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A Reader of Fictions: November 2012

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Friday, November 30, 2012

November: Month in Review + Book of the Month Giveaway

Hey everyone! I hope you've had a productive and fun November. Make sure you stick around to the end of the post for a book giveaway you won't want to miss, one of my top reads of the month. While you're here, you might want to check out this week's non-review highlights (Cover Snark and a rant on Instalove), as well as some reviews. :) Comments give me much joy. Just saying.

Books Reviewed in November:
Well, I managed to catch up just slightly on my book challenge, but December will be go-time. Most of my friends are heading to their families for the holidays, which should give me additional free time to get reading accomplished.

16 Young Adult:
Catalyst - Laurie Halse Anderson
The Diviners (The Diviners #1) - Libba Bray
The Unfailing Light (The Katerina Trilogy #2) - Robin Bridges
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares - Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Just One Day (Just One Day #1) - Gayle Forman
All You Never Wanted - Adele Griffin
Splintered - A. G. Howard
The Opposite of Hallelujah - Anna Jarzab
A Midsummer's Nightmare - Kody Keplinger
One Lonely Degree - C. K. Kelly Martin
Meant to Be - Lauren Morrill
Prophecy (Prophecy #1) - Ellen Oh
The Art of Wishing - Lindsay Ribar
Renegade (Elysium Chronicles #1) - J. A. Souders
Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) - Laini Taylor
A Temptation of Angels - Michelle Zink

13 Adult:
Earth Unaware (The First Formic War #1) - Orson Scott Card & Aaron Johnston
Guardians of Stone (Relic Seekers #1) - Anita Clenney (Guest Review)
Lucky Bunny - Jill Dawson
The Angel Esmeralda - Don DeLillo
Austentatious - Alyssa Goodnight
The Confidant - Hélène Grémillon
Flight Behavior - Barbara Kingsolver
Under Wildwood (Wildwood #2) - Colin Meloy
Eyes to See (Jeremiah Hunt #1) - Joseph Nassise
The Corpse Didn't Kick - Otto Penzler, ed.
All Men of Genius - Lev AC Rosen 
Scent of Magic (Healer #2) - Maria V. Snyder
Red Rain - R.L. Stine

1 Children's:
The Tower Treasure (The Hardy Boys #1) - Franklin W. Dixon

Book of the Month Giveaway:
This month, I had several powerful reads that I would love to feature. However, I'm only offering up one. Making the choice was difficult, but having just finished this one last night, I cannot resist choosing Just One Day by Gayle Forman. Since this one doesn't come out until January 8, I will preorder the book for the winner. This giveaway is international. Just fill out THIS FORM with your name and email by December 18 and leave a comment on my review by December 14 at midnight.

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Review: Just One Day

Just One Day
Just One Day, Book 1

Author: Gayle Forman
Pages: 320
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Source: For review from YA Books Central

Description from Goodreads:
A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

First Sentence: "What if Shakespeare had it wrong?"

Words fail me on a fairly regular basis, refusing to come to the call of my immediate need or to properly describe the feelings I want to convey. Actually, this partially explains my lifelong search for other people's words with which to fill myself up, to borrow and learn from. My life consists of a perpetual search not just for knowledge and meaning, but of the best ways to put those things into the precise diction that will allow me to share these insights with other in powerful ways. My favorite authors, Gayle Forman included, excel at conveying big life lessons in simple, natural ways, not so much handing down truths from their lofty, genius heights, but making you feel their truth in your core. Unfortunately, I do not yet posses this talent, so I will probably fail to properly describe the power of Just One Day to you, especially because there is so much of it that I cannot discuss, because I think this novel is best enjoyed completely without conception of where its headed.

