This Book! This Book! This Book is on FIRE!

(Ahaha, I know, hilarious ’80s reference, who’s cool.)  😉

I have a book to recommend!  (And it’s not even one of mine!)  🙂

Fire cover

FIRE, by my amazing splendiferous talented friend Kristin Cashore, is finally available in bookstores! (and of course here!)  But ha ha ha, I got to read it WEEKS early, thanks to my snazzy publishing contacts, whom I love.  :-)  And I’ve been waiting and waiting to tell you about it, because if I told you HOW AWESOME IT IS before you could even go get it, I was afraid that might be frustrating for you — especially if you’re an instant-gratification gal like me.  But now you can, so here goes!

THIS BOOK IS SO AWESOME.  (Plus, how cool is this cover?)  As I’ve mentioned before, I loved the first one, Graceling, but I had no idea how much more I would love this one.  It’s unique and surprising and stars another kick-ass heroine, Fire, who’s fabulous like Katsa but in her own startling (gorgeous) way.  Plus, in addition to the fast-paced action, it is a totally brilliant love story, which are always my favorites, and I must admit I have a hard time finding books as great as this one, where I really like both the guy and the girl and believe in their romance.  (Recommendations always welcome!) 

I couldn’t put this book down, and the good news is, you don’t even have to have read Graceling (although you SHOULD!) to read this, because they’re both self-contained stories.  AWESOME self-contained stories!

It is such a relief to love the books your friends write, because if I didn’t, I’d have to be like, "Um, yeah, so like, there’s this book, if you guys want to read it, and stuff…", but this way I can be enthusiastic and really mean it instead.  :-)  Yay Kristin!  :-)  Also, she’s sailing around the country on a book tour this week, so check her website for her schedule, and you might even be able to catch her at a bookstore near you!  Woo hoo!

I was especially missing Fire this week because I just finished reading a LOOOOOOOONG grown-up book which was supposed to be all that and a bag of chips (<– where did that expression come from?  Also, mmm…chips…), but instead turned out to be AWFUL.  I won’t specify which one in case I ever find myself sitting next to this author at an event (although: doubtful!), and I generally try not to be rude about living authors’ books (hence all the picking on Dostoevsky instead).  ;-) 

But I can tell you why I didn’t like it: the characters were all SUPREMELY UNLIKABLE.  They were nasty, self-involved, whiny, and totally heartless to each other.  Husbands and wives fought over miniscule stupid things just to prove that they could win, and parents and children made no effort to be kind to one another ever because they were so busy thinking about themselves.  I kept reading because I was hoping they would redeem themselves in the end, and maybe one or two of them did, but on the whole it was one of the most depressing books about family, love, and relationships that I’ve ever read.  BLEH.  ICKY.  Now I need something new and awesome to read to fix my brain.  Sigh.

I’ll admit it’s subjective, especially since lots of people praised this book (although not anyone I know, curiously).  But I must admit I think it’s possible (in fact, necessary) to write about flawed characters without making them hideously painful to be with.  For instance, Gaius Baltar on the recent Battlestar Galactica was a pretty dreadful human being, but he was (a) completely believable in his selfishness, and (b) utterly hilarious, which made him much more fun to watch.  (At least in the early seasons…the whole cult thing kind of sucked away most of his energy and humor, if you ask me.) 

Or there’s Katniss in The Hunger Games, who makes all kinds of mistakes and is generally prickly and hostile to people we like, and yet her positive qualities far outweigh her bad ones, and you can see that she’s struggling for something very relatable in a strong, often selfless way, so she’s not hard to root for. 

Well, I could go on and on about character development, since it’s my favorite part of writing :-), but essentially my point is that if your reader is going to spend upwards of a week with these people you’re creating, you might want to give her a reason to care about them.  And I don’t think "realism" is a fair excuse here, because I’m not sure I believe there are that many people out there who literally have no redeeming qualities at all.  If you’re telling the story from their point of view, shouldn’t you be able to understand and convey their perspective enough to make us relate to them, even a little bit?

Hmmm.  OK, rant over; time for photos of Sunshine!  (I know, it’s been far too long!)  🙂


I swear I did not pose this photo.  I just came into the room and found her magically sitting in a beam of light, JUST LIKE THE ANGEL THAT SHE IS!  🙂


You know, not that I’m biased or anything.  😉

Adorable licking/halo action shot!

Awwww.  Plus we’ve started agility classes again, now that she’s all recovered from her surgeries, so she’s the happiest dog in the universe, in addition to the cutest.  😉

I say "cutest" despite the fact that she keeps accidentally bringing THESE in from the garden with her:

Adorable teeny-tiny SLUGS AAAAAAAAAACK!

So teeny!  So tiny!  With itsy-bitsy feelers!  OMG and yet still SLUGS! 

I am conflicted about my feelings on these little guys.  On the one hand: slimy gross slimy!, but on the other hand, DO YOU SEE THOSE ITSY-BITSY FEELERS?  Awwww.  Extricating them from Sunshine’s fur is a bit alarming, though.  They could stay out in the garden.  That’d be OK with me.  🙂

Finally, a huge big thank you to the MSLA for having me at their Author Fest this weekend!  Yay for awesome school librarians!  And check out the display of my books at the Barnes & Noble table!


I should have taken this earlier in the day, before people started buying them, but still, pretty cool, right?  A kindly librarian also took a photo of me at my little cocktail table piled with books, but I look absolutely horrifying in it, so this is the super-cropped version I’m going to let you see instead:


Much better.  :-)  Mess o’ books!  Yay!

All right, I should really go to bed, since I have a book due next week (OMG yikes, and when am I supposed to fit in all this new TV?  I ask you!).  But if you’re done with Never Bite a Boy on the First Date already, go read Fire!  You won’t regret it!  🙂

Quote of the Day: 
Manny:  My dad’s not scared of anything.  He doesn’t even wear a seat belt when he drives.  He killed a bear once.
Jay:  Really?  Was it sitting in the passenger seat?
Modern Family