Seven authors by whom I’ve only read one book and NEED more

toptentuesday

It’s been a little while since I did Top Ten Tuesday, but this week’s topic really appealed: the top authors who I’ve only read one book by, but who I need to read more from! So here goes. I’m listen these authors in alphabetical order by surname. Don’t ask me to choose between them. (Also, it’s no coincidence that most of these are books I’ve read this year; authors who’ve been publishing for longer who I read earlier are ones I have almost always read several books from by now!)

Behind the ScenesAuthor: Dahlia Adler
Book I’ve Read: Behind the Scenes, which I reviewed here. I’m devastated I have to wait another nine months for the sequel.

In Stone_newAuthor: Louise D. Gornall
Book I’ve Read: In Stone, which I reviewed here. I loved this book and I’ve been waiting for the sequel to come out for pretty much EVER. Well, since this time last year. Unfortunately, this book was a casualty of the press which shall not be named, so… :(

The Fault In Our StarsAuthor: John Green
Book I’ve Read: The Fault in Our Stars, which I reviewed here. I actually picked up An Abundance of Katherines on the weekend; I just need to find the time to read it. And about 100 other books!

"Sleeper" by S. M. Johnston

Author: S. M. Johnston
Book I’ve Read: Sleeper, which I reviewed here. Another casualty of the press that collapsed earlier this year, so I’m very impatiently waiting for Johnston to re-release this and then the sequel.

The Song of AchillesAuthor: Madeline Miller
Book I’ve Read: Song of Achilles, a gorgeously written retelling of Achilles story and the Trojan War. I’m posting a review of this one on Thursday, you guys.

Amazon | iBooks | Google Play

Author: Stacey Nash
Book I’ve Read: Forget Me Not, which I reviewed here. (Note: I’m kind of cheating here, because I’ve also read one of Stacey’s unpublished manuscripts.) Happily, the sequel comes out next month. Cartwheels!

Raven BoysAuthor: Maggie Stiefvater
Book I’ve Read: The Raven Boys, which I reviewed here. I have ordered the next book in the series; I’m just waiting for it to arrive.

What about you? What authors have wowed you with one book but you’ve been unable — for one reason or another — to read another of their books?

 

 


Mystery in Love: Good or Bad?

SmallTownCLM-MD As part of the Small Town Charm, Love and Mystery boxed set blitz, some of the many fabulous authors have stopped by to talk about love in mystery. I’d love to hear what you think too — please leave a comment! Julie Anne Lindsey

Julie Anne Lindsey. I’m a huge fan of mystery, amateur sleuths, cozies and all sorts of who-done-its with a witty heroine and a circle of friends and family that draw me in to sequel after sequel. You could say I’m obsessed. (You shouldn’t, but you wouldn’t be wrong!) In fact, I write cozies as much as I read them. One thing I never leave out is a little chemistry between my heroine and a man smart enough to keep up with her. There’s just something about throwing love into the mix that ups all the stakes. On the one hand, what wouldn’t we do for love? On the other hand, what complicates things faster than a new romance? Right? Watching the heroine juggle her real life, career, family and a budding murder investigation is great fun. Watching her do that while hoping not to ruin things with a cute new friend is just fabulous. I vote for Love in Mystery!

Jennifer AndersonJennifer Anderson. Yes, yes, yes! A little mystery can add to the angst. The longing looks. The…mystery that is love! And I think in most love stories there is a drop of mystery. Of course, you do have those stories where the heroine is in love with a guy and she’s not sure if he’s killed someone, but I think that’s an entirely different question! In my personal life, which isn’t a story no matter how much I think it is, I like a little mystery. Being married for almost 15 years and with the same man for 20, I’ve found you need a little mystery to keep the spark there.

