Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula (Elise Stokes)

Ah, teen drama. So very straightforward. There needs to be an outsider, a spurned love interest, a former enemy now ally with whom things are just beyond platonic. If the parents could be wonderful role models, that would be great. An annoying younger sibling, and your choice of distant but ultimately supportive older sister, or a twin!

I tease, of course, but not by much. There is a definite familiarity to stories such as Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula (the first in what is sure to be a series).

We are introduced to Cassidy as an uninterested, not popular but has friends, typical 15 year-old high school girl. With all of the accompaniments listed above. Her father is a journalist, who brings Cassidy along to watch him interview a geneticist who has been making great advances with gene therapy.

There is an accident!

There are dark forces!

There is a mysterious fire at the lab, the scientist goes missing, her son arrives to be cared for by Cassidy’s family, and she wakes from the lab accident with super-speed, super-hearing, super-sight.

Will she prevail against the dark forces who want the gene therapy for nefarious purposes? What do you think?

I may be teasing about the story, but it is actually pretty good for the genre. Our heroine is a bit cliched, but her internal monologue shows some character, and the first-person narration is used to reasonable effect.

I think I picked this one up on a random book buying spree on Amazon. It was worth the few dollars. There is a website for the series, and the author is on twitter. I haven’t really looked to see whether it’s a normal thing for authors these days to embrace social media. So kudos to your Elise!

Elise Stokes has an Amazon page, where we learn that Ms Stokes is a former teacher-turned-full-time parent who draws on her experience with three teenage daughters provides an (and I’m quoting from her PR) “understanding of the challenges facing girls in that age range inspired her to create a series that will motivate young teens to value individualism, courage, integrity, and intelligence.” I applaud the sentiment, I honestly do. There aren’t enough female authors writing strong female characters that can be role-models for girls growing up in a world that tells them that they’re defined by their appearances.

The obligatory Amazon stuff: the Kindle edition is currently on sale.

On disliking a book; Full House (Janet Evanovich)

It is a terrible thing to me to not like a book. I can recognise bad writing most of the time (except when it’s my own, apparently), which is a definite reason to quit out on a book. But disliking the book in general? That’s something that bothers me on a much deeper level.

The book in question that has prompted this little bout of pontification is Full House, by Janet Evanovich. Originally written in 1989 when Evanovich was a romance writer rather than the action and crime novels that she is better known for, Full House was re-released, slightly updated, in collaboration with Charlotte Hughes.

I read two chapters, and couldn’t bear it any further. Romance isn’t my genre of choice; in fact, it’s a very long way for what I’d generally read, but I thought that I’d attempt to expand my horizons a little. Part of me is tempted to find some other examples of the genre for comparison and contrast to see whether it’s the genre or this specific novel, but at the moment, I really need some literature sorbet. My reading palate needs cleansing.

So, what do I do? Explore this nuance of my reading personality further? Poke and prod, push and plot, find the boundaries and limits of my tastes? Or do I return to what I know, what I find acceptable?

Considering those questions, I’ve left this post in Draft state for a few days to ponder. I haven’t reached a satisfactory conclusion, unfortunately, and shall push this out to Publish instead.

It’s not writer’s block

It’s late afternoon, post-work time, and it’s been a less-than productive day. I’ve got caught up with emails, I’ve dealt with annoyed people, and I’ve spent far too long tracking through references in papers trying to understand the /basics/ of … well, a mathematical concept.

I figured that it’d be good to put in a little bit of time here, maybe vent some of my frustrations by writing about books, cheering myself up by recalling what I liked about some of the stuff I’ve been reading recently.

But no.


Endless spam.

There were 59 comments to be moderated when I logged in. Fifty-nine. And universally, they’re spam. It’s not even good spam either (contradiction in terms, maybe?) By that, I mean that’s it’s not intelligent spam. It’s just a bunch of URLs with the no-follow tag, advertising stuff that has absolutely no relevance to books, literature, or anything at all! I’m sure that if people want handbags, they’ll go to a shop that sells handbags. Or if they want to buy cheap training shoes, they’ll got to a reputable website that sells running shoes. (My $15 end-of-line running shoes are doing fine at the moment. Well, I’ve not had a chance to go for a run in a while for, uh, reasons.)

See, my partner had some health issues that required some surgery. Now, straight-up, she’s fine. But for the past two weeks I’ve been spending most of my time-at-home caring for her, which means that I’ve been coming to work, doing the work that I need to do, and then going home. No time for running.

That was a little detour, wasn’t it? Ha! Anyhow, the absence of a post regarding books and what I’ve been reading is pretty much due to spam spam and moderating spam comments.

Exciting, no?

Want to know what the most ironic thing about this post is going to be? By the end of the week there will be a dozen or so comment on it awaiting moderation that are spam. sighs.