Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Wallflower Has Moved!

So ya'll remember last week when I said I wanted to take a break from blogging; well, I took my break, and I didn't like it. Ya'll are my family, and my blog is my home.

Given that, The Wallflower has a new home! Click here or go to raeoestreich.com to see the new abode, and let me know what you think of the new digs!

And, as always, thanks so much for everyone's support!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tea Time: Golden

**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**

 Golden, Melinda Michaels

High school senior Hanna Loch just suffered a blackout in front of her entire homeroom class. She hasn’t had one in over ten years, and she’s terrified—the last time she blacked out, she woke up with no memory of her life before. To make matters worse, no one can explain why it happens. For Hanna, bad things tend to come in threes.

And that doesn’t even begin to cover it . . .

When she learns she could be a descendant of someone who lived once upon a time, Hanna must put her trust in William Vann, a descendant of one of the most hated villains ever known. Their histories are intertwined in more ways than she expected, and he has answers about her past, answers even her family won’t share.

But is it safe to put her trust in someone who appears to be danger reincarnate, while trying to escape the darkness that tried to kill her ten years ago?

A loose fairytale retelling, GOLDEN is a story that’s just right, weaving together lost secrets, vengeful enemies, and what happens when fiction becomes reality.

Narrative-GOLDEN is told from the first-person POV of Hanna Loch, a girl smart enough to know when something's amiss in her small town (like the fact that everybody seems to be secreting some knowledge about her life that even she doesn't know about). Her voice is very simplistic, and very analytic: she's unafraid of pointing out the obvious, which made her voice strong and easy to relate to: even if she didn't say anything to others about her suspicions, she tucked them away for use later.

Now, there were a few chapters that switched POV from Hanna's, to William's. Personally, I didn't like it. It was too inconsistent, and everything that I learned from William's point of view was something that could have been learned through Hanna's very easily. With his knowledge, however, of the world that Hanna knew nothing about, I honestly wished there was more from his perspective (I know, I know, I'm contradicting myself): if there was a better balance of perspectives from the very beginning, Williams' POV could have had the potential to set up a lot of tension and suspense.

Plot-Admittedly, the plot through me for a loop; I was convinced there would be a lot more fairytale folklore than there actually was.

However, I'm not letting that get in the way of everything else I thought about it:

Hanna's got massive memory loss (she can't remember anything before she was eight years old), and by the time the novel starts she's suffered two blackouts with no clue why she gets them. Coinciding with that weirdness is the arrival of one William Vann, whose family is somewhat less than highly though of, since their name is basically synonymous a few murders that happened about ten years prior.

While Hanna's trying to trace her family history back to ancestors who may or may not have been the inspiration to modern-day fairy tales, she also stumbles upon a few answers to her own past as well as a not-so-subtle attraction for Vann (and the romance was pulled off perfectly and rather adorably). And as her family continues acting obviously strange and she starts getting hunted by some strangers who come to town (who may or may not have something to do with her missing memories), things start really heating up (literally: the school gets set on fire).

The pacing in the beginning was rather slow; slightly too slow for my personal tastes. There was also a point where I was a bit tired of the wink, wink, nudge, nudge hints that came popping around, when it was obvious that certain characters knew things and I wanted Hanna to just stop being nice and demand answers. So, in the respects of there being too much tug-and-pull between the characters and not enough action in the plot, that's why I'm ultimately taking a star out of my rating. I simply felt like there was room for more.

But if you absolutely adore mysteries (especially the kinds that involve kidnappings), like I do, then GOLDEN is definitely worth picking up; there's so much world in there; not world-building, just world. I'm excited to see what Michaels comes up with next and how far she's able to expand the ties to fairy tales while keeping up with the magical realism flair.

Characters-I've already pointed out Hanna's inquisitive and demanding search for answers; once the weirdness in her life started popping up more than unusual, she was determined to chase down her family's secrets. She was suspicious in all the right places, and what I loved most of all was the way she reacted to the thrills of things. She's reckless, but in ways that I can relate to: she's a safe person, but when the chance comes to feel a little something extra in life, she takes it, and I felt it was a great flaw to keep poking at without it being overdone.

