Friday, December 21, 2012

This is how I want to spend today

If the world was/is actually ending today I would want to spend it like this:


A big box of chocolate-covered strawberries.  Check!


A book I have been anticipating!  Check.  (I think the title is very appropriate, don't you?)

And some other short stories my wonderful CP has sent me. Check.



A big ole mug of coffee or tea and no distractions. 

Heaven!

Happy (?) December 21st every one.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

KFC Christmas

Here is a weird Japanese Christmas tradition via the YOMYOMF blogger Philip 

The commercial made me laugh (you don't need to understand Japanese)

KFC Japan

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Music Box

Here is a wonderful little video I found by Daniel Cloud Campos.  If he looks familiar, he's the guy in the Microsoft Surface commercial. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Inspiration

I stumbled across the Writer's Digest article "101 Best Websites for Writers" and have been happily wasting time exploring.  Here are some of the ones I liked for inspiration:

Easy Street Prompts has a daily photo or video which gets you thinking of story ideas immediately.  A story of careless bike riding monkey- kids, an old black and white photo of people waiting on a stoop, etc.

First 50 Words presents a fifty word paragraph and then gives you an assignment to write.  The current one asks about your favorite movie.

The Story Starter has 2.6 billion first sentences loaded in their database.  You hit a button and a random sentence comes up.  It is fun just reading all the different first sentences.

If you're stuck, or in need of inspiration, check out these links.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Writing the logline/hook


I've been agonizing over writing the short little blurb that tells you what my novel is about. So I went on the internet for a little help.  There are tons of helpful articles but this one worked for me.  I followed the instructions, answered the questions and Viola! I have a logline and hook I'm happy about. 

If you're having problems, check it out because it worked for me.

Writing Killer Loglines


Sunday, December 2, 2012

I'm done!

I'm done with editing!  I'm done!  I'm done, I'm done! Hurray!

74,405 words, 278 pages.  Yay! 

Tomorrow I will start work on query and synopsis so I can tell you what it is about.  Which I think is harder than writing the book.  In broadest terms it is a New Adult/Young Adult contemporary Romance with mature situations/themes.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Vegas trip

Went on a little road trip to vegas.  Drove 4.5 hours each way to stay at a place with NO Casino!!
The accomodations were nice and all, but... I mean, really, who stays at a place with no casino?  On top of that, I went with folks who don't gamble.  Was there for three days and I got 1.5 hours of gambling time in.  I guess the good news is that I didn't lose much. : )
We did outlet mall shopping for 7 hours, toured the Freemont Street area. They have a free light show every hour during the evening, and we got the Bon Jovi segment.  I guess the show changes each hour.  If we had stayed for the next one, it would have been the Queen light show.  Talk about '80's flashback! 








           
Spent an inordinate amount of time eating and drinking. We're such lightweights though.  Here is our alcohol the first night.   The second night we ordered a pitcher of sangria with dinner and didn't even finish half... Yeah, lightweights.                    

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday and Editing Update



Happy Black Friday! Hope you get all the bargains you wanted, and hope it did not require camping out in tents.  I'm not one for lines (I'll turn around and go home before standing in line for the privilege of buying something).  But I'll probably do the cyber Monday thing.  Love the names.  Cyber-Monday, Black Friday.

Chugging along with my editing.  I spent seven days stuck on two sentences so even though today is the 23rd, I'm only on chapter 16.  But I've been making good progress, since.

My Critique Partner notes had my laughing.  Somehow my writing made her think one of my characters had curlers in her mustache.  Oh and teeth clacking during kissing is not a good thing. . .

Fun Fact

Duct tape can hold a car together!  A critique partner kept telling me she was highly doubtful until one meeting, she told me she had watched an episode of 'Mythbusters' where duct tape was used to lift a car! And duct tape was used to patch a spacecraft!

duct tape car lift



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Editing, Breaking Dawn, Meatloaf & Christmas Carols

I've been stuck with the editing for a week now.  I was speeding along with my chapter a day and all of sudden, I hit a brick wall.  The very smallest of suggestions, to add some more conversation.  Of course, since this is my final edit of this WIP, it had to be perfect and I wracked my brain day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute, trying to add two lines of dialogue because it had to be perfect.

