Friday, November 30, 2012

Follow Friday - Book crush & pics

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.
Question: Activity! Who is your to die for book crush? What do you think they look like? Add an image to make us all happy.
I wrote a whole post and it disappeared. Excuse me while I cry in a corner.  This will be abbreviated.  While I do have lots of book crushes I don't typically visualize them as anyone recognizable.  What sticks out to me is personality, intelligence and sense of humor.  (One of the boys on my list has a huge scar if that tells you anything).

List of Fictional Boyfriends

  • Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice
  • Naji from Aassain's Curse
  • Lord Maccon from Soulless
  • Atticus O'Sullivan from Hounded
  • James Easton from Spy in the House
  • Hector from Girl of Fire and Thorn

So because pictures are required I'll leave you with a few.  I've really enjoyed The Lizzie Bennet Diaries   Are you watching it? If not WHY NOT.  Go watch it now.  The shows Mr. Darcy is adorable and awkward, perfect casting.

Awkward enough for his own Socially Awkward Darcy meme

My first choice for Atticus is the cover model if he can act.

Barring him being an excellent actor. I might be able to deal with the dude who plays Klaus on vampire diaries if he will grow his hair, redden it and man-up a bit as the sword wielding druid.  If he won't work at least he's pretty for you!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Under the Bridge (review)

3.5/5 stars

Tate and Indy Brooks aren't the luckiest kids.  They don't live in the suburbs but they don't live in the bad part of town either.  They live in the buffer zone between the suburbs and poverty, not quite existing in either.   Their father is a bit of a hard ass.  He works hard and so should you.  That's his mentality and he has trouble understanding any other perspective. Tate and Indy spend their days skating Under the Bridge, the local skate park.

Tate's a bit rough around the edges, always on the edge of a fight.  Normally he's fighting for good -- standing up to bullies, getting repayment when someone breaks a friend's board, etc--but still fighting doesn't exactly make in a stand-up rule following sort of guy. But he's still a good guy, despite his tendency to throw punches.

His brother Indy is another story.  He's intelligent but a screw-up.  Where Tate at least tries to stay in the right, Indy smarts off, smokes pot and does whatever.  He means well but does wrong.

The strength of Under The Bridge is Tate, who is a believable main character with a strong voice.  I liked Tate and all his imperfections.  Tate's self-awareness was endearing.  He'd beat people up, then two days later apologize because he realized that even if he was partially right, he went about it the wrong way.  He's a main character who wants to do good but doesn't always know how.

Under the Bridges biggest weakness is that it drags.   It spends over 50% of the novel before really getting into the nitty gritty of the plot.  Some of this helps build the characters and leads into the story, but mostly it's just too long winded and something needed to be cut.

During a typical family fight, their father kicks Indy out for disrespecting him and their mother.  It's one of those heat-of-the-moment things.  Their father loves them both, but his methods don't work especially where Indy is concerned.  Living on the street Indy falls in with a bad crowd.  Having already lost one friend to drugs, Tate refuses to lose his brother to that world. The heart of this book is Tate trying any way he can to save Indy. He tries on his own, he tries with help. He fights for his brother even when his brother doesn't deserve it.

I liked that story but think the book should've gotten there much sooner.  I cared about Tate so in turn I cared about his quest to save Indy.  Even though Indy was frustrating at times, Tate's brotherly love overpowers any misgivings so I had to root for Indy as well.

The ending went a little Disneyfied for me.  Also I had trouble suspending my disbelief where law enforcement was concerned in this novel.  But overall it's a good story with a lot going for it.  I like the gritty urban setting and Tate as a main character, those two elements carried the novel for me.

I received an ARC of this book through Netgalley

Friday, November 23, 2012

Follow Friday -Thankfulness

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.
What Blogs are you thankful for?
Oh goodness. I hate the idea of this question because I just know that I'll leave someone off.  There's a lot of blogs and bloggers I'm thankful for.  Without the encouraging and wonderful book blogging community I wouldn't have a book blog.

The Midnight Garden
I knew Wendy Darling over on Goodreads before I ever had a blog. She has always been one of the most kind and encouraging bloggers that I've known. 

The Readventurer
I love all these girls and this blog.  Flannery makes the best graphs, I find myself saying "heck yeah" to Tatiana's reviews and Catie is just a great friend/blogger/person.

Cuddlebuggery Book Blog
Steph and Kat run a GREAT blog.  It's hilarious, snarky and informative.  They're also really fun to talk to on twitter and Goodreads.

Kara is a great friend to bloggers everywhere--offering support when authors go cray-cray, retweeting posts and just generally being great to talk to. 

  The Nocturnal Library
Maja is quite the reviewer and her blog is excellent.

