Book review: The Magician’s Assistant

As I come close to finishing Life After Joe, I opted for one additional ‘widow’ read.  In this case, The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett popped up for a reduced price, and intrigued by the premise, bought it.  Here, some of the usual widow tropes were met straight away – with some twists on the genre.

Spoilers ahead.

The husband – is gay!  And no, he was not secretly cheating on his wife – the good widow Sabine married her husband knowing full well he was gay.  Best of all?  She lived with her husband and his partner.  Such dysfunction.  Much messed up.  So tragic.

In the reading of the will it becomes apparent that Parsifal (the husband/magician with a terrible name) has a secret family (not children, his actual family) that he never to told his beard wife about.  Being the good widow she is, Sabine connects with them.  I was on board until Sabine decides to journey back to Nebraska with them to learn other shocking things about her dead husband’s past.  Somehow entangling herself into her new ‘in laws’ lives, things go weird when she crushes (?) on Parsifal’s sister, disconnects completely with her parents and then the book simply ends.  While there is some pretty language, the story falls flat quickly and has almost no resolve.

From the perspective of the widow storyline, I liked the initial moments post death (not that I like people dying, more that it was very realistic).  I also thought the dream sequences were a nice vaguely supernatural touch.  The characters were fairly well developed, but I thought all of them could use a great deal more of some common sense.

Overall, I can’t say I would recommend this book.

And for the life of me I can’t understand why there are about five different covers for this book, most of which have a bunny on them.


The book needs more Rabbit.

Instant ticket to feeling better? Booking travel.

passport-stamps-FIXEDAlthough I’m feeling like this semester is a total failure (to be discussed in a later post), at least I can rely on a few things to perk me up.  With work winning out over writing, it’s good to put some of those hard earned dizzles towards one of my favorite activities – travel!  In this instance, I’m looking forward to the trip after my trip – Romania!  I’ll be going to meet up with an author friend, Elena.

I found the above .gif here:

Less than a month until my next vacation!

First cover looks for Life After Joe: Thoughts?

Although work is banana-pants-crazy-time (and will be until I leave for vacation on June 11th #serenitynow), I’m happy to see (finally!) some progress on the cover of Life After Joe.  Here are my two favorites…  These are not final, and I imagine there are a few more versions before I’m exactly where I want to be, however – progress! – a concept I’ve been lacking this semester.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!



Still with the iUniverse…

Whenever I get an e-mail from iUniverse, it always makes my day.  As my initial commitment to them started in February 2007 and I have been too lazy to switch the publication of the physical copies of my book over to Createspace since then, the communication in the past 5 years has been limited and random at best.  When they do contact me, I can always be assured it will make me smile cringe.  And before you even inquire, yes, they are always offering some ‘service’ or another that will cost me money.

Let’s get started!  From my helpful Marketing Consultant (I’ve had at least 10 contacts over the years), here’s what iUniverse can do for me:

I am sending you an email so we can create a marketing plan that sets your expectations. I will begin in asking you questions so I can properly determine what you want and what is suitable for your book.

• What do you want to achieve with this book?

Well, Mary, can I call you Mary?  I’m going to stop you right there.  Given my books have been with you for YEARS, if I don’t know what I want to achieve with my novels by now, I’m not sure I can consider myself an author.  Furthermore, if I didn’t know what I wanted to achieve from the moment I published my books, then what would the point of writing all these words be?  Sure, I have a range of goals, which range from specific numbers to pie-in-the-sky achievements, but no, iUniverse, I don’t need your help.

• Who is your target audience?

Your mom. In all honesty, this is something an author should know at the start of writing, or at least by the time the book is published.  For example, my YA stuff would be best for 13-17 American young women.  Room 702 would be best for a female demographic, ages 24-50, but I wouldn’t rule out men enjoying the novel as well.

• How would you like your book to be marketed? Is it via Internet, Book Trailers, Book Reviews, Press Release, Newspaper & Magazine Ads, Book Signings or Library Shows, T.V. commercials, Hollywood, Reader’s Digest, In-flight magazine, Literary Agent, Bookstores, Libraries?

I would like many of these options, iUniverse.  All of them are available to me with a little bit of research and some extra money, but thanks for offering.


Book Review: The Iron Duke

In the mood to up my genre research reading in the realm of Steampunk, I reviewed my ‘to read’ list and ran across this book by Meljean Brook.  ‘Why the hell not?’ I asked myself and settled in.  Turns out, the novel was everything I had been looking for – excellent world building, a unique take on steampunk, a heroine with depth and a scorching romance.  Where Ms. Brook really excels is her use of integrating technological elements – highlighting concerns for my current manuscript and the utter lack of these details.


Yes to Book #1, not sure about the rest of the series.

After finishing, I realized I had previously downloaded the third book in the series (Riveted, which, incidentally has a much better cover than some rando’s abs not that I’m complaining) and started reading it.  Unfortunately, there is a good reason I stopped reading the first time around.  For all the great elements of the first book, the third book seems to be lacking any similarities and I’m still trying to figure out why.  For whatever percentage of the book I have made it through, I don’t particularly care about the protagonist or her issues.  I will most likely struggle to finish, if anything

Have you ever read one book by an author and LOVED it, only to be disappointed by another book in the series?