And then Thursday, I had a gigantic "DOH!" moment.  In later pages, CP #1 pointed out a number of things that needed to be addressed earlier.  Hello?  Why don't I just stick that in the two lines of dialogue I was lacking.  I am an idiot!

Yesterday I went and saw Breaking Dawn 2.  It feels like the end of an era as I've been going to see a Twilight movie for the last five years! FIVE years!  The good news?  "The Host" movie next year! Hope Stephenie Meyer is writing something  new so I have something to look forward to after that.
And today I took a break and made meatloaf.  I like this show on food network "The Pioneer Woman". http://thepioneerwoman.com/  So I tried out her recipe which calls for 12 slices of bacon, 4 eggs, 2 lbs of ground beef.  It turned out okay, but there is no way I am going to eat all that food/cholesterol.  3/4ths of it is going to over to the sister's house.

Finally, how early is too early to start playing Christmas Carols?  My local radio station is playing them now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

One of those days

Yeah, today was a day I shouldn't have gotten out of bed.  Should have just stayed there. 

The temp dropped twenty degrees last week and I made the mistake of leaving the gym with my hair wet.  I know- it is one of the things your parents tell you over and over not to do.  I did it.  I've got a cold now and a sore throat.  I think I have a fever too but that may be my inner hypochondriac (yes I've read FSOG).

So I got feedback from CP #1 on my last set of pages this morning, and while encouraging,  I have a mountain of work to fix.  Which sent me into a small rant of "I'm never going to be done with this sucker". 

Next at work, I had a hurry-up type project to complete and out of the blue some very angry sales person called me to read me the riot act. I can honestly say I didn't deserve it.  I work in advertising.  What the heck is there to be so angry about?  Regardless, I felt lousy afterwards. 

And no progress on editing.  Stuck on trying to come up with a better scene  in chapter 11. So I've been stuck for 3 days, four tomorrow because I'm writing this up instead of trying to fix/edit.  Oh well, like I said, some days, I should just not get out of bed!

Oh, and the cats are on strike because I ran out of Fancy Feast.  I only have Friskies, which they turn their nose up at (thus the photo).




Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chapter Seven fun facts

Not much to share today. Think because I'm getting into the heart of it, don't have to lay as much foundation.

That being said, do you know about the luxury rooms that exist in some of the higher end hospitals?
I couldn't find exactly what I'm looking for but here's an example of a high-end hospital suite.

Beyonce's luxurious hospital room

When my father was in the hospital, his room was not exactly slumming it, but the room next door had hardwood floors, duvet cover,  and a grand piano in it!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Today's Editing

Hey, you've still got time if you're on the west coast.

I voted early (but not often - he he, sorry, couldn't help myself).

Anyway, on to today's random findings as it pertains to my WIP.

Maserati GranTurismo
Cost $143,400 approx.

As a side note, there is one parked at my local market in the same spot every time I go.  I often wonder about that...

Aston Martin DBS Volante
Cost $301,856 (fully loaded) approx.

No, I've never seen one parked at my local market.  I've seen a Bentley a few times. 

(Do you think maybe I'm paying too much for groceries?)

Mall security will call an ambulance if you faint and don't regain consciousness immediately - as in a minute or longer (liability issues) or if someone doesn't know any better and requests one (like my character does).

That's it for my fun facts and editing today.

I had a headache yesterday so I didn't do two chapters yesterday, but I made up for it today.  I am now set to edit Chapter 7 tomorrow, (the 7th - see, easy to remember what chapter I'm on.)  Two chocolates have already been consumed.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Editing Day Four




The photo has nothing to do with the post again.  Had these photos from when I went to the farmers market so why not use them, right?

Editing is a learning experience.  When I was writing mode I would constantly tell myself "I'll look it up later".  Well, it is later now and boy... who knew these things?  I sure didn't:
  • There are 463 books on Amazon in Literature/Fiction that have the word "Duet" in their titles.  I was thinking of 'Duet' for a title but I remember the television show called that and with 463 books with a similar title, there is no way...
  • You can't just quit the Football team.  Apparently, it is a much bigger deal that I had thought. (Thank you critique group for catching this).  But this is an easy fix, I changed it to Track and Field. : )
  • Construction materials for schools have different requirements than for homes.  I didn't know classroom doors, in particular, are fire resistant and that the glass windows used to need to be wired but don't any longer.
The things you learn...  I know a certain high school is going to be looking at their website and wonder why I have been to their site like at least twenty times today and have downloaded all their student manuals.  

