Monday, August 27, 2007

Voice of Crow an RT Top Pick

Following in its predecessor's footsteps (do books have feet? I mean, they have spines and sometimes jackets, so...), Voice of Crow has just received a 4.5 Stars Top Pick rating from Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine.

Here's the review (if you're a subscriber to the magazine you can go directly to the site to see that I'm not making this up):

Smith-Ready has outdone herself with the second book in the Aspect of Crow trilogy. Events unfold quickly but with enough backstory for new readers to grasp what's happening. The characterization is impressive. Book one focused primarily on the heroine; now we see the action through other characters as well. Readers will relate to these sympathetic people as they face heartbreaking challenges.

A summary follows, but like many reviews it gives away a plot point that doesn't take place until almost halfway through the book. I'm not including it here because if I were a reader, I'd want to be surprised. And go, "Oh my God, no!" instead of, "Oh, I was wondering when that was going to happen."

But I realize it's hard to write a decent review without giving anything away, so no complaints here. Besides, it's partly given away by the paragraphs on the back of the book.

I'm very relieved at this rating, because reviewers tend to be a little harder on sequels, I've noticed. Partly because their expectations are higher, and partly because sequels don't always stand alone very well.

So that's two reviews that have said it's better than Eyes of Crow. So far so good, sophomore slump averted. But it's the readers' opinions that really count, so I'm anxious to see what everyone thinks. Not Valium-popping anxious. Just chamomile tea-sipping anxious.

A-Z Update: "So Much to Say" by the Dave Matthews Band

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Now THAT's a good book

Last week our 8-month-old foster puppy Chubby was left alone for a few minutes (I'm not blaming anyone in particular, such as The Husband, though I was in the shower at the time, so by process of elimination...).

I discovered him (Chubby, that is) happily eating a book I had been reading and had stupidly left on a low table next to the couch. At first I was kind of pissed, but then I couldn't stop laughing when I saw the title:

That's Resley C's--sorry, Kresley Cole's--A Hunger Like No Other, which just won the Rita for Best Paranormal Romance of 2006, among several other distinctions. The dude on the cover (what's left of him, anyway) is a Lykae (werewolf). So I guess Chubbers was just getting in touch with his supernatural cousins in the doggiest way he knew.

Thankfully, I was about 30 pages from the end and was able to finish it without having to reconstruct paragraphs from scraps of paper on the floor. The back cover didn't fare so well. Poor Resley Kresley's awesome author photo was lovingly mangled and ended up in the recycle bin, which is where the rest of the book is going. But since I plan to buy the rest of the series, I'll just pick up an extra copy of HLNO (the second, drool-free edition).

It was an excellent book, by the way. Chubby gives it two dewclaws up!

Another weirdly appropriate A-Z Update: "Skinwalker's Moon" by Robert Mirabal

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Vick to plead guilty to first-degree scumbaggery

Atlanta Falcons (soon-to-be-ex-) quarterback Michael Vick will plead guilty to charges connected with illegal dogfighting.

In more cheerful news, unwanted Vick jerseys are being put to good use at the Atlanta Humane Society. Somehow the thought of his name and number being repeatedly soaked in dog urine just warms the cockles of my heart.

I hope that in prison, they serve him the best food Alpo has to offer.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Voice of Crow excerpt

At long last, I've picked an excerpt from Voice of Crow to post on my site.

In case you're wondering, Rhia is still the main character as she was in Eyes of Crow, but I thought it'd be fun to introduce the new character ahead of time. Some of you might remember Filip from a brief scene near the end of Eyes.

Filip's scenes in Voice were some of my favorite, and in most cases were the ones that needed the least revision. I "clicked" with him right away, probably because he's more like us than the other characters. He gives us an outsider's perspective on Rhia and Marek's world of the Spirits. To him, all this animal magic is pretty darn freaky.

We also get to see more of his people (the Ilions, or "Descendants" as our friends call them) in Voice of Crow. The nation of Ilios is one part Ancient Rome, one part Ancient Sparta, and three parts I-Made-It-Up-istan.

A-Z Update: "Sick of Myself" by Matthew Sweet

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Chubby, Part One

At last, a new foster dog!

Meet Chubby, who's not.

He's eight months old and so sweet. In fact, he's a whole lineful of 'o's of sweet*, like this:

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo sweet.

A little shy now about going through doorways to strange places, and totally exhausted from his trip. I can't truly assess his personality until he starts to wake up a little more, but I think he's going to be a great puppy.

He's part chocolate Lab--which explains the yellow eyes and the reddish nose--and part Golden Retriever.

Until recently he was also part Tick, but most of them have either been yanked off or poisoned by Frontline Plus. Last night I dreamed about ticks who could fly and were immune to rubbing alcohol.

More later. I was away for the weekend and therefore am behind in writing The Reawakened.

*depending on your monitor's resolution. Results may vary.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Voice of Crow's first review!

The Romance Zone got in way early to be the first to review the sequel to Eyes of Crow. The author of the review is Merry Cutler, owner of Annie's Book Stop in Sharon, MA.
Many times, when the first book in a series is as good as “Eyes of Crow” was, the reader is disappointed by the succeeding volumes. This is not the case with “Voice of Crow” – if anything it is more powerful, more gripping, than the first book, as the characters grow and mature and are more fully developed by this skillful author.

Now that's what I like to hear. Sophomore slump, be damned!

Read the rest here. In the second paragraph, she gives a wonderful summary of the series in just a few sentences. I may have to steal it....

A-Z Update: "Serve the Servants" (Solo Acoustic version) by Nirvana

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Win an ARC of Voice of Crow

I'm giving away an autographed Advance Review Copy of Voice of Crow next week to one lucky subscriber of my newsletter, six weeks before the scheduled release date of September 25.

To enter, just sign up for my fun, text-based, and totally non-annoying e-newsletter by this Tuesday, August 7.

The winner will be announced in the August 8 issue, which will offer more chances to win great prizes, including early copies of the book itself.

If you've ever gotten a newsletter from me, you're already on the list. No need to resubscribe. Though I promise I won't yell at anyone who does it.

A-Z Update: "Scattered" by Green Day

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Apocalypse averted; book saved

Fiction is the truth inside the lie.
--Stephen King

Though it's never explicitly stated in the text, Wicked Game takes place between Thursday, May 31, and Friday, August 3, 2007. The book gives hints (what we called "context cues" in elementary school) as to the year, such as pairing those two dates with the days of the week.

Also, if you take the year of the hero's death/vampiric transformation (1995), subtract his age at the time (27), then add his current "real" age (39), you get 2007.

...double-checking the math in a moment of paranoia...

Yes, that's correct. 2007.

So a few hours from now, the timeframe of the book will be over. I'm deeply grateful that the world hasn't ended, because that would totally undermine the book's believability. It's bad enough that it rained on the night of July 4th in real life, when the two main characters are supposed to be having a picnic. And it's thundering tonight, whereas in the final chapter, the weather was clear (trust me, there's enough going on that a thunderstorm would be overkill).

So I tell myself that the book takes place in a parallel universe, one with a different pattern of air pressure systems. Oh, and vampires.

I'm looking forward to writing Book Two in the series (still tentatively titled Bad to the Bone), because by a weird trick of scheduling, I'll be writing it more or less in real time. It takes place from Halloween 2007 through New Year's 2008. So I'll experience each holiday through two very different viewpoints--my own and Ciara's.

And I'll once again cross my fingers against an inconvenient apocalypse.

A-Z Update: "Save Yourself" by Stabbing Westward



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Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

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