Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Review Wednesday: Not That Easy (Sequel to Virgin), but Radhika Sanghini

Not That EasyNot That Easy by Radhika Sanghani

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book is the sequel to Virgin, which was such a hilarious read. So when the publisher asked if I wanted a shot at the sequel, of course I jumped at the chance. And I'm so glad I did. It was maybe not quite as good as the first book, but it was still well worth reading.

In this book, Ellie has shed her virginity and is ready to move on...in a big way. Like, she decides to be a slut. She begins this quest by joining Tinder to meet men online.

Like the first book, this one has its share of gross-out moments. When Ellie kisses one of her dates and he bleeds on her face (NOT KIDDING!) I was gagging. But not all her dates are as bad as that one. The book isn't exactly a romance, though Ellie does meet a guy named Nick and date him for most of the book. At first, I thought he was a little *too* perfect, but when his ugly side comes out...wow. I don't know if English people are different about their view of the word slut, but I was a lot more pissed at Nick than Ellie was. I couldn't believe her friends were telling her to give him another chance. Ugh. No matter what apology, his angry side was inexcusably ugly and misogynistic.

There were some big laughs, too. I was thoroughly absorbed, though it took a few days to get there this time, so I stayed up late reading one night. Ellie and Nick were hooking up, and in the midst of it, they had a disastrous 69 attempt that left me in tears of laughter. I couldn't stop laughing for so long I thought they neighbors might come check on me to see if I'd completely lost my mind. So if you were a fan of the first book and its humor, you will probably like this one as well. Not quite as good, but a strong sophomore effort from Sanghini. I will be waiting patiently for more from this author.



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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Review Wednesday: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Circling the SunCircling the Sun by Paula McLain

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Received from NetGalley for honest review.

I love this author so much. The Paris Wife was one of my favorite books I've read this decade. This one was also good, but I wouldn't say it's quite as good as McLain's first. But considering how much I loved The Paris Wife, it's a small miracle that this one didn't disappoint me in every way. But it didn't. It was good enough that I loved reading it, but it was also so dense that it took me FOREVER to finish. It's definitely one of those books that people call 'an epic saga' even if it's not. Because it is just so long, and covers such a long time, a huge span of this woman's life and a lot of things that happen during it.

I loved all the descriptions of Kenya the most. They were so lovely, as were some of McLain's observations about humans and human nature. It's hard for me to describe such a dense book in a little review. In summary: I love this book, it's beautiful, and you should read it!



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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Guest Post: The Inspiration of Famous Authors, by Hilda Simpson



 Hi, all!
Today I have the privilege of sharing with you a post by a fellow author about fellow authors. Take it away, Hilda!


Hemingway wrote standing, Nabokov used the index cards, Vonnegut recharged with scotch and Murakami with sports. We bring you the most interesting evidence of outstanding writers, on how they created a working day that inspired them.

Ernest Hemingway: wrote standing on the skin of the African antelope

The typewriter was at the level of his chest, a stack of paper was located on the left, he took a sheet, put it on the board and started writing by hand. His handwriting was becoming larger and more boyish over the years and he started neglecting punctuation and capital letters. At the same time he had a schedule of productivity - every day the writer pointed out how many words he had written (the figure varied from 450 to 1250). Hemingway treated his craft with the same share of poetry and pragmatism.

“When working on a book or a story I start every morning with the first rays of sun. No one can bother me, it is cold or even cool, you sit down to work and write until warmed. You read what you’ve written and start from the episode, when you know what happens next. You write until you have the strength and yet know what will happen after, then stop and try to survive until the next day. Suppose you start at 6 a.m. and work until noon or finished earlier. When you finish, you're so devastated and at the same time filled as if you were making love to your loved one. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing matters until the next day when you start again”.

Ray Bradbury: great dreamer

Ray Bradbury, a science fiction classic, told the Paris Review in an interview that loves his favorite genre for ideas that have not yet been implemented but will be in the near future, for the “art of the possible”. He compared such literature with the myth of Perseus and Medusa: rather than facing it, you look at her over your shoulder and through a mirror (though science fiction looks into the future, but reflects the urgency). It is no wonder that with such a love for fiction Bradbury also insisted on the principle of working with pleasure.

