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Archive for January, 2011

Authors should take caution to reviewing? Say what?

Jan
30

19 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

I really don’t do enough discussion-based posts on here, so I’m hereby trying to change that. There’s a lot going on in the world of reading and writing and YA literature that gets me fired up to talk for hours. So here we go. (Only not for hours – don’t wanna bore any of you!)



Recently, as in, six days ago, a post regarding a touchy subject was made by Urban Fantasy author Stacia Kane. That said post then sparked further debate, causing Kane to produce this post.
*Nothing here is directed personally at Stacia Kane. I’m merely responding to what she’s said.

Now that you’ve got the background material, let’s move on.

The touchy subject is that of the struggles of being an author and posting negative reviews – the benefits, consequences, etc.

You think, Sure, there are pros and cons. I don’t want to diss a fellow writer’s hard work and have them lash out at me. Yet, I want to be honest.

But what if your negative reviews prevented you from signing with a particular agent? Would you give up reviewing forever? Would you try to find a different agent?

In her initial post, Kane says she heard from two agents in a chat that they wouldn’t want to sign on a writer that has dissed their work in the past.

What I don’t understand is why that affects anything. There are always going to be people that dislike your work. That’s how it goes. So why should you not give them their moment when you’ve had yours – just because they didn’t give something you’ve written a stellar review? Isn’t that mixing personal matters with business matters?

Writing is a very personal act – what you write maybe has a little part of you attached to it, or maybe a part of a friend, or a loved one. It’s your feelings on paper. So of course rejection is going to hurt, to a degree. Especially something as publicly rejecting as a negative review. But every reviewer is entitled to their own opinions. So why should they be rejected just because they may not have enjoyed one of your (“your” being any author) works?

Kane says there’s a difference between being a reviewer and a writer. You can’t (or shouldn’t?) be both. When you become a writer, as in, a published author, things change:

 The fact is, when you decide to become a writer you give up some of your personal freedoms. When you sell your first book you give up even more. There’s no getting around that, and there’s no changing it. You can no longer say exactly what you think exactly the way you think it at all times. You can no longer assume that only the people you’re familiar with are reading your blog or your tweets. You no longer have the luxury of an opinion, honestly, on a lot of things.

Admittedly, this perturbed me the most. What kind of sick irony is this – to strip an author of their freedom of speech? I understand there’s a level of professionalism that should be maintained – no one wants to be trashy, classless or ignorant. But I believe authors should be allowed to write negative reviews – they’re people, too. They don’t like everything. So why shouldn’t they say so (in a tasteful manner, of course)?

Kane has an answer for that in her follow-up:
**Profanity is used.

 Here’s a question. Why the fuck would you want to possibly alienate someone who could help your career? Just so you can tell the world what you think of their book? Do you really feel that strongly about being able to inform the world at large that you found Author A’s dialogue unrealistic? It’s really that important to you?

By “someone who could help your career,” she means that, as an author writing a negative review, why would you want to alienate another author that could help you in some way?

I don’t understand why writing a negative review has to be taken to such an extreme. It’s one opinion. Why does that have to mean you’re “alienating” the other author? And if that other author does perceive it to be alienation on your part and does not want to converse and/or help you in the future, so what? It’s just one author. Isn’t it better to be honest about your work and someone else’s rather than play it safe on the off chance that they might later help you?

Maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Maybe I’m crazy. But if I ever become a published author, I will do what I can to not be silenced in such a way, and be stripped of freedoms.

***The reason I say all of this is because of the alarming amount of bloggers that are suddenly closing up shop, so to speak. Or going on haituses. All because of this controversy. They’re afraid reviewing will impose on their futures as writers. And I hate to see that.

What about you guys? Agree? Disagree? Inbetween?

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Book Blogger Hop (21).

Jan
28

20 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. If you’re a new blogger like I am, or have been blogging for a while, stop by the sites and get involved!

——————————————-

Weekly question: What book are you most looking forward to being published in 2011? Why are you anticipating that book?

Definitely Sarah Dessen’s What Happened to Goodbye. I love all of her novels, and I’m sure this one won’t be disappointing. I love a good YA contemporary.

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Word Bit! (5)

Jan
27

5 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Or, WHAT’S THAT WORD?

As a reader and writer and blogger, I’m surrounded by words all the time. Some are old, some are new, some are funny, difficult to pronounce, fun to say, interesting, or just pure awesome.

I love words. Words are important. They’re the basis of books. They’re what makes everything come together. One word can change the feel, emotion and effect of a sentence. You can never know too many.