Typing Tiara
Ash is great.  She's fun to talk to and has good taste in books.


The Tournament of Heroines was one of the first blogging community events I experienced.  I represented Luna Lovegood and had a lot of fun.  I'm grateful for that opportunity.

Magical Urban Fantasy Reads

Mindy was my competition (representing Sophie from Hex Hall) in the Tournament of Heroines.  I could've not asked for a more classy competitor.  Some of the other match-ups were a little more feisty  but we became friends and I supported Sophie after Luna was knocked out.

Southern Book Bloggers ARC Tours

Love the ARC Tours for Southern bloggers. 

And yes there are more:  I have say that Megan at Book Brats is an excellent twitter companion and blogger.  I could not find a button on her site BUT she's great.  Forever YA is the first blog that I ever truly loved.  And of course I think we're all thankful for our Parajunkee & Alison Can Read. This blog hop has introduced me to say many great bloggers and that wouldn't have happened without you.

I'm sure I've forgotten somebody and I APOLOGIZE profusely.  My google reader is a hot-mess right now and I'm currently organizing and cleaning it up.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Chosen One (review)

4/5 stars

The Chosen One is one of those stories that is heart-wrenching and feels like it could be a true story.  It's not.  However, Kyra's voice is so authentic and she carries this novel.  She's youthful yet wise, but not in a way that feels like an adult interjecting themselves into a child protagonist   For Kyra, growing up in polygamist compound she's had to grow up fast.  At thirteen, she's spent most of her life raising her younger siblings and being given adult responsibilities.

Even though her father is a good man and tries to protect Kyra, she's seen enough to understand the world around her.  She's seen the young women married to old men, seen the women who fight-back ostracized.  Yet Kyra is still hopeful. That's part of what makes Kyra both tragic and realistic.  Like any child, she dreams of her own potential happiness.  She wants to have a choice in life, to marry her crush Joshua, not to be a child-bride to an older man.  She really believes that she might have a chance.

That is until the prophet has a "vision" of Kyra's and sees her marry her own uncle, an elder in the compound who already has six wives.

This story shines because it doesn't pretend there is an easy answer for Kyra.  She's thirteen and faced with an unwanted marriage, or potentially running away and leaving the family she loves.  On the outside it's easy to say Kyra should run.  But Kyra struggles are more realistic.  She loves her father, her mother and her gaggle of siblings. Just a child herself she can't imagine life outside the home she's always known.

This book navigates that inner conflict and the choices Kyra must make beautifully, without oversimplifying the problem.  The Chosen tackles a difficult issue with rare respect and intelligence.

This audiobook is narrated by the wonderful Jenna Lamia, who captures the story perfectly.  For a thoughtful  and genuine book this is highly recommended.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Follow Friday -Movies that could be book

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.

So I read the question wrong because of the first answer I saw was Jericho and it was morning.  Sometimes mornings aren't my smartest time.  (And by sometimes I mean every day that I have to wake up to an alarm clock).  I tried to come up with a new answer, really I did (okay try might be a strong word for "left blog in draft form until after work).
Question: Books are turned into movies all the time! Turn it around. What movie would make a great book? (Except I read television instead of movie, hence my answer)

I often complain about how hard Follow Friday Questions are.  After a long week at the office my brain has stopped working about this time each week so I never know how to answer.  This question is particularly hard because my favorite TV shows often start as books or are very different from the type of books I read.

So let's look at my favorite TV shows
Roswell - Book series first
Once Upon A Time - Based upon fairytales.  I would read a book that was similar to Once Upon A Time - fairytale characters trapped in modern times because of an evil witch's curse.  But since it's already based upon books and stories does that even count?
Revenge - Love this TV show but it's not the type of book that I typically read.  It's a great guilty pleasure TV show though.
Lost - Seems waaaay to complicated at times to be a book.  There are too many characters without any particular main character or point of view.  There are also too many storylines and back stories.  I think Lost worked best in the television medium focusing episodes on different characters, using cliffhangers and having excellent actors carry this story.
Doctor Who - Already has books doesn't it?

The first answer I saw mentioned Jericho and I can see that as a book, especially since dystopians have become so popular.  My problem with this question is that television and books are such different mediums (even when compared to movies and books which I believe are more similar).  Television shows are continual so they need lots of characters and subplots.  Movies and books have a limited time span so every word needs to count.  While having a television show where Jack, Locke, Kate, Sawyer, and at different times other characters are the main characters works great.  As a book it's harder to utilize that many point of views without confusing the reader.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Notes from Nano 2012 - Day 12

Every November is a bit crazy.  Not because of the holidays, or work or anything else.  I choose to have a crazy November.  For the uninitiated,  November is National Novel Writing Month.  It's a crazy adventure where writers from all over the world attempt to write a 50,000 word novel.  It's creative, messy and the mental health professional probably aren't very fond of us.  But it's a great experience because writing is normally a solitary activity, but NanoWriMo makes it social.