“I can work anywhere. I wrote in the bedrooms and living rooms when I lived with my parents and brother in a small house in Los Angeles. I typed in the living room to the sound of the radio and parents talking with my brother. Later, when I worked on “Fahrenheit 451”, I came to the University of California, Los Angeles and found the print room in the basement. If you insert 10 cents into the machine, you can buy a half-hour of the printing time”.

Mark Twain: a talented smoker

Few people know that Twain wrote poems and fairy tales for children, rather he is known as the author of witty responses to readers (his comments to their letter was published as a book). Also the writer was famous for aphorisms, which eloquently show his attitude to work: “Let us be grateful to Adam, our benefactor. He took the “blessing” of idleness away from us and gained the “curse” of labor”.

He walked into the office in the morning after a good breakfast and remained there until dinner, i.e, to 5 p.m. Since he missed lunch and the family did not dare to disturb him - they used the horn, if they needed him – he was able to work for several hours in a row. After the dinner he read what he has written for the whole family. He liked to be listened to. On Sundays he didn’t work and had a rest with his wife and children, read and slept during the day somewhere in a shady spot near their house. Regardless of whether he worked or not, he always smoked cigars.

By Hilda Simpson
freelance writer for globalessays.org

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Superiors Book 4 Cover Reveal

I've been working on rewrites, but I got my cover commissioned so I'm going to go ahead and show it to you! My wonderful cover artist always does a great job working to get the cover to my exact specifications, and she's done so again this time. Look for the book coming soon. Until then, enjoy the cover.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Review: Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes

SugarSugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Confession: I got this book out of the middle-grade section at my library, but I got it mostly for myself. I didn't really think my son would like it--he doesn't like 'girl' books in general, and he's not interested in discrimination, racism, slavery or history in general. So I thought I'd put it on when he was in the car, and when he complained, I'd turn it off and listen to it by myself when he wasn't in the car with me.
Turns out, he loved it. He never complained once about it being girlie, or from a girl's point of view. It's such a good story that he probably forgot all about his boycentric favorites. And I was completely absorbed as well. I enjoyed this much more than the YA book I listened to on my own at the same time.
This is a great look at a time that isn't as widely written about as slavery--the time after, during 'reconstruction,' when slaves weren't much better off but at least had their freedom. Sugar is a young black girl, an orphan, who lives on a sugarcane plantation. The attitudes of the white people were realistic, with the son more open to the changes occurring than the parents, who had once been slave owners. The author's note at the end said that she became interested in the Chinese immigrants who came after the Civil War to replace some of the slaves who had gone north. So that's a big part of this book as well. It was fascinating to watch the characters each shed their own prejudices and become friends with the other group, each of which had little knowledge of the other. The book puts great emphasis on the powerful bonding experience of sharing our cultures' foods, as well as the universal human trait of storytelling, and how we find common ground in our stories, which reveal our culture.
The whole book was so well done. It had a lot to say, but the author never lost sight of the story, so it was always entertaining even while getting its messages across. And that's the most important thing--the story always comes first. This is a great story with a funny, realistic, and loveable trickster of a heroine. I loved it, and so did my son.




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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Review: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Turn of the ScrewThe Turn of the Screw by Henry James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


So anyway...

That's kind of how I felt at the end of this book. It was certainly interesting and engaging. The suspense was great, and it kept me going the whole book. I couldn't wait to see what came next. But the whole book was really bizarre, too, and I'm still not sure that I understood any of it. My interpretation of the events, especially the ending, is probably way off base from what a lit professor would say.

Our protagonist is a governess to two children, one of whom was expelled from boarding school for mysterious reasons. The children both seem perfect angels at first. Then our protagonist begins seeing ghosts and enlists the sympathy of the housekeeper, convincing her that the children see the ghosts (and consort and plot with them), too. But why the children would want to fool everyone into thinking they didn't see the ghosts, if they did...why they wanted to hang out with ghosts in the first place...etc, etc, I could never figure out.

And the ending...whoa. Just going to let that sit a few days and see what conclusion my brain comes to regarding that little gem.



