Tomorrow will bring a post about the books of 2010. I just counted them up--53 to date. Not as many as I would have liked, but considering how much academic reading I did this year, that's not a bad number!
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tomorrow will bring a post about the books of 2010. I just counted them up--53 to date. Not as many as I would have liked, but considering how much academic reading I did this year, that's not a bad number!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
I went into this book after reading so many positive plugs that I was really eager to get my hands on it. Now, I'm not going to say that I was disappointed, but there were things about this book that kind of irked me. Yes, I really enjoyed the relationship that Bianca had with her friends--that came across as seriously genuine and heart-warming. Her issues with her parents were also complex and felt very real. I honestly think her reactions were spot-on. There were other things, however, that kind of bugged me: her plugs for liberalism felt off and left me rather annoyed (even being a liberal myself!), and I kind of had a hard time swallowing her headless plunge into so much sex. Yeah, there was rampant sexuality in high school when I was there (not that long ago, and I went to a big school in CA), but parts of things felt over the top. Even for a man-whore (lol, I laughed so hard at this term!), I just didn't see them happening between two seventeen year old's. Also, some of the dialogue came across as straight out of an episode of Buffy--not real life. I am around a LOT of eighteen year old's and none of them speak like Bianca, even the smart sarcastic ones. Anyhow, it was a good read and I found it interesting. I think it may have been built up a bit much, but I look forward to reading more of Keplinger's work in the future!
Sunday, December 26, 2010
AN IMAGINARY FRIEND
Jane Margaux is a lonely little girl. Her mother, a powerful Broadway producer, makes time for her only once a week, for their Sunday trip to admire jewelry at Tiffany's. Jane has only one friend: a handsome, comforting, funny man named Michael. He's perfect. But only she can see him. Michael can't stay forever, though. On Jane's ninth birthday he leaves, promising her that she'll soon forget him.
AN UNEXPECTED LOVE
Years later, in her thirties, Jane is just as alone as she was as a child. And despite her own success as a playwright, she is even more trapped by her overbearing mother. Then she meets someone–a handsome, comforting, funny man. He's perfect. His name is Michael...
AND AN UNFORGETTABLE TWIST
This is a heartrending story that surpasses all expectations of why these people have been brought together. With the breathtaking momentum and gripping emotional twists that have made James Patterson a bestselling author all over the world, SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY'S takes an altogether fresh look at the timeless and transforming power of love.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I don't like form rejections.
I HATE FORM REJECTIONS THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS. On full manuscripts. Without even my NAME. HONESTLY!
Yeah, I know you're busy. Guess what? So am I. On top of everything I do, I'm also trying to find an agent for my book. So, before you hit 'send' think about it for a second--a rejection is going to sting for an author at any point. This week, well, it's going to make some of us delete a whole lot of work off our hard-drives and make a New Year's resolution to stop waisting time writing. It's not worth it.
This stunningly original and magical story follows three women in love with the wrong men. Headstrong Madeline Heller finds herself hopelessly attracted to her sister’s fiancé…Frieda Lewis, a doctor’s daughter who has run off to London, becomes the muse of an ill-fated rock star… and beautiful, reckless Bryn Evans is set to marry an Englishman while she’s secretly obsessed with her ex-husband, a dangerous and love-besotted New Yorker. At the heart of the novel is Lucy Green, who blames herself for a tragic accident she witnessed at the age of twelve in the same London hotel where the others have found themselves. Lucy has spent four decades searching out the Third Angel, the angel on Earth who will renew her faith.
Evoking the worlds of Notting Hill, Kings Road, and Kensington while moving back and forth in time from the 90s, to the 60s, and then to the 50s, The Third Angel charts the unique, alchemical nature of love
I'll be very honest--I very nearly put this book down within the first couple of chapters. The first character we meet was utterly not to my liking, and I didn't want to spend any time with her. Things did improve after that, and I enjoyed the book mostly. The interweaving of the characters was a good bit of fun, though there were quite a few and occasionally it became confusing. I haven't read any Hoffman before and if I get a chance I'll probably check out her other books!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Fever Crumb by Phillip Reeve
Fever Crumb is a girl who has been adopted and raised by Dr. Crumb, a member of the order of Engineers, where she serves as apprentice. Soon though, she must say goodbye to Dr. Crumb to assist archaeologist Kit Solent on a top-secret project.
As her work begins, Fever is plagued by memories that are not her own and Kit seems to have a particular interest in finding out what they are. Fever has also been singled out by city dwellers, who declare that she is part Scriven. The Scriven, not human, ruled the city some years ago but were hunted down and killed in a victorious uprising by the people. If there are any remaining Scriven, they are to be eliminated. All Fever knows is what she’s been told: that she is an orphan.
Is Fever a Scriven?
Whose memories does she hold?
A steam-punk dystopian? Why, yes please! This was an interesting book, and really unlike anything I've read lately. I hate it when books advertise themselves as "different" and "unique" on their covers, but in this case, it was true. And I've found that it's actually a prequel to a series of books--the Mortal Engine's series, which I'll have to check out! Anyhow, the book itself was a fun read, and very interesting. Fever was okay and I'll admit there were more times than one that I kind of wondered what she was thinking. I mean, she just felt a little distant from the reader. This might be my preference for first-person narrative rearing it's head though. At any rate, a good read, and I flat out LOVED all the archaeologists in the story, which made me giggle all the time. Check it out!
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Now, I can understand why this is. Changing schools, or getting new students, was a big deal in high school. Fresh blood and all that. It's something most everyone understands, or can relate to easily. Well, with the exception that the new kid regularly ends up being a vampire/werewolf/angel/other mysterious kind of being. Anyhoot, I've found myself using this before--with the novel I'm currently querying, there's a new guy at school within the first three chapters. Still. Yeesh. Does every book have to use this? Aren't there other ways to get new people into the lives of the characters of our books? New people moving into the neighborhood, living in a big enough city that you might have just not met the person before (because, honestly, I've read a LOT about small towns lately, too), and so on. Let's mix it up a little, folks! I know I'll be using a lot of caution to avoid the "new kid" scenario in the future :)
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Cornelia is a single thirtysomething who lives her life like a series of movie moments. She's a manager of a cafe because she hasn't figured out anything better to do. Her ideal man is Cary Grant. And just when she thinks he'll never show up, he does, in the form of Martin Grace. What she doesn't know is that Martin, with his cool charm and debonair demeanor, has a daughter, Clare. And she never would have known that except that Martin, in a state of panic, shows up with the girl at the cafe after her mother had a breakdown and left Clare to fend for herself. Estranged from his daughter for years, Martin doesn't know what to do with her. Both women's stories are told in alternating chapters, Cornelia's in first person, Clare's in third. This is a first novel with some wonderful and heartbreaking moments scattered throughout, along with some moments that are purely contrived for the forward movement of the plot. Overall, it is a sweet story about knowing what you love and why.
