Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I've moved!

I'm now blogging over at alexisbassbooks.com.  

Feel free to stop by for a visit anytime. :)

xo - Alexis 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Five: Donna Tartt goes on tour

I'm not really sure how to articulate how much I love Donna Tartt's writing, and more importantly, the stories produced by her writing. And, okay, so I've really only read one of her novels (The Secret History), but that's one out of two, not counting her newest novel, released just last week, The Goldfinch.



It's really not just her this-is-so-beautiful-I-have-to-stop-reading-to-catch-my-breath prose, it's the delicious payoff of the story she weaves and the layers of her characters. Her writing seems to be subtle and loud at the same time (remember the scene with the letter--I'm still dying over it). And I may never understand the secret to how this is accomplished...

But here is what I learned about her from her signing:
  1. She takes years and years and years to write a book. There is no NaNoWriMo for Donna Tartt. In the case of The Goldfinch: eleven years. She said she often dreams of finishing a novel in five years, but it never works that way for her. (So seriously, everyone, stop beating yourself up over that novel that seems to be taking forever.)
  2. She really dislikes copy edits. She's a STET everything kind of writer. And I imagine if had worked on something for eleven years I would be too.
  3. When she writes a new story the first thing that comes to her mind is a mood and the setting, the characters, even the plot, all follow this initial mood she wanted to emulate. She listens to a lot of Elliot Smith when she writes, go figure. 
  4. While working on a new project, she never gives presentations or talks. Unless she's just finished writing a book, she doesn't feel she has anything to talk about--and she doesn't like to talk about books before they're complete. (So no, she didn't mention what's next for her.)
  5. She warned against receiving critiques on unfinished work. She said that sometimes it can damage the whole picture, if the person critiquing picks apart things that tie-in to later parts of the story. Good advice, I think.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cover Reveal: BLEED LIKE ME

Cover reveals are my FAVORITE! And I'm especially excited to be involved in the cover reveal for this particular book because I've known about its existence for a while. (Talk about anticipation.) Christa and I did some beta reading for each other a year or so ago, and I was lucky enough to read BLEED LIKE ME in its early, early stages. So probably, definitely, a lot has changed since I've read it, but the parts that seem to have stayed the same are the characters--and omg, THESE characters.

They're the sort that wedge themselves into your mind (and heart--that too), and even though they make you a little (at times, very) uncomfortable and nervous, I found myself a bit (okay, extremely) attached to them and very invested in their well-being (along with their togetherness--and I say "togetherness" because I'm not sure "romance" is the right word....talk to me in 2014, you'll see).

BLEED LIKE ME (2014 by Simon Pulse)"Seventeen-year-old Amelia Gannon is overwhelmed. Her parents are pre-occupied with her high-needs adopted brothers, her best friend is more interested in bumming cigarettes than bonding, and her job at the hardware store feels more and more like a life sentence. She finds an escape in troubled new guy, Michael Brooks. He's obnoxious, possessive, and addictive. Gannon lets him insert himself into her life, and Brooks is just as addicted to her as she is to him. Swept into an intense relationship, their passion ultimately becomes dangerous to them both."


 This cover. It's so perfect.

 Taaaadummmm:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Links:  
Add it on goodreads!
Order Fault Line By C. Desir
Christa Desir's Blog


Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Five: Take away what you will...

I haven't done a whole lot of blogging lately...but I have been keeping busy...

 

Above is a preview, and here's what my reading experiences lately have taught me:

1.  There's something about zombies and aliens, or the world ending that says: I should be read in the dead of winter in front of twinkling lights, preferably around the holidays.

2.  Mysteries are enjoyable even if you don't solve the crime before the end of the book...even if you give up trying to by page 150.

3.  Every so often the best love stories are about the reason two people don't end up together. But it's nice when they do sometimes, too.

4.  You may discover that you prefer your breakup stories long and drawn out. Try not to think too hard about what this says about you personally.

5.  Sometimes you will try really hard not to fall in love with the villain, but won't be able to help yourself. And sometimes you won't even know his real name

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

FAULT LINE by Christa Desir


It's here, finally:

Ben could date anyone he wants, but he only has eyes for the new girl — sarcastic free-spirit, Ani. Luckily for Ben, Ani wants him too. She’s everything Ben could ever imagine. Everything he could ever want.
 
But that all changes after the party. The one Ben misses. The one Ani goes to alone.

Now Ani isn’t the girl she used to be, and Ben can’t sort out the truth from the lies. What really happened, and who is to blame?