For some reason, perhaps because I read just a little bit of the blurb, I imagined Just One Day to be a happy sort of contemporary novel, perhaps a slightly darker companion to Meant to Be, which also opens with a trip to London and includes numerous Shakespeare references. I really should have known better, having enjoyed the darkness of Forman's If I Stay and Where She Went. Forman positively shines at making the reader run the whole gamut of emotions right alongside the main character. Just One Day made me smile, laugh, sigh, swoon, and ache in my heart for Allyson. During the hours I had to stop reading and go to work, I could not stop thinking of her plight, and those thoughts came with an almost physical level of discomfort and worry for Allyson. Basically, any novel that can make me care so much rates exceedingly highly with me, particularly because that only happens in novels with marvelous characterization.

For those of you who like to take vacations through literature, this book will be such a great friend. There are so many sights and places to be experienced within its pages. Even better, they're not just the touristy highlights, but also the more basic culture. I had so many flashbacks to my own European travels, like how you really do meet Australians in hostels everywhere, and they're really loud and sociable, and how Europeans really do like to help, offering up extraordinary experiences and waving away offers of payment.

Yesterday, I posted on instalove in YA literature, and how tired I get of the relatively unvaried romantic plot lines in the majority of the fiction. Well, Just One Day was such a fitting read to embark upon after that, because I felt as though Forman targeted a lot of that and wrote something unique and meaningful and unflinchingly honest. What she did with the romance, though I cannot tell you what that was, I approve.

Forman differs quite a bit in her portrayal of family as well. In young adult fiction, parents are notoriously absent, allowing the teens to have adventures parents would never approve. Actually, Allyson's mother and father are not in that much of the novel, as she spends most of it on vacation or at college, but, though not physically with her, they are almost constantly present. An only child, her parents have exceedingly high expectations for her and seem determined to have her fulfill them, pressuring her and preventing her from figuring out who she really is until she has the space of this first year away from home to really come of age.

Of course, I wanted to twirl around with happiness during nigh every reference to Shakespeare, especially during analytical discussions of his works. However, I also felt a strong correlation to another of my favorite classic works, A Room with a View by E.M. Forster, which details the coming of age of Lucy Honeychurch on a trip to Italy. Her experiences there change her in unanticipated ways, which at first frustrate and frighten her, but ultimately teach her a lot about life and the best ways to live it. Perhaps I'm just making this connection up, but there was a quote near the end that really brought that novel the surface to me, one about the Yes of life. Whether that second similarity was intended or entirely in my head, I marveled over the dialog Forman developed between classic works of literature and modern life.

Right now, I want to do nothing so much in the world as travel all around Europe, accompanied by a copy of the sequel/companion novel to Just One Day, which will apparently be from Willem's perspective, which seems an interesting correlation to If I Stay and Where She Went.

Rating: 4.5/5

Favorite Quote:
"'See?' Willem asks. 'You thought too hard. Same with travel. You can't work too much at it, or it feels like work. You have to surrender yourself to the chaos. To the accidents.'
   'I'm supposed to walk in front of a bus and then I'll have a good time?'
   Willem chuckles. 'Not those accidents. The little things that happen. Sometimes they're insignificant; other times, they change everything.'"

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cover Snark (34): Half-Naked Men and the Animals Who Love Them

Welcome to Cover Snark, where the people are snarky and the covers quiver in fear. Since I don't write many snarky book reviews here on A Reader of Fictions, Cover Snark is my outlet. If you click on the title of the book, where possible, I've linked to Goodreads. Clicking on the cover itself will show you the cover in a larger size, in most cases. Feel free to love covers I hate and vice versa. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Commenting pro tip: The easiest way to comment on such a long post is to open the post in two windows (really easy if you use Google Reader). Comment in one and scroll the covers in the other. That's actually how I comment on other people's reviews too. I can't remember all my comments by the time I get to the box!

1. Something Darker (Inferi Dii #1) - S.A. Price
 Thoughts: You guys, I just love this! Show of hands: who believes me? If so, you must be new. Hi! Thanks for coming! Seriously, though, ab covers, how about you make sense. I mean, this dude is obviously cold, since he's wearing a hoodie and even has the hood up, so WHY is his he leaving his chest bare? Even if he were perfectly my type, I would still say what the hell to this cover. Plus, that purple fire with the series info is just randomly floating there. They should have used it to dot the i in something or places it better. Maybe put the series info in the moon, which is also purple?