So every week I’m going to be sharing words of interest. They’ll come from my readings. And who knows? Maybe you’ll come across that one word that can change the feel, emotion and effect of the sentence you’re working on in your novel, essay, short story, etc.

This week’s word is…

TRADUCE
tra·duce
{verb}
 to speak maliciously and falsely of; slander; defame
I came across TRADUCE in my latest read, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. I know, doesn’t sound exciting, does it? But I’m reading it for a class, and when I came across TRADUCE, I stopped. It’s certainly not used much, if at all, anymore. But I like the feel of it. 
Want to join in? I think it would be a neat little chain reaction to have fellow bloggers share their favorite, most interesting, craziest words each week. ?I know I’d love to see what you share! Feel free to sign up on the Mr. Linky. There are no specific rules. If you want, grab the above button, link back here, share your word, explain why, where you heard/saw it, and whatever else you’d like to add!
Just leave your name and blog name, and of course, the link to your post!

All definitions from Dictionary.com.

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Talk to Me Tuesday (3).

Jan
25

4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

This new fabulous meme is brought to us by Melissa at i swim for oceans.

Question: Do you have any specific literary pet-peeves in the genres you read, and why?

First, and totally unrelated: I missed last week’s TTMT, so I’m glad to be participating again. Definitely love to get my brain thinking about books and the literary world I’m involved in.

Now, to answer the question.

One of my biggest pet-peeves in any genre (but which appears most in the YA literature I’ve come across) is the use of overly ecstatic, super girly squeals of delight or disbelief or anger, etc. You know what I’m talking about. The dialogue that is literally written as “Omigosh!!!!!” or “Ohmygawsh!” or “Ohmigod!”

You know you’ve seen it. It’s in some of the most hyped books on the YA circuit, such as The Duff.

There’s something about the use of omigod! and others that actually makes me cringe. Whether it’s the incorrect grammar (although that’s intentional, I know) or the pure girly-ness of it that bothers me, I’m not quite sure. I think it’s a combination of the two. It just makes the character so unrelatable and fake to me. If I come across any use of the aforementioned, or a close variation, I sometimes refuse to read the rest of the book. I cannot tolerate it, unless there’s something else about the story worth reading. I don’t understand why it’s ever necessary. It always seems to make the characters using such expressions appear unintelligent.

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Grammar Bit #11.

Jan
24

6 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

THEN vs THAN?
Then refers to time.
Than refers to a difference in comparison.
EXAMPLES (THEN):
It snowed during lunch, then stopped.
I was in better shape then.?
Brittany cut in front of me, then Michelle, and then Tina.
EXAMPLES (THAN):
I would rather walk than run.
She had nothing to do other than study.
Rather than wait for the bus, I took my car to work.
He is younger than me.

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AWP anyone?

Jan
23

4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

In two short weeks I’ll be heading to the 2011 AWP Conference in Washington, D.C. I’m super excited. Three full days of books and reading and writing! Oh, and authors! (Carrie Jones, anyone?)

I’m a bit overwhelmed, having never previously attended a book/writing conference. There’s so much I want to see and do! No idea how I’m going to find the time to fit it all in, while still remembering to eat and sleep.

Anyone else heading to the AWP Conference? And anyone that’s been to a similar type of conference – how was your experience with it? Any advice/tips?

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REVIEW! The Taker.

Jan
22

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

The Taker
J.M. Steele

FROM THE COVER:

High school senior Carly Biels is a shoo-in for acceptance into Princeton, her dream school. (Dad’s an alum – love that legacy status!) As long as she does decently on the SAT, she’s good as gold.

When Carly gets her scores, she has to face facts: she tanked. Really tanked. Now she only has one more chance to take the test, and she’s going to have to buckle down and get some help. Unfortunately, her boyfriend Brad seems to have other, less academic things on his mind. Her geeky neighbor Ronald turns out to be surprisingly helpful (and sweet), but will his tutoring be enough to get her the scores she needs? Desperate, she turns to the mysterious Taker, who will take the exam for her. But that decision will have consequences that affect every aspect of her life.