MagdalenaScottMagdalena Scott. Good, as long as the mystery will end well for the parties involved. I love an element of mystery in a romance novel. Maybe it’s the challenge of keeping the reader guessing and providing a pleasant surprise at the end of the story. I have done that to some extent in most of my stories, and I think sometimes it was almost unintentional. That likely stems from my own enjoyment of a nice surprise. It doesn’t need to be a gift, or expensive, but maybe just an evening when my guy decides to cook and invite me over. On days when I’ve “slaved” at the laptop for 10 to 12 hours, a home-cooked meal for which I have no responsibility is a fabulous gift. Back to mystery, I always loved reading Agatha Christie. Perhaps not one of her best-known books, but one of my favorites, is The Man in the Brown Suit. Definitely a mystery, definitely a romance, and definitely sigh-worthy.

Giveaways

Enter for a chance to win one of two fabulous ebooks: Prince Charming (Honey Creek Royalty, Book 2) by Jennifer Anderson, or Reinventing Chloe by Julie Anne Lindsey
Enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card
OPEN INTERNATIONALLY!

The boxed set

Small town America has its charm—not to mention its fair share of romance and mystery! Everyone knows small towns have their own unique charm, that’s why they make fabulous settings for stories! Turquoise Morning Press presents the best of their small town settings—all in one volume, and for one very small town price! From Drakes Springs, Florida, to Briny Bay, North Carolina, to Wheeler, Texas, where a little romance and a lot of murder and mystery take center-stage—and then to Honey Creek, Ohio and Legend, Tennessee, where home-grown romance blooms, and love lives right next door. Eight fabulous authors share their views of small town charm, love and mystery in this eight book boxed set—providing you with a satisfying glimpse into the lives and stories of the quirky characters who live in these charming settings.

Release date: September 2, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-62237-334-5 Retail Price: $5.99     Promotional Price: $0.99

TURQUOISE MORNING PRESS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE
IBOOKS
| KOBO | SMASHWORDS | ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS

Love & MysteryThe books

Bloom by Julie Anne Lindsey In a town filled with her past, she never expected to find her future. Seven years ago Cynthia left Honey Creek with a broken heart. Three years ago Mitchell arrived with one. If they let it, love will find a way to bloom. Julie Anne Lindsey really brought me back to the books that made me love to read. Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars; Bloom is one of those romances that transports you back in time. Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars

Buried in Briny Bay by Bobbye Terry Roxie Turner finds herself up to her neck in trouble her lifelong nemesis, Georgia Collins, is discovered buried in the town’s landfill. Worse, with her characteristic Southern sass, Roxie has been saying she’d kill Georgia for more than twenty years. I had Janet Evanovich, Julie Garwood, Jill Shalvis and Pamela DuMond all grouped together for this category. But I think the crazy sisters, Roxie and Trixie just had to come out on top. What a feel good book Buried in Briny Bay was, as it kept me smiling from the first page till the last. Another Look Book Reviews Award, Best Book to Bring on Smiles

Midnight in Legend, TN by Magdalena Scott. Midnight Shelby has grand ideas to help her adopted hometown, and she’s not going to let a stick-in-the-mud realtor get in her way. I loved this book and highly recommend it. I must warn you, however, that [Magdalena Scott] will quickly become addictive. Brenda Tulley of The Romance Studio, 5 Hearts

Murder at the Blue Plate Café by Judy Alter Small towns are supposed to be idyllic and peaceful, but when Kate Chambers returns to her hometown of Wheeler, Texas, she soon learns it is not the comfortable place it was when she grew up. Alter serves up a delicious whodunit by stirring up a healthy serving of suspense and a splash of romance, then bakes them to downhome perfection. Add an appealing protagonist, and you have Murder at the Blue Plate Café. Highly recommended. Polly Iyer

Shades of the Future by Suzanne Lilly Mariah Davis loves animals, running, and her hunk of a boyfriend, Kevin Creamer. Everything looks bright for her until the day she finds a pair of sunglasses that allows her to see the future. Suzanne Lilly weaves an engaging world populated with charming and eccentric characters that readers will want to visit again and again. Brenda Hiatt, award-winning romance and young adult author

