Review: Call Me Grim by Elizabeth Holloway

Title: Call Me Grim
Author: Elizabeth Holloway
Publisher: Month9Books
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Urban, Grim Reapers

Blurb:

The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi Pancake — and it would have, too, if Aaron hadn’t shown up and saved her life. The problem? Aaron’s the local Grim Reaper… and he only saved Libbi’s life because he needs someone to take over his job. Now, Libbi has two days to choose between dying like she was supposed to, or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

And the choice goes from hard to sucktastic when her best friend shows up marked: condemned as a future murderer. Libbi could have an extra week to stop the murder and fix the mark… but only if she accepts Aaron’s job as Reaper, trapping herself in her crappy town forever, invisible and inaudible to everyone except the newly dead. But, if she refuses? Her best friend is headed straight for Hell.

Why I picked it up:

I read this book as part of the Call Me Grim blog tour.

What I didn’t like about it:

This book is about Grim Reapers and the “magic” involved was a little… unbelievable at times. “Reapers” seem to have a lot of powers and I would have liked to know a little more on the mechanics of where they come from. There wasn’t a lot of world building and rules when it came to the magic.

Most of the time when I rate a book as average, I don’t really know what was missing to give the book a better rating. I enjoy the plot, the characters, the writing, the pace, the setting, but I don’t LOVE anything about it. It’s all good, but not excellent.

What I liked about it:

I really enjoyed the writing style. This is the sort of writing that I enjoy – simple, to the point, and filled with personality. I love it when a character leaps off a page and Libbi really did that for me. I think that’s how the author drew me into the story. She focused on character, then setting, then plot. So I felt connected from the beginning. I really appreciated Libbi’s struggle in the first half of the story.

I also liked the Grim Reaper subject matter. I’ve never read a novel about Grim Reaper’s before. I liked what Libbi had to give up to become one. The only thing worse was literally death, so I really believed the stakes and her indecision.

Call Me Grim follows the themes of fate, redemption, friendship, and family. The ending was a little too dramatic for my tastes, but overall, I enjoyed this.

My Verdict – 3 Stars

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What are you reading at the moment?

I’m currently in the middle of Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff. It’s really different to what I usually read. The chapters are short and snappy and the writing is very direct. It’s nice for a change.

What are you reading at the moment?

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Shameless Tumblr Promotion

Do you guys use Tumblr?

I love Tumblr. I’ve used it on and off over the years, but I’m just starting to build a large enough network that my Dashboard has some really interesting posts all over it!

So, this is a shameless Tumblr post!! Not unlike my Shameless Self Promotion posts. Share your Tumblr links, favourite images, anything and everything related to Tumblr. Friend each other, discover new interests, all that jazz!

This is my Tumblr:
http://jodiellewellyn.tumblr.com

Come over and say hey. I need some new Tumblr friends in my life :)

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What are your thoughts on erotic fiction?

So… in a nutshell, this past week, I did two things:
– I worked (I work full-time as a sales associate for a Real Estate agency) and
– I devoured the Sinners on Tour series by Olivia Cunning.

And by devoured, I mean devoured. I read the 5 books in a week and they average out at about 400 pages a book. So that’s a lot of reading. A series of books that keeps my attention like that is pretty rare. Almost unheard of, really.

I’d actually read the first two books back in 2012 when I was going through a massive “erotic fiction” binge. At the time, they were the only two that were released, so (as so often happens with series) I read them, and they sat on my shelf until last week, when I decided I’d had enough young adult fiction and needed something different.

Enter the Sinners boys. *sighs happily*

Point being, for those of you looking for something sexy and erotic. I highly recommend this series! Bad-boy rock stars… how can you go wrong with that? I even got my copy signed when Olivia Cunning was offering signed copies.

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Finishing this series makes me realise I want to read more intense, erotic books, which is a little odd because I haven’t delved into that genre for a few years.

Does anyone else read (and love) erotic fiction? Any recommendations? Or is it something you avoid?

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When was the last time you wrote something really self-indulgent?

