Friday, March 16, 2012

Book Review: First Date

Author: Krista McGee
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
(January 10, 2012)


The last thing Addy Davidson wants is to be on a reality TV show where the prize is a prom date with the President's son.

She's focused on her schoolwork so she can get a scholarship to an Ivy League college, uncomfortable in the spotlight, never been on a date, and didn't even audition for it.

But she got selected anyway.

So she does her best to get eliminated on the very first show. Right before she realizes that the President's son is possibly the most attractive guy she has ever seen in person, surprisingly nice, and seemingly unimpressed by the 99 other girls who are throwing themselves at him.

Addy's totally out of her comfort zone but that may be right where God can show her all that she was meant to be.


Um, hmm ... not sure what to say about this book because I hate to be mean, but it just had nothing great. No deep characters that made me care, no compelling plot, no vibrancy or cool phraseology to tickle my ears, no sensory impressions to ground me in any scene and help me to identify with the MC. All the characters were boring, except Kara, who I wish had been the MC because she had way more personality. I know it wouldn't have worked given the story's context, but I just couldn't get behind Addy, even with her tragic past giving her a good reason for her complaining and curtness. Hank had some humor and bite and could've been given more detail. Jonathan, the love interest, was way underdeveloped and seemed unrealistic.

I thought this was going to be a button-cute, fun and sugary tale like an ABC Family movie with some Christianity thrown in or something, that's what it should have been, but it was painfully boring at times and took forever to get rolling, and it was still snail-slow once it did ... regarding the romantic element. The Reality Show does kick off a few chapters in and had some fun elements.

I did like that Addy, the MC, was able to be a witness in the end and that she stood strong in her convictions in the midst of her involuntary placement in a TV show to date the President's son, but she was so drab and colorless and excruciatingly unhappy for most of it that I was never able to warm up to her. She almost always reacted in the wimpiest, whiniest way, but also the most righteous. Though she did overcome tests, which was good, and she opened up more in the end, it wasn't enough to make her a memorable, well-rounded character. She seemed too unreal, like a poster child for Christian Teens, like the author wanted to create an exemplary example that teens should strive to emulate, minus the complaining and reluctance.

She was scared to reveal her faith, but otherwise, she was just so dedicated to all things holy, always going to prayer first, always putting God first, always thinking heavenly thoughts. Of course every Christian has their own level of spirituality and this kind of thing can be adopted, but when you have such squeaky clean characters in fiction, you can't show true struggle, overcoming temptation, repentance for failure or any sort of victory, and that's where you can SHOW a Christian walk instead of telling about it, as this book did with the nonstop reiteration about God's plan for Addy.

I just can't stand complainers, in real life or in books. It's one thing to vent about a bad day or your circumstances every now and then, but to go on and on and on for days in stubborn misery? No. Get over it. Yeah, she did realize she was being sour and acting childish, but that was what, a 1/3 of the way through?

And to compare this silly TV journey with Daniel's plight into the Lion's Den or Queen Esther's dangerous request to go before the King was laughable. It might have been more closely-aligned in scope if the stakes had been higher somehow from the beginning. I did like the interwoven aspect of her missionary parents' death in Colombia. With more development all around, this could've been a much, much better read ... much closer to the adorable story I thought it would be anyway. "The God's plan" theme seemed to overshadow everything else. I think it's an important lesson for teens, but it was just so weighty here. Subtlety can be even more powerful.

*I got the book FREE from Booksneeze and that did not factor into my review.


~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kings & Queens eBook Now 99 Cents

Yipee! My YA mystery-suspense novel has just been reduced to 99 cents and is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

What it's about:

Seventeen-year-old Majesty Alistair wants police to look further into her father’s fatal car wreck, hopes the baseball team she manages can reclaim the state crown, aches for Derek…or, no…maybe Alec…maybe. And she mostly wishes to retract the hateful words she said to her dad right before slamming the door in his face, only to never see him again.