Heart to Heart by Jan Scarbrough When Jeremy’s aunt gives him a second chance, he must decide if he believes in the unbelievable and the pet psychic who teaches him about faith…and love. If you want a humorous, sweet book for a quick read at the pool or beach, this is it. Ms. Addie is still stirring up things in the town of Legend, even after her death. Amazon Reviewer, 4 Stars

Rebuild My World by Cheryl Norman More than anything, Taylor Drake wants her life back. Suffering from the agoraphobia that has plagued her since a brutal attack, the once confident and successful photographer now cowers behind closed doors with a loaded pistol. …Ms. Norman is a gifted storyteller. I loved Rebuild My World and eagerly turned the pages, excited to see what event would next happen to keep this story moving. Not only is it well plotted, but the characterizations draw you into the lives of these people. Ms. Norman tells a compelling tale that keeps you guessing. Vine Voice Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars

Ice Princess by Jennifer Anderson Mya Newman never minded the routine or quiet that came with living in Honey Creek, Ohio. For her senior year, she craves something exciting to happen instead of it melting into a cookie cutter routine like the previous years. …a wonderfully emotional short story with just the right balance of sweetness and sadness. I recommend it to anyone who relishes a charming story of love and friendship. LASR Review, Great Read! 4 Stars

The authors

Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. Julie writes sweet romance for Honey Creek Books, the Calypso series with Lyrical Press/Kensington and pens the The Patience Price Mysteries for Carina Press/Harlequin.

Bobbye Terry is a multi-published author of romantic comedy, fantasy and suspense—writing where southern charm sometimes meets macabre reality. Her awards include Eppie finalist and two-time finalist of Detroit’s Bookseller’s Best Award.

Magdalena Scott lives in her own fantasy world of Magdalenaville, Indiana, and spends her time writing stories with small town settings. Magdalena knows that life in a “burg” is seldom dull—if you’re paying attention. She is the Amazon bestselling author of the Ladies of Legend romance series.

Judy Alter, award-winning author, penned the five books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series. With Murder at the Blue Plate Café, she moved from inner city Fort Worth to small-town East Texas to create a new set of characters in a setting modeled after a restaurant that was for years one of her family’s favorites.

Suzanne Lilly writes lighthearted young adult stories with a splash of suspense, a flash of the unexplained, a dash of romance, and always a happy ending. Her short stories have appeared in numerous places online and in print. She lives in Northern California where she reads, writes, cooks, swims, and teaches elementary students.

Jan Scarbrough is the author of the popular Bluegrass Reunion series, writing heartwarming contemporary romances about home and family, single moms and children, and if the plot allows—horses. She is an Amazon bestselling author of the Ladies of Legend contemporary romance series and a RWA Golden Heart finalist.

Cheryl Norman turned to fiction writing after a career in telecommunications and won the 2003 EPPIE award for her contemporary romance, Last Resort. A mention in Publisher’s Weekly called her one of ten new romance authors to watch. She resides in Florida and is currently writing the Drakes Springs romance series.

Jennifer Anderson wears the hats of Mommy, wife, cat owner, author, and marketing coordinator. She has lived either coast, but has spent the majority of her life in the Midwest, where she says her heart grows with the love of family and friends, and where she finds inspiration for her young adult and romance stories.


Review: ‘Unhinged’ by A. G. Howard

Unhinged

Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland — where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

I commented on a friend’s blog the other day about how it’s so true that when in your life you read a book has a huge impact on how you (well, I) feel about a book. Unhinged may be a good example of that … or maybe it is simply a better book than the first in the series, Splintered. (My review of Splintered is here if you want to compare.)

I read Unhinged in less than 24 hours; I read the first third while I was waiting to have surgery, and the rest of it after I’d had surgery, that night and the next morning. There were a lot of drugs in my system at the time. Maybe that enhanced the experience. I was a little worried that the book would have a lot of trippy Wonderland scenes in it, but it didn’t — which maybe is a good thing, because I didn’t really need a general anaesthetic Wonderland dream scaring the hell out of me!

