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Archive for November, 2010

Unveiling the new design!

Nov
30

9 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

I thought The Grammarian’s Reviews desperately needed a makeover, so after slaving away, I’m proud to show you all the results.

What do you think??
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Also, I finally hit 200 followers! And needless to say, I’m excited.
Perhaps there will be a giveaway in the near future?
I can’t express how much I appreciate everyone that takes the time to be a follower of this blog.
Thank you all so much!
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And if you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been slacking on getting reviews up. But no worries! Right now I’m running around, trying to get papers written. In a week everything will be back to normal.

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In My Mailbox (3).

Nov
28

8 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

This meme originates over at The Story Siren.

The Painted Boy by Charles de Lint.
Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney.

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Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday (16).

Nov
26

18 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Follow Friday, Memes

Book Blogger Hop

I came across the Hop and Follow Friday while I was blog hopping – how appropriate! – and decided to join in on the fun.

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly thing going on over at Crazy-for-Books. Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunkee. If you’re a new blogger, like I am, or have been blogging for a while, stop by the sites and get involved!

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Weekly question: What is your favorite book cover?

Such a difficult decision. There are tons of covers that I love. But Dreamland, by Sarah Dessen, definitely has a beautiful cover that I’ve always liked.

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Happy Thanksgiving! What’s cookin’?

Nov
25

5 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving? or not, I wish a happy day to everyone.
And I thank everyone in the blogging community for wishing myself and others a Happy Thanksgiving.
From me to you,
Happy Thanksgiving, bloggers!
What’s everyone eating today? Feel free to share!
As a veggie lover, I will be skipping out on the turkey and enjoying a splendid spinach casserole, stuffing, and homemade pasta.

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Grammar Bit #9.

Nov
24

4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Prepositions.
* They introduce prepositional phrases and show relationships between nouns and pronouns.
** Here is a list of prepositions.
It is, at times, okay to end a sentence with a preposition.
EX. What did she sit on?
It is okay to end the sentence with the preposition “on” because without it the sentence does not make sense. You could not say What did she sit?
If the sentence does not change when the preposition is removed, it is better to remove it.
EX. That’s where she’s at.
If you pull apart the contraction “she’s” you get “she is,” which can sufficiently end the sentence. “At” is unnecessary.
EX (without preposition). That’s where she is.
Prepositions can also be unnecessary within a sentence.
EX. He was pushed off of the edge.
The preposition “of” in the above example is unnecessary.  When it is removed, the sentence still makes sense.
EX (without preposition). He was pushed off the edge.

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REVIEW! Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares.

Nov
24

6 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book reviews, Three Stars

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

FROM THE COVER:

I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.


Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash the right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

My rating: 3 hearts.
MY THOUGHTS:
Ultimately unconvincing.

The notebook Dash and Lily exchange is hardly a book of dares, and what they do share is hardly dreams and desires. Instead it more resembles fluff – stereotypical boy/girl issues.

Dash is charming and creative, but also too pragmatic; the mix of his personality is unsettling and remains that way throughout the novel. Lily can hardly be considered a sixteen-year-old. Her character is overwhelmingly immature and bland. If anything saves the two of them, it’s Dash’s dialogue, which is most times witty. But the two of them are very unconvincing in terms of chemistry.

The plot seems scatterbrained and unfocused. Events happen and characters appear and all I can ask is, Why? The main premise of the notebook is ditched halfway through the story. There’s buildup to their meeting, and then it simply falls flat. Some issues are never resolved, especially parental issues, and so they feel unnecessary.

The writing itself is lacking. It’s repetitive, descriptions are dull, and the dialogue seems forced. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares leaves much to be desired.?

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In My Mailbox (2).

Nov
21

14 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

This meme originates over at The Story Siren.

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John.
I Will Save You by Matt de la Pena.
Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft.
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan.
Hold Still by Nina LaCour.

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Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday (15).

Nov
19

14 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Follow Friday, Memes

Book Blogger Hop

I came across the Hop and Follow Friday while I was blog hopping – how appropriate! – and decided to join in on the fun.