(Okay, for some reason LJ is being dumb today and won't let me insert images and links... strange.) Anyhow, this was positively a great book. I loved it. Squeezing time in to read was pretty tricky this past week, but it was one to make time for. The writing was wonderful, the characters spot-on, and the plot easy and caring enough to pull me along effortlessly. Delightful. I'm thinking of handing this off to my mother, as it's a moving tribute to motherhood as well. My only grievance, which has nothing to do with the book, is that whenever I read these kinds of books, I walk away a little depressed. I can't help it. I love my hubby, but he is incurably NON romantic. While I can deal with this, I'm still a girl, and hey, it's nice to be wooed sometimes. Anyhow, I find myself reading and pouting. Maybe I should just stick with YA--it makes it easier :)
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Everyone tells Isabel that she is the Shifter - the ancient shape-shifting creature who has protected the kings of Samorna for centuries. They need her to be the Shifter. Prince Rokan risked everything when he rode into the Mistwood to summon her to his side; Ven, the magician's apprentice, has devoted his life to studying her legend; and even Princess Clarisse, who fears and hates her, depends on Isabel's powers to further her own plans.
But Isabel doesn't feel like the Shifter. She feels like a lonely human girl, beset by flashes of memory that do more to confuse than to help her. If she is the Shifter, why can't she change her shape? Why doesn't she remember what made her flee the castle so many years ago? As she is drawn deeper into a web of magic and assassination, Isabel will have no choice but to look for answers. But her search will lead her to the one question the Shifter hasn't faced in a thousand years: where does she come from, and what does she really want?
I won this book over at The Spectacle and was seriously happy, as I've seen it several places and really wanted to read it! (Dang grad school--I hate being so poor! And my library is closed for another few weeks... Okay, okay, I'm not going to die or anything, but sometimes I have serious book-related woes!) Anyhow, yes, I was stoked to win this, and very stoked to find it signed for me. Totally awesome! And this past weekend turned to be perfect for reading and I ripped through this book in a sitting. LOVED it. I adored all the intrigue and double-crossing and questions about loyalty and identity. Several of the twists caught me by surprised, which was an added bonus--that doesn't happen all that often :) Isabel was a very complex and interesting character and I loved reading about her. I do wish she could have shifted more--that sounded flat-out awesome, in the I-wish-I-could-do-that kind of way. Anyhow, I just found out there's going to be a companion book, Nightspell, coming out in May of next year. Looking forward to it! And go check out this book!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Frannie Cavanaugh has always been a bit of a loner. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance, even her closest friends. That is, until Luc Cain enrolls in her school. He's hot, sarcastic, and dangerous—and Frannie can't seem to stay away.
What she doesn't know is that Luc is on a mission. Because Frannie isn't exactly ordinary. She possesses a skill so unique that the king of Hell himself has taken notice, and he's sent Luc to claim Frannie's soul. It should be easy: All he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come.
Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and he's just started making progress when the angel Gabriel shows up. Gabe will do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for, and his angelic charm might just be enough to keep Frannie on the right path.
It isn't long before Luc and Gabe find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie's soul. But if Luc fails to win her over, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.
First off, yay for NorCal writers! (Okay, so maybe central Cali, but still. Makes me grin :) Anyhow, this was a great book, with lots of action and other yumminess. I really enjoyed the world Desrochers has created, and I must admit Luc was who I found myself totally rooting for. He made the book for me, really. I'm not usually the time to go for the dark and dangerous guy, but he was funny and interesting. Of course, this might have something to do with the fact that we got his side of the story here, with Gabe being relegated to the background somewhat without a portion of the book told in his words. I hope the rumors are true that this will be different in the next book! Anyhow, Frannie was also an intriguing character, but about half-way through she gains some distance from the reader. As in, she no longer is expressing herself as clearly, making the reader unable to fully understand her reasoning/feelings. Other than that, this book was HOT, and quite enjoyable. Can't wait for the next two!!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
And then? I join the vast fields of over-educated unemployed folk, who won't be able to get a job at Target or a University. Dang, really looking forward to that!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Nicole Krauss's The History of Love is a hauntingly beautiful novel about two characters whose lives are woven together in such complex ways that even after the last page is turned, the reader is left to wonder what really happened. In the hands of a less gifted writer, unraveling this tangled web could easily give way to complete chaos. However, under Krauss's watchful eye, these twists and turns only strengthen the impact of this enchanting book.
The History of Love spans of period of over 60 years and takes readers from Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe to present day Brighton Beach. At the center of each main character's psyche is the issue of loneliness, and the need to fill a void left empty by lost love. Leo Gursky is a retired locksmith who immigrates to New York after escaping SS officers in his native Poland, only to spend the last stage of his life terrified that no one will notice when he dies. ("I try to make a point of being seen. Sometimes when I'm out, I'll buy a juice even though I'm not thirsty.") Fourteen-year-old Alma Singer vacillates between wanting to memorialize her dead father and finding a way to lift her mother's veil of depression. At the same time, she's trying to save her brother Bird, who is convinced he may be the Messiah, from becoming a 10-year-old social pariah. As the connection between Leo and Alma is slowly unmasked, the desperation, along with the potential for salvation, of this unique pair is also revealed.
The poetry of her prose, along with an uncanny ability to embody two completely original characters, is what makes Krauss an expert at her craft. But in the end, it's the absolute belief in the uninteruption of love that makes this novel a pleasure, and a wonder to behold. --Gisele Toueg
So, I've been attempting to read more "adult" books lately, just to keep more well-balanced in terms of my reading, but I must admit that I like my YA :) Anyhow, this was an interesting and at times very funny read, and falls into the "deep" category, too. But the ending totally killed it for me. I am fine with somewhat ambiguous endings, but I don't like being left totally hanging, which is what I felt like this did. Or maybe I'm just missing something? Anyhow, an interesting book, but I have a few YAs to check out on my new iPad. Dang do I love this thing!
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.
But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.
This book was so bleeping good! I totally read it in about one sitting (well, I started it in Borders, then finished it today, so close :) and it was seriously fun, entertaining, and delicious. I'm very much looking forward to the next two books in the series, as I'm still a little confused about what's going on with Evie, but in a good way. Sometimes, if it's done right, it's okay to be left with questions from a book. Let's me think about them for a while longer, which I rather enjoy. If I can find myself wondering about something I read while I'm running, that is always a good thing, and this book has managed to pass that test. Anyhow, my only thing that kind of bothered me a bit was the emotions Evie felt. It was almost like there was a barrier there that kept them from shinning through as much as the author intended. I'm not really sure how to describe this properly, but that was something I noticed. Oh well, I loved it, and it was great fun. Go, check it out!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
In medieval Cambridge, four children have been murdered. The Catholic townsfolk blame their Jewish neighbors, so to save them from the rioting mob, the Cambridge Jews are placed under the protection of the king. King Henry II is no friend of the Jews-or anyone, really-but he believes in law and order, and he desperately needs the taxes he receives from Jewish merchants. Hoping scientific investigation will catch the true killer, Henry calls on his cousin, the King of Sicily-whose subjects include the best medical experts in Europe-and asks for his finest "master of the art of death," the earliest form of medical examiner. The Italian doctor chosen for the task is a young prodigy from the University of Salerno, an expert in the science of anatomy and the art of detection. But her name is Adelia; the king has been sent a "mistress of the art of death."