I’ve written three novels. All three I wrote with the intention of one day being able to publish. But prior to that, before writing became something serious, I used to write whatever I liked. I used to write for me. And maybe it was awful and sappy and usually a reflection of whatever I was feeling at the time… but something in me really wants to do that again. I want to write something just for me, with no pressure of the word “agent” or “publishing” over my head. I just want to churn out a novel that is everything that I want it to be. And then it will get lost somewhere on my hard drive and never see the light of day.

When was the last time you wrote something just for you? Something you had no intention of revealing to the world? And what stops you from doing it? Because it does have that sensation of wasting time doesn’t it?

Thoughts?

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Review: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Title: Belzhar
Author: Meg Wolitzer
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Blurb:

I was sent here because of a boy. His name was Reeve Maxfield, and I loved him and then he died, and almost a year passed and no one knew what to do with me.

A group of emotionally fragile, highly intelligent teenagers gather at a therapeutic boarding school where they are mysteriously picked for ‘Special Topics in English’. Here, they are tasked with studying Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and keeping a journal.

Each time the teens write in their diaries they are transported to a miraculous other world called Belzhar, a world where they are no longer haunted by their trauma and grief – and each begins to tell their own story.

Why I picked it up:

This book was sent to me by Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

What I didn’t like about it:

My main drama with this book was the large “telling” sections. In a nutshell, this book follows five students who come together to share their traumatic experiences with each other. And by share their traumatic stories, I mean, sit around in a circle and tell each other in a very dialogue heavy, drawn out, type of way. Those sections were pretty tedious to read.

I was also really amused by the odd names in this book! Jamaica… DJ… Kawabata… The Wooden Barn… Gooseberry Lane… the list goes on.

The writing isn’t particularly visual. I was 30 pages in and still had no clue what Jam or The Wooden Barn looked like. As a result, the book didn’t start to hit its groove until page 50. It took me that long to warm to the characters and setting.

What I liked about it:

Despite the lack of visual description, I thought the writing was beautiful. The author says things like:

… his voice sounded like a lit match being held to the edge of a piece of brittle paper. It just exploded in a quiet burst.

And:

He was like a long beaker in a Chemistry class, and the top was always bubbling over because some interesting process was taking place inside.

And:

She sits up straight in her chair with the best posture I’ve ever seen on a creature that isn’t a sea horse.

I also liked that the story was written in a way that never stayed in the present. It flicked back into the past and switched between first person present tense and first person past tense, which I thought was really cool. I’ve never seen two tenses flow like that.

Mostly, I really liked how the majority of the story was set around the idea of journaling. I’ve kept a diary since I was 11 and write in it religiously, so I appreciated the theme that journaling can be very therapeutic.

As a matter of fact, the themes in general were interesting. Depression, grief, trauma, regret… and how delusion can play a role in dealing with those emotions. And then in the end, the realisation that when we lose something, and we are grieving, it isn’t necessarily the past we’re losing, but the hope of a future.

My Verdict: 3 stars.
This story definitely stood apart from others in the genre. I found it really unique.

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Writers, whose writing do you most admire?

You know how you read a book sometimes, and while the writing is brilliant, it just doesn’t “speak” to you in the way other writing does?

I like to consider myself a writer. An aspiring author, but still technically a writer, so when I pick up a new book, the writing is the first thing I notice – the tense, the POV, the style… I can tell within the first few pages if the author has a style that I like. And most of the time, that means they have a style that (I like to think) is a little like mine.

This topic popped into my head last night while I was re-reading Backstage Pass which is the first book in the Sinners on Tour series by Olivia Cunning. While the story isn’t anything I’d ever write, I love her writing. It flows so easily and you can just devour it.

Which got me thinking about other authors whose writing I admire. And from the top of my head I can come up with three:


1. Richelle Mead and her writing in the Vampire Academy series, particularly the first three books. It’s so easy to fall into her world and Rose and Dimitri are such solid characters.


2. Olivia Cunning as mentioned above. Wow. Despite her novels being 80% sex, her characters fly off the page. They are so real and well developed.


3. Stephanie Perkins and her writing in Anna and the French Kiss. What an amazing story. Once again, just like Richelle and Olivia, Stephanie has a gift for creating characters that come to life.

All of these authors write in a style that I really like. It’s quick, engaging and the sort of writing you can just fly through. Light and entertaining and most importantly, the characters are amazing. So maybe I value characters I can love above all else.

Whose writing do you most admire?

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