This preamble is by way of telling you that while I loved the book, I couldn’t give you a blow-by-blow account of the plot if I tried. But that’s ok, because I never summarise the plot when I write a review anyway. (Why do people do that?) ;)

Unhinged is mostly set in the human world. Alyssa is determined to live her normal life and not give in to Morpheus’s demands that she abandon everything and live in Wonderland. I really respected her determination to do so, for a few reasons. One is that she has a family and friends, and a boyfriend, and it would’ve been more than a little crazy if she’d just run off. I also liked that as a lead she had the spine to stand up to the demanding bad boy, Morpheus, and say no. Not that many YA heroines achieve that.

It was a little unfortunate that she didn’t try and integrate both sides of her nature a little better in between the first and second books, but that’s one of the major plot arcs of Unhinged. There was character growth there, and it was very satisfying to see.

I still wasn’t wild about Alyssa’s boyfriend, Jeb. He’s not as physically domineering in book two, but I can’t help but feel that’s because he was off camera (so to speak) for a large part of it, so he never really got the opportunity. He does become a bit of a damsel in distress at one point, and she has to rescue him; I enjoyed the role reversal.

On the other hand, Morpheus, the other player in this love triangle, was very much front and centre, and just as charming, manipulative and obnoxious as he was in the first book. In a love triangle I usually prefer the nicer guy, the boy next door. In this book the choice is between a boy who does happen to live next door (Jeb) but whose attitude I don’t much like, and the bad boy who — while he no doubt has his appeal — is way too deceptive for me to cheer for him wholeheartedly. Instead, I find I’m on Team Alyssa; I want her to choose the guy who mends his ways and ultimately earns her respect and trust.

I am kinda hoping that’s Morpheus, though… ;)

One thing I didn’t notice in Unhinged that bothered me in Splintered was the over-the-top descriptions of clothing and settings. The setting descriptions weren’t as necessary, I guess, because it was mostly set in the human world. I’m not sure if the clothing descriptions weren’t as intense or if I was just less sensitive to it. (See previous comment about lots of drugs in my system.) Either way, it didn’t bother me this time around.

I’m really looking forward to the last book in this trilogy, whose cover is just as gorgeous as the first two. Did Howard hit the cover artist jackpot or what?!

Five stars


Cass goes AWOL

Hello! Remember me? I know I disappeared for a week there; I confess, I knew I was going to be offline but I wasn’t organised enough to schedule posts (with the exception of yesterday’s) in the interim.

Coast boyThe reason I was AWOL was that our family had a gathering down the coast, which meant wrangling the five-year-old for a night away. We had a good time, though he did insist on dragging me into the surf when the water was about ten degrees celcius at best. (Google tells me that’s fifty degrees fahrenheit, if you’re wondering.) I only went in up to my knees, but it’s a miracle I still have toes left.

He’s declared he wants to learn to surf. I’m quietly having conniptions about that.

On the Monday when we got home, I had surgery. Planned surgery — it wasn’t because of frostbite or anything! My boy and I stayed with my folks for an extra night so I only got home yesterday afternoon.

I’m slowly getting better, although I am sore. Mostly I’m just glad it’s over.

Cover giveaway competition results

The winner of the $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift voucher as part of my Isla’s Inheritance cover reveal giveaway is Alicia. Congratulations!

IslasInheritance-CPage-MD

Goodreads 2014 Challenge Complete

Goodreads challenge

As I did in 2013, I set my Goodreads Challenge target at 40 books. Unlike last year, I finished it in the last week rather than in December. However, I feel a bit like I cheated, because among my 40 this year are three novellas and nine childrens books (mostly by Roald Dahl). So my new goal is to get to at lest 52 books by the end of the year, so that I’ve read 40 adult or YA novels. That’s also one book a week, which is quite nice!

We’ll see how that goes!