In a backward and superstitious country like England, Adelia faces danger at every turn. As she examines the victims and retraces their last steps, Adelia must conceal her true identity in order to avoid accusations of witchcraft. Along the way, she's assisted by one of the king's tax collectors, Sir Rowley Picot, a man with a personal stake in the investigation. A former Crusader knight, Rowley may be a needed friend...or the fiend for whom they are searching. As Adelia's investigation takes her along Cambridge's shadowy river paths, and behind the closed doors of its churches and nunneries, the hunt intensifies and the killer prepares to strike again...
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Okay, so for those of you who haven't seen it, there's going to be some utter awesomeness at Miss Snarks First Victim in December. Do go check it out. That should give all the pertinent info :) So, I really, really want to take part in this, and entered my logline in the first go-round of Authoress' crit-fest. It did okay. I had some tweaking to do. Here's what it was originally posted as:
Julia has a secret: she killed the guy she loved. It was an accident--sort of. In order to save her best friend's life she's going to have to face her past, but her ghosts won't make it easy, especially his.This is a bit more of a tag-line than a logline, I guess. Short and to the point, with little details. It lacks the consequences of what happens if Julia fails. This is where things get kinda tricky--how do I explain this whole world in such a short space? Well, about a hundred drafts later, this is what I've got:
Julia killed the guy she loved. It was an accident--sort of. The ghosts of her past aren’t about to let her forget it, even when it puts the life of the girl she’s been assigned to protect in danger. Losing her friend is the fastest way to losing the only good thing she has left in life: her work. If Julia has any hope of saving her friend’s life, or her own, she's going to have to face her past, but some memories are better left buried.It's longer. I don't know if it's any better. Anyone have any suggestions? I'd be eternally indebted :)
Yay for awesome comments! Here's a newer version (a little shorter, hopefully less awkward):
Julia killed the guy she loved. It was an accident--sort of. The ghosts of her past aren’t about to let her forget it, even when it endangers the girl she’s been assigned to protect. If Julia has any hope of saving her friend’s life, or her own, she's going to have to face her past, but some memories are better left buried.
All of you who have left comments totally rock! Here's take #3:
Julia killed the guy she loved. It was an accident—sort of. In order to save the life of the girl she’s been assigned to protect, and her own, she must face her past, but her ghosts won’t make it easy. Especially his.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
But not everybody at Avalon High is who they appear to be…not even, as new student Ellie is about to discover, herself. What part does she play in the drama that is unfolding? What if the bizarre chain of events and coincidences she has pieced together means—as with the court of King Arthur—tragedy is fast approaching Avalon High?
Worst of all, what if there’s nothing she can do about it?I have a minor confession: I love the King Arthur legends. I mean, ever since I was a kid, it's been one of my favorite tales. I've lost count of all the different incarnations I've read of the story. My favorite is Steinbeck's unfinished one, which is utter awesomeness, but it's Steinbeck, so what would anyone expect? Anyhow, Avalon High was a seriously fun read, and I adored it. Cabot's funny voice is great, and reflects the story well. Plus, Ellie's parents being professors just about made me die laughing. Spot on with that one! My only thing with the book was that Cabot's voice seems to be pretty similar across all her books, which I find somewhat frustrating. It's hard to distinguish between characters from the different stories I've read of hers. I don't really mind, just something that came to mind while reading. Also, dude, lots of back story right at the start, but since it's Cabot, she can get away with it :) Anyhow, I totally loved this one, and will have to check out the sequels, which I just found out are in Manga form. That will be interesting...
Friday, October 22, 2010
Here’s the deal: Aunt Peg, the New York artist and the person Ginny Blackstone depended on to make her life interesting, took off to Europe without a word three years ago. Aside from a few postcards, Ginny hasn’t heard much. Then she gets a horrible phone call that changes everything.
But the story is only beginning. Soon after, Ginny receives one little blue envelope from Aunt Peg containing a thousand dollars and some very strange instructions…
I have heard so many good things about this book that I really, really was looking forward to reading it. I mean, a cross-Europe trip with a crazy set of instructions? Sounds great, right? Well, there were parts that were great. I loved the descriptions of the cities, especially because it let me remember what I loved about them so much. But, quite frankly, the characterization just fell flat for me. Ginny was just a medium for what was going on around her, and though she makes an effort to kind of tune into the coolness of her trip, for the most part she just kind of struck me as kind of blah. Like, really, I just didn't care. I wanted her to DO something and stop worrying about being alone and meek all the time. Sure, I'm shy, I get that, but that's the best thing about traveling--you get to be someone else in the places you go. It's not like you're going to meet those people ever again. Obviously, this is my take on the matter, but I was annoyed.
(Okay, so I made a VALIANT effort to not be biased by the Great Query Debacle from earlier this year wherein Ms. Johnson ripped my query a new one in a less than kind way, so I really tried to just get past it, read this book, and not think about that. I think I succeeded. Except that I didn't like Ginny. Oh well. Can't exactly help it.... Does bring up the whole 'can I like a book and not like the author all that much?' topic, which I'm still working on :)
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Zara collects phobias the way other high school girls collect lipsticks. Little wonder, since life’s been pretty rough so far. Her father left, her stepfather just died, and her mother’s pretty much checked out. Now Zara’s living with her grandmother in sleepy, cold Maine so that she stays “safe.” Zara doesn’t think she’s in danger; she thinks her mother can’t deal.
Wrong. Turns out that guy she sees everywhere, the one leaving trails of gold glitter, isn’t a figment of her imagination. He’s a pixie—and not the cute, lovable kind with wings. He’s the kind who has dreadful, uncontrollable needs. And he’s trailing Zara.
Okay, this was a totally cute, quick read. And when I checked out the facebook page for the series, I accidentally read a spoiler from the next book, Captivate (which has, quite possibly, the most awesome cover, ever. If I ever get published, I want a cover like that. It. Is. Sweet. And I digress. As usual). Anyhow, now I'm dying to read the next one, and rather ticked that my library is closed until December. So Not Cool. Anyhow, I'll have to suck it up and read something else in the interim, and day-dream about some hypothetical future date when I have $$ to go buy the books I want, whenever I want them. Anyhow, as for the book, I am fairly certain that Nick is one of the hotter characters I've read about in a while. Yum. The only problem I had with things is that I really couldn't see why the pixies hadn't shown up and taken Zara earlier--if he can get into her house whenever, what was stopping him? Whatever. It is something I could overlook. Overall, lots of fun!
Friday, October 15, 2010
As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object--artfully encoded with five symbols--is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation... one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.
When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon--a prominent Mason and philanthropist--is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations--all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.