2. Divided (Element Preservers #3) - Alycia Linwood
 Thoughts: What is that dress made of? Does it look weird to anyone else? Also, I'm pretty sure she's checking to see if she has a fever. Probably she does, since she's covered in frost but seems pretty comfortable in just that dress. With her other hand, she's talking on an invisible phone to Mr. Freeze, who may or may not be her boyfriend.

3. In My Dreams - Cameo Renae
 Thoughts: Meh. Not bad, but doesn't stand out at all.

4. The Chalice - Nancy Bilyeau
 Thoughts: I fell like this could be really awesome, but it looks too much like a little kid pasted together images from a magazine to make the cover. The different parts just do not look well-integrated.

5. The Midnight Spell - Rhiannon Frater & Kody Boye
 Thoughts: Alright, so this definitely has some self-pub issues, but I kind of like it. His ginger hair makes me happy, as does judgmental cat, and the fact that this looks like a witchy version of Sixteen Candles.

6. Crushed - Dawn Rae Miller
 Thoughts: This is so close to being an awesome simplistic cover, but THAT FONT burns me with its boring. They tried to make the title more interesting by crushing the C a bit, but that's overkill and draws attention away from the heart, which is where the eye should be focused. The heart does look cool, though, as it has a nice texture to it. Reminds me of this cover.

7. Eyes Ever to the Sky - Katie French
 Thoughts: Well, that looks somewhat familiar. Sky embraces just look so awkward don't they? Can you imagine trying to get action while also remembering to fly? Odds of death: high. What is that shimmer around them? Moonlight? A tractor beam? Also, I don't think they have their eyes to the sky. Pretty sure their eyes are closed.

8. Hector (5th Street #3) - Elizabeth Reyes
 Thoughts: Notice how she subtly covers his face, so this cover can be ALL ABOUT HER. There's a Friends episode about this.

9. From Ashes - Molly McAdams
 Thoughts: Oh good. A novel about infidelity or some sort of Paint Your Wagon situation. LOVELY. Much like this cover, only less believable, because the dudes would TOTALLY NOTICE.

10. Crossfire (Darkride Chronicles #2) - Laura Bradley Rede
 Thoughts: "Can a heart that stopped beating still love?" Tagline, I'm pretty sure paranormal romances have already answered that one 6 million times over. STOP BEING AWFUL. Awful cover checklist: stupid garden variety tagline (check), terrible fonts (check), absurdly photoshopped eyes (check), incredibly cheesy fire (check). Is this a paranormal romance? If yes, add bird (check).

11. The Uprising (The Forsaken #2) - Lisa M. Stasse
Thoughts: These covers really appeal to me. They're so weird and unique. I do wonder if they make any sort of sense after reading the book, but they're creepy, colorful and unlike anything else, so approve.

12. Control - Lydia Kang
Thoughts: "There are no accidents." DUN DUN DUN. This cover bores me.

13. Bayou Heat (X3) - Alexandra Ivy & Laura Wright
Thoughts: I greatly encourage you to click on these and view the larger images, so you can fully appreciate the ridiculousness. For one thing, these covers are the mostly naked man with animals sort that makes Kayla Beck think of bestiality, which is perhaps justified, let's be honest. For another, these men are all just covered in sweat. The one on the left has RIVULETS of it. Do some people think that's hot? All I want to do to these guys is make them go take a shower. ALONE.

14. Strange Spirits (GothicScapes) - Chris Marie Green, Nancy Holder, Linda Thomas-Sundstrom
Thoughts: Is leather mini-skirt girl about to kill Santa? I hated this cover at first, but if that's what's up, this just made best holiday cover. I would like to know why the moon is pink, though. Red to imply impending doom for Santa, like his jolly red suit and soon-to-be-spilled blood I would get, but pink?

15. Drive Me Wild (The Others #7) - Christine Warren
Thoughts: Another naked dude posing with an animal. Seriously, is this supposed to be appealing? Also, these naked man covers are wasted on me, because, much as I like men, I am really not attracted to the kinds of guys they put on romance novel covers.

