Tag Archives: Baby Jackson

IWSG: Bad reviews are a tonic for the writer’s soul

First up, baby update! Mackenzie is now three and a half months old and is developing a wonderfully cheeky personality. Here are some recent shots…

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

“Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!” Alex J Cavanaugh

Moving on…

For this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group post, I’m going to discuss how bad reviews can make you feel better. Yes, you read that correctly, I said better. Before you start thinking I’m crazy, let me explain. I’ve never felt better by reading a bad review of my own work. That always makes me feel a little hurt. But to remind myself that opinions are subjective, I will occasionally go and read negative reviews of a book I love.

For example, I adored Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall. When I reviewed it, I said, ‘I highly recommend… [this book] to teens as I think it could help them to identify – and maybe even challenge – the nonsensical conventions, relationships and hierarchies that exist within their own school.’

Yet, here’s what others thought:

“Literally the worst book I have read this year. After all the hype this book received, I was excited to finally get my hands on it from PBS. Let’s talk about a let down.” Review on Goodreads

“This book is entirely predictable. If you are an individual with any kind of empathy or soul, you know where this is going. The only question you ask yourself is why does it take so long to get there- that’s the first reason I had to stop reading.” Review on Goodreads

OUCH! Thankfully, nobody has said anything nearly that harsh about my work. But that’s not the point. The point is: people’s taste in fiction is incredibly subjective. Just because one person (or even a handful of people) didn’t connect with your work, doesn’t mean what you’ve written is bad. It just means it wasn’t to their liking.

Putting your work out there to be judged by the masses takes courage, and I think anyone who’s done it deserves recognition for their bravery. So if you’ve published something, give yourself a pat on the back for having the guts to put yourself out there. And if you’ve felt the blow of bad reviews, take heart – you’re in good company!

“I really do not like his style of writing at all … His prose is lumpy and I feel like it’s completely devoid of character.” Review of The Power of One

“I don’t actually hate this book or maybe I do; I can’t make up my mind. There were plenty of things in this book for me to hate about it, that’s for sure.” Review of The Time Traveler’s Wife 

“If I could give this no stars, I would. This is possibly one of my least favorite books in the world, one that I would happily take off of shelves and stow in dark corners where no one would ever have to read it again.” Review of To Kill A Mockingbird

What do you think?

Have you ever read bad reviews to lift your own spirits? (it sounds bad when put like that, doesn’t it?)

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Four books I can’t wait to read (by Charity Bradford, Su Williams, Rachel Morgan & Lauren Oliver)

I thought I’d get a lot more reading done on maternity leave than what I am. I guess I assumed I’d have a baby that would sleep longer than 20-40 minutes at a time during the day! Little Mackenzie definitely keeps me busy, that’s for sure. Here’s a recent photo of my little dictator. 😉

12 weeks old

Mackenzie, 12 weeks old

There are a heap of books that I’m looking forward to reading, but these four are at the top of the list.

The Magic Wakes by Charity Bradford 

16052411Since childhood, scientist Talia Zaryn has been haunted by recurring dreams, visions of an alien attack on her planet Sendek. Each time it ends abruptly with Talia’s death in the capital city Joharadin, a city that she has spent her life desperately avoiding. Talia keeps these dreams a secret, hoping they are nothing more than childish nightmares. But when she is unexpectedly transferred to Joharadin she is convinced that the conflict, and her own death, is at hand.

As Talia’s nightmares occur with increasing frequency, they reveal the imminent invasion of a half-dragon, half-human race called Dragumon, bent on the annihilation of her world.

In Sendek, magic is dead and science rules, forcing Talia to keep another secret, one that could cost her everything if it were known. Now, in order to save her planet, Talia must awaken the powers within her and rely at last on the magic that is her true inheritance.

Those of you who know my reading tastes well would know this book isn’t my usual cup of tea. I usually steer clear of fantasies set on other planets, especially those than involve dragons. But I’ve read so much about ‘the making of’ this book (on the author’s blog) and I think it’s going to be the exception. Who knows, maybe it will even open the door to a newfound love of fantasy? Time will tell!

Dream Weaver by Su Williams

17205213Dream Weaver is a novel of mind benders and breakers. Are your memories your own?

I wasn’t asking for a past. Not even a future. Just a few less painful memories to make surviving the present a bit more bearable.

Seventeen year old Emari Sweet has a world of choices before her. Her parents are real estate investors that dote on their beloved daughter. Her only true worries are bullying cheerleaders and cookie cutter kids that harass her for her dark and different, emo ways and the cryptic messages in her music. So when her parents are killed in a car crash, Emari’s whole world implodes around her. Night terrors stalk her sleep and haunt her through each day. And only the dream of a dark-eyed stranger can draw out the poison of the chimera.