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly thing going on over at Crazy-for-Books. Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunkee. If you’re a new blogger, like I am, or have been blogging for a while, stop by the sites and get involved!

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Weekly question: Since Thanksgiving is coming up next week, let’s use this week’s Hop to share what we are most thankful for and what our holiday traditions are!

I am most thankful for my family and education.

As for holiday traditions, we do the typical big family feast.

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW! Susan Roebuck.

Nov
16

6 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

If you haven’t already noticed, my latest review features Perfect Score, by Susan Roebuck.  It’s a great read, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something atypical to the current reads of mainstream Adult fiction.

Now the exciting part.  Interview!  I couldn’t help but send a few questions Ms. Roebuck’s way, particularly about her experience with e-publishing, which isn’t something most aspiring authors hear about or even consider.  I’m hoping readers will benefit from what she has to say.  I know I did.

Did you intend on having Perfect Score e-published?  If so, why?  What was the experience of being e-published like?


I’m actually British and e-publishing isn’t – or wasn’t at the time – much talked about in the UK. So when I finished “Perfect Score” I set about submitting to agents, never dreaming about e-publishing. I don’t live in the UK and I was so distressed (because of the expense and what I considered very old-fashioned) that many UK agents wouldn’t (and probably still don’t) take e-mail submissions, so I decided to try the States where publishers and agents are much more open to e-mail submissions. It made more sense anyway since the book’s set in the States. I had no idea about the submission process and I hang my head in shame at some of my initial ones. You really have to learn from experts how to submit – and never send a publisher or agent a genre that isn’t on their list of interests.


After thirty rejections, I was very depressed and then I received two acceptances on the same day! People have said that thirty rejections is nothing and that some people go into the hundreds before they’re accepted. Anyway, both acceptances were e-publishers and, since I’m a terrible geek, I thought, ‘why not? Sounds great’. And so I was introduced to a world of e-books which I’d never even heard of before.

It really has been a good experience. I wouldn’t say there’s much difference in the pre-publishing process, but now there’s a contrast between having an e-book on the market and having one traditionally published in paper. And that’s because of the author’s “platform” (new word to my vocabulary). With e-books an author can’t, obviously, do physical book-signings, or book tours, so it all has to be done “virtually”. And it’s a full-time job. But then, a friend who does have a book published in paper said she has to have a “platform” too because even though she’s published by a large publisher, they don’t have the money nowadays to do huge promotions, and she also admits her own marketing is taking up most of her time.

My e-publisher’s been great (Awe-struck Publishing). I was assigned a perfect editor (thanks Marie Dees!), they always answered my stupid “newbie” questions and I adore the cover they produced. They also released the book when they said they would and their royalties percentage isn’t bad either. So I’m happy.

Your characters are so lifelike, especially Sam.  How did you decide to incorporate a character suffering from dyslexia, and was it challenging to write from the perspective of someone suffering from such a disorder?  



Everyone seems to fall a little in love with Sam. I’m a teacher and I do see people with dyslexia from time to time. I’m not sure Sam’s problem really is only dyslexia – he has a severe case of it, if he has (I’ve never seen anyone as bad as he is). I also have a great friend who actually teaches dyslexic children and I picked her brains until she was sick of me! I enjoyed writing about Sam – and I did exaggerate his condition – but I wanted to make him into such a strong character who has to overcome almost overwhelming odds.

What was your inspiration for writing Perfect Score?

You’re going to kill me for this. Apparently, I’m a pantser and not a plotter (more new vocabulary)! This means I just write without too much planning and I really had no ending in mind when I began the book. And Sam started out as a girl – can you believe it? I was first hit by the muse in the Catskills, Upstate New York when I stayed very close to where the famous 1969 Woodstock Music Festival was held. I spoke to people who’d been there and that’s how Alex was created – except he was already a famous musician. Then Sam became a man (no operation needed, ahem) and I wanted him to have his affinity with animals so I moved him to a State well known for agriculture ( High Falls is probably based around Montana, Wyoming border). So Alex had to move nearer. I was reading “On the Road” by Kerouac at the time and I fell in love with Denver, so Verdigris is based on that. There’re twenty-seven versions of this book, believe it or not, after all the changes that happened along the way.