16. 45 Pounds (More or Less) - K. A. Barson
Thoughts: I kind of like this. I mean, I really dig pastels, though I know some people don't (Kayla). However, I really don't approve of the whole "God forbid we show a fat girl on the cover" attitude. Also, based on her legs, this chick isn't fat at all, so what's up with that.

17. Resisting Fate (The Right of Blood #1) - Marie De La Rosa
Thoughts: If this book is not about how she resists fate using her hair as weapons, then I call bullshit on this cover.

18. There (On the Otherside #2) - Denise Grover Swank
Thoughts: Oh look, Fallen and Hereafter had a baby cover. Even better, there's apparently a love triangle. WHERE DO I SIGN UP?

19. Trapped (Here Trilogy #2) - Ella James
Thoughts: I feel like a jerk always having to say "well, for a self-pub, this is great," but there just is a quality difference, so whatever, it's true. They've done a nice job with this one. I love the texture to the ground and the sky is interesting. However, the fonts need work and the couple looks like they're skipping through a field of daisies, not like they're trapped in some harsh world.

20. Charm & Strange - Stephanie Kuehn
Thoughts: Ugh. Another love triangle cover. Based solely on the cover, I am terrified to read this, as it looks like something I will loathe. Then again, the blurb's from Ellen Hopkins, which is somewhat unexpected. The cover looks cheesy, not dark and edgy.

21. Blood Trade (Jane Yellowrock #6) - Faith Hunter
Thoughts: Those are some big-ass stakes. Hurrah for a heroine dressed in fighting clothes and ready to mess some monsters up. Her face looks a little off to me though. Oh, also, I love the fancy design by the spine. The juxtaposition between that and the rest of the cover amuses me.

22. Deadly to Love (The Elementals #3) - Mia Hoddell
Thoughts: Alright everyone: time to place bets. Male or female model? The lips say female, but I'm really not sure because I guy could do his lipstick like that just as easily. Also, this cover is almost painfully bad. What's with the swirls on the skin? The hand seems a bit out of proportion to me. The hot pink font is hard to read, as is the author name. To top it all off, cheesy fire.

23. Incubus (Daughters of Lilith #2) - Jennifer Quintenz
Thoughts: That seems like a strange way to hold a sword. Also, is she wearing a pashmina? What is that on her arm? Her hair sticks out sort of funny too. ACK! Just notices the bat wings. Better than angel ones at least.

24. The Holder's Dominion - Genese Davis
Thoughts: This creeps me out a lot. Mr. Shadow Rapist man is not cool. Also, I feel like the overlay of that golden person would have worked better if it aligned with the model's face.

25. Replica - Jenna Black
Thoughts: Bored. This looks a bit too 90s fantasy.

26. Elder (Firstborn Trilogy #3) - Raine Thomas
Thoughts: She looks just as confused and upset by this cover as I am. Or maybe she's just wondering why she's grabbing the knife by the blade and not dripping blood on her grey dress.

27. Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) - Katie McGarry
 Thoughts: Very well composed, and I definitely think that the girl on the cover fits Beth well. Not sure about the guy, though. The title font looks cool too, but I don't know why "You" is turned sideways.

Cover Battle #1: Indigo Awakening (The Hunted #1) - Jordan Dane
US vs. Aus: The win goes to the US for not making a completely mundane cover. Also, I'm very sick of brightly dyed eyes on covers.

Cover Battle #2: Sever (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #3) - Lauren DeStefano
US vs. UK: Wow, just changing the color scheme a little bit makes SUCH a difference. I still think this cover sucks in general, though, because why does Raine look like she's at a freaking tea party?

Cover Battle #3: Star Cursed (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #2) - Courtney Allison Moulton
Not Final vs. Final: Oh look, they posted the not final cover, giving them the opportunity to improve the second cover. Most of the public responded that we want a cover in the style of the hardback. The publisher listened and made a change! They photoshopped her arm down. How I feel. Oh, they also changed the author name font to white and moved it up a little. I vote COVER NOT FINAL. Try again, guys.