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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review: The Fire-Eaters by David Almond

The Fire-EatersThe Fire-Eaters by David Almond

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is a little gem of a book with a wonderful melancholy tone and a grey mood. I found myself feeling slightly depressed every time I listened. It had a very sobering, yet also calming, effect on me as a reader. The author was able to draw me in to the character's mind and his environment by creating such powerful atmosphere throughout. I did find that in a few places, scenes were glossed over instead of fully explored. For instance, the climax scene seemed more like a summary than a fully developed scene. Which was really a shame, because it could have been very intense.

Overall, I loved this book, though. Atmosphere is very important to me, and this book had it all the way. Also, I don't see many books set in the time of the Cuban missile crisis, or that focus on the paranoia and the effect that had on countries other than American.

A great read for kids and adults alike.

Age 9-10+ due to some mild self mutilation. My son grew very upset and I had to turn it off when the kid started poking himself with a pin, even though I didn't find it disturbing.



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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a true storyWe Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a true story by Josh Sundquist

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Received from NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

This book is kind of a mixed bag for me. I did like it. I liked the main character and his story was interesting. I liked the format of the book, with the MC (Josh) looking at all his relationships and investigating why they failed. And I liked that eventually he admitted to himself that part of the problem was his own perceptions.

However, I really would have liked better answers! I know this is a true story, but sometimes, when he contacted the girls he'd dated to ask why it didn't work out, they didn't give much of an answer. Which I guess is how it works in real life. This is supposed to be a true story, after all. But it didn't make for the most satisfying read. Plus, some of the relationships failed for the most obvious reasons to the reader, but Josh never seemed to realize what had happened. It wasn't clear that he'd learned anything when he looked at the relationships in retrospect.

I did enjoy the little diagrams, and overall, it was a good story. The MC just seemed a little clueless and out of touch with reality.

Overall, this was a fun, fast read that left me with a good feeling. Recommended for all ages, but would probably not appeal to anyone younger than 12 or so.

Content: Nothing objectionable except a few subtle hints about a teenage boy getting, ahem, excited.



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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Review: Nest by Esther Ehrlich

NestNest by Esther Ehrlich

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Received from NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

This is a sweet, sad MG novel set in Cape Cod. I can see this being nominated for a Newberry Award, as it has lots of issues--mental illness, physical disability, grief, family relationships, etc. It stops just short of drowning in so many issues that I couldn't enjoy the story itself.

I loved the girls' relationship with their father, and how 'shrinky' he was. I loved how Rachel, the MC's sister, began to change as she became a teen, and how her psychologist father struggled with that--with knowing why she was doing what she did, but also being her father and emotionally invested. I also loved the girls' relationship with their mother, the little that was shown. And most of all, I loved their relationship with each other. I definitely recommend reading this with a box of tissues nearby, as it will likely make you cry. And I love a book that can make me cry.

So why only 3 stars?

I requested this book because I spent summers on the Cape as a kid, and everything Cape Cod related makes me nostalgic now. And while at times the author mentions a place (Route 6, etc), I never felt like I was THERE. I love books with an atmosphere that swallows me or brings me back, whether I have been to the place or not. I want the setting AND the atmosphere of the place. This book could have been written by someone who had never set foot on the Cape and simply Googled a map of it. So I was disappointed that the setting did not come alive. It could have just as easily been set in Michigan or Florida or Arizona and it would not have made a bit of difference. Which is fine, if your story isn't about place. But this one seemed like it wanted to be.

Also, the MC's best friend, Joey, was completely irrelevant to me. He had a story, but it was never satisfying to read. Every time she and Joey hung out, I was waiting for her to go home so I could see what was really going on. I understand that the author wanted her to have a life outside of home, too, but it seemed so trivial compared to her home life. AND, the last quarter of the book and the climax all included Joey instead of her family, and I just didn't feel like he was a strong enough or interesting enough character to carry the story that way.

I started out with high hopes, and at first, this book met them. But then it kind of fizzled out, going back and forth between the real story here and what feels like extraneous, filler pages. The focus of the book ends up seeming to be about her and Joey. I would have liked the author to pick one central plot and stick to it, just adding Joey on the side. Instead, it feels like the book can't decide what it wants to be about, like it's just random exciting incidents that don't tie together to form a strong central story.

