Sunday, December 14, 2014

Why I love being Indie. #IndieBooksBeSeen

I am not a good blogger.

 My infinitesimal readership has no doubt noticed my blog has been pretty neglected as of late. Well, part of that is due to my work schedule. As a newbie adjunct professor who has had to teach all brand new courses for the last year and a half, winter and summer breaks have really been my only opportunity to write anything, let a lone blog. But there is a second reason for the stagnation of this site. I suck at blogging. Some writers can wow us with prose, some earn Pulitzers for their stellar reporting and some can bare their souls online. Well, I may not be any of these but I'm certainly not the latter. Blogging does not come natural to me. I've tried to give helpful writer tips but then seemed disingenuous being that I am so new to the profession myself. I tried the book review thing for a while, and while that was fun, I'm not sure if passing judgment on writers in my exact same position is the right thing to. So, world, here I am at it again. But this time I'm not going to try to make this blog "about" something, but instead write about me, my thoughts and my feelings about this whole writing adventure. While I doubt there are a lot of people out there who want to read ramblings of me writing on me (I know I certainly wouldn't!), I believe that's okay.

 So here we go...

 For my first post in writing about myself (again, not my strong suit) I'm lucking out in that I have a prompt to write about. Since my last posting in August, I've joined a group, or movement if you will, called #IndieBooksBeSeen. It began as a Twitter hashtag in July to show the solidarity of indie writers everywhere and has grown by leaps and bounds over the fall to become a multifaceted group that has a ton of ideas in the works for "taking indie mainstream," as #IndieBooksBeSeen's founder, Mark Shaw (@MarktheShaw) likes to say. #IndieBooksBeSeen functions basically like a cooperative, very similar to the old farmer and electrical co-ops of the early 20th century, and the model works by these geographically separated writers pooling their talents and resources to work as a singular entity in order to work in a system designed to service large businesses at the expense of the little guy. I hope to share more news about my involvement with #IndieBooksBeSeen as I work to renew this dormant blog.

Why do I love being an Indie author? This is the prompt one of our members at #IndieBooksBeSeen has challenged us to blog about. Well, in my opinion, becoming an independent author is both the worst and best decision a writer can make, in that order. When I went down this path, and I think most independent authors can relate, I naively thought that while I probably will never sell the millions of copies necessary to break the New York Times bestseller list I could definitely sell a few hundred copies to supplement my income and maybe even eke out a living someday way down the road. Then I hit the "publish" button. Turns out there are about a million other equally ambitious authors trying to do the same thing. The net result is a lot of unstructured noise in which it is almost impossible to build a readership. This was obviously quite disheartening to my 2013 foolishly hopeful self. Somewhere in the midst of my realization that my intrepidly American proclamation of "I'll do it my damned self" was going to be a lot harder than previously thought, I began trying to figure out if I had made a mistake. In researching the book industry, I discovered, quite to my surprise, that the life of a traditionally published author was in reality not much better than being an indie author. Unless I became outlandishly successful (or knew somebody influential at a publishing firm which I do not) I would likely to get little to know support for promoting my book. Furthermore, unless you're Stephen King or J.K. Rowling with enough clout to dictate terms, authors are by and large human commodities who sign away almost all ownership of their work to the publishing company. This is the first reason I love being an indie author. My book is my book. The story is the story I want to tell, not the story an exec thinks will sell. If my book ever gets turned into audio or picked up by a large retailer, I'm involved in the process. Finally as an indie author, I, the person who actually wrote the book, make a respectful percentage of every sale as opposed to the traditional system where the author gets table scraps of 5-10% from which they need to pay their agent his/her cut. This sense of ownership over my creation is far more valuable than anything I would make in a large book contract.