Cover Battle #4: Finding Lucas - Sarah Stroh Bailey
 Kindle vs. Paperback: Bahahaha, She's grabbing his ass. This amuses me more than it probably should. Her shoes are RIDIC though.

WTF of the Week: Sex Club Secrets - Jennifer Lynne
 Thoughts: Oh, really, this is about love flourishing is it? Why does everything remind me of Paint Your Wagon this week? Why are half-naked people floating over a city? Why haven't they fallen into the river and drowned? Are they gods too? Is this like a Greek god orgy club? Because they don't need a special club for that; that's just how Greek gods roll, yo.

Outstanding Cover of the Week:
The Uprising by Lisa M. Stasse

Learn More or Preorder:

Goodreads|Amazon|The Book Depository


Review: One Lonely Degree

One Lonely Degree

Author: C. K. Kelly Martin
Pages: 256
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Source: Own

Description from Goodreads:
Anything is possible. . . .

Finn has always felt out of place, but suddenly her world is unraveling. It started with The Party. And Adam Porter. And the night in September that changed everything. The only person who knows about that night is Audrey—Finn’s best friend, her witness to everything, and the one person Finn trusts implicitly. So when Finn’s childhood friend Jersy moves back to town—reckless, beautiful Jersy, all lips and eyes and hair so soft you’d want to dip your fingers into it if you weren’t careful—Finn gives her blessing for Audrey to date him. How could she possibly say no to Audrey? With Audrey gone for the summer, though, Finn finds herself spending more and more time with Jersy, and for the first time in her life, something feels right. But Finn can’t be the girl who does this to her best friend . . . can she?

First Sentence: "Things don't always change with a bang."

After reading two of C. K. Kelly Martin's novels, I added all of the others to my wishlist on Amazon, and bought three of them, her first three novels, when they went on sale. One Lonely Degree differs quite a bit from my prior experiences. Although the style clearly belongs to Martin still, and the books have a similar tone that I associate with her, I can really tell how much she grew as an author from this book to My Beating Teenage Heart. I did enjoy reading One Lonely Degree, but the subject matter is a bit overdone and it's also a subject I really just don't care for much personally.

Of course, Martin does not write contemporaries full of rainbows and sunshine and happiness. The first half of the novel reminded me quite a bit of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, though their plot and situations differ. Finn, short for Fionnuala, aches and lives in fear, cringing at the memory of some incident months before. The reader does not learn precisely what transpired until quite a long ways in, allowing time for guesses. This both builds suspense and lets the reader see just how much Finn refuses to deal with what happened. She avoids talking about it to anyone, and even thinking about it to herself.

As always, I respect Martin so much for not shying away from how terrible teens can be. They have sex, they drink, they do drugs, and they generally hurt one another constantly. Finn is so incredibly selfish throughout One Lonely Degree, and, honestly, I'm finding that I really love the main characters that admit their own selfishness and indulge anyway, because that is being a teenager, or, really, a human.

On top of her personal difficulties, Finn's parents have been going through something, and she fears that divorce is on the way. Already so unstable, she throws bratty temper tantrums and ignores her obviously upset parents, hoping that, if she fights back hard enough, the current of change will retreat back whence it came. With her friend Audrey, too, Finn always focuses on herself first, her personal dramas counting much more, largely because of The Event.

At this point, I'm going to have to venture into spoiler territory, because I just don't see any other way to talk about what happens and why I didn't like this book more than I did. As happens in about 75 percent of YA novels set in a school, a new guy comes into Finn's class. In this case, her turns out to be a childhood friend, Jersy. Though at first annoyed by him, she quickly starts to crush on him, but tamps those emotions down when Audrey expresses interest, because broken as Finn is, she doesn't think she could handle a relationship anyway.