Just as she’s recovering from the toxic dreams, treading water to stay afloat, the violent nudge of a predator reawakens the terrors. He promises her two things; pain and fear. And on a snowy December night he makes good on his promises. Emari plunges head first into her personal hell and begins to feel there is no choice left to her but death–if only to escape the torture of grief.
As the nightmares once again shred her life, Emari’s dark-eyed angel returns. With the touch of his hand, he chases away her dreams and weaves magic that quiets the roiling terror within her.

But is this a real angel or something more sinister? Is he simply a figment of her distorted imagination? How does he capture her nightmares and soothe her aching heart? Why does he whisper a single word, ‘forget’, and evanesce into the cool grey mist of morning? And how is he entering her home that’s protected by a state-of-the-art alarm system?

This book sounds full on. Dark, mysterious, and – hopefully – gripping. The possibility of your memories not being your own – that’s what grabs me most about this book. Plus, the author has been a loyal follower of my blog for a while now and I’m really happy to see her taking the self publishing plunge!

The Faerie Prince (Creepy Hollow 2) by Rachel Morgan

[Warning: the blurb below contains minor spoilers of the first book in the series.]

THE FAERIE PRINCE (Creepy Hollow 2)Guardian trainee Violet Fairdale is just weeks away from one of the most important occasions of her life: graduation. After messing up big time by bringing a human into the fae realm, Vi needs to step up her game and forget about Nate if she hopes to graduate as the top guardian of her year. Everything would be fine if she wasn’t forced to partner with Ryn, her ex-friend, ex-enemy, current ‘sort of friend’. They might be trying to patch up their relationship, but does she really want to spend a week undercover with him for their final assignment? On top of that, the possibly-insane Unseelie Prince is still on the loose, free to ‘collect’ as many specially talented faeries as he can find—and Vi is still at the top of his list. Add in faerie queens, enchanted storms, complicated not-just-friends feelings, and a murder within the Guild itself, and graduation is about to become the least of Vi’s problems.

I really enjoyed The Faerie Guardian, the first in the Creepy Hollow series, and will probably re-read it before I dive into The Faerie Prince so that the story is fresh in my mind. The blurb above makes me really excited to see where Part 2 takes the story, although I’ll be gutted if Vi falls for Ryn! The Faerie Prince is released 30 May so I have a bit of time to get through my other to-reads first!

Requiem (Delirium 3) by Lauren Oliver

Requiem cover

[Warning: the blurb below contains spoilers of the first two books in the series.]

Battling against a society in which love has been declared a disease, Lena now finds herself at the centre of a fierce revolution. But the Wilds are no longer the haven they once were as the government seeks to stamp out the rebels. And Lena’s emotions are in turmoil following the dramatic return of someone she thought was lost forever…

Told from the alternating viewpoints of Lena and her best friend Hana, Requiem brings the Delirium trilogy to an exhilarating end and showcases Lauren Oliver at the height of her writing powers – emotionally powerful and utterly enthralling.

I recently re-read Delirium and I’m halfway through re-reading Pandemonium so that I’m back up to speed with this series before I jump into the third and final instalment, Requiem. And now I know that the book alternates between Lena and Hana as narrators, I’m even more excited to read it as Hana is one of my favourite characters in the series. I have some predictions about what will happen in this book so I’ll be interested to see if they come true (like they did in Pandemonium), or whether the author completely surprises me (like she did with Delirium).

How about you?

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? If not, do they take your fancy? What’s at the top of your to-read list?

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Weighted (book launch) and Weighty (bump-date)

Weighted

Firstly, OMG! Have you seen the cover for Ciara Knight’s newest book, Weighted? If not, it’s on the right!

Here’s the blurb…

The Great War of 2185 is over, but my nightmare has just begun. I am being held captive in the Queen’s ship awaiting interrogation. My only possible ally is the princess, but I’m unsure if she is really my friend or a trap set by the Queen to fool me into sharing the secret of my gift. A gift I keep hidden even from myself. It swirls inside my body begging for release, but it is the one thing the Queen can never discover. Will I have the strength to keep the secret? I’ll know the answer soon. If the stories are true about the interrogators, I’ll either be dead or a traitor to my people by morning.

How awesome does that sound? Can’t wait to read it! If you’d like to know more, you can read an excerpt or just go right ahead and buy it from Amazon for $2.99!

Weighty

Yesterday was a very exciting day. I had my 19-week scan and learnt that the bub in my belly is a little girl. I can’t wait to meet her! Well, actually, as she’s only 300 grams (less than a pound) right now, I’d probably prefer that she cooks for a bit longer first! Want to see some photos of her? Of course you do!

      

And here’s some photos of my growing bump…

In my natural habitat

Dodgy selfy!

Your turn

Do you plan to read Weighted? Anything exciting happening in your world? Feel free to tell me how gorgeous you think my baby is! 😀

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