PS I have plans to get to chapter five today, that way, the date and the chapter will match.  If I do, I will have TWO chocolates today : )

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Editing Day 2


This picture has nothing to do with the post.  Just felt like adding something visual.  Yeah, that's my cat's paws on the table above.  Yeah, I shoulda cropped this.  Yeah, I'm too busy editing...
Am having my second liquor chocolate as I type this.  Editing chapters 1 & 2 was really rough.  I was trying to limit it to
  • fixing typos,
  • reducing the number of times I use certain words (I, nod, grin, smile) and
  • consistency
Some of the things I found:
  • Mr. Wilson turned to Mr. Cox somewhere along the way
  • I inflict injury on my main character way too often.
  • My duo turned into a duet.
It is enough to pull your hair out.  So, my little 'fixing' turned into a major overhaul.
  • No need to inflict serious injury in the very first chapter. 
  • Consulted with fellow writers group members to make sure my portrayal of certain aspects of high school are based in reality.  This is why having a writer's group is so excellent.  I got two very helpful answers within hours of my asking
  • Finding a duo piece (2 pianos 4 hands) to substitute for a duet piece (1 piano 4 hands) as this is a key point in my plot.
I thought it was 'tight' and I guess it isn't.  Hopefully the next chapters will go smoother...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Have an extra $7000 lying around?

If you have, oh, say $7,000 (highest bid when I checked just now) plus lying around, you can bid on attending the Los Angeles premiere of Breaking Dawn Part II with three of your guests on November 12.  As an added bonus, you'll be supporting Film Independent.  For details, check out the link.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 Premiere Auction

Liquor Chocolates

CP #1 recommends liquor filled chocolates as a reward each day you achieve your writing goal for NaNo.  So yesterday I substituted a KitKat and a sip of brandy.  But today, I went looking for the real thing.

And here they are! the liquor chocolates.  Had a bit of a time finding them.  But I did - at Cost Plus World Imports.  Did you know you have to be 21 to buy them? 

I got the thirty-six pack, because the next size is 27 and since November has 30 days, I opted for the larger size  - guess I can save the rest for December and some kind of writing reward.

I'm now armed and ready to attack the editing phase. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Done!

Yay, I am done!  I am proud!  I am done!

283 pages of goodness, 20 pages longer than I had before. 

Celebrating with some kitkats leftover from Halloween and a swig of something alcoholic which substitutes for the liquor-filled chocolates that critique partner recommends.



Sadly, No NaNo for me either...

No NaNoWriMo for me.  I was trying desperately to finish my current WIP with the goal of starting the next one today. 

As you can see from my previous post, I was only 16 pages away from being done.  So I kept writing, but I didn't seem to be getting any closer to 'The End'.  Yeah, I'm adding content.  I'm eight pages away, plus epilogue. 

But the pages feel good, like the last pieces of a puzzle clicking into place.

So, sadly, I once again am missing NaNoWriMo.  Instead, I think I'll edit this WIP.  It isn't going to be a major content edit either. It will be for

  • Typos/punctuation  
  • Cut down on I/nod/smile/grin
  • Add a few scenes to beef up love interest.
I've got 27 chapters so a chapter a day and I should still be able to take off Thanksgiving. Of course, this assumes I finish this sucker today...

Anyway, will be cheering NaNoWriMo participants from the sidelines.  Good luck all!  Kick some butt!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sixteen pages

Sixteen pages is all that stands between me and "THE END".    Oh how I long to be done.  But the sixteen pages doesn't include the epilogue which is another ten pages.  Sometimes I think it is the never-ending WIP.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Update on writing and playlist

This post is a long time in coming.  Yeah, I'm 35 pages away from being done.  Again.

Anyway, I'm stalled so I'm taking a break and added a playlist here (new tab at top) 

My WIP focuses quite a bit on piano playing and some of the pieces are not well known.  So the playlist  is so readers can come here and listen to what the kids are playing, listening to.

I will flesh it out with mood music at some point. Probably once the WIP is edited/proofed to my satisfaction.

Book Review - Daughter Of The Goddess by Rita J. Webb

Today I am reviewing the Novella "Daughter Of The Goddess" by Rita J. Webb.