 The second reason I love being indie did not exist a year ago. Before #IndieBooksBeSeen, we were all, for the most part, trying to out yell each other for readers' attention. It was a very lonely sea to be a part of. But now because of #IndieBooksBeSeen and I think a growing sense of comradery among independents, there is a vibrant and growing community. I have made like-minded acquaintances along my journey as an indie author, people I want to see succeed and who I know want the same for me. As we grow as a voice and our tweets increasingly grow into video Skype conferences and eventually face-to-face conventions, I wholeheartedly expect these relationships to grow into literary friendships. And that is one thing you just can't put a price on. If you're interested in hearing why other authors love being indie, visit:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Goodreads Giveaway of The Golden Merra

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Golden Merra by Kevin  Moore

The Golden Merra

by Kevin Moore

Giveaway ends August 24, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Whimsical Adventure: A Review of The Wizard in My Window

by J. David Clarke

The Wizard in My Window by J. David Clarke is slightly outside of my normal fare for reading. There are a lot of people who live and breathe YA (Young Adult), particular YA Fantasy. I am not one of those people. I feel it takes a lot to stand out in such a saturated genre. Now that I've given my disclaimer, let me begin by saying that The Wizard in My Window does indeed stand out.

The short novel/long novella follows the Collier Family as they move into their new home. While his elder 15-year-old sister Nicole is too busy in her world of teenage angst, Timothy claims the upstairs room with a peculiar mark in the window. That mark is, you guessed it, in the shape of a wizard. It doesn't take much time at all before a magical spell book called the Magus Liber appears followed my a new relic each day. As the kids learn what these artifacts are capable of (and begin playing with them in properly reckless youth fashion), ancient beings are drawn to its power.

Where this book excels is in its narrative. It is refreshingly nonlinear and takes a couple of unexpected sharp turns during the adventure. One of my personal pet peeves with the YA fantasy genre is its overuse of the coming-of-age template. I was happy to see Clarke exercised some real creativity in breaking this mold. I was happy to say at about three-quarters of the way through, that I couldn't tell exactly where the story would end up. The main characters in this story are also very well defined, and Clarke did a good job giving each Collier (even the baby) a distinct personality.

The Wizard in My Window could use a little improvement, in my opinion, with character dialogue. Sometimes what the characters have to say is somewhat pedestrian, perhaps bordering on corny. This is most noticeable, I think, with the book's villains. My second issue has to deal with the way the characters expressed emotion. Sometimes characters yell in ALL CAPS or with multiple exclamation marks. This is particularly true from Nicole. I found it to be somewhat distracting.

Overall, The Wizard in My Window is an entertaining, fast read. It's a good choice for young adults and big adults alike.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I'm Sorry Amazon...I Want an Open Relationship

Dear Amazon,

When we first met in 2012 and you batted your lashes at me from across the room, you were clearly the alpha girl at the party with your sexy Kindle and #1 market share. Other e-readers just seemed to fall in your shadow. Then I bought you a drink and we talked a little. Free promotions? You'd put me in the Kindle Prime library and pay me some undetermined cut of a pool for every borrow? You were the whole package! All you asked from me in return is that we be exclusive and not see other people. Like every guy, I was a little hesitant about committing but in the end I just jumped in head over heels.

Then the honeymoon phase ended. You became a little clingy by automatically reenrolling me into another 90 days of KDP Select, but I didn't really think anything of it at the time. With our free promotions, while fun and exciting at first, you... just seemed to get bored, as if your mind was elsewhere developing new promotional tools for more famous authors who could take you out to nice dinners at fancy restaurants. The once triple-digit free downloads promos slid into double-digit downloads and before long, I'm ashamed to say, we got to a place where our downloads only gave away like two copies of my novel The Golden Merra a day. What happened to our sales algorithms? Sure, you threw me a bone with your Kindle Countdown Deals, but you made it all complicated by saying I could only enroll after my price had been fixed for so many days and telling me I was ineligible because I had already used the free promo option. I couldn't figure you out! I thought you meant one thing, you meant another; we just didn't connect on the same level anymore! I'm sorry for that angry email I sent you, by the way.

Look, we'll always have some great memories... like the time my short story "Waves and War" almost had 1,000 free downloads in one day, beating out a Tom Clancy ebook for a hot minute. But I think it's time we started seeing other people. It's time we face facts here; our relationship has gone from KDP Select to It's Complicated. I'm not saying we can't still be friends or you can't sell my work. In fact, I know you've been selling the books of many other writers for a long time and I'm willing to accept that a part of who you are. I've done a lot of thinking the last few months, and I've learned a lot about myself, a lot about distribution and marketing strategy too. I've realized there are other fish in the sea: Nook has a great royalty rate for lower priced ebooks that will be perfect for my short fiction and Smashwords is just so easy to get along with.