Ben wants to help her, but she refuses to be helped. The more she pushes Ben away, the more he wonders if there’s anything he can do to save the girl he loves.


I first met Christa via blogging and tweeting years ago, we were both peddling YA books, but also on the constant upswing of entertaining new ideas.  She blogged about drafting FAULT LINE here. And this—the very first mention of the book’s concept—is when it started to affect me.

In the post, she described her main character as such: “our girl isn't a "good rape victim."” This phrase shocked me, mostly because I knew exactly what she meant by it.

Why can I define this? Why do I get an immediate picture in my head when I hear this? Why is there a standard by which rape victims are measured, and why do I know what it is?

And that was the beginning of me, paying more attention. And there's a lot out there, regarding this issue especially, that needs more attention; that needs to be poked for answers and questioned relentlessly.
 
 
 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Five: Top Five Books I’ve Pretended I've Read

Inspired entirely by this post by J.J. Howard. (Sidebar: She wrote That Time I Joined the Circus and she is wonderful.)

1. Beloved By Toni Morrison

I so wanted to read this book. So much. It won all those awards, including the Pulitzer. And Oprah loved it. She even starred in the movie. And I love Toni Morrison. LOVE. But after I was emotionally wrecked by The Bluest Eye (have you read it? what are you doing? read it now) I just could not put myslef through the ringer again. So when people said things to me like, "you read, you love Toni Morrison, surely you've read her most popular novel," I just nodded and changed the subject. Back to The Bluest Eye

2. Anna Karenina By Leo Tolstoy  

I still haven't read this book. Though there was a time when I'd been consistently poking at it...for four years (that's right. DEDICATION). And then I was watching The Last Station with my cousin and the ending was spoiled for me (yes, I blogged about it here). And now there's a movie starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and...do I really need to finish it? 

3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix By J.K. Rowling

This is the fifth book. And this happened by accident. I wandered into the bookstore when the newest and latest H.P. book was released and assumed that I was caught up and that the last Harry Potter book that I'd received as a gift was the last book out. So I bought book six thinking I'd read book five. It was my bad. 

4. Jane Austen Novels

Nope. Never finished a single one. I don't know why, really. Perhaps it's because they'd been so popularized by the time I was in 8th grade that every single time I sat down with one of her books I got antsy anticipating the parts I knew were coming that I LOVED. Usually what happened was, I skipped ahead. 

5.  The Brothers Karamazov By Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Again, this was a matter of trying to fit in. And also my English teacher was asking, "why don't you read this instead of Crime and Punishment," and I said, "Oh, I've already read that." And it worked, he stopped asking me to read it. Still, lying is bad and unnecessary. Let this be a lesson that it's okay to say no, lest you look back and feel ridiculous about the silly lies you told. 


The other part of this blog is supposed to be about books I've read but don't want to admit to. I don't really know how to not own up to a reading a book. Yes, I read Fifty Shades (mainly because Bret East Ellis said to, and because I wanted to understand all the jokes on Twitter), but I will not lie about having read them. The only book I might not want to admit to having read is a book that I actually couldn't bring myself to read. Though, because I saw certain boys in college reading it, I was very temped. But then, I was like, Ugh, no, I CAN'T. I mean, nothing against Tucker Max.... 


What are your five?


Monday, July 1, 2013

The Over-share

No, I'm not about to over-share. EVERYTHING IS FINE.


But after spending a lot of time on a novel with a protagonist who is so conscious of the possibility that she might be over-sharing that she's always covering her tracks, it was a lovely, lovely break to spend some time drafting a story in which the main character leaves everything on the table (or on the sleeve - depending on the metaphor you prefer).

And also, some of my favorite books are centered around characters who are serious about their over-sharing.

Love and Other Perishable Items By Laura Buro 
Well, half the book is someone's diary. So. And the other narrator is a fifteen-year-old girl with a serious crush. Over-sharing is a given.

Why We Broke Up By Daniel Handler
This book probably has the best over-share of all time. (Do you know the uber-long paragraph I'm referring to? I bet you do.) The entire book is a diatribe to what went wrong in the narrator's relationship, but when she finally breaks down exactly how the break up made her feel - WOW. We've all been there.

And Then Things Fall Apart By Arlaina Tibensky
She's sick with the chicken pox and her boyfriend has been a bit of a wanker. There's nothing she won't hold back.

The Adults By Alison Espach
The things Emily will admit to are, well, the things we think but don't ever say out loud.

What's your favorite over-share?