Okay, so I figured I'd read enough YA for a while and I'd pick up an "adult" book. I really enjoyed Brown's other books, particularly Angels and Demons, and The Lost Symbol was still fun. The only problem I had was that it was kind of formulaic. As in, it followed the exact same course as the other two. I mean, the places and such might have changed (and lets be honest, settings in Europe are always going to be a bit more fun than those in the US, I can't help it) but what happened isn't. Plus, I found a few errors in his research and that kind of ticked me off. Still, I read it, and it was interesting. It's almost more like a lecture in story form than a book--something that I actually rather enjoy. So long as its interesting :)
Sunday, October 10, 2010
So what brings about this little rant? I have been reading an adult book, by a very famous author who has had his movies made into several movies, and is extremely popular. And within the first hundred pages I've found several blatant errors. Sometimes I can brush these aside and not let them bug me too much, but these were statements by the main character who's supposed to make his living studying the things he's now erroneously reporting. And it annoys me. Really bad.
Now I'm not trying to say that every author has to be perfect in every fact they include in their books--authors are humans, too. But there are fact-checkers for a reason, and I do think that the big, glaring errors should be addressed. Because there are very anal readers out there who are going to get annoyed :) And write blog posts about it. And generally just spend the rest of the book picking apart every last detail, and enjoy pointing fingers and giggling.
So is it possible to not get frustrated by these little errors? How do other people get around them? I know I read a lot of paranormal and F/SF because the world building allows me to overlook little flaws :)
Sunday, October 3, 2010
(Note, I actually managed to get a photo up!)
Lucinda is sure that she and Daniel are meant to be together forever. Now they are forced apart in a desperate bid to save Luce from the Outcasts–immortals who want her dead. As she discovers more about her past lives, Luce starts to suspect that Daniel is hiding something. What if he has lied to her about their shared past? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?
Oh holy hannah did I love this book! I'm really not sure if it's just because it was a great story with tons of fun and a giant mystery, or that it's just *my* kind of book, but honestly, I don't care. It was awesome. One of those I-want-to-go-live-in-there kind of books. I really enjoyed the first book in the series (Fallen) but this one is not only better written, but the pacing and characterization is much more developed. Kate fills in the details slowly, and the book is set in Fort Bragg (props for a NorCal setting--that always won some bonus points for me--I love that area of Cali and wish I lived up there, well, minus the considerable amount of pot smoking that kind of rules that area :), which is a lovely, creepy atmosphere for the story she tells. There are some seriously big questions that get left unanswered here, but I'm not exactly complaining--I think the next book (Passion, which I don't honestly think I can wait til next summer for, waah!) will fill in nicely. Oh, and this time around, Kate finally fills in a battle scene, which was something I felt very cheated about in the first book. Overall, go read this one!
Okay, this is a totally rambling review, but I can't help it. Totally loved it, and now I'm kicking myself that I decided not to drive to Frisco to see her on launch day. Grr. Grad school really needs to stop interfering with my life... :)
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Give Up The Ghost by Megan Crewe
Cass McKenna much prefers the company of ghosts over "breathers." Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody... and Cass loves dirt. She's on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.
But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass's whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.
As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim's life, she's surprised to realize he's not so bad--and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it's time to give the living another chance...
Okay, I've got to stop being lazy and post covers of the books I've read. One of these days, when I actually have a spare moment, I'll do that :) Anyhow, this was a fun book. I heard about it ages ago and loved the premise--seeing ghosts, and not in a frightening way. And using the dirt they can dish to rat out the annoying people in high school? Sounds like loads of fun! And this book really was good. I loved the characters and set-up, and I got choked up quite a few times. Tim was really quite likable, despite his many problems dealing with his grief. My only problem with the book was that something felt like, well, like it was missing. I've been trying to put my finger on what was just a touch "off" about the book, and I'm still not sure what it is. It may be as simple as I wasn't as drawn in by the voice of the book as others might be, but I'm not sure. I think what it is is the details that were missing--I had a hard time really picturing the world. Not for any lack on the author's part, as she did a good job really trying to paint this world in all its colors (and smells--lots of smells!) but I just couldn't really see what was happening. Kind of strange, really, but something that crossed my mind while reading. Anyhow, good book, I'd recommend it!
Torment came in the mail yesterday and I'm DYING to start it. Today, sometime...after work, gym, tutoring, studying...I hate being this busy!!!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong…
After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s—and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives beyond the Academy’s iron gates to begin. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and he's out there, somewhere.
She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and she knows in her heart that he is hunting her. And if Rose won't join him, he won't rest until he's silenced her...forever.
I've really loved this series. It's main character, Rose, is someone I really find hilarious, and I love her temper and attitude. It makes for a run read, always. This book was no exception, and the pages turned easily. My only complaint, which is something that I noticed with the last book, Blood Promise, is that there doesn't seem to be much of an overarching theme for this series. This is fine, but with this many books strung together, I wish there were more of a point to all of them. Perhaps something will come to light with the last book, Last Sacrifice, which comes out December 7th (yay!). Anyhow, this was a fun read, nonetheless, although I'm going to be stepping back from vampire books for a while. I think I've OD'ed on them :)
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Well, that was a random stream of consciousness for ya. Eeesh. Okay, so here's why I'm writing this little bit: there's another nifty contest going down at the Guide to Literary Agents, and seeing as how I've had much success there before, I feel like I should spread the word :) Okay, well, since like no one reads this blog, not really spread the word, but at least put it out there in the universe. Anyhoot, click here to check it out. It looks to be a fun one!
Okay, I'm off to work and to ensure that no lovely first year grad students have managed to steal my desk in my office. I shall be much pissed if that's the case...
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Zoey has managed to settle in at the House of Night and come to terms with the vast powers the Goddess Nyx has given her. Just as she finally feels she belongs, the unthinkable happens: human teenagers are being killed, and all evidence points to the House of Night. While danger stalks the humans from Zoey’s old life, she begins to realize that the very powers that make her so unique might also threaten those she loves.
I've been enjoying this series. Lots of fun! And, quite frankly, light reads that allow me to just chill and enjoy the story. Something else that I've enjoyed? The fact that they pay attention to the little details. Like, she remembers to check in about the horse during the story, or remembers that she promised to do something for someone. I hate when there are things that happen in a story, and you worry about them, but they aren't ever mentioned again. Lame, I know, but I hate that! Anyhow, other things that I find interesting is that this is a mother-daughter writing team. HOW DO THEY DO THAT? I would love to know! I mean, the thought of trying to write a book with my mom makes me kind of want to run screaming through campus naked. (Okay, probably not, but you get the idea--crazy.) Anyhow, yeah, I do think it's cool. And they balance the writing with the current references well. It's just a fun thing to think about!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
After she is Marked, 16-year-old Zoey Redbird enters the House of Night and learns that she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite club, is mis-using her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny— with a little help from her new vampyre friends.
I finally managed to get around to starting this series and I really enjoyed the first book. It was a light read, but the characters and setting were fun. There are certainly some things I can't get enough of, and boarding houses, giant changes in the MC (due to strange supernatural reason) are always fun. And I also liked the Native American nod the book had. I was kind of annoyed that I can already see a twist being set up for future books, but it's not terrible. Basically, this was a fun, easy read that I particularly enjoyed!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns...
Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they've been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.
Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.
However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student ... an attraction that could jeopardize everything.