William, as her bad-boy male protagonist, was also really extremely interesting, due to his interest in good vs. evil and the fact that Hanna had a little bad in her, therefore maybe he has good in him. He tempts fate for the whole book (if the legend about how their repeating story lines is to be believed), but he never came across as creepy or overly intense.

So, basically, both of the main characters were pretty well developed, in my opinion.

Final Answer:  3.66 / 5

Interested in reading GOLDEN, yourself? You're in luck: there's a Rafflecopter giveaway happening right now!

Meet the Author:

Melinda Michaels is the author of Golden and currently lives in Milford, Pennsylvania. A self-proclaimed historian with a rare sense of humor, Melinda finds an immense amount of joy in knowing useless facts, exploring historical places and drinking copious amounts of coffee. When she’s not writing she can be found researching obscured time periods for her own amusement or refurbishing old furniture.

Melinda loves Philadelphia and visits often to enjoy the city with her husband Andrew. Together they have three rambunctious pets. Archie the Beagle, Winston the Boston Terrier and Beatrice the cat.
Golden is the first in a Young Adult magic realism series. 

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On this blog stop, blogger @Rae_Slater reviews #Golden @MJMichaelsBooks, a thrilling mystery with a fairy tale twist (Click to Tweet)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Wallflower PSA: When in Doubt, Take a Break

I have a confession to make: I am a chronic self-doubter (is there a technical name for that?).

Now, most of the time it's an easy bug to squash: I simply tell my inner voice to shut up and let me continue on with my life. It's still there, sure, but I can drown it out with my music or the loud thoughts I have that pertain to my writing. Problem solved.

Then there's times like the last few weeks, where it's louder than everything else, and where I can barely function, let alone get a few solid blog posts out a week without it becoming completely debilitating. So here's what's up:

Lately, I've been scrambling for blog posts, and I'm pretty sure the reason is because I can find nothing to talk about that ya'll don't already know, or that could be of use to anybody who reads this. I feel like I have nothing to offer you, and the last thing I want is to make reading this blog a waste of time.

Why am I saying this? Not for pity or anything; it's simply the truth. There are far more experienced people out there who have far more useful blogs than my own, and I am totally okay with that. What I'm not okay with is the fact that I personally feel like I don't know enough about writing (indeed, I've been struggling with my own WIP for some time, now) to be able to give ya'll advice or to talk about writing.

And I want to know more.

What does this mean for The Wallflower?

For the next few weeks, simply expect fewer posts from me. I want to focus on the last few weeks of my spring semester at school, read like my life depends on it, and I want to try to make some headway in my writing without the stress of figuring out what's next on the blog. In the meantime, I'll be brainstorming like my life depends on it to figure out what's next for the blog and everything else.

I hope ya'll understand. Because, honestly, I feel like I'm flaking out. I don't like disappointing people, but I feel like I'm disappointing myself in not giving myself a break to figure out what I want in the next phase of that giant void called life. What do I have to offer ya'll right now? I have no clue.

But if ya'll will hang in there with me, I'm willing to figure it out.

I'm still going to be all over the Twitter-sphere, since I'm pretty much addicted (which means I'd love conversation). I'm still going to post a few book reviews (some I've had scheduled for blog tours, and others just to keep myself accountable to my TBR list while school winds down). If by some miracle I find something I really want to talk about in the world of writing, then I'll write something up.

I just don't think I'll be keeping to the four-day-a-week posting that I've had.

Until then, there's lots of other great blogs on writing that I encourage ya'll to check out: Writability, She's Novel, Better Novel Project, and Briana Mae Morgan. There's so many more out there, too.

I'll keep ya'll updated on my apparent identity crisis. Until then, I hope ya'll know that the last year of my blogging life has been an amazing one, and that I'm so amazingly grateful for all the great people I've met and who've encouraged and inspired me in ways they might not even know.