All her desires get sidelined, though, when she overhears two fellow students planning a church massacre. She doubts cops will follow up on her tip since they’re sick of her coming around with notions of possible crimes-in-the-works. And it’s not like she cries wolf. Not really. They’d be freaked too, but they’re not the ones suffering from bloody dreams that hint at disaster like some crazy, street guy forecasting the Apocalypse.

So, she does what any habitual winner with zero cred would do…try to I.D. the nutjobs before they act. But, when their agenda turns out to be far bigger than she ever assumed, and even friends start looking suspect, the truth and her actions threaten to haunt her forever, especially since she’s left with blood on her hands, the blood of someone she loves.

What readers are saying:

"I think the best way for me to describe the book is quirky. "Beautifully unique" would be another term I'd use. I just...I love this book. Each character, especially Majesty, was like a 20-layer cake. The book was both character-driven and plot-driven, which promises to be an exciting ride for every type of YA reader. Add to this Courtney's incredible writing style and you have a story that you want to devour in one sitting." ~ Missy of Missy's Reads & Reviews

"I was left with my mouth hanging open as I was totally wrong when I thought I knew what was going on. WELL PLAYED, Vail, well played." ~ Heather of SupaGurl Tours

"The plot of this book is so original and twisted, I don't think I've read anything like it. One minute you're rooting for a character and the next minute you think he could be the villain. It is very cleverly crafted. The ending is so sweet and romantic and touching that I will never for get it. This is a unique, one of a kind book that will stay with you for a long time." SL Nelson

Get your copy today.

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Kings & Queens Kickoff Blog Tour

I am extremely psyched. I started my promo for this book last summer actually, but got derailed when a tornado storm destroyed my files. I was forced to copy my book from a PDF and when I did that it stripped out so many things like sometimes the "s" on a plural word--making it singular, every straight word after an italicized one, random stand-alone words, punctuation marks, numbers and even six sentences. It has been driving me crazy, and every time I thought I had caught everything, I'd find more missing things. I'm updating both my paperback files and my eBook files today because I have to have it right. Now, I'm good to go, or at least, I'll have to be. I'm working on the sequel, Sapphire Reign, now and another YA novel Genie, so I can't keep lingering on this one book. Now with it as good as I can get it, my promo efforts are rebooting.

Heather of @SupaGurl Tours is amazingly awesome and sweet, as well as one of the first readers to give me a glowing review, and she's hosting a tour for my YA novel, Kings & Queens, in April and May. So, if you have a blog, especially a book blog, sign up. We're looking for a combination of guest spots, interviews and reviews. Even if all the spots book up, you can still sign up, just pop her an email, because we are double and even triple or quadriple booking. I'm looking to land on 100 blogs each month. It sounds a little daunting maybe, but I think a big blast is the best way to do it. If you can help out and be a part of this tour, that would be awesome. Thanks!

And, if you're an author, she's newly for hire as a host.

~Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

Total Hunger Games Geek Out

Yeah, I am super psyched about the Hunger Games movie and am buzzing with anticipation. I can't wait 'til it comes out. I guess you could say I'm geeking out a little bit. A. Little. Bit.

I don't normally swing fantard for anything, so this is weird for even my blaring weirdness. I mean, I'm not even bugged by Taylor Swift's video, Safe & Sound. Yep, you heard right. She has such a talky way of "singing", and I can't stand her normally, but in this video, she does that talking thing a whole lot less and has an ethereal quality and tone that I find very mesmerizing and lovely actually. And I think she looks really really pretty without all the gobs of makeup, especially that which normally adorns her eyes and helps her steal Squint Queen status from Renee Zellweger. She kind of looks like a wood elf, with the flowy dress and her wheat-colored hair. Love it! I wish she'd opt for simplicity more often. It really suits her.

So, here are two videos to wet your appetite for the Girl on Fire.

Are you as excited as me? What do you geek out over?

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.