I know it's hard. Please don't cry. It's not you, it's me. Well, okay, it's kind of you. But you're still Amazon, though, and you alway will be. You're great! And I'll never be able to live without you. What writer could? I know it'll be awkward for a while -- what do we tell the kids? What if the neighbors ask? But, you know, I don't think this is something to be ashamed of. We're just two very different people who need to focus on our own goals for a while. Besides, a lot of authors are doing multi-platform these days.



Monday, June 2, 2014

Review: 77 Shadow Street

77 Shadow Street
by Dean Koontz

The cover and description of this book would have you think that it is traditional horror tale about a haunted apartment building, something in the vein of Stephen King's The Shining. But, in reality, this is a sci-fi novel. The story is centered around the Pendleton, a once upper-crust apartment from the Gilded Age. The building has a history of its residents periodically going insane, and naturally the reader is about to join the Pendleton's current residents in one of those periods. 

Suddenly the Pendleton seems to change around the characters and the changes are not positive: bioluminescent grass outside, bizarre liquid metal/humanoid creatures and some entity known as the "One" who is hellbent on "exterminating" every single one of them. The trapped and disoriented residents can recognize this new Pendleton as their home plainly enough, but it is at the same time, quite different. Perhaps the most important difference is the mysterious figure known as "Witness" who roams this new apartment building.  

Now, I like science fiction; I like Dean Koontz. In this case, I did not like Dean Koontz writing science fiction. Koontz is a master at writing the suspense thriller, and he's pulled off some good sci-fi in the past. The Watchers was an excellent book (two or three terrible movies but an excellent book). Readers moderately familiar with dystopian fiction will be able to guess where the plot is going early on, and unfortunately once that happens, reading through to the end often feels like going through the motions. Koontz raises some interesting philosophical questions, as all sci-fi should, but while they are relevant questions, they have been thoroughly explored time and again.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Welcome to Creepy Island...please don't touch anything

by J.C. Martin

In The Doll, worst parent ever Joyce Parker takes her 6 year-old daughter Taylor to the Island of the Dolls in Mexico. For those of you not familiar with the Island of the Dolls, look at some of the pictures below and you'll see why Child Protective Services should have been called as soon as the kid began telling friends and family how she spent her summer vacation. The Island of the Dolls is, in fact, a real island in Mexico that is covered with hundred if not thousands of dolls and doll parts, and it has become quite the tourist hot spot in recent years. Even ignoring the folklore that the island is haunted, it surely has to be one of the creepiest places on the planet. If you are interesting in seeing more of this truly bizarre locale, Josh Gates of Syfy's Destination Truth visited the island in 2009 (Season 3: Episode 2). As far as I know, the show is still on Netflix.

Back to this short story/novelette. I think Martin did a great job with The Doll. The whole thing is just so damned strange, and it was high time someone did something creative with it. Martin handled it very well. As stated earlier, the story begins with the Parkers taking a guided tour of the island. Whilst exploring its creepiness, they enter a hut inside which is a black altar. Readers are later informed that this is an unholy sanctuary for the black magic religion of Palo Mayombe, a dark derivative of Latin American Santeria. The number one rule when touring the Island of the Dolls is to never ever touch the dolls, and of course Taylor sneaks one home (in case we needed more evidence not to bring a 6 year-old here). Unexplainable phenomena begin happening not long after the Parkers return home, and I will leave it to the reader to uncover the rest.

The Doll was a delightfully creepy and unsettling story. Martin did a great job in capturing that old fashioned ghost story vibe to where, as I was reading at about 1 in the morning, I fervently hoped I wouldn't hear a noise through my daughter's baby monitor. I also need to commend Martin on her research. I knew a little about the Island of the Dolls from watching Destination Truth and some online reading, and what I read in this story seemed spot on. She also gave some background about Santeria and Palo Mayombe (without being tedious about it) that I found very informative. The one area I somewhat question is the opening premise of the story. I had trouble suspending my disbelief that someone would ever take such a young child to such a traumatizing place and then consistently display such an inability to tell that child no, and I don't mean no as in "No, you can't have candy before bed"; I mean no as in "No, don't touch that decrepit doll that's been sitting outside on a trouble island for years and is surrounded by black candles." I know, I know, this is a story about black magic and ghosts, and bad parenting is the thing I take issue with as unbelievable? Yep. However, this is not enough to seriously affect the story. Overall this is a fantastic read.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lost in Suburbia