Would recommend this to 10+ fans of MG novels. Please be prepared to talk to your child about death, grief, and dealing with the loss of a parent.




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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #4: At the Water's Edge, by Sara Gruen

 For Waiting on Wednesday, a feature over at Breaking the Spine, this week I had to pick Sara Gruen's new book (out March 31). I loved Water for Elephants, and this one looks amazing. Can't wait to read it!

Goodreads description:
In her stunning new novel, Gruen returns to the kind of storytelling she excelled at in Water for Elephants: a historical timeframe in an unusual setting with a moving love story. Think Scottish Downton Abbey.

After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind. To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war. Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants. The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Review: When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez

When Reason BreaksWhen Reason Breaks by Cindy L.  Rodriguez

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Received for review from Netgalley.

I'm not really sure what to think about this book. It had some interesting aspects that really drew me in, but overall, I was left with a kind of 'eh' feeling about it.

This is a book about 2 girls and their teacher, who teaches Emily Dickinson for English class. Both girls have their troubles. Elizabeth has a bad family life and acts out at school and at home, and is a mild trouble-maker and sort of hardened. Emily is quiet and a bit meek, stifled by her politician father and largely ignored by the rest of her family. They bond over Emily Dickinson.

I loved the Emily Dickinson theme that ran through it. It was a cool exploration of her life and her poetry, even though I've never been a big fan. I liked the girls' relationship with each other and with their teacher. But...

This book felt shallow. It deals with big issues (children effected by actions of their parents--divorced, adulterous, controlling, gay), a girl growing apart from her childhood friends, first love/sex, sibling relationships, friendship, suicide, depression, a pregnancy scare, etc, without really getting into any one of them. I feel like any of those issues could have been the entire plot of the book, but with so much going on, nothing was explored with any depth. The two main characters barely speak for most of the book, and I never felt I knew either of them very well. I picked up on Emily's depression and Elizabeth's frustration, but I never felt those along with the characters. I never felt outraged on their behalf. Emily was almost a fully developed character, enough that I shed a tear or two for her. But I never got inside her head, esp. with her relationship with her boyfriend. He was a regular guy--a cutup in class but sweet to her, and I loved him for being a real guy and not one of those annoyingly perfect YA boys. But I never felt her emotion towards him. She gave up her friendships with her two best friends to hang out with him, but why? I could barely tell she liked him. Mostly she isolated because of her depression, so her relationship with him didn't feel real. And Elizabeth just seemed too erratic and all over the place. I didn't dislike her, I just didn't care, which is much worse when I'm reading a book.

Another problem was that it's told from several points of view, and there's a lot of head hopping instead of moving from one scene/chapter to another before switching to a new character. And the past/present tense switches were confusing and seemed at random much of the time. It made scenes more complicated and disjointed than they needed to be, and disrupted the flow of the narrative.

Reading this was kind of like beta reading a draft of someone's novel that just doesn't have a plot. It feels like the author tries way too hard to tie all the Emily Dickinson stuff in and ends up with a novel that doesn't feel authentic. It's like when someone writes a book to make a point, with the story being secondary. Which never works for me.

Overall, this was a novel with some important issues to discuss, but it fails in the execution. I wish it had been a beta read, because then I'd have more hope that it would be excellent after a lot of work. It has the potential to be awesome, but as is, it's just okay.





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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were LiarsWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Where to start...perhaps with the back cover (makes sense, right?): the back cover says that this book is a thriller.

No.

Okay, now that THAT is out of the way. I read another book by this author last year, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, which is much beloved by me and many others. And while this book was not my favorite, I am keeping Ms. Lockhart on my list of favorite authors for now, because I really, really, really want her to be there. I really, really, really wanted to love this book. I pushed for my book club to read it. I put it on hold at the library for ages. And I was super excited to hear that it won the Goodreads Choice YA award. I may have even voted for it before I read it (I can't remember if I actually did this, but I wanted to read it that bad). When I popped the first audiobook disc in my CD player, I was all smiles. And they lasted for most of the first disk (1/5 of the book).