This was a fun read, and I enjoyed it, but I really, really wish there were a few things that got more attention. Like, I actually thought the fight scenes were somewhat lame--except for a few instances, the fights were bloody and epic, but I honestly couldn't see them happening. I wanted to have some good old-fashioned butt kicking (a-la Buffy) that allowed me to cheer Astrid on. Anyhow, that was my main gripe. Other than that, the book does have a kind of goofy premise, but it was also fun. I loved the descriptions of Rome, which is one of my favorite places. Some of the plot twists were obvious, and I really had a hard time believing that a lot of the parents in the book would be so willing to put their daughters into danger, but, eh, it was a fun read. Ascendant comes out later this month, and I'll definitely be checking it out!
Friday, September 10, 2010
- I'm chick-sitting. As in, I have a very cute baby chick here at work with me and over the weekend. She's adorable. And nameless. I'm not sure what to call her though. So far Popeyes, Kung-Pao, and KFC have been suggested. I'm not sure those work for her :)
- I'm going on week #3 or so of not writing. I'm not sure I should admit this, but it's true. I just haven't been feeling creative. I have another post planned about this, but we'll see if I get to it.
- My dissertation research is going well, however, despite the little chicken who is pecking at my keyboard at the moment. (I think that's a verifiably excuse, and I'm sure my adviser will think so, too!) If she poops on my keyboard, however, I shall be pissed.
- With the start of September, everything in publishing is back to full-speed, including my querying. Ugh. Can I say that I hate querying? It's like a game, with the chances of winning that are worse than the lotto.
- It's time for the weekend! I wish I were doing something more interesting than playing with the chick all weekend, but alas, I'm not.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Lenah Beaudonte is, in many ways, your average teen: the new girl at Wickham Boarding School, she struggles to fit in enough to survive and stand out enough to catch the eye of the golden-boy lacrosse captain. But Lenah also just happens to be a recovering five-hundred-year-old vampire queen. After centuries of terrorizing Europe, Lenah is able to realize the dream all vampires have -- to be human again. After performing a dangerous ritual to restore her humanity, Lenah entered a century-long hibernation, leaving behind the wicked coven she ruled over and the eternal love who has helped grant her deep-seated wish.
Until, that is, Lenah draws her first natural breath in centuries at Wickham and rediscovers a human life that bears little resemblance to the one she had known. As if suddenly becoming a teenager weren’t stressful enough, each passing hour brings Lenah closer to the moment when her abandoned coven will open the crypt where she should be sleeping and find her gone. As her borrowed days slip by, Lenah resolves to live her newfound life as fully as she can. But, to do so, she must answer ominous questions: Can an ex-vampire survive in an alien time and place? What can Lenah do to protect her new friends from the bloodthirsty menace about to descend upon them? And how is she ever going to pass her biology midterm?
Yikes, it's been a while since I've posted. Maybe because I've been doing a lot of re-reading of comfort books... It's been a pretty lousy couple of weeks around here, so I'm going to just say that :)
On to the book: I'm torn between loving this book, and the fact that it made me want to tear my hair out on more than one occasion. Actually, I nearly had to get out my red pen and start making comments in the margins. It it hadn't been a library book, I probably would have. Seriously, this book was lacking in the editing department, and I NEVER say that. But there were so many instances of: the same word being used twice (or more) in the same paragraph/sentence/page where it was uber distracting; no sense of placement (such as her shaking hands with someone while sitting on top of a tall wall that should have made it impossible to shake with the dude on the ground--just one example, there were many); references to things that have already been noted that she didn't know what they were ("scratch the needle moment" when she'd already said she didn't know what recorded music was); and then explanations of things multiple times, often within the same page--or other things that needed to be explained earlier, but weren't. UGH. Not to sound all hoity-toity, but I've had early drafts of my own work that were a lot cleaner than this.
I don't know if it's because I spend a lot of time in my character's heads, and they're all older (around the same age as Lenah, actually) so I tend to pick up on the inconsistencies more, but it really, really got to me. BUT, the flashbacks were awesome. They were what kept me reading. I think if this book had been a historical--and honestly, there was no reason why it had to be set today--it would have sold me more. The writing there was tight and awesome, and I hated coming back to the modern scenes. Also, um, Justin? What it up with the main character and having like three lovers (or four, depending on how you count it) in one book? Why did that annoy me? And could someone please tell Lenah to get her emotions to stop bouncing around all over the place? In the course of five minutes she swings from elated to depressed and back again--it was giving me whiplash.
Okay, rant over. It was a good book. I may pick up the next two, but if things keep dragging me out of the story and making me sit there and try (unsuccessfully) to find a way to make them work, well, I just can't do it. (Dang, I sound bitchy in this post. I don't mean to. There were parts of this book I adored. I just can't help sitting here going "this book has some problems--like BIG problems--and it got picked up. Mine isn't. And Won't. And that makes me want to cry. And hide under my desk. And swear obscenities under my breath.)
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.
I finished this yesterday after a marathon reading, and all I can say now is "wow." Just WOW. It was great. Just as I'd expected it to be, and then some. It really left me thinking, too, which I know was one of the intended results. There were quite a few things that happened that made me cry, or cringe, but I won't post any spoilers here. I'll just say that I liked the ending :) Oh, and that one should read this with a box of tissues handy, but considering the topic of the series, that shouldn't come as a surprise. One of the main things that I must give props to Collins for is her accurate portrayal of the effects of war, especially on children. I don't think our society really sees this much--the news doesn't talk about it, and we don't live on a battlefield. But I think it's important, and something we need to understand, if only to remind us why peace is so valuable. Collins manages to show this, without being didactic about it, and I really think that's awesome.
I must admit, I had to go read Bridget Jones' Diary after reading this, though--I needed something a little lighter.
Anyone got any comments or more spoilery topics to talk about in the comments?
Friday, August 27, 2010
Earthquakes shattered the continents, toppling entire regions into the rising water. Now, humans live packed into stack cities. The only ones with any space of their own are those who live on the ocean floor, the Dark Life. Ty has spent his whole life living deep undersea, helping his family farm the ocean floor. But when outlaws attack his homestead, Ty finds himself in a fight to save the only home he has ever known. Joined by Gemma, a girl from the Topside who has come subsea to look for her brother, Ty ventures into the frontier's rough underworld and discovers some dark secrets to Dark Life . . . secrets that threaten to destroy everything.
This was an incredibly fun read. I loved all the little references to sea-life and Ty was a great characters. The world building was really well done (though there were a few things that made me scratch my head--but this is true of most dystopians/future-set books), and I loved thinking about all the little details of what it would be like to live underwater. I also found myself wanting to know more about the world "Topside" which was also intriguing in the little details here and there. The story itself was not that intricate, and was very much like a typical Western, but it worked. Lots of fun!
Okay, I've been waiting to start Mockingjay all week and it's KILLING me!!!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
1. Trickle it in, bit by bit, as the story unfolds. Kinda a 'duh' but supposedly the best way to go about it. Of course, this can lead to the dreaded 'wtf is going on?!?' situation, but if done well, can work . (I'm apparently not subtle enough to pull this off--or so I think).