by Cathryn Grant

It is hard to write good flash fiction. The space constraints prohibit any kind of real plot or character development. That being said, Flash Fiction for the Cocktail Hour does it fairly well. This is a short collection of roughly a dozen stories that are anywhere from one to maybe five or six pages in length that deal with the underside of suburbia. We tend to think of the burbs as a purified middle-class sanctuary from crime and deviant behavior, but what Cathryn Grant manages to do is use the seedy and unsavory to break down their pristine palisade. In loosely Poe-esque fashion, her short vignettes tell such tales as the murderous grandmother who disapproves of her grandson's hussy of a girlfriend or the battle between a homeowner and his impertinent, puddle-targeting newspaper carrier. They're interesting little pieces and are best consumed one or two at a time for quick entertainment. I give that last nugget of advice because I took the digested the whole work in one sitting and by the end I grew bored. That is not to say the stories or boring, but I think the constant start-a-story-end-a-story just grows tedious after a while. Most readers tend to be novel people and I think they will tend to shy away from an anthology-style work like this. However, if you're a literary reader (or if you like atypical story lines) I suggest you check this out!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Assassins Assemble!

by Vincent Pauletti

The Bounty Hunters is an odd duck. It is difficult to rate it either good or bad. I'm more inclined to give it a "not applicable," but that would involve me creating a new category. The premise of this work is that some Russian is assembling a cast of international assassins, bounty hunters and mercenaries for a mission that has its roots going back to Copernicus in the 16th century. First, let me begin why this is not in anyway a bad short story: the writing. From the very first page, author Vincent Pauletti immerses the reader in a vivid world of mercenaries and guns for hire throughout the world. I have never said this before on this blog, but I will say it now; this author could definitely be a NYT bestselling author right now. The characters in The Bounty Hunters, and there are roughly a half dozen of them from all over the world, each have unique personalities, and the author pulls off their dialects perfectly. I typically hate dialect in writing, but it is well done here. My personal favorites are those of the McManus brothers from Ireland. Additionally, Pauletti has a solid foundation of understanding for each locale his bounty hunters come from. I teach world history for a living so I can vouch for this. Now, why is this not a good short story? Well, The Bounty Hunters isn't really a story at all. It is a bridge between two novels, The Nostradamus Revelation and The Copernicus Connection. There is no plot to speak of, aside from an introductory scene for each bounty hunter where they get a call from "the Russian." After Pauletti introduces the reader to his cast, he includes the prologue and first chapter from the second book in the Omega Sector series, The Copernicus Connection. Perhaps in the context of the series, this short story has more relevance, but as a stand alone work I found it unfulfilling. That being said, I just downloaded The Nostradamus Revelation to my Kindle because I need to see what this Omega Sector series is all about. If Pauletti's writing is any indication, I may have stumbled upon a strong action thriller writer.

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Review: Sledge (A Mary Walker short story)

by Ernie Lindsey

Sledge is a fast-paced suspenseful thriller featuring author Ernie Lindsey's main character from his novel White Mountain. Private investigator Mary Walker was crippled five years ago by a serial cop killer nicknamed "Sledge" for obvious and uncomfortable reasons. In this short, we catch up with Walker, who left the force after surviving an encounter with Sledge to become a private detective, as she is conducting late night surveillance of a warehouse whose owner suspects his employees of stealing merchandise. Inevitably Sledge reappears, and Walker must confront the psychopath who crippled her and ended her career.

This book belongs squarely in the suspense and thriller genres and pulls off both fairly well. Once I began this piece I was compelled to finish it, especially after Sledge showed up in the narrative. This story has a bit of a creep factor too if you try to put yourself in the character's shoes and imagine what you would do in a situation with a sledgehammer-wielding maniac. Lindsey's writing in Sledge is not particularly stylistic and this has the advantage of resonating easily to the modern reader and not distracting from any of the action. Don't think that I am saying his writing is amateurish in the slightest, as it is very professional and polished. I believe that there is a certain style and tone that works with this genre, and the author nailed it. My one criticism of this piece is some of the dialogue, which I felt could be a little out of place given the dire situation. I think it falls into the familiar trap of the villain pausing to have an extended 20/20-esque interview about why he did it. Even though I'm not a huge fan of that method of exposition, Lindsey successfully manages to work in a fair amount of character development for a short story, and it makes me wonder what he can do with a full length novel. I expect that White Mountain (which calls itself A Mary Walker mystery and not A Mary Walker short story), will have a goodly amount of substance and plot, not to mention action. If you're a fan of Jeff Deaver, Patricia Cornwell, or novelists in that vein, I highly recommend Sledge.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Review: The Mind Cafe

