than any actual teenager, but it makes for a fascinating character in a book.
Aza really worries about her microflora and feels outnumbered. If she was truly thoughtful and maybe a little more analytical, she would realize she's only outnumbered by count, not by volume. By volume, the aliens are way outnumbered. But, that's not the point. The point is her anxiety. Her anxiety appears entertaining. Maybe Green is using it as a gimmick, maybe he is truly concerned about teens and their anxieties. My teenage daughter has crushing anxiety that shuts her down in class, but she doesn't bounce out of it with witting interchanges with classmates.
These first two chapters barely introduce us to the story and if it wasn't for the blurb, this little bit that I read would hardly motivate you to read on. But add the blurb to the author's immaculate writing and immersive style and you're pretty much guaranteed a good read in, "Turtles All the Way Down".
Thanks for listening, and I'll miss hanging out with you next week.
A Court of Thorns and Roses
Sarah J. Moss
A Court of Wings and Ruin (05/02/2017)
Published May 5, 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,758 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#14 in Books > Teens > Romance > Fantasy
#22 in Books > Teens > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery
#23 in Books > Teens > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > Fantasy
THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R.R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin--one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin--and his world--forever.
First two chapters and a bit of the third. I'm going to read you the first two.
Here's why I like these two first chapters. We don't have to wait for action to start. The protagonist's peril is right there at the begining. We learn immidiately that whether or not she finds food, could determine whether she, her sister's and her father live another week.
Information about who the family is and how they found themselves in such dire straights is introduced to the story slowly and naturally. There are no big info dumps of back story. However, by the end of the second chapter, we know who Feyre is. How her two sisters behave and fit into the plot, and how she feels about her father, his fall from wealth, and his loss of health.
On the other hand, I still can't picture Feyre. The only description we've had of her so far is that she has the same hair color as her sisters. Unless I missed it, we've been given no clue about her height and weight, how she wears her hair, or her well developed muscled that give her the strength to draw a bow heavy enough to put a killing shaft into a very large wolf.
I can see from the author's literary skill why the trilogy has done so well, and why the third book rated first place for 2017 Goodreads reader's choice awards.
Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next week for episode # 99, a review of John Green's book, Turtles All the Way Down.
The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
4.8 on 1242 reviews
Published Feb 27, 2017
675 in the paid Kindle store
Voted #1 for Young Adult Fiction in the Goodreads Readers Choice awards for 2017
(Next week I'm going to review number 2. The the following week #1 in Young Adult Fantasy.)
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books.
What I like about this chapter.
The characters are realistic and natural. They're ethnic but not over the top.
Starr is a great protagonist. She's torn between two lives. The suburban prep school, her friends, and life there. And the urban reality of her home and those she's grown up with.
I wish that the preview had been longer so that I could have shared more of the plot with you, but I give this a five star recomendation to go and read further. It's not for the faint of heart or those who are offended by profanity.
Thanks for listening. Come back next week for more from the Goodreads readers choice awards.
To the Falls Book one of the falls trilogy
4.6 stars on 120 reviews
Published April 29, 2017
Book 2 From The Falls, Published on August 4th and has 4.7 stars on 94 reviews
Book 3 Embracing the Falls, Published on on December 29th, just a few days ago. It has a 4.9 star average on 56 reviews.
This author has her street team in place to get that many reviews up so quickly. Good for her. She appears to be a self published author and making smart moves. She has published her entire trilogy in one year and all three books are in the top 55K for the paid kindle store. That means she is selling at least one of each book a day. That may not sound like a lot, but for an indie author, it's a good start.
Heather Renee is an indie author that lives in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest in Oregon. She writes YA Fantasy that has a mixture of suspense, humor and a little romance.
When Heather's not writing, she is spending time with her beautiful daughter and amazing husband. Two cats, and a dog who loves the snow, complete their household. On weekends if she doesn't have a book in her face, you can find Heather going on different adventures with her family. Her favorite being hiking to the top of Multnomah Falls.
Kaliah "Kali" Atwater is awaiting two things, finishing sophomore year in college and her upcoming twentieth birthday. The day before Kali’s birthday, she finds out that the dream she's had every night for almost a year of a beautiful land, isn't a fantasy at all. It's her birth place.
Every twenty years a new generation of Guardians return to Arvata to bring life back to their world and renew the magic of the Falls. Now it’s Kali’s turn, but dark magic has made its way into her new home preventing the Falls from replenishing.
Kali must accept the role assigned to her by the Fates or let Arvata crumble. Can she and her friends save Arvata in time? Will new love make her stronger? Or will the darkness finally win?
Only the Fates know for sure...
Things that pulled me out of the story. It was hard to read out loud. Some of the sentences seemed inside out to me. I had to record some of them four times to get them to flow right. I don't know if that is a local way of speaking where the author comes from, but, as many great authors do, she might want to read her writing out loud to see how it flows, or maybe have her editor do it.
I wasn't sure out some of the tenses she used. She talked about how the dream had changed "this night" when I felt like she was relating something that had happened in the past. To me it should have been, "last night". No biggie, I know, but it pulled me out. Also, she talks about how she will have her last final that day, and later she said she didn't have a chance to eat between finals. Again, no big deal, but it pulled me out to wonder how that worked.
She also spoke about how relieved she was once her final was over, how her whole body showed it, then she says she can't wait to get back into the water to relieve some of the stress she is feeling. That left we feeling ambiguous.
The parents are young without a wrinkle on their faces, but a few pages later they have worry lines. I think the author was saying they were frowning in worry, but having worry lines, in my mind, is something more akin to wrinkles, which they didn't have. Maybe I'm picking nits, but it took me out of the story and I think a more astute editor should have caught the contradiction in words.
Again. The story sounds familiar. A person coming of age to find that they are a guardian over a people or a planet. The writing was good enough to keep me interested, though, I would have liked a reason to keep reading earler on. If this is your type of story, it looks like the author has a strong following and then there are two more books to enjoy.