All of the following can be inferred from the text above except:
(A) Carly is not good at standardized tests.
(B) Carly discovers that love and the SAT don’t mix.
(C) Carly gets in way over her head.
(D) Carly finds her perfect life thrown upside down.
(E) Carly knows what she’s doing.
?
My rating: 4 stars.
?
MY THOUGHTS:
?A humorous and fun read, albeit typical.
Carly is a nice, well-rounded character. Although she starts off as that character you just want to hate – the one with the all-too-perfect grades, boyfriend, parents, and lifestyle. But she eventually eases into situations nicely and less stereotypically. As for Brad, he’s pretty much your typical meathead jock of a boyfriend; you don’t quite hate him but you don’t quite like him. He’s just there. Ronald is, of course, such a sweetie. And we all want the geek to get the girl, right?
The plot isn’t too straightforward/black-and-white/predictable. There are a few twists and turns. None that throw you for a loop, but they keep the story fresh. It doesn’t drag; it moves at a nice, even pace. The writing itself is respectable and provides Carly with a believable voice. Also, the format is fitting. Occasionally SAT-like questions pop up, like the one from the cover’s description. They’re fun to get to.
The Taker is simply a good, quick read.
And really, who hasn’t stressed out about the SATs or other standardized tests at one point or another?

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News, news and more NEWS!

Jan
22

11 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Facebook, Twitter and buttons … oh my! And a layout!
That’s right, The Grammarian’s Reviews is now on Facebook and Twitter (the connect buttons can be found on the right sidebar)!?

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

There’s also a new, cheerfully yellow layout and a matching button! Make sure to grab it from the right sidebar!

There’s not much going on at the Facebook and Twitter pages yet. I’m still trying to get the hang of Twitter, actually. I know it must be simpler than I’m making it out to be! Any advice or help? It’d be much appreciated.

I’m also looking for any kind of feedback about the new pages, layout, button and site overall. So lay it on me! The good, the bad, the in between!

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Word Bit! (4)

Jan
21

2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Or, WHAT’S THAT WORD?

As a reader and writer and blogger, I’m surrounded by words all the time. Some are old, some are new, some are funny, difficult to pronounce, fun to say, interesting, or just pure awesome.

I love words. Words are important. They’re the basis of books. They’re what makes everything come together. One word can change the feel, emotion and effect of a sentence. You can never know too many.

So every week I’m going to be sharing words of interest. They’ll come from my readings. And who knows? Maybe you’ll come across that one word that can change the feel, emotion and effect of the sentence you’re working on in your novel, essay, short story, etc.

This week’s word is…

IRIDESCENT
ir·i·des·cent
{adjective, noun}
 displaying a play of lustrous colors like those of the rainbow.
I came across IRIDESCENT in my latest read, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. It’s one of those words that I immediately fall in love with because of its beauty. It’s an uncommon description, but I wish it was used more often.
Want to join in? I think it would be a neat little chain reaction to have fellow bloggers share their favorite, most interesting, craziest words each week. ?I know I’d love to see what you share! Feel free to sign up on the Mr. Linky. There are no specific rules. If you want, grab the above button, link back here, share your word, explain why, where you heard/saw it, and whatever else you’d like to add!
Just leave your name and blog name, and of course, the link to your post!

All definitions from Dictionary.com.

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REVIEW! Deadly Little Games.

Jan
21

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

Deadly Little Games
Laurie Faria Stolarz

FROM THE COVER:

Camelia and Ben have discovered a powerful bond: They both possess the power of psychometry, the ability to sense things through touch. For Ben, the gift is a frightening liability. When he senses a strong threat or betrayal, he risks losing control and hurting people. Camelia’s gift is more mysterious. When she works with clay, her hands sculpt messages her mind doesn’t yet comprehend.

Before either teen has a chance to fully grasp these abilities, an unresolved family tragedy resurfaces in Camelia’s life, irrevocably changing everything she cares about…

My rating: 4 stars.
MY THOUGHTS:
So good! A bit like the first and second installments, but not boringly so. There’s clear development.?
Camelia’s more stubborn than ever, which is at times both annoying and frustrating. How many bad decisions does it take to realize you need to do things differently? Nevertheless she comes to better terms with her psychometry and learns from it. Ben remains the same: mysterious and incredibly sweet. I can’t say I was a fan of Adam’s return and inclusion, mainly because he just seems to be trying too hard to be nice and that makes him appear fake and transparent as a character. However, I really liked Camelia’s parents and her friends, Kimmie and Wes. Her parents, although minor in their roles, developed some, especially her dad. Wes and Kimmie were just hilarious; their dialogue is very witty and sharp, which lightens the darker tones of the novel. Still, I wish something more would happen with them. They deserve more credit.
Another nice addition was Camelia’s aunt, Alexia, who made an actual appearance in this installment. She doesn’t have a huge part, but an important one nonetheless. I look forward to her progression and growth in the upcoming book, Deadly Little Voices (due out next Fall!).
The writing itself was nothing exceptional. The plot was a bit unsatisfying. What made it great were the characters.

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