by Lizzy Ford

The Mind Cafe is a thought-provoking short story with something to say. The main character, Rosie, is the creation of author Lizzy Ford and a person who would unfortunately be all too easy to find in real life. She suffered an accident in her past (she demarcates time in "BDA" and "ADA" -- "Before or After the Damn Accident") and has been left in the author's words "a human vegetable." Rosie is dependent on assisted living, aided by a rude young Guatemalan nurse who can barely speak a lick of English and has MTV playing constantly, which Rosie can't stand. Furthermore, Rosie's only form of communication is a "virtual keyboard" invented by her tech savvy sister that registers her eye movements and clumsily translates them into words on a screen. (I'm unsure if a device like this actually exists, but if not I think it was a clever stroke on the part of Ford. It's very logical and practical piece of technology that should be invented.) With not much joy to be had in the real world, Rosie slips into the Mind Cafe, a place that the reader, or Rosie for that matter, can't fully define. Is it a figment of her imagination or something more spiritual? In any case, Rosie, who while in her dream state has the body of her 24 year-old self except for her silver 60 year-old which she much adores, prefers her Mind Cafe to the MTV playing in her living room, and the narrative of this story focuses on her interactions with the people in the cafe. Some of the diners are important friends and family members and some are people she's never met. I don't want to spoil the conversations because they are the crux of the book, but there is one I want to mention that I thought was cleverly done. A psychologist whom Rosie has never actually met in real life and only knows from a book she read in college visits her to essentially act as her therapist. Interestingly, the man's face never really changes, no smiles or frowns, and that's because Rosie's only seen one photograph of him on the back cover of his book.

As far as being a story that asks philosophical questions (What is the meaning of life? Is death a blessing or a curse? etc) The Mind Cafe is excellent. As far as a fiction goes  I still think this is pretty good, but I think sometimes the writing gets a little murky. I found myself having to reread a few passages to understand exactly what it was the author was saying. I think fans of a more Literary-style fiction will be drawn to this as will people who enjoy contemplating philosophy. All in all, The Mind Cafe is a worthwhile read.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Encounter (The Kennedy Chronicles)

by Mercedes King

Encounter is a piece of flash fiction, more just a scene really, about the first chance encounter on a train between a young JFK and the Jackie Bouvier. From the outset I should say that while I study and enjoy history, especially presidential history, I'm not part of the group that's fascinated with Camelot. Anyway, the scene, told from JFK's perspective, is well written and makes the reader want to know more about the future president's life. I thought that the letter included from Jackie to her parents about the flirtatious young man she met on the train was I nice touch. I assume the letter was real correspondence, but it could be fictitious.

The problem with this piece is substance. It's length prevents any real plot from forming, and I think a lot of reader's will dislike that. But plot isn't the author's intention. Encounter is meant to be just a snapshot in the life of the future Mrs. Kennedy. This installment is part of King's series about the Kennedy's relationship, The Kennedy Chronicles, and I looked on Amazon and found that the other works in this series, while being short stories also, they are not nearly as short so perhaps they have a little bit better development. It should also be said that King has also authored a novel about an older Jackie Kennedy's role as the wife of an unfaithful husband entitled O! Jackie. Despite its shortcomings as a short story, Encounter does succeed in piquing the reader's interest, and I think it will prompt some to check out King's novel.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Memory of a Salt Shaker by Bernard M. Cox