2. Suck it up and write a short-as-possible paragraph that explains things. Find some way to insert this into the story without being too obvious. Try to keep it in the voice of the character. Sometimes, it's just the only way to get everything across. (I, personally, prefer this. I want to know what's going on. Just tell me. Honestly. Get it out there, and get on with the story. I think I may be kinda alone on this kind of thinking though :)
3. Prologue. Um, ugh. All I can think of in this instance is some of the prologues in Tolkien that drag on for-EV-er. Don't get me wrong, I love Tolkien, but I honestly don't know why half the info in those prologues was there. I just don't care. In more modern books, I've seen this a lot--sometimes it works, sometimes I just skip it. Again, if done well, it can work.
4. Work it in with a conversation or thoughts, while not being too contrived. The book I'm reading now does this well--mainly because the character is introducing an outsider to his world. This works. But most of the time, I hate this method. Who, really, thinks about why they're wearing shoes/drive a car instead of a buggy/etc., in a world where whatever's normal? It's a really hard thing to get to work.
Anyhow, these are a few of the things I've seen. It really comes down to figuring what works best for the writer and the story, I think. And, quite frankly, if you can do it well, just about anything goes.
So, any ideas of other methods?
Monday, August 23, 2010
Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Court has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.
Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.
The tattoo does bring changes—not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils. . . .
I really enjoyed this book. I've never been one of the biggest fans of the fey--they've always seemed rather off-putting and not individuals I could identify with, which is probably why this book was much better suited to my tastes. I really enjoyed getting into Niall's head, and Leslie was an interesting character with whom I could really identify. The first half to two-thirds of the book were a blur of pages. But when the ink exchange was complete, well, I think the nature what that implied kind of blurred the characters and made it harder for me to not only follow what was going on, but to keep my interest. It's a fine line to walk, when the characters change so much, and are under such duress, that they no longer reach out to the reader. I don't think it worked especially well here. That said, I do need to pick up the rest of this series, as I really love the world Marr has built and need to read more :)
And Mockingjay comes out in an hour and a half. Holy crap, can't wait!!
Friday, August 20, 2010
- It's time for the Yolo County Fair again! Hubby and I will be going, and I'm looking forward to it, even if it's only to giggle a little at how funny my hometown is.
- Why is it that even though I'm not teaching I am still insanely busy? This, dear reader, does not make sense. I want some free time. Or all free time. Provided I still got a paycheck, this would be awesome. Hmm, maybe I should buy some lottery tickets.
- I survived family weekend last weekend--meaning most of everyone was home. My uncle included. It was interesting. I survived. Hehe!
- I have been applying for jobs. This amuses me to no end. I mean, I'm qualified to teach college classes, but it makes me laugh that I'm even thinking about actually getting to do so. It's along the lines of 'when did this become real?' I'd still like to know the answer to that question...
- My mom is dating some guy. It's pretty serious. This will probably be a future blog topic, but suffice it to say that it is strange. She's dated before, but this is much, much more serious. I'm not sure what to think about it... Like, it's really strange being the married kid watching my mom date. Strange. Just, strange.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Fifteen-year-old Callie buys a pair of real Prada pumps to impress the cool crowd on a school trip to London. Goodbye, Callie the clumsy geek-girl, hello popularity! But before she knows what’s hit her, Callie wobbles, trips, conks her head… and wakes up in the year 1815!
She stumbles about until she meets the kind-hearted Emily, who takes Callie in, mistaking her for a long-lost friend. Sparks soon fly between Callie and Emily’s cousin, Alex, the maddeningly handsome—though totally arrogant—Duke of Harksbury. Too bad he seems to have something sinister up his ruffled sleeve…
From face-planting off velvet piano benches and hiding behind claw-foot couches to streaking through the estate halls wearing nothing but an itchy blanket, Callie’s curiosity about Alex creates all kinds of trouble.
But the grandfather clock is ticking on her 19th Century shenanigans. Can Callie save Emily from a dire engagement, win a kiss from Alex, and prove to herself that she’s more than just a loud-mouth klutz before her time there is up?
Thanks again to the library book sale for this one :) Okay, so, let's see here. I read this in about a day, and had seriously been looking forward to it. Time-travel? Sign me up! But, well, I found it lacking, at least in the first half. I think this was mostly due to Callie, the main character. She kind of made me crazy. I wanted to reach through the pages and slap her more than once. Sure, she kind of grew up toward the end and made it bearable, but overall, I wasn't so sold on the book. Callie's emotions bounced around more than a rubber ball in a small box. She went from pissed off to elated in no time, with very little provocation. And when she starts off as a shy person, then yells in someones face, it left me wondering what was going on. But, things got more interesting toward the end, and I did enjoy the last part--even if I found her plan to "help" Emily forehead-smackingly stupid. (Sorry, but it was!) Anyhow, I know there are plenty of teens out there who might see Callie as expressing true teen emotions, but I found her dull-witted and obnoxious. I was never like her as a teen. (And on a random side-note, this might explain my rejection from this author--also an agent--we have very different views of our teen years? I'm not saying she was like Callie, as I'm sure she wasn't, but I think we may have different views of that age group. This has given me lots to think about, to say the least...) Anyhow, this makes a good, light read, maybe for a younger audience.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Margaret Lea works in her father's antiquarian bookshop where her fascination for the biographies of the long-dead has led her to write them herself. She gets a letter from one of the most famous authors of the day, the mysterious Vida Winter, whose popularity as a writer has been in no way diminished by her reclusiveness. Until now, Vida has toyed with journalists who interview her, creating outlandish life histories for herself - all of them invention. Now she is old and ailing, and at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. Her letter to Margaret is a summons.
Somewhat anxiously, the equally reclusive Margaret travels to Yorkshire to meet her subject - and Vida starts to recount her tale. It is one of gothic strangeness featuring the March family; the fascinating, devious and wilful Isabelle and the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline.
Margaret is captivated by the power of Vida's storytelling. But as a biographer she deals in fact not fiction, and she doesn't entirely trust Vida's account. She goes to check up on the family, visiting their old home and piecing together their story in her own way. What she discovers on her journey to the truth is for Margaret a chilling and transforming experience.
Another adult book, and another I snagged from the library book sale :) This was a fun, fun read, and I totally recommend it. There's a reason it's been so popular. It totally follows in the same vein as the older gothic stories, and reads a lot like some of the Victorian English writers. Now, I'll admit, I've read a lot of older novels, and sometimes I have a very hard time getting into them. The language and setting just isn't relatable to me and I have to really work to get into them. This book, while maintaining the older style, is still "modern" enough to engage me easily. The main character is very identifiable, and I really liked her. The story she records is captivating and kept me up late. Seriously--check this out!
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Stephanie has also put us to the challenge to use ten words to describe our goals are a writer. I'm not sure I can come up with ten, but here's my go:
- Best-seller (does this count as two?)
