So here's the synopsis:
Professional, experienced contract burglar. It’s not exactly something you can put on a business card.
Molly Miranda has made a successful living from “acquiring” valuables and delivering them to clients who pay buckets of cash for her unique services.
So what if she has to lie about her lavish lifestyle in Manhattan and her frequent trips out of the country? Molly has everything under control.
Things go astray when she knocks boots with her charming roommate right before taking off to Scotland with an untrustworthy wildcard on a job assignment that doesn’t go quite as planned. It doesn’t help that this new partner-in-crime is super annoying. And attractive…
Join Molly on her hilarious adventures as she dodges bullets, trespasses, wears disguises, and steals her way into trouble.
I'll start this review by stating the obvious: with first person stories, you'd better like the narrator, because you're going to be living in their head for many hours and hundreds of pages. I've put down books (not often, but it's happened) where everything else is awesome—plot, pacing, setting (zombiepocalypse!)—but the MC is so annoying and self-absorbed it is literally unreadable.
Thankfully, this is not that kind of book.
I absolutely adored Molly Miranda.
While different in plenty of ways, Molly reminds me a little of Charlaine Harris's wonderful Sookie Stackhouse: down to earth, self-deprecating, capable and independent, deliciously snarky but never nasty. While some aspects of her life are wild, others are perfectly mundane, and Jillianne Hamilton doesn't shy away from letting us in on the joke (ever had to pee while fooling around with a crush?).
Which brings us to the romance. We have the obligatory two boys (nice and naughty), and naturally the naughty one has more personality, but it’s a minor flaw. Hamilton writes the scenes with both love interests with a winning combination of genuine chemistry and real-life awkwardness that will appeal to fans of romance, chick-lit and mystery/thrillers.
The secondary characters are also strongly written. Hamilton has a sharp ear for dialogue, especially the easy banter between Molly and her best friend, Ruby. They're opposites in many ways, but she takes the time to show you why they click.
And oh Audrey, how I love thee! When she talks, I picture the perfectly posh and utterly hilarious woman in the PooPourri commerical…
Since this is mainly a YA blog, I'll just add that Molly Miranda is more NA, but there's nothing graphic sex or violence-wise that older teens couldn't handle. Some swearing, but I'm a firm believer that when you need an f-bomb, there's just no substitute.
Hamilton handles the story with a deft touch, balancing action, laugh-out-loud zingers and romance with zippy pacing and a character you can really root for. This series makes me want to quit my day job and become a cat burglar with a condo on Central Park West and a passport full of cool stamps. I seriously can't wait for the next one.
You can preorder the Kindle edition of Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire (Book 1) on Amazon. It releases Feb. 6. The paperback is available now, also on Amazon.
About the Author
Jillianne Hamilton is a writer and graphic designer. She studied Journalism and Interactive Multimedia in college and her writing has been published in The Truro Daily News, The Sackville Tribune-Post, Macleans OnCamous and the PEI Writes 2013 Anthology. Jill grew up in Nova Scotia and now lives in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on Canada's east coast. She enjoys corgi GIF animations and chocolate cheesecake. Visit her website for more information.
I love the eye-popping colors and the girl is just too adorable...
There's a giveaway too, be sure to enter here.
About the Author:
Kristine Asselin lives in Massachusetts and writes Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction. In addition to ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT, she is the author of fifteen children's books for the elementary school library market. The most recent, DANGEROUS DISEASES, was published in 2014. Kris is a volunteer with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, and loves Harry Potter, Doctor Who, classic rock from the 70’s and 80’s, and anything with a time travel theme. She is a proud member of SCBWI-New England, the Fall Fourteeners (a group blog of YA debut authors), Sporty Girl Books blog, and #MGLitChat.
Kris presents writing workshops at schools and libraries all over New England and loves talking with kids and adults about their favorite books. ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT is her debut Young Adult novel.
Penelope Spaulding just can't catch a break. Between long hours at the family restaurant, homework, and her parents' plans for her future, it's hard to find a spare moment to breathe. But when she laces up her skates and steps on the ice, everything slips away...
Racing around the rink allows her to blow off steam after yet another fight with her dad about going to culinary school. So when Jake Gomes, the bad boy who lives down the street, dares her to join the Rink Rats, the local misfit hockey team, she surprises herself and joins in silent defiance of her father and his expectations.
The more she plays, the easier it is to keep lying, and soon Pen finds it impossible to come clean. She’s sneaking out to practice—and loving every minute of it. It doesn’t take long for her to fall in love with hockey…and Jake’s not half bad either. But she knows it can’t last. As soon as her dad finds out, she’ll be benched. For good.
She’s absolutely not going to tell her parents until she’s sure it will be worth the inevitable fight. Not only is she skipping shifts at Slice Pizza while a foodie reality show is on the horizon, but her lies are starting to take their toll on her game. It’s only a matter of time before everything falls apart.
With the team counting on her and with her relationship with Jake on the line, will she have to sacrifice the thing she wants most for the people she loves? Or can she step up and take her best shot?
ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT will be available HERE from Bloomsbury Spark on April 7, 2015.
Mark it to read on Goodreads
Preorder Link: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/any-way-you-slice-it-9781619637832/
When I had to revise Some Fine Day, there was much cold-blooded murdering of darlings—which actually turned out to be the easy part. My editor and I both agreed they were entertaining guests who were also dropping their dirty underwear on the bathroom floor, crashing on the couch, and not doing really doing much to move the plot anywhere.
