I know, I know, I’ve been AWOL. The last week was always going to be bad in terms of blogging etc, because my son turned seven on Monday … but it took an unexpected turn last Thursday when the school called to say they thought he had broken his arm.
It turned out he had. In three places — both wrist bones and his humerus, just above the elbow. He needed surgery to have the bones set (and the elbow pinned), and we spent the night in hospital.
It … was not our best day ever.
To make matters worse, his party this year was booked in at a gymnastics centre, so we had to cancel. The plan is to reschedule for once he’s out of the cast and gets the green light from his doctor to run around like a lunatic again, but that will be after our impending holiday to Alice Springs, some time early next term.
You’d think unexpectedly having a week off work would have meant free time, but I’ve been fulfilling the role of Mumma Nurse for the last week. I haven’t had much time to read, or write, or go over the excellent edits I got back from Lauren on my fantasy manuscript. In fact, the only thing I have kept up to date on is posting to Instagram, and that’s because I had already taken a bunch of book pictures and had them saved on my phone, ready to go.
Yes, I do photo shoots for books now. (That happened fast.)
Still, the boy is in less pain now than he was, and tomorrow we have the first of several follow-up X-rays booked to see how he’s healing. So hopefully life will return to something resembling normality some time soon.
How have you been, internet? Read (or taken photos of) any good books lately?
On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl’s body isn’t just unknown, it’s anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.
Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become … and the more she risks losing Logan forever.
I can’t remember how I stumbled across this book, but I know that I bought it for the title — because obviously! Maddie’s a different variety of geek/nerd than I am; I’ve only got a handful of comics and graphic novels, and those I got as an adult. Logan’s geek experience is a lot closer to mine.
Yes, I have LARPed. I’ve never thrown ping pong balls at anyone, though. :p
This explanation is my way of saying that some parts of Maddie’s experience getting to know Logan and his world are eerily familiar to me. But other parts of her world are very unfamiliar, mostly the “American teenager” thing. Maddie is pretty much pathological about keeping her secret identity as a geek, well, secret, basically because she’s worried about toppling from the top of the popularity tree. Maybe time has fuzzed my memories of high school; maybe in Australia it’s a different social structure; or maybe because I was never popular I never realised how much those girls had to work to stay there. But I found the whole thing a bit baffling. Maddie’s woes are definitely self-inflicted, and at times I lost patience with her because of it.
That being said, I quite liked her voice when she wasn’t having a pity party, and I definitely liked Logan and the fact he and his hilariously brash best friend, Dan, don’t put up with her trying to keep them in the role of dirty secret. Logan is a bit of a teenage dreamboat for the geek set; his parents own a comic book and he’s snagged himself a summer radio show at the local college. I also liked what we saw of Terra, Maddie’s country-music-loving best friend; she’s another one who doesn’t take Maddie’s crap lying down.
I enjoyed spotting the various nerdy references, some of which were made up for the story (I assume; see previous comment about not having read that many comics) but some of which were real-world references. The romance between Logan and Maddie is sweet. The plot is a tiny bit predictable, but The Summer I Became a Nerd was a fun read and easily digestible, with a very clear “be true to yourself” message.
She’s supposed to cover the stories.
Not be one.
Madison Winters has life in the bag. Gorgeous fiancé? Check. Promotion to become editor of the country’s hottest fashion magazine? Check. Limited edition pair of Manolo Blahniks? Checkity-check. Catching her fiancé with his pants down isn’t something she expects. In the space of twenty-four hours, Madison loses it all—not even her shoes will be saved. Swapping sass + bide for sweatpants and Dior for the downward dog is going to be hell. The last thing Madison’s broken heart needs is a run-in with America’s newest playboy. Can she ever recover from this?