What have you been up to in the last week?


Excerpt and giveaway: ‘Restless in Peaceville’ by Pippa Jay

RestInPeaceville600x900

Welcome to Peaceville, population 2067 and rising…from the grave…

Luke Chester has had enough. He’s the school geek, the girls laugh at him, he’s lost his dead-end job at the pizza place, and in the midst of the world’s messiest divorce his parents don’t even know he exists. An overdose of his mom’s tranquilizers and a stomach full of whiskey should solve all his problems…

But they don’t. Instead, Luke finds himself booted out of the afterlife for not dying a natural death, with nowhere to go but back to his recently vacated corpse and reality. How the hell is he going to pass for one of the living without someone trying to blow his brains out for being one of the undead?

And it just gets worse. He’s got to fight his own desperate craving to consume the living, evade the weird supernatural hunter who’s having a field day with the new undeads rising, and there’s this creepy black shadow following him around. Add to that the distraction of female fellow undead Annabelle burning to avenge her own murder, and clearly there’s no rest for the wicked. Jeez, all he wanted to do was R.I.P.

Lycaon Press | Bookstrand | Omnilit | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Giveaway

Enter to win a zombie heart necklace and a $5 gift gard to Breathless Press/Lycaon Press
(open 1st September to 1st October, open internationally)!

Excerpt

I suppose I should count myself lucky they hadn’t started carving me up, and that I’d gone for an overdose rather than throwing myself in front of a truck or out of a window. I’m in damn good condition…for a corpse. Still in one piece as far as I can ascertain, and that ain’t easy to determine, let me tell you. You know how an arm or a leg goes after you’ve sat on it for a while, cutting off the circulation? But before the blood flow starts again and you get pins and needles? That numb heaviness? My whole body is like that. Like every part of me is full of lead.

Also, the not breathing is weird. I take a couple of breaths out of habit, for the familiar feeling of air moving in and out of my chest. After that I don’t bother. It takes too much concentration and there are other things I need to focus on. Like, what do I do next, for instance?

So, what, I’m just gonna lie here?

It’s an option, but I’d probably give the next person who opens up my drawer a heart attack. I don’t want another death on my conscience. Not when I already have my own.

I put my hands up against the metal above me, and leave dents in it. Whoa. Gonna have to watch that. Clearly, I don’t need a lot of muscle or effort as a zombie, which is good because I never had the first and never gave the second. I try again, but more hesitantly, and push myself outward. The drawer slams open so fast, wheels screeching, that it reaches its full extent hard enough to slam my skull into the drawer front, and then rebounds until it’s almost closed again. That should’ve hurt, but it didn’t. I touch my skull, half expecting it to be cracked in two, but there’s nothing. Not even a dent…or a lump for that matter. But when I twist my head to look, the drawer front looks like it got beat by a baseball bat. That’s gonna be one hell of a giveaway.

I reach up and use just one finger to push the drawer wider. This time I roll out until my upper half is free of the drawer. That should do. Careful not to squeeze too tight, I grip the sides of the slab I’m lying on. I’m not sure about sitting up, because clearly I don’t know my own strength any more, and the weird all-over numbness means I can’t sense what I’m doing, or how much pressure I’m using. There’s no pain to tell me when I might be damaging myself, if that’s possible.

Okay, this is it. I push myself upright easily enough, but can’t stop myself slumping forward. Everything feels heavy. My head too heavy for my neck, my shoulders too heavy for my torso. Still holding the sides, I drag one leg up until my knee touches my chin, and then the other. I shuffle ’round until both feet drop to the floor, pulling my legs with them. I have plenty of strength but pretty damn poor coordination. It’s kind of hard to synchronize your moves when it’s like someone has attached weights to every bit of you. Won’t this be fun?