No regrets. I'm lousy at goodbyes, so…
The harder part was the new scenes she wanted. Because they mostly revolved around my main character, who I knew intimately, and her love interest, who I was starting to realize I didn't know at all.
That's quite something when your book is coming out in a few months, wouldn't you say?
Now, Will had already gone through a few incarnations at this point. In one draft, he was a complete wanker when they met and hated Jansin's guts at first sight. I later decided this was a bit much, not to mention kind of clichéd, so I did a full one-eighty and made him really nice and decent and kind etc. etc. etc.
Well, that wasn't working either.
I was having trouble writing decent dialogue for them, usually a sign of larger problems. Such as the fact that I was having trouble getting a handle on the entire arc of their relationship.
Yes. Yes, it does.
Especially when your final draft is due in three weeks.
I only started to figure Will out once I thought of him as a fully-fledged person separate from my MC and their attraction/friction for each other. He wasn't a wanker and he wasn't Mr. Perfect. He was somewhere in the middle. He'd been through some pretty bad things in his life, and he'd built up a whole arsenal of defense mechanisms to deal with it, like most of us do. He had one face that he showed to the world, and one face he kept to himself. And—also like most of us—he was neither and both.
Let me say right here, I'm not a pantser. I've tried, Lord knows. It's a wonderful way of writing because it allows the story to meander where it wants to go spontaneously. Stephen King, the archduke of pantsers, compares it to unearthing dinosaur bones with a tiny little brush. The problem is that in my case, two entirely separate parts of my brain do the plotting and the writing, and when I try to get them to work in harmony, at the same time, it's like herding cats.
Complete gridlock. Which we all know ends only one way…
But in Will's case, I was desperate. So I gave the pantser route another try. And it actually worked. I started expanding on an early scene with Jansin, and she suddenly compares him to an actuary, which is the most boring, dry profession she can think of, and it was like…ahhhhh. Light. In brain. Clicks on.
Because Will can be horribly stuffy. He can be arrogant and…what's the exact opposite of fun? But he's also tough as nails, and he has a deep well of passion inside him that's almost scary. Still waters and all that.
Anyway, I had to let that book sit and not look at it for nearly a year before my light went on. And then it felt like someone I'd been dying to meet my whole life—someone I knew in my heart already—was finally standing outside my front door.
Cherie says this gorgeous trailer comes from The Books Machine, so if you're looking for help or inspiration with your own, check them out.
About the book:
Logan and his sister, Ariana, are destined to be pawns in the battle between heaven and hell. Demons want Logan to open the gates of Hell. Ariana has the power to stop them, but in doing so she’ll damn her brother for eternity. To save themselves and mankind, they must derail the biblical event.
Check out one of the links below for more information about this book:
Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
You can also follow Cherie on Twitter, Facebook, and/or her blog to get the latest updates on her books.
If you're anything like me, you don't do so well when your writing routine gets derailed, even for a couple of weeks. I love the holidays, but they tend to wreak havoc on my schedule and motivation. After a while, it starts to feel a lot like writer's block. Here are a few of the primary symptoms:
Dread of sitting down at the computer
Serial procrastination: almost any odious task is preferable
Constant checking of the clock or word count: can I stop yet?
Guilt. That's a big one.
Anxiety and self-doubt: I don't know how I wrote that last book, but I'll never be able to pull it off again
Long periods of staring blankly into space
Finally writing a single sentence, reading it over, and then deleting it because it's horrible
Deciding that the entire concept of your manuscript actually sucks and you need to start again from scratch
I've had one and all, usually several at the same time. In fact, I just shook off a bad case earlier this week. So I thought I would share some of the things that have worked for me. Of course, there's already a ton of great advice out there. But when you're grappling with writer's block, or just a rough patch, I've found that the more, the merrier. Because one thing may not work, but another will. And the only thing you have to do is not give up and keep trying.
1. Get outside. Do something, anything, that unfetters your brain and lets it wander. My best solutions and plot fixes have come on runs and bike rides.
2. Go back and re-read your manuscript straight through from the very beginning. You don't want to do this too often because then it makes it harder to have fresh eyes for editing later, but when you've lost your way, it can really help you get back into the voice and characters and pacing.
3. If you seem to be stuck on one particular scene, jump ahead and write a scene you're looking forward to, that's exciting. Write the end, if you want to. And sometimes the scenes I get bogged down in are ones that I should probably lose anyway. If I can't even summon enthusiasm for them, who should I expect a reader to?
4. Sometimes it isn't your imagination; it's a very real problem in the story that a nagging little voice in your head is aware of and that you need to listen to. So identify the problem. What just worked for me was writing a new, one-page summary. I realize there just wasn't enough suspense building toward the final third. The fix required some work, but it was completely worth it in the end.
5. Walk away from the computer and read! Explore a different genre, discover a great new author. Look at what works in the story and what doesn't. If you just read something you couldn't put down, figure out how they hooked you and see if you can translate that into your own story.
6. Finally, whether you are working on a self-imposed deadline or one set by an editor, take a breath and remind yourself that this is a first draft. You can—and will—go back later and polish, adding scenes, deleting others, and generally reworking the whole thing. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be the best thing you've ever written, and in fact you wouldn't want it to be, because that means it's all downhill from here, right?
Happy New Year, and happy reading and writing!