- Fantastic deal (as in, how they describe the publisher deals at the big houses ;)
Friday, August 13, 2010
The problem? My husband. He wants kids. Like, a LOT. It's been a bone of contention for ages. Lately, it's come to a head, again, and he can hardly even look at me. It hurts. I don't want to lose my husband because I want to work. Because I don't want to just be a walking, talking uterus for him. Because, that's what it feels like. He doesn't want ME, he wants me to have kids for HIM. And then to raise them, keep them clean and happy, and out of his hair. Because, let's face it here, he's not going to be helping me much in the parenting department. He about flipped out the other night when I pointed out that he hasn't done the dishes in months. And don't get me started on the fact that he can't remember anything, let alone that to pick up a kid from practise or that we need milk. Oh, and seeing as how I can't get him to wake up enough to move from the couch to bed without getting my head bitten off, let's get real about late night baby duty. I keep thinking about these things and I KNOW I CAN'T DO THE WHOLE RAISE A KID THING ALONE. I'll need his help. And I'm looking at how things stand now and I know I won't get it. So am I excited to start a family? Am I thinking I can even do it? No. Not at all. And I don't know what to do.
It's not like I can even talk to him about this. He won't listen to my criticism without getting totally defensive and argue every little point with me. I can't argue with him. I just start crying and that makes things go from bad to worse, and quite frankly I'm a shitty arguer. So, I'm stuck. I have a million concerns and no way to address them. I'm scared to death to have children with this man, but don't want to lose him either. I don't think I can have it both ways. It just won't work. And I hate it.
On a more personal note, I am scared to not be "me" with kids. I don't want to be one of those people whose whole world revolves around their kids. Kids grow up and leave. And then what? I'll have wasted my life for some new generation? I don't just want to be a uterus. I know I've said that, but it's true. That's all anyone wants from me. Yeah, sure, raising the next generation all that? Great. But what about THIS generation? What about making a difference in the world TODAY? Am I only here to make a better tomorrow? That just doesn't make sense. And, I don't want to get fat. I hate looking in the mirror already--it makes my physically sick. Add stretch marks and an extra twenty pounds? No thanks. I'll find something sharp first.
I need help and I don't know what to do.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Hazel Stone, who is just starting her junior year in high school, is desperate to make new friends. Tired of the default group she's a part of, Hazel wants to be a member of the Pretty Little Devils, which consists of perfect popular girls. To her surprise, Sylvia Orly, the leader of the PLDs, agrees, and soon Hazel is inducted into the group, which subsists on secret parties during babysitting jobs, horror movies, and practical jokes.
Meanwhile, Hazel has eyes on Matty Vardeman --- but so does Breona Wu, the head cheerleader and Sylvia's mortal enemy. Lucky for Hazel, he chooses the newly "damned" PLD instead of the cheerleader. Unfortunately this makes Breona extremely angry, and she and Hazel begin getting into fights in class.
Sounds like typical high school drama. Well, it is --- until things turn sinister. All of the PLDs, including low-key Carolyn, shy Ellen and giggly Megan, start receiving strange phone calls and text messages referring to them as "bad babysitter[s]" and threatening to kill them. None of the girls know who's responsible. Before long, students are being killed and suspicions are falling on the PLDs. The end result of this tumultuous year for Hazel and her friends is somewhat unexpected. (review from TeensReads.com)
A quick little read that is supposed to be Mean Girls meets Scream (or other really bad horror flick). Anyhow, I figured out who the real killer was in like the first ten pages, so this was pretty much a yawn for me. And the characterization--well, let's just say that I've had fish with more personality than the main character. I honestly don't think she was fleshed out at all, and I was almost kind of sad she didn't bite it in the book. Okay, that's harsh, but it was truly terrible. (I'm also kind of wondering--today's my 10 year reunion for high school, and while this in no way depicts what high school was like for me, I'm feel the teen-angst and annoyance just remembering those years...) So, anyway, I'm going to go thumbs-down on this sucker. Not worth the time, unfortunately.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Georgia Walker's entire life is wrapped up in running her knitting store, Walker and Daughter, and caring for her 12-year-old daughter, Dakota. With the help of Anita, a lively widow in her seventies, Georgia starts the Friday Night Knitting Club, which draws loyal customers and a few oddballs. Darwin Chiu, a feminist grad student, believes knitting is downright old-fashioned, but she's drawn to the club as her young marriage threatens to unravel. Lucie, 42, a television producer, is about to become a mother for the first time--without a man in her life. Brash book editor KC finds her career has stalled unexpectedly, while brilliant Peri works at Walker and Daughter by day and designs handbags at night. Georgia gets her own taste of upheaval when Dakota's father reappears, hoping for a second chance. The yarn picks up steam as it draws to a conclusion, and an unexpected tragedy makes it impossible to put down.
I've been slacking in the fiction department for a while now, but I've got a backlog of books to read for my dissertation. I'm afraid I'm not going to be reviewing The Mimbres People here, much to everyone else's disappointment I'm sure :) (It's actually a really good book, for anyone looking.) Anyhow, I picked this up from my overflowing TBR pile and dove in. Overall, it was a good book. The characters were real, I felt for them, and I liked their interactions quite a bit. It made me wish I knew how to knit :) I laughed at the depiction of the academic being "too good" or whatever for knitting, as over 50% of the female grad students here knit while studying. It's far more common than most people think, though my sample may be biased as anthropologist tend to have a better grasp on the importance of the past... Okay, I could ramble on that for way too long. Anyhow, I did have some confusion at the sudden POV shifts in the book, where the 3rd person narration was from one character's point and would shift in the middle of a page to someone else's. Really frustrating!
My only real problem with the book was the ending. I mean, I saw it coming (I read the acknowledgements too early I guess, which is never something that's been a problem before, but these gave it away), and it was sad and all, but also felt kinda forced. Like, all the other characters have things working out for them, but something bad has to happen, so let's kill someone off. Um, okay. Anyhow, there's a sequel out "Knit Two" and I'll be hunting for that this weekend at the library book sale :)
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Okay, let me back up here a bit. I'm incredibly happy for my critique partner. We've been working together for several years now and I love her work. She deserves to succeed more than anyone I can think of. She's got an utterly awesome book that I am so happy to be able to say I got to read it in its early stages. It rocks! And, of course, things are falling into place for her. It was bound to happen, and I'm really, truly, happy for her. And I'll admit that I wish that I could say the same for myself. No, I don't wish it were me, not her, but I do wish I were seeing the same kind of response. And I kind of hate myself for even thinking that. But, there's no way to just "turn the switch" and have my feelings go away, so I really should be funneling this energy into something, right? Um, like making cookies. Cuz that's what I'm doing this morning. Yup. Oatmeal chocolate-chip. *insert drool here*
And, hey, I won a little contest this morning, over on Rose Cooper's blog :) Some days it's the smaller things--right? Like contests and cookies.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Okay, I'll admit it, I'm really just looking for an excuse to buy an iPad. I'll admit it. I want one. Badly. And I'll never be good enough for Santa to bring one to me.
There's just one problem with buying an eReader. I can't get used books on it. I mean, that's pretty much how I support my habit of books in general. (Library book sale this weekend! The dates for such are posted on the fridge--hallowed ground for things to do in my place--and hubby and I wake early on Sundays for $5 a bag books. Oh, it's glorious. And we have WAY too many books.) So, yeah, even paying $10 for a book is much more than I generally spend. What can I say? The University pays me just above minimum wage to teach your lovely children about evolution. With the way things are going in Cali, I'm frankly surprised I get paid at all.
