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True Confessions of a Reluctant Reader: a guest post by author Aimee Carter

As a part of Harlequinn Teen week earlier this year, author Aimee Carter wrote a guest post about being a reluctant reader.  Today we are re-running that post for Reluctant Reader week because it is full of insight.  This post originally appeared on February 11, 2013


 
 Aimee Carter is the author of the Goddess Test series.  You can visit her official website here.


 I have a confession to make. I’m a reluctant reader. 
 
When I was a kid, my dad paid me to read. We made a deal: for every book I read on my own, he gave me a quarter. To a six-year-old, that was a pretty big deal, and I saved them all up to buy toys (instead of books, like my dad had hoped). But no matter how many quarters I collected, I still didn’t catch the bug for reading. My dad, who’s an avid reader and writer, was convinced something wasn’t right. I was his kid, after all. There had to be a story out there that would unlock my genetic predisposition to read everything in sight. 

It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to read. I liked some books, especially ones about mythology and Disney characters. But on our weekly trips to the bookstore, I always sought out those same stories, and I never gave others more than a passing glance.


My dad tried everything to get me to read more. The quarter reward went up to a dollar. I was allowed to check out as many books as I wanted from the library. He sought out sequels to the stories I enjoyed, as well as other books by those authors. I reluctantly gave each one a few pages. Sometimes he managed to unearth a gem I wound up adding to my limited collection, but most of the books he found just didn’t match my style. Problem was, there didn’t seem to be many out there that did. 

I wish I could say I overcame my reluctance and dove into books like an all-you-can-read buffet. I did, in a way—I eventually reached the point where I was constantly reading, but it was always those same books. When I found a story I loved, I read it over and over until the pages fell out and I had to buy new copies. My reading tastes were much like my childish palate: I liked very specific things, and I was reluctant to try anything new. When I did, I usually made a face and quickly moved on to something familiar. 

In my teens, I discovered Harry Potter. For three years before Order of the Phoenix came out, I rotated through the first four books. As soon as I ended Goblet of Fire, I started back on Sorcerer’s Stone, and they were all I read. Not because of an obsessive personality, but because I had outgrown the books I read as a kid, and I couldn’t find anything else I enjoyed. I was too picky, but I also loved immersing myself in a world and following characters I loved. Finding that in another book was next to impossible, and while I loved to read, after a while I gave up trying to find something new. 

And then I discovered fan fiction – the art of writing stories in another author’s universe. The Harry Potter fan fiction community was thriving, and I devoured hundreds, if not thousands of stories set in Harry Potter’s world. When I couldn’t find the kind of fanfic I wanted to read, I began to write my own. A few hundred words at first, but eventually I was writing thousands of words a day. Somehow, through some strange alchemy, I turned into the reader and writer my dad had always wanted me to be. 

To this day, I still have a hard time finding something new to read. I browse bookstores often, always picking out a book that looks interesting in hopes that this will be the one that makes me want to read everything in sight. But no matter how many books I buy, I still have a hard time finding something I finish. Not because the books aren’t any good – I usually pick them up after my friends rave about them – but because of that same reluctance that stopped me when I was a kid. No matter how much time passes, I can’t shake it. 

Instead, I write the books I want to read. I never reread them once they’re published, but the act of writing them lets me experience a world I crave, and it satisfies my need to find something new that I love. It isn’t a perfect system, but it keeps me busy, and I hold out hope that maybe one of my stories will help a reluctant reader discover the kind of books he or she loves.Either way, my dad was right: there is a story out there for everyone. Sometimes we find it right away, along with hundreds or thousands more like it. But sometimes it takes a bit of searching, and that’s okay, too.

The Goddess Inheritance will be released by Harlequin Teen on February 26, 2013.  Aimee will have a new series, The Blackcoat Rebellion, coming from Harlequin Teen in November of 2013.

This is Aimee’s bio, stolen right off of her web page:  I attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and received a degree in Screen Arts and Cultures (a fancy way of saying I was forced to watch a lot of old movies) with a subconcentration in Screenwriting. I write. I watch a lot of new movies. Read a lot of books. Tweet too much. Love dogs and have two spoiled Papillons.

Book Review: The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

I struggled to take a breath. She wasn’t listening. She didn’t understand- or maybe she did, and she just didn’t care. “What about my son? He’s Henry’s too, you know. And he’s your grandson. His name’s Milo, and he’s not even a week old. Why does he deserve to be raised by Cronus?”

Rhea said nothing, and I couldn’t stop the flow of words that poured from me now.