So I’ve got my feet on the ground. I stare at them and wiggle my toes. Back in the afterlife, they moved easily and in sequence. Now they just jerk. There are bruises and needle marks in both my arms, probably from them trying to pump a ton of drugs into me to bring me back. My skin is pale, only one shade away from stark white, with a bluish tint. Oxygen deprivation, I’d guess. I thought I’d be gray. Maybe that happens later. For now, I can probably pass for just being sick, if I can get my coordination together and get out of here.

With that objective in mind, I lurch to my feet and fall flat on my face, luckily with one arm preventing my nose from getting smashed. Not that it hurts, but I really don’t need to make myself look any worse. I push back onto my hands and knees, grab the edge of the table beside me, and then pull myself up slow and easy. At least I’m standing, even if I am swaying like I’m still getting hit by the alcohol. For the first time, I get a good look of where I’m at.

The morgue. I’ve seen enough cop shows to recognize it. Never expected to be in one, least not and be aware I was. The table I’m hanging onto is one of those where they lay a body, clean it, and slice it up to figure out who or what killed you. I guess I should be grateful they hadn’t got to that stage with me. Trying to stitch myself up with zombie fingers and with all my innards falling out would have been tricky.

About Pippa

Pippa JayAfter spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), two self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply and The Bones of the Sea), and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google+ | Wattpad | Amazon

Sign up to Pippa’s no-spam newsletter HERE to get early sneak peeks at covers, and news of the latest releases, giveaways and contest.


Review: ‘Dancing on Knives’ by Kate Forsyth

Dancing On Knives

At twenty, Sara is tormented by an inexplicable terror so profound she hasn’t left her home in five years. Like the mermaid in the fairytale her Spanish grandmother once told her, Sara imagines she is Dancing on Knives, unable to speak. She feels suffocated by her family, especially her father – the famous artist Augusto Sanchez – whose volcanic passions dominate their lives.

Then one stormy night, her father does not come home. His body is found dangling from a cliff face. Astonishingly, he is still alive, but the mystery of his fall can only be solved by the revelation of long-held family secrets.

At once a suspenseful murder mystery and a lyrical love story, Dancing on Knives is about how family can constrict and liberate us, how art can be both joyous and destructive, and how strength can be found in the unlikeliest places.

This book was a really hard read, you guys. Really hard.

I went into it not knowing exactly what to expect. I was hoping it might be urban fantasy, given the Little Mermaid reference in the title. Kate Forsyth has written a lot of fantasy and magic realism, and Dancing on Knives could be loosely described as the latter, but it really is closer to straight adult contemporary.

I would’ve picked it up anyway, because I love Kate Forsyth, but I thought you should know, just in case that’s not your thing.

The story, told from Sara’s point of view, covers both a single Easter weekend and her entire lifetime, alternating between the two. I want to say it jumped around between times, but that might make you think it felt disjointed. It didn’t. I never had a problem following with the story, so masterfully did Kate handle the transitions. And her prose is beautiful. Heart-wrenchingly beautiful. (Also, it often made me hungry. Her descriptions of food are to die for.)

So why do I say it was a hard read? Because Sara’s life is awful. This is a girl who has hit rock-bottom, crushed by the huge, passionate and abusive personality of her father, a famous Australian-Italian painter named Augusto Sanchez. I suspect if Augusto hadn’t fallen over that cliff in the first chapter (no spoiler: it’s in the blurb), I might not have been able to finish this, as much as I adored Kate’s writing. Knowing how he ended up gave me the strength to read about how he lived until that point.

Augusto is truly awful — verbally abusive, degrading those he should uplift, womanising, drinking, wasting money while his kids struggle to make ends meet. But at the same time, during some of Sara’s flashbacks, you caught glimpses of why she stuck around, hoping for the good times to come back — in the same way an abused spouse craves the happy moments when they aren’t being thrown against a wall. She blames herself for his behaviour, because she should have known better than to do things that made him angry.

I hated him. A lot. I just wish I’d pushed him off the cliff.