This is just a Nano update about my experience.  I don't have the secret answer to winning NanoWriMo or any valuable writing advice.  There are plenty of published authors, agents and people who could give you better advice than me.

The Good

  • Want to give a shout out to some of my NanoWriMo friends. (Linking to twitters because that's where I'm getting most of my Nano encouragement).
    • Megan at Book Brats challenged me to a 5000 word Sunday to which at first I said "SAY WHAT" then after a moment said "GAME ON!"
    • Ash over at Typing Tiara already has 50K.  I know, right?  She's a badass novel writing queen.
    • Izabe the Red is now my official writing/drinking buddy.  Because two girls who love bourbon are meant to be friends.
    • Aethre - how many times have we done Nano together now?
  • Sundays are once again my biggest day.  Sunday morning, right after my cup of tea, is by far my most natural writing time.  This is something that I need to remember, not just for Nano and blogging but for all my writing endeavors   
  • I've discovered the ability to drink, watch football and write at the same time. I have no idea if the words are pretty but who says a girl can't have it all?
  • Lunch breaks are an excellent time to write because I'm less apt to waste time on the internet.

The Eh

  • Going to a UK game on opening night of NanoWriMo was probably not a good Nano decision but was a good life decision (especially since I caught up!)
  • Work seems to be trying to interfere with Nano. Boo!

The Procrastinations

  • Tumblr.  Last year someone (cough Anna Meade cough) talked me into getting Tumblr.  Now it's the best time-suck in the universe.  <3 <3 <3
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.  -Of coures everything is climaxing in my favorite web series during November.  Hank Green, Jenni Powell, Bernie Su do you just hate me that much?  In light of Episode 60 aka Darcy Day I rewatched the entire series.  Any more of an explanation would involve spoilers.

The Bad

  • Blogging - I've discovered it's quite difficult to be a book blogger and do NanoWriMo.  I have to choose between reading and writing which just breaks my heart.
  • Exercise - Okay maybe I wasn't doing this anyways.
  • The forums - I miss the NanoWriMo forums.  But I'm having a hard time finding time to go enjoy the NanoWriMo community to it's fullest.  This makes me very sad.  Luckily there's a vibrant Nano community on twitter but I just can't seem to find my footing in the forums this year.
  • Pep Talks - Despite my best efforst I cannot get the pep talk sto come to my inbox.  I'm going to email someone at Nano about the problem. Life without pep talks is not a life that I want.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fitz (reivew)

3.5/5 stars

In writing you hear the mantra "show and don't tell" all the time.  But sometimes, just occasionally, writers break that rule and it works. Fitz is an example of that.  This is not the type of book where you go on a grand adventure with the main character, or follow his struggles for months and years.  Instead the book takes place over the course of one day.   Fitz (the main character as well as title) is searching for answers about his past.  And while these stories may be told through dialogue, they're nonetheless compelling.

Fitz is a believable narrator.  I instantly bought into the voice of this novel.  Fitz is confused.  He feels like he's missing something vital in life.  But he's a good kid--makes good grades, doesn't get into trouble, treats his mom well.  Except on this one day, that's not who Fitz wants to be.  Like a costume, he puts on a thuggish persona and sets out to teach his father a lesson.

The thing is Fitz has never met his father.  He's been this distant unknown, his mother not even willing to tell him his father's name.  All of that only makes Fitz more curious.  Instead of just listening to his mother's stories, Fitz takes matters into his own hands, finding out everything he can about his mysterious father.

 While his father may send the monthly check, Fitz knows it's no replacement for a relationship.  What Fitz wants is time and answers.  His mother refuses to give him the answers and his father has never given him any time.  Fitz decides to take what he wants, kidnapping his father to force some father/son bonding time.

The voice in this novel is perfect.  Sometimes Fitz tries to sound mean and harsh, but you can tell that he doesn't even quite believe it himself.  He's not much of a bad guy, even though he's kidnapping his father.  Fitz may wave a gun around but the reader never believes he's really capable of shooting anyone.  This creates a strange sympathy for Fitz.  Yes he's doing something stupid, but as the reader you really don't want to see him punished for it.

While the story is small what it means for one boy's life isn't.  Sometimes things that don't seem important to you might be all consuming to someone else.  That's how Fitz feels about finding out why his father left.  As far as problems go, it might seem fairly minor.  Except for Fitz it's the most important question in the world.