Tate Masters has it all—Hollywood’s latest golden boy has washboard abs, a killer smile, and a leading role in the next A-list movie. Until a secret from his past is splashed all over the headlines, and that ‘good boy’ image fast-tracks to the gutter. Now the media hunt is on, and they’re baying for Tate’s blood. One night of wild behaviour sees him wake up next to a gorgeous Aussie brunette—and she’s everything Tate’s afraid of.
Keeping secrets has never been this hard.
I’ve said before that Lauren McKellar is one of my very few one-click contemporary authors. She usually writes some young adult and some new adult, and I knew going into Fame that it wasn’t a tragedy like most of her other stories. What I didn’t realise was that this is adult contemporary. Adult-y adult. Now with more adult.
The chemistry — and, let’s be honest, the raw lust — between Madison and Tate sizzles off the page from the first time they meet. And the sex scenes (is that a spoiler?) are scorching. *fans self*
At first I wasn’t sure about Tate. He comes across as a cheat at the start of the book, and no amount of megawatt smiles and ripped muscles made up for that in my mind. Still, it’s not too long before we discover more about Tate — his reasons for doing the things he does — and soon I was swooning and wishing for a Tate in my life too.
It turns out McKellar does sex scenes as well as she does romance. The latter is her bread and butter. It’s not usually my favourite genre, but the relationship here, as embryonic as it is, is well executed. Tate and Madison discover in each other someone who will let them be real, not pushing them to do anything they don’t want to or judging them.
The other thing that’s worth mentioning is that the book is just downright funny. Madison attracts the worst kinds of random luck, but at the same time her approach to handling things is kind of hilarious. While she naturally grieves for her failed relationship with Mike and the consequent struggle with who she is, she’s generally quite resilient and doesn’t take BS from anyone. Her disdain for the trappings of “wellness” (a word I rather dislike myself … mostly because it’s just ugly, tbh) had me giggling on more than one occasion. Her banter with not just Tate but her bestie Courtney was hilarious. And I can’t talk about the humour without mentioning Madison’s parents. They only appear in a handful of scenes, but her father — oh my god, what a scream!
The other touch I liked was the shout-out to How to Save a Life with the cameo of Jase, the tattooed bartender from that book. I wanted to give him a hug, like a long-lost friend.
If you’re looking for a sexy, feel-good story, then I can’t recommend Fame highly enough.
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?
This series is the queen of fairy tale retellings. But not the evil queen.
Okay, maybe slightly evil.
If you haven’t read the rest of the series, then don’t start with Winter, which is the fourth and final (as far as I know) book in the Lunar Chronicles. Instead you want to start with Cinder, which I reviewed here. The entire series is a five-star read for me, so you should do it. Do it now!
Winter is a huge book, at over 800 pages. I noticed because after an afternoon of binge-reading I had a sore wrist, and — despite my best efforts — my copy was the worse for wear by the time I was done. Some of the pages even fell out! Aaah! I didn’t notice how big it was because of the pacing, though; the story ticked along nicely.
As always, the fairy tale references to Snow White were there but didn’t dictate the story. Most of those references related to the titular character, Winter, but occasionally they were used in reference to her cousin Cinder — for example, Levana’s order that someone bring her Cinder’s heart. The seven dwarfs are incredibly subtle, so subtle I missed it at first, but I think they refer to the number of other main characters (excluding Jaicin, who is the “prince”): Cinder, Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne and Iko.
As far as the characters go, my favourite relationship is Cinder and Kai’s, far and away. ❤ My other favourite characters are Scarlet, for her sheer, brash defiance of everything and Iko, because Iko! Levana is suitably evil, although doesn’t really muster as much of a defence as I might have liked. But then, in a book with such a big ensemble cast, I’m okay with a little more tragedy-related feels than Winter has. (I’m a fan of Joss Whedon. Enough said.)
Still, if you want a sci-fi series with a fairy tale feel, some kissing and an actual, honest to goodness “they all lived happily ever after” (because it’s a fairy tale retelling and that’s obligatory), I highly recommend this entire series!