The author does a lovely job describing the scenery, the place, the atmosphere. She paints a lovely, perfectly imperfect picture of the old-money family and their perfect exterior. And the kids were real, smart, each different than the others. But here's the thing about reading YA. It's about teenagers. And it's so easy for adults to overwrite teenagers. There's the one end of the spectrum, where the kids are clueless and talk like in text-message lingo or non-stop slang until the reader is left rolling eyes and laughing at the author's overdone juvenile portrayal. And then there's the other end of the spectrum, where the reader is rolling her eyes saying, "Oh come on! I'm a college-educated adult and I don't talk like that!" If an author is going to go this way, they will usually acknowledge it (John Green writes about 'nerds' although I still don't believe he spoke anywhere near the way his characters do when he was a teenager), which Lockhart does to some extent, saying how Gat is so thoughtful and wants to understand, having another character mention how he's always bringing up the patriarchy. I'm not a fan of the smarter-than-adults trope in YA.

But overall, this book was just okay. I wasn't completely shocked by the ending. It kind of fit. It seemed a bit anticlimactic, to be honest. I didn't see it coming. I just wasn't terribly surprised by it, either.

The author had some good things to say about the patriarchy, actually, and how the grandfather's money, manipulations and even his love had formed his daughters into the kind of people they were. I just thought the book could have hit a little harder, dug a little deeper, instead of focusing so much on the mystery of what happened to the protagonist before her accident. I feel like this book had a lot to say, but wasn't quite brave enough to say it all the way.

Recommended for ages 12+
A bit of language and some traumatic events.



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Monday, February 2, 2015

Tuesday is Now Review Day!

Hello, readers,

I want to keep doing reviews but I've now joined Waiting on Wednesday, so I've moved my reviews to Tuesdays. New books are released that day, so it seems logical. You can expect more YA reviews, like always, along with a few adult reads and some MG scattered in there as well. I will post reviews for new books on the date of release, since I often get them ahead of time for review.

Thanks for reading, and look for reviews every Tuesday this year.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #3: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

For my third WoW, I'm posting about Courtney Summers' latest installment (out April 15th). I've only read one of her books, but she writes about all the things I love--messed up kids being messed up and messing up other kids. I mean, who doesn't want to read about that? Lol...She's on my list of contemporary YA authors who write gritty books. Just the kind I like.

Goodreads synopsis: 

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous.But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #2 WE ALL LOOKED UP

For my second WoW post, I'm going with a book I randomly stumbled across on Goodreads. For some reason, I can't stop thinking about it!

Waiting on Wednesday is a cool feature over at Breaking the Spine where we drool over forthcoming books that we can't wait to read.

Here is mine:



Goodreads synopsis:
Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel.

They always say that high school is the best time of your life.

Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried “they” might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can’t wait to escape Seattle—and her reputation—and perfect-on-paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, doesn’t understand all the fuss about college and career—the future can wait.

Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors—along with the rest of the planet—wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they’re going to spend what remains of the present.



It reminds me a bit of The Day the World Ended, which I reviewed last year. And what a bold choice for a cover, with the title and author's name sooo tiny. I'm waiting somewhat impatiently for this little gem.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book Review: The Same Sky (Out Today!)

The Same SkyThe Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


So who likes a good cry with their fiction?

This girl does. If you do, too, then grab this book and don't put it down. You won't want to, anyway. It is incredibly gripping, beautiful and horrifying at once. It's a story of a girl and a woman. A girl in Honduras whose mother left her to go to America (Carla). And the story of an affluent American woman who wants a baby (Alice). At first, I wasn't sure where the two storylines would intersect, but later on, it becomes clear. For much of the novel, I kept thinking how apt the title was. How can these two lives exist under the same sky?

A girl whose grandmother dies and she's left to raise her brother (at 10 years old) by herself in an increasingly dangerous, poverty-stricken area, where gangs roam and she is forced to pick through garbage for food and things to trade for food. Where her friends turn to prostitution to live, where her six-year-old brother becomes a drug addict and when her mother sends her a pretty dress for her birthday, all she can think is, I can't eat this.
And under that same sky lives a woman who aches for a baby of her own, but even as you feel her ache, you can't help but think how incredibly ungrateful and naive she is (and most Americans are, myself included) to think her life is rough. She has a semi-famous husband, a restaurant, a loving family, friends, neighbors who invite her over for margaritas and throw her parties. It makes you feel sick and helpless to see this woman so carelessly taking life for granted while never even imagining the depth of deprivation and suffering a child is going through when she sets off for America, riding 'The Beast' to get to her mother.