Do you plan on publishing any more novels in the future, and if so, any ideas yet as to what about? 

Yes, I’m already working on one called “The Deepest Secret”, although I bet that title will change. It’s not M/M – not yet, anyway – and it’s set between the UK and Portugal. The MC will have special powers which I’m not going to reveal just yet and there’s going to be a female bullfighter who is, obviously, the baddie. The themes will be the sea, fishing, and no doubt more before it’s finished.

I’ve read that you grew up in the UK but now live in Portugal – does either of those lifestyles affect/influence your stories?

Yes I was born and grew up in the UK but now live in Portugal. That didn’t affect “Perfect Score” because that was based on the time I spent in the US (I love the States, I really do). My new book, though, will definitely reflect the two countries. And I’ve written short stories which are often, although not always, set in Lisbon or Madeira Island.
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Bio, according to Awe-Struck Publishing:

Sue Roebuck was born and educated in the UK but she now lives in Portugal with her Portuguese husband. She has taught at various colleges and institutions in Portugal and her interest in dyslexia started with a discussion over lunch with a colleague and friend. Nowadays Sue’s mostly occupied by e-learning courses which, when no cameras are used, are also known as “teaching in your pajamas”. But, given a choice, writing would be her full-time occupation.

Working from home presents no problem for her since her office window overlooks the glittering point where the Tagus River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The huge container ships, tankers and cruise liners which are constantly on their way in or out of Lisbon harbor are a great source of inspiration (or distraction).
She has traveled widely through The States and believes that “being born American is like winning the lottery of life”. If she could live anywhere, she’d live in the Catskills in Upstate New York.

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?Many, many thanks to Ms. Roebuck for taking the time to answer my questions!

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REVIEW! Perfect Score.

Nov
15

6 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book reviews, Four Stars

** E-book.

Perfect Score
Susan Roebuck

Blurb:

It’s the 1960s and feckless, exasperating Alex Finch is a rich, handsome and talented singer/songwriter who longs for two things: a career as a professional rock singer, and to have his love for Sam Barrowdale reciprocated. But drifter Sam’s two aims are simply to earn enough money to pay his sister’s medical bills and to hide from the world his reading/writing and speech disability. At this time the word “dyslexia” is generally unknown so to most people he’s just a “retard”. From the severe knocks life’s dealt him, Sam’s developed a tough outer coating and he has no time for a spoilt, selfish guitar player.

Despite his defects, Alex’s love for Sam never wavers and when Sam unexpectedly disappears, Alex begins a somewhat bungling quest to find him, only to discover that Sam has a fearful enemy: Alex’s powerful and influential yet sociopathic uncle.

As Alex spirals downwards towards alcoholism, many questions need answering. Just why did Alex’s evil uncle adopt him at age eleven yet deny him any affection? And what’s the mystery behind Alex’s father’s death?

Both seem to face unbeatable odds. Are they doomed to follow separate paths forever?

My rating: 4 hearts.
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MY THOUGHTS:
Beautifully written. Engaging descriptions. Perfect Score is never slow or dull. The story is told in chapters through the views of both Sam and Alex, with a mix of the first and third person. Interestingly enough, the first person point of view does not clash with the third person point of view; both work to weave together the boys’ stories.

All of the characters have big, distinct personalities, no matter their roles. They’re lifelike. But Sam and Alex are beautiful – together and apart. From their appearances down to the way they talk, they’re characterized so well. Everything they do and say has a purpose; the dialogue is not fluff or filler.

The writing itself is strong. At times the descriptions go on for what seems longer than necessary, but they don’t take away from the story. The story is a bit difficult to follow at certain points, though. Time changes sporadically, and sometimes you’re given so much information about the present that you begin to question the past, and vice versa. Even the relationship between Alex and Sam at first feels like it’s just being thrown into the mix. After the occasional mid-story confusion, Roebuck successfully ties everything together in the end.

Perfect Score is definitely a refreshing change from mainstream Adult fiction. It’s neither cliché nor typical, but rather genuine and unique.?

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