The epilogue undermines the rest of this book.  It feels tacked on, like the author didn't really know how to end the story.  So while the rest of the book was understated and impactful, the epilogue was too clean and simple to match the realism of Fitz's story.  It's a bad way to end an otherwise great book.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Follow Friday - Similar books, ideas, etc

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.
Question: Do you mind books with similar ideas to other books? Similar concepts, backgrounds, retellings or pulled-to-publish fanfic?
Oh goodness this cannot possibly be a yes or no question because that's more than one question.  So I'm going to have to answer them all seperately.

Similar Concepts?
Depends on how similar.  There are broad concepts that I will always love.  Girl dressed as boy to make her way in the world (in fact there's going to be some of that in my NanoWriMo story this year) is a concept that I will read almost every time.  It's just something I absolutely love.  However "girl meets supernatural creature she's destined to be with" is concept that I hate, thus those are out.  So really it depends on the concept.

Most books pull from the same mythologies, especially if you read a lot of fantasy.  I actually enjoy seeing the greek/roman/norse legends in different variations   There are certain characters from faerie that I've encountered in numerous series and I always find the different interpretations interesting.

Oh goodness I love re-tellings.  Seriously I want to read ALL THE FAIRYTALE RETELLINGS.  (Publishers that's a subtle subliminal message there).  Once Upon A Time is my favorite TV show because it gives new life to so many great stories.  We get everything from sassy Belle to kick-ass Snow White.  Fairytales are wonderful because of their simplicity.  Because they are simple you can expand upon them and always find ways to make it your own.  (If you're wondering why these are different from my next answer, fairytales are in the public domain).

Pulled-to-Publish fanfic?
Hell no.  As a former fanfiction writer it baffles my brain that anyone thinks this is okay.  The ethics and the disrespect to intellectual property is one thing but what bothers me most is the disservice it does to the whole fanfiction community.  Fanfiction is a wonderful playground for budding writers.  It gives you a world to work in and characters with certain behaviors that you can explore.  Basically it gives you shortcuts to flex your writing muscles.  Fanfiction is much easier than original fiction, especially when it's fantasy and there's no real world building involve.  I'm going to stop rambling because I have a whole unpublished (okay only half-written) blog post on this topic that eventually I'll get around to posting.  But in my book this is not okay.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sorta Like A Rock Star (review)

4/5 stars

Amber Appleton is the Princess of Hope, despite being homeless, not having enough money for food, having no father and generally a sucky life.  But she knows that J.C. (Jesus Christ) is watching out from her and the eternally upbeat girl knows that as long as she's gotta Buddy Big Boy (her dog), her friends and her mom, things are alright.

I can see readers struggling with Amber Appleton in Sorta Like A Rock Star.  She seems simply too odd and too happy to be realistic.  However, for me, she feels like someone who could've been my bestie back in high school.  My friends were a quirky group of girls with our own style, our own slang, who spent most of our times hanging out at Christian rock shows.  (It was a good way to spend high school).  So Amber would've fit right in with us.

Amber's hope takes a hit when she experiences a personal tragedy.  She finds herself feeling hopeless, depressed and wondering why J.C. let's things happen and blaming herself.  She's hurting in a way that feels unfixable.  This book follows a group of friends, a school and a whole community that rally around Amber.  Even when she's angry and lashing out, they want to give her what she gave so many people: hope.

This book hits on a lot of life experiences.  It goes from funny, to sad without ever losing it's voice.  It's hard to imagine that the spunky and fun start of the book could possibly weather a tragedy with it's humor and voice in tact.  But it does and that impressed me.  This book is definitely worth reading (or listening to, the narrator is superb).  Hopefully it surprises you as much as it surprised me.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Follow Friday - Dealbreaker

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.
Question: What is a deal breaker for you in a book?
The overplayed "star-crossed lover"  or fated thing you see a lot in YA.  Take this description that I totally just made up:

A spaceship hovers above earth, not attacking or communicating, leaving everyone on the planet wondering.  There are riots in the street and the world starts going to hell in a handbasket.  Sally doesn't know what she's going to do.  She has a little sister to protect and parents who rarely show up in this book.  Then she meets Guy.  He's a dangerous risk taker and rather rude at times, everything she shouldn't want in a boy.  But he makes her heart flutter and it feels like they are destined to be together.  So in the shadow of a spaceship, when the world is ending, these two lovers think about nothing but staring annoyingly into each others eyes until the halfway through the book when of course something more ominous than aliens appears: the  love triangle.

You know the books I'm talking about.  When the actual plot becomes subservient to an unhealthy obsessive relationship.  When I skim descriptions and I see anything that sounds like star-crossed lovers, a pair that is "destined to be together" or love triangles, I put the book back on the shelf.  No reason even starting a book that I'm doomed to hate it.

Just a warning I'm going to be hopping through late this week.  So I'll visit, just probably not till Saturday or Sunday because of work.