Now, a few years ago, I read Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother, a non-fiction look at immigrants trying to reunite with their families in America. So a lot of this wasn't exactly new. But Carla's struggles will rip your heart out. I cried at almost every chapter about her. And I have to say, they were the parts I really connected with, the ones that kept me up half the night reading. It would be a bit of a shock to re-enter Alice's privileged world the next chapter. But that was a good shock, and also kept the book from being just too damn depressing to read. They give breaks from the relentless horror or Carla's chapters.

I want to add about twenty adjectives to describe this book here, but none will do it justice. Read it. You won't be able to stop, and it will stay with you afterwards. I haven't read a book that made me really love reading in a while. It was about time I found one. I'm glad it was this one. The voice, the characters, the gritty, dirty awfulness of it were real. I wanted to save Junior so much it made me hurt. All I could think about was my own son, and how much I wanted to go and hold him and bury my nose in his hair and thank God for all my blessings. Be prepared to have your heart ripped out.



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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Same Sky

I'm a little late to join the "Waiting on Wednesday" Party, but I'm crashing it anyway! Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature on Breaking the Spine blog where readers highlight books they are anxious to read.

My first WoW will feature The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward, which is coming out NEXT TUESDAY! Whoop Whoop!

Goodreads description: In this heartrending and poignant novel, award-winning author Amanda Eyre Ward tells the story of Alice Conroe, a forty year old Texas barbecue owner who has the perfect life, except she and her husband long for a child. Unable to conceive, she’s trying desperately to adopt but her destiny is quickly altered by a young woman she’s never met.

Fearless thirteen-year-old Carla Trujilio is being raised by her grandmother in Honduras along with her four year old twin brothers. Her mother is sending money home from Texas where she’s trying to make a better life for her family, but she only has enough to bring one son to her. When Carla’s grandmother dies, Carla decides to take her fate into her own hands and embarks on a dangerous journey across the border with Junior, the twin left behind.

Two powerful journeys intersecting at a pivotal moment in time: Alice and Carla’s lives will be forever and profoundly changed. Heartbreaking, emotional, and arresting, this novel is about finding the courage to trail blaze your own path in life with faith, hope and love, no matter the struggle or the tragedy.




What are you waiting on?




Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Year in the Life of a Writer (Writer Wednesday)

Last week I posted about a manuscript I worked on in 2014. This week, I thought I'd give an update on what I did in 2014 (for all my fans, haha). I know you're all dying to know. But since I didn't write for several years, and I started back up at the beginning of 2014, I figured I'd post about a year in a writer's life. Mine, in particular.

January 2014--Wrote a manuscript for the first time in over 2 years. Possibly burst into tears when I finished. This will be Book 1 in a series I started in 2011.
February 2014--edited manuscript
March 2014--beta submissions & edits
April 2014--agent submissions, wrote another manuscript (This will be Book 8).
May--Revisions to both MS I wrote this year.
June--Resubmissions to interested agents, painted our house, tended garden.
July--A lot of work on house and garden, failed attempt at spin-off novel abandoned at 15k words, started a cooking blog.
August--garden work, cooking blog, revisions based on agent suggestions, retitle manuscript
September--Queries, cooking blog, wrote another manuscript (Book 6).
October--Critique group revisions & edits to book 6. Outlined for & began writing Book 7. Cooking blog.
November--Participated in NanoWrimo for the first time, completed Book 7 in my series. Scrapped most of Book 5 (written in 2011), outlined for new version. Quit cooking blog.
December--Beta reading for other authors, revisions based on beta suggestions for my own book, query letters written for 2 books, edits on Superiors Book 4.

So those were my writerly pursuits this past year. I hope in 2015 I can get as much done and then some! Big plans to write 3 manuscripts and edit 3 more.