Happily, in the course of figuring out what happened to her father that day, Sara also starts to find the strength to stand up for herself, and to escape her prison for good. The ending is uplifting. But I can still only give the book four stars, because reading it made me melancholy. I was sad about other things in my life, and reading Dancing on Knives to distract myself was maybe the dumbest thing I could have done at the time.

If I’d read this another time, maybe it would’ve been a five-star read. I don’t know. But if you like contemporary novels that look at hard issues with beautiful writing, this may be the one for you.

Four stars


Privacy and victim-blaming

Warning: this is a ranty post. If you don’t feel like reading a ranty post, come back in a day or two. I’ll put up my review of Dancing on Knives by Kate Forsyth. We can talk books and drink coffee together.

Although I may be shouting into the void here — the points I expect I shall make have been made already, by other, more sensible folks — I feel like I need to add my two cents.

Dr Who bow tie

[COOLEST SUBTITLE EVER]

On my drive to work, after I’ve dropped my son off, I listen to one of three things: a) an audiobook, b) News Radio, or c) “old fogey radio”.

The old fogey radio station is rather inauspiciously called 666. It’s the local AM station run by the national broadcaster. They have a gardening show on Saturday mornings; it’s that kind of station. (I actually quite like the gardening show.) Mostly I enjoy it — it’s nice to have some local news, and during the day they do shows about the local art galleries, writers, cool ways to volunteer in the community. Good stuff.

This morning, however, I got WELL GROUCHY! The host was talking about the nude photo hacking “scandal” involving Jennifer Lawrence and a bunch of other female celebrities. He claimed taking nude photos of yourself was weird, and that he hadn’t been able to find anyone who’d done it. He made a disparaging comment about how maybe only celebrities did it, because (and I’m paraphrasing as I don’t remember his exact words) they were strange. One of the female hosts, who was doing a spot to talk about something else, agreed with him.

I had so much steam coming out my ears it’s a wonder I didn’t crash the car.

When I got to work, I sent him an angry text (which he read out on the radio, so I got to annoy everyone, I’m sure). I pointed out that the reason he hadn’t been able to find anyone that took nude photos of themselves probably had more to do with the radio station’s demographic than anything else. He got pseudo-offended that I was calling them old.

Now, in my defence, the average 666 listener has got to be between 40 and 65. And I listen, so I’m including myself in that “too old to take nude photos” category. I’ve never taken a nude photo of myself and uploaded it to a “cloud”. I barely understand what the “cloud” is, in a technological sense, and don’t use it because I FEAR CHANGE. And DICKHEAD HACKERS.

But I know a LOT of young women take nude photos of themselves, and share them with partners. Do I think it’s a good idea? Not particularly, because you never know where they will end up. But it’s not uncommon. I think if a presenter on the national broadcaster’s youth station, Triple J, asked the same question, they’d get overwhelmed with calls.

And all of this is beside the point, anyway. The point is, regardless of whether you understand why she did it or not, Jennifer Lawrence, like all the other celebrities affected, is entitled to her own privacy. If her husband is interstate — or hell, in the next room — and she wants to add a little spice to their relationship with a naughty picture, she is allowed to do so. They are consenting adults. (That’s where sexting becomes a grey area, by the way — when either party isn’t an adult yet. Then it can be legally child porn, even if it’s between two 15-year-olds. Don’t do it, kids.)

To suggest she brought it on herself by taking the photo is victim-blaming. It’s slut-shaming. She deserved it because she took the photo. Wore a short skirt. Had too much to drink. Flirted with the guy.

See where I’m going with this?

(For the record, I sent another text message to the radio station with this second point, although I don’t know if it got read out, because by then I was running late for work.)

Jennifer Lawrence and the other celebrities didn’t ask for it. By taking their pictures, they weren’t giving permission for them to be stolen. By uploading them to Apple’s supposedly secure Cloud, they weren’t giving permission for them to be stolen. They are the victims. They were robbed, and now people — some people, at least — are denigrating them for it.

They are the victims. Don’t suggest otherwise.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,816 other followers