(This isn't strictly true--I mean, I do get paid peanuts to teach at the university--but I do buy regular books frequently, too. But, the vast majority of my library is used. Someday this will change, like, ya know, after I sign that mammoth book deal that allows me to quit my job. *Insert hysterical laughing here*)
So, that's my issue with buying the new kindle that's coming out, that I really want, is actually totally affordable (thanks to my in-laws and their b-day gift of a gift card to amazon--totally the way to my heart, trust me!). It would still answer the conundrum of all the freaking academic papers though, so I might still do it.
So, the question is, do you have an eReader? Do you like it? What kind do you have?
Friday, July 30, 2010
I do have a minor recommendation for your weekend: go see the movie "MICMACS" if you can find it in your area. If you enjoyed Amelie (which I totally adored), it is by the same director and has the same wild and crazy feel, mixed in with some steam-punk. Trust me, I totally adored it. Yeah, yeah, it's got subtitles and all, but it's worth it. After so many crappy movies coming out this summer (with the one exception in Inception), this one really stood out. Go see it!
Oh holy crap, I might even get a chance to get some writing done. Imagine the possibilities!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
This is not what I thought I'd be thinking ten years ago. I remember sitting in the blazing hot sun of my graduation, attempting not to fall asleep (I'd been one of those nerds who had studied for their finals, though I'm not sure why I did now...). Anyhow, I remember frying in my bright orange robes and thinking, "oh, it'll be cool to see where everyone is in ten years! Dang, that seems like forever from now." Um, it's not. And I can pretty much see where everyone is. A whole lot of us got stuck in and around Woodland. I am officially 11 miles away from where I graduated from. Fun, eh? A few of us escaped Cali, most of us have kids (with the few stragglers like myself), are married, many already divorced, and just living our lives. Do I really want to drop $100 to spend an evening with people I didn't particularly care for ten years ago? Ummm, no. My thinking has very much changed.
I worry, though, that maybe, just maybe, there's a good reason for me to go? I mean, other than to flout the fact that I am STILL in school, as yet unpublished, and living in the dreaded burb of Davis? Am I going to miss out on some incredibly awesome party that I might enjoy? Anyone got a good story about their reunion that might convince me to go? :)
Monday, July 26, 2010
So, now I'm wondering, is this just me? Is the fact that our apartment is smaller than most in NYC, and my office chair can't even go back all the way without hitting his chair a factor? Probably. But what can I do about it? I don't want to be an inattentive wife, and I do like spending time together, but if he's here, how to do I get other work done, nicely? I mean, one would think that being married for going on eight years would have solved this, but nope, I'm seriously curious :)
Anyone have this problem? Found some kind of solution?
Sunday, July 25, 2010
This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one.
Just a few months ago, it was Sam who was the mythical creature. His was the disease we couldn't cure. His was the good-bye that meant the most. He had the body that was a mystery, too strange and wonderful and terrifying to comprehend.
But now it is spring. With the heat, the remaining wolves will soon be falling out of their wolf pelts and back into their human bodies. Sam stays Sam, and Cole stays Cole, and it's only me who's not firmly in my own skin.
Really, honestly, I don't have words for how awesome this book was. I really enjoyed the first one, but this book took things to a whole new level (which is impressive, considering the second book in a series always seems to lag--this one didn't, at ALL). Anyhow, the story was great, the characters were so real, and the writing was superb. There have been few books that I really just had to savor, set down for a bit while I mull over a turn-of-phrase, or just think about what happened (the only other book that comes to mind is The Book Theif, which also knocked my socks off). Anyhow, it was an awesome read. For other science types out there, don't think too hard about the ending--I'm hoping things are explained more in book #3--but do read it. Totally worth it. I really should have made the trek to San Fran to see the author this past weekend, but it just wasn't in the cards. Still very much kicking myself for that!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
The other thing I've been pondering quite a bit is the multi-cultural aspect of the story. The male lead is Mexican, and the ghost story revolves around La Llorona (which scared the piss out of me as a child). Anyhow, despite speaking Spanish and having spent the better part of my youth with the almost entirely Hispanic population in my hometown, I always worry I'm going to miss-represent something. It's tricky. For now, I think it's just write the story as it comes, but it is in the back of my mind, and I know I'll have to seriously go through the scenes later, checking for any kind of inconsistencies. Always fun....
And now, back to reading LINGER. Seriously, one of the best books I've read is ages. I'm forcing myself to savor it and not just sit down and read it in one sitting, which is killing me!
Saturday, July 17, 2010
When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead… Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life.
I'm not generally someone who likes to post negative reviews. If I don't like a book, I may say so, but I'm not going to really say a whole lot about why. This book, on the other hand, really annoyed me. Like, I really hated it. My husband kept asking why I was bothering to finish it because I kept grumbling about the plot holes, painful writing, and dragging pace. And honestly, the only reason I did was because I wanted to hear a little more about WHY this book was considered a paranormal and what on earth was going on. I had figured out the twist during the first meeting between Abbey and Caspian, and then it just dragged and dragged on forever. Finally at the end I figured I'd get SOME answers, but it dropped off in a cliffhanger for the next book. Honestly, I don't care now. I'll be leaving the next two books well enough alone, as I can't slog through the everyday workings of a rather childish teenager who pretty much annoyed me for 500 pages. Eesh, I'm not meaning to rant, but seriously, there was a lot o fluff in here and a lot that didn't have anything to do with the plot, and honestly, the book could have been a hundred pages long and might, might then have caught my interest. Seriously, I'm recommending to leave this one well enough alone.
Friday, July 16, 2010
- It's hot. Like, melt the pavement hot. I don't mind this, so long as I can stay in the one room in my apartment that has air-conditioning. Too bad that room is not my office. So, I'll be spending a loooong day at work, attempting to not melt. This doesn't go so well with being bundled into a lab coat and other fun protective gear. Some days should just be vacation.
- Did I mention only two more weeks of summer school? Well, I'm saying it again. If I can somehow pound out four more lectures and the final exam, I'm home free! And by free I mean I'll be working my a$$ off on my dissertation for the next five months. Ahhh, gotta love it. Not.
- In keeping with #2, I'm really sick of school. I am going to be completely unemployable, and once I'm done my most qualifying skill will be my mad skills with a hairnet. Why have I spent the last 10 years of my life doing this???
- Oh, yeah, because I love teaching. I mean, it's mind suckingling exhausting and takes YEARS of time, but it's fun. Even when I fall asleep in my own lecture. Yep, did that masterful work yesterday. In my defence, we were watching a movie I have seen exactly 8 times now, and it's dull. BUT, it's a good one for the students, and it's a day I don't have to prep 65 slides. So, I slept in the back of the class like a good little freshman :)
- I'm currently reading a really lousy book. It's making me feel SO much better about my own writing. Lame, I know, but some days it's the little things that count...