Jersy's presence destroys the friendship between Finn and Audrey in so many ways, none of which were his fault, but I still never cared for him as a character largely because I feared where the novel was going (and I was right about that). I did think it was awesome that he is shorter than Finn, though, because that pretty much never happens in fiction. Anyway, his presence in their lives breaks down their friendship, first because Finn pretends never to have wanted him, second because he and Audrey end up having to sneak around while dating because of her father's disapproval, and third because, when caught sneaking around, Audrey gets sent away from the summer, leaving Jersy and Finn free to bond and hook up.

Damn it, I suspected the whole time that One Lonely Degree was taking the slow train to infidelity town, but I kept hoping, because, as I said, SLOW train. I know nobody likes cheating, but I seriously hate it, because I've always had a very black and white sense of justice, and, to me, such things seem stupid and so easily avoidable. In this modern age of communication, send your girlfriend an email and end things, so that you can launch on your new relationship as something other than a cheating douchebag. Similarly, talk your feelings out with your best friend before you ever lay a finger on her boyfriend in a sexual manner, and, ideally, don't tell her he's fair game when you've already got feelings for him. Audrey would have backed off immediately had Finn mentioned her burgeoning attraction, because of all of Audrey's lingering guilt about her part in what happened.

Sadly, I would have liked Finn and Jersy well enough as a couple had they not been betraying someone else. Maybe you can't help who you fall for, but you can at least try to be less of a jerk about it than they did. While my heart ached for what Finn went through, that does not excuse her behavior here. Plus, once the characters are in that place, there aren't really any endings that will satisfy me. Pretty much as soon as the cheating occurs, I cannot like those characters as much as I did before, and I can't root for them to have a happy ending, at least not for a long while. Forgiveness and empathy are not emotions that I'm especially good at.

In no way would I say that One Lonely Degree is a bad book, but if you have huge issues with infidelity as a theme like I do, you may not love it either. I feel, too, that I might have appreciated this more had I not read several novels with similar themes that spoke to me more than this one happened to.

Rating: 3.5/5

Favorite Quote: "Sometimes it seems so easy to make people happy that I wonder why I don't do it more often."

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012


or, Why You Should Not Include Instalove in Your Novel

Alright, I knot this topic has been mused on forever, and that we bloggers are all agreed (well, most of us, anyway) that instalove has no place in our fiction. However, I'm astounded by how often I see instalove pop up, even after years of bloggers saying that your book will get rated down or removed from our to-read lists if you include this dreaded romance element. Authors clearly aren't getting it. So many times I've been reading a book that was headed towards a 4 or a 5 rating that I had to rate down significantly for suddenly going that way for no good plot reason whatsoever. This happened just last week, so I need to vent. Yes, instalove can work in EXTREMELY RARE CIRCUMSTANCES, like Halley's Comet rare. In every other circumstance, we will hate your precious characters for being disgusting and moronic.

What Is Instalove?
Just as a little refresher, let's rehash precisely what instalove entails. On a simple level, instalove is characters who have met and, so they say, fallen in love in a matter of days, or, worse, hours. These couples have known each other for hardly any time at all, and, perhaps worse, they have been in a state of crisis the entire time, meaning that their emotions have been running haywire, so, generally, they are mistaking crazy hormones for a lasting connection. They tend not to have any knowledge of what the other person is like outside of running for their lives/saving the world/whatever. Instalove involves a profession of feelings, often with an accompanying promise that these feelings will last forever, completely unshakable and unsinkable.

Why Is This So Awful?
Generally, instalove tends to be a cop-out for writers. More often than not, I find that instalove has been used in place of creating an actual bond between the main couple. Instead of showing me what a powerful relationship the two leads have and how they support one another, would sacrifice themselves for one another, the author tells me by having the leads pontificate constantly about how much they love one another unto eternity and would die for one another. Bloggers complain about showing instead of telling, and this is a prime example. On top of that, instalove couples tend to use overly flowery language, so sappy that I could pour it over my pancakes for brunch.

Why Instalove Is Pointless
What authors perhaps forget sometimes is that readers don't necessarily believe what they're being told. Oh, X just confessed his love to Y and asserted that his feelings would never change. Surely, Author A would not mislead, so this must be the most epic romance since Romeo and Juliet! Listen up, authors, we see through this formula. We really, really do. I never believed in Romeo and Juliet's love, and so I'm certainly not going to be convinced by your characters wordy protestations of love, because, sorry to tell you, but Shakespeare you are not.