by Bernard M. Cox

The Memory of a Salt Shaker by Bernard M. Cox is a very interesting and engrossing short story. I was poking around the Kindle store looking for titles that might pique my interest when the simplicity of the cover caught my eye. So props to the designer and photographer, Saline Krauss and Robyn Oliver. The basic premise of The Memory of a Salt Shaker is that our unfortunately-named main character, Bert, is just returning to work as a CPA after three weeks bereavement following the death of his wife, Mira. He seems to be doing okay until the salt in his salt shaker begins giving him visions of memories of he and his late wife together. Interestingly, and this is what I think makes this story unique, the memories are from Mira's perspective so Bert gets to experience, for example, how she felt when they first met. Bert eventually figures out the connection between his visions and the salt, and as one would expect from a newly grieving husband he becomes more and more dependent on the last bit of his wife he can hold on to. The author reinforces this connection pretty well by describing Bert as taking "hits" of salt. This was a great story. The characters were lively and well-defined, and the narrative (particularly the visions) were very picturesque. I could see this being a movie with like Bradley Cooper and Olivia Wilde at the helm. Overall, the whole thing just felt organic. All of my praise being said, I do have a couple of issues with this story that keep me from giving a full five stars. The first is that Mira's connection to the salt shaker is not fully defined. Bert tells a psychic medium he consults that Mira stole the shaker from a diner during their honeymoon, but I was still left wondering why this was apparently her most treasured possession that she'd choose to "haunt" it. (Haunt may not be the author's intention but it's the best word I could come up with). The second issue I had was with the ending. It's not that the story had a bad ending, it just didn't work for me. I felt it was a little truncated and didn't fit with the direction of the rest of the story. But I know there will be plenty of readers who completely disagree. Anyway, despite a couple issues this is still a great 20-30 minute read that literary and perhaps maybe romance fans will enjoy.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Review: The Diner by Craig A. Hart

by Craig A. Hart

The Diner is a short short story of only about 10 pages. However, Hart does a lot with such a short narrative. It would be hard to give any kind of summary of this piece, which is set in a lonely highway diner in 1930s rural Michigan, without giving away everything so let me just say this: have you ever been in a diner or a bar late at night and that one customer's small talk with the serving girl is just a little off and you think "I better watch this guy"? This story really nails down that feeling. The book's description hits the nail on the head by calling the tale "unsettling." This is a good, quick read for fans of historical fiction, specifically the 20s/30s, and of psychologically creepy fiction.

Friday, January 10, 2014

by Sara LaFleur

I discovered this author when she randomly started following on Twitter a few weeks ago through a fellow writer. My first thought was, "Cool! Another writer I can network with. Maybe I can read he stuff some day." But truthfully, with a busy teaching schedule and a new baby I figured that some day would be maybe this summer if at all. That was until this afternoon when I met my writing buddy for coffee and he raved about this "Who is Evelyn Dae?" novella. Seeing it was free on iBooks, I figured since I haven't read any light YA in a while I would have a little look-see at the Evelyn Dae book. Imagine my chagrin when the clock read 1:02 AM when I finished Volume 1 of this series.

Who is Evelyn Dae? follows some standard conventions of the YA format, as some other reviewers have mentioned, such as teenage angst, first kisses and puppy love awkwardness. Some would say they're cliche, but I argue that these are legitimate issues that form the foundation of the teenage experience. Lafleur does an incredible job through first-person POV to ground Evelyn in that experience in an organic and very human way. The reader cares about the main character. One characteristic Evelyn displays is a bit of a timidity if not wariness with regard to her actual identity. She is reluctant to reveal it to her friends and certainly not to any boys. Similarly, she keeps her cards close to the chest with the reader as well. At the end of Volume 1, we still don't know the answer to the title question of who is Evelyn Dae? I certainly have my guesses but have no idea. I respect the author for her patience in revealing things in her own time.

The story's format deserves comment and I'll touch on it before wrapping up my review. The plot is disjointed. The reader digests the story in 1-2 page increments that bounce between 2008 (Evelyn's freshman year) and 2011 (her junior year). As an aside, I thought the recent dates helped add to Evelyn's character as a modern millennial teen. Anyway, one would think the bouncing forward and backward in time to narrate this story would be difficult to follow, but it isn't an issue. In fact, reconstructing the timeline in your head is part of the fun. Perhaps with a longer, more involved novel this approach would be Ill advised but the simplicity of this story combined with the author's firm grasp of the internal timeline as well as the order in which events are given to the reader make this a non issue. I would even go so far as to say Lafleur had just written a traditionally linear story arc, Who is Evelyn Dae? would be less compelling.

In summary, this is a great read and I'm very glad Volume 2 came out this month. I think Lafleur has a knack for YA and if there is any justice in the world I'll see some of her work in my local bookstore.