“He’ll never know me. He’ll never know his father. He’ll grow up calling the bitch who kidnapped me his mother, the egomaniac who’s killed millions of people his father, and he’ll never know that I’m out here loving him ore in a moment that they could in an eternity. What could he have possibly done to deserve that?”

“Nothing,” said Rhea softly. “Your son has done nothing to deserve it, as the people of this village have done nothing to deserve brutality and starvation.”

Then help him like you’re helping these people,” I pleaded. “Please, I’ll do whatever you want me to do-“
“I want you to leave me in peace,” she said.

“Okay.” I took a shaky breath, and the world spun around me. She wasn’t going to help the council with the war. If she wouldn’t do it for the billions of helpless people in the world, then nothing I could possibly say or do would change her mind. “I’ll go away, I promise. Just-please. Help Henry. At least vie my son a chance to know his father.”

Once again, Rhea was quiet. Her eyes grew distant the same way Cronus’s had in the nursery, and her hands stilled mid-pick. I glanced at James. Was that our cue to go? He shrugged, and together we waited.

“Very well,” she said at last, breaking the silence. “It is done.”

“What’s done?” I said, giving James another bewildered look, but his brow knitted in confusion as well. “Rhea, please-what’s done?”

“Give your mother my love,” she said, touching my shoulder. The pain in my arm from the dagger vanished. “You are strong, Kate. Stronger than you know. You do not need me to have what yo most desire. As long as you resist my husband, you will have it.””It isn’t about what I want,” I said, seconds from bursting. How could she heal me but not help save the people who really needed her? “he’s going to kill everyone, this village included.”

She didn’t respond. Instead she picked a few more blossoms and turned to reenter the clinic. I started to go after her, and James grabbed my wrist with an iron grip.

“Don’t,” he said. Before I could protest, another voice whispered through the garden, hoarse and cracking. But real. So, so real.

“Kate?”

My heart hammered, and I spun around, yanking my hand from James’s. Nestled between a gnarled tree and a patch of ferns stood Henry.

The Review:
In the final book of the Goddess Test triology, Kate is yet again faced with tests, but this time may be the breaking point.  Forced to abandon their son to Calliope and Cronus, Kate and Henry are planning for battle with the rest of the council.  Yet Kate has a secret- she has promised Cronus that she would become his queen if he would spare Milo and humanity, while destroying Henry and the rest of her new family. Yet Henry and the rest of the council are firm that they can defeat Cronus, even after he proves that he can destroy millions of lives within minutes.  How can she choose: the end of her family, or the end of the world?

The Goddess Inheritance twists and turns poor Kate in all different directions, testing her in ways that readers couldn’t possibly imagine.  Her baby taken from her right after giving birth and being raised by Calliope and Henry on the brink of death, Kate does the unthinkable and promises herself to Cronus in order to save them both and give the council time.  Yet nothing goes according to plan, and everything seems to be standing in her way.  Plots and traitors twist, what was once clear seems murky, and what she thought she knew about people is not at all what really happened.  There are tons of character development within the rest of the council throughout the book, and readers get to see sides of James, Ava and the others that reflect them in many different pools of light.  Twists at the end will break series readers hearts.  3 out of 5 stars. 

The Goddess Inheritance will be released on February 26, 2013 according to Barnes and Noble.  To keep track of it’s rating on Goodreads, click here.



I really wanted to love this book- I loved the cliffhanger at the end of Goddess Interrupted, and was primed to fall into this one.  The prologue was perfect, and the first part was wonderful.  And then, I realized that I’m missing Kate. Kate in The Goddess Test was not only compassionate and empathetic, but she was smart, and tough, and was going to do things no matter what.  It took almost the entire book of The Goddess Inheritance to get that Kate back, and I realized while reading that I miss that Kate.  Yes, she has to make an impossible choice (and yes, that’s a huge theme in the Greek mythos): her son and humanity, or Henry and her family. And yes, she’s just had Milo and Henry is in a death-coma, but I’m thinking that would make you fight more, not just weep.  I (my personal feelings, not professional reviewer feelings) wanted her to get her act together sooner.

I really enjoyed the development of Ava and James in this book, and the death of one of the main characters at the end is heart-wrenching.  It does leave open the option for more within the series (spin-offs maybe), so that’s something to be considered.  Definitely a worthwhile read.

Also something to think about is whether or not this would fit within the older YA/New Adult boundaries.  A lot of the questions/themes within this book are what would sacrifice for your child/husband/family, and that seems to fall more in an older teen viewpoint than most YA books you encounter.

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