Here's the thing, guys. This trap is SO SIMPLE to avoid. Let me let you in on a little secret: JUST STOP TELLING US HOW IN LOVE THEY ARE. Use the couple's actions and conversations to show us that they have a real and potentially lasting connection.

No matter how much I'm shipping a couple, if they confess their eternal feelings to one another within the space of a couple of stressful weeks, I immediately want to kill them with fire. Okay, maybe I don't want to go that far, but I would totally be willing to singe off their eyebrows so they can look as stupid as they have just proved themselves to be.

My confidence in a couple when it comes to instalove is inversely proportional to how much the author beats me over the head with how perfect and in love they are. If they simply trade 'I love yous,' then I roll my eyes, shout a brief epithet at the book, and carry on. That alone will lose the book about a .5 from the rating in most every case. If the couple vows to love one another ad infitum, I laugh my head off at them and lose any connection I had to the characters. This loses the book at least a full point off of the rating. If the instalove goes all out with the main characters uttering nothing but cheesy platitudes of affection, all while mostly not liking one another at all or ever having a real conversation about nothing (because let's be honest, most of a relationship is talking about nothing, the boring, everyday stuff), then I bring out the snark and rip the book into little wobbly shreds of illogic. As a reviewer, I try not to be snarky in most of my reviews and take more of an analytical approach to cut your book off at the knees, but you pull this shit, and you deserve EVERY sassy, insulting gif I can find on the internet to throw at you in judgment. Also, you deserve NONE OF THE STARS.

Back to that little secret on instalove avoidance. Author A might be thinking "but if they don't tell one another how much they care, how will the reader know?!?!?!?! Besides, isn't communicating your feelings important in a relationship?" Why, yes, Author A! You're right, communication is in fact utterly vital in a successful relationship, which is why you should probably focus on having them communicate about more than just how in love they are and how much they want to bone. This does not a relationship make. They just freaking met, so they have plenty of time to fall in love; there's no rush! If you don't hold the readers' hands and tell them how to feel, we can make up our own minds, and will likely enjoy your book much more as a result. The romantics can imagine that your couple has fallen in love for realsies and will go the distance. The cynics can imagine them parting ways at the end of the crisis and applaud you for having the characters be so honest about not knowing precisely how they feel yet. We can read what we want into your writing. Scary, I know, Author A. However, another little secret: we totally will anyway, so you might as well write it in a way more people will approve of.

Instalove Will Always Make Me Stabbity When:
1. The couple has no reason to be interested in one another besides sexiness - Instalove annoys me in 99% of cases, but I will feel less likely to be malicious when reviewing your book if I can at least see that these two people do have a real connection and shared interests. At least in that case, I can assume the misguided declaration to be a case of teenagers not knowing any better than to confess their feelings during the honeymoon phase of their relationship. I'll feel more pity for them than rage.

2. The heroine is terrified of the hero - You know what's not love? Being afraid someone will kill you. I will never, ever ship it. Sure, he might not really be a bad guy, but she's only known him for four hours and doesn't know yet, so she probably shouldn't assume she's in love with him. That makes her a naive ignoramus, and the whole romance utterly creepy and horrifying. This would probably be just as maddening with a hero afraid of the heroine, but I don't think I've seen that.

3. Accompanying a love triangle - If you take nothing else away from this, know that there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY THIS CAN WORK. EVER. THE MC CANNOT BE IN LOVE WITH BOTH OF THEM. AS SOON AS SHE/HE CLAIMS TO BE, I WILL STAB THEM IN THE FACE.

To Conclude
As I said, there have been some very rare occasions where instalove did not bother me, but these are exceptions to the rule and not hope to cling to that surely your book will fall into that category. Yeah, it might, but it's best to assume that it does not and work on their relationship until you don't need to assert their love to make people feel things.

Readers, what say you? Am I right? Did I forget anything important?