I was contacted by the author who sent me this blurb:

DAUGHTER OF THE GODDESS is a novella that has been called “heart-warming” and “sweet”.

Take a free-spirited teenage girl.

Throw in a childhood vow and a stolen kiss.

Add a demon hell-bent on destroying everything the gods love.

And I’ll give you my own rendition of the Greek myth Eros & Psyche.

The thing that caught me was the re-telling of the Eros and Psyche story as it is one of my favorites.  So I agreed to do it.  However, after reading it, I found it has limited similarities so I was disappointed.  I think I should have looked at the blurb on Amazon.  Which is this:

From Amazon.com

The Heart.
The God of Love seeks a bride who is pure in heart and full of life—full of soul. Instead of a woman, he finds a child with laughter in her heart. Waiting for her to grow up, he befriends her, pretending to be nothing more than a blue-eyed boy with wild, tangled hair.

The Soul.

Left on the temple doorstep, a young girl turns the lives of the priestesses upside down . . . until one summer day before her eighteenth birthday, a traveling oracle tells her she is to marry a stranger in a foreign land.

The Nightmare.

An ancient demon—half-man, half-snake—wants to destroy anything the gods love. When she was a child, he haunted her dreams, but now he stalks her across the countryside. If he catches her, he’ll devour her.

-------

The above is a more accurate description of the novel.  Although I'd leave out "The Heart" and "The Nightmare" part of the above. 

At the core, it is the story of a a young girl growing up. It also had a subtle Christian theme to it:  God's love and forgiveness.   Because it was short (85 pages), it didn't have time to really flesh out the characters and the plot was very straightforward.

Still, a sweet little story.  Well written, no typos.   

I think it is younger YA or I don't think I'd be afraid of MG girls reading it either. 

 I'm giving this three stars - Liked it more than I didn't like it  

Disclaimer - I was gifted an e-book copy in exchange for an honest review.      

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


Here is the description from Amazon.com

Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.
-------

Yeah, it stuck with me all right.  I'm not doing a "what I liked, didn't like" thing here because the things I like and didn't like are kind of the same.

The first part of the book is from one of the girl's POV's, the second is from the other girl's POV.  The first part starts off slow, with the first girl writing down how she met the second girl, how they ended up in that plane, how it crashed.  It kind of rambles and I had to force myself to read it, dreading the ending even as I continued on.  I kind of wondered what all the hullaballoo about this book was.  Maybe it was all the historical detail?  I kind of felt like the author was trying to give me a history lesson, sugar-coating it as a YA novel.

Then I got to the second part, the story through the second girl's POV.  This also rambles on as she describes her situation after crashing.  Again, I'm wondering what the heck is so good about this book?
It isn't until the last quarter of book, when we see how the first part and the second part are tied together that the lightbulb came on.

This book is brilliant!  Without giving anything away, I felt smarter for reading it.  I also had to go back and read the first part again.

But I did have to force myself to read through 3/4th of the book before I saw the payoff and I don't know that I would have if so many people hadn't told me how good it is.

I'm giving this four out of five stars, which is "I liked it but not sure you will".

Friday, October 5, 2012

Slammed & Point Of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

First off, I have to say I've read "Easy" by Tammara Webber like three times now, I liked it THAT much.

Okay, now that I got that out of my system, here is another set of books I devoured.  "Slammed" and "Point Of Retreat".

"Slammed" Description from Amazon.com:

Falling in love can feel like poetry. Or it can feel like a slam to the heart.
Colleen Hoover’s romantic, emotion-packed debut novel unforgettably captures all the magic and confusion of first love, as two young people forge an unlikely bond before discovering that fate has other plans for them.
Following the unexpected death of her father, eighteen-year-old Layken becomes the rock for both her mother and younger brother. She appears resilient and tenacious, but inside, she's losing hope. Then she meets her new neighbor Will, a handsome twenty-one-year-old whose mere presence leaves her flustered and whose passion for poetry slams thrills her.
Not long after a heart-stopping first date during which each recognizes something profound and familiar in the other, they are slammed to the core when a shocking discovery brings their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together and the forces that tear them apart. Only through the poetry they share are they able to speak the truth that is in their hearts and imagine a future where love is cause for celebration, not regret.

Sometimes two people have to fall apart to realize just how much they belong together.
"Point of Retreat" Description from Amazon.com:

Colleen Hoover entranced readers everywhere with her bestselling novel Slammed, the book that introduced Layken and Will, a young couple whose love overcame devastating hardships to emerge stronger and more resilient than before. Now, as Layken and Will’s emotion-packed story continues, a stunning and unforeseen revelation about Will’s past leaves them questioning everything that they thought they knew about each other. With the foundation of their relationship at risk, they must decide whether they are willing to fight for a future together, or to retreat back into solitude and heartache.

How far does Will have to go to prove to Layken his love for her will last forever? It will require something truly extraordinary to keep this couple together, and the decisions they make and the answers they find will change not only their lives, but the lives of everyone around them.



What I liked

The plot of the first book.  Without giving anything away, it is a real doozy of a situation Will and Lake find themselves in. 

The strength of both the characters.  They both go through some stuff and make choices that my younger, weaker self could never have handled. 

The younger brothers and best friends.  They're funny! They're loveable.

Julia.  You see where Lake gets her strength from.

The slam.  I'm not a fan of poetry but I liked this. Especially the slam that Caulder (Will's younger brother) does towards the end of Point Of Retreat.  It had me in tears.

What I didn't like

Hmm, can't really think of anything.  These are minor, grasping for something to put here so it doesn't sound like an advertorial.

a)  the covers.  C'mon.  They look like text books.
b)  the price.  I'm used to my free/99 cent books.  These are $7.99 each I believe (on kindle).  Still, I'm not sorry I bought them.

OH, and when you're done with both books, go to the author's website and then to "what I'm working on now."  She's got the prologue to the third book up and it is everything I wanted.  I said "Ah!" after reading.

Another 5 out of 5 rating.  I'm on a roll!



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Review - Easy by Tammara Webber

I picked up this book because I think my critique partner mentioned the author and because the author of the Moreno Brothers series - Elizabeth Reyes mentions that Tammara Webber is her critique partner. 
I picked it up despite the title. The title "Easy" has a whole set of connotations in my mind.  Even when reading, I kept trying to figure out what the title has to do with the story.  Anyway,  I'm glad I picked it up.  I very much enjoyed this book too!

Here is the description from Amazon:

A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?
When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.
Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night--but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.
When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

(Mature Young Adult/ New Adult)

What I liked:
  • The romance.  Oh so cute!  I figured it out way before the main character but still, loved it.
  • The heroes.  Mysterious Lucas is inked all over and sports a ring in his lip. At first glance, not the kind of guy you take home to meet the parents.  The tutor you only meet through e-mail but you fall in love with anyway.  You fall in love with them both despite their appearance or without even knowing what they look like.
  • Strong heroine.  Jacqueline doesn't become a victim, she fights back.
  • Doesn't follow the formulaic YA romance plot. 
  • I really love, love, loved the ending.   
What I didn't like
  • I know it probably isn't PC but I found the chapters on self-defense classes to be a little long.  Good, good, excellent info.  But sort of started to sound textbook-y. 
  • The title.  "Easy" makes it sound like Jacqueline is easy; as in she's a loose woman.  Not at all what she is and not what the title refers to.  You don't get what the title means until the very end.  Don't be put off by the title.
I'm giving this one five stars - Go read it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Moreno Brothers Series

These are another of my book binge reads.  I got the first one "Forever Mine" because it was free on kindle.  Which turned out to be a very smart move on the part of the author, Elizabeth Reyes.  Because I finished it in one reading and then immediately got the next and the next and the next.  There are five books in the series and I read them in succession.  Good job!  One free turned into four paid books!  And then she's got a new series which I think I'll check out next book binge.

Description of "Forever Mine" from Amazon
Seventeen-year old Sarah's life is turned upside down when her single mom is sent to jail. She's forced to move, leaving behind everything she's ever known, including her best friend Sydney. Lost and bitter in a new school, her one goal is to save money and move back home. Then she meets Angel Moreno.
Enigmatic but gorgeous, Angel is almost too good to be true. Except for one thing, his archaic belief that guys and girls can never be "just friends". The problem? Sarah's best friend Sydney is not a girl.
With their unexpected romance intensifying to places neither ever experienced, how long can Sarah keep Angel in the dark about the guy waiting for her back home?
YA Mature/New Adult/Contemporary Romance   Books in the series:
  1. Forever Mine (Angel's story)
  2. Always Been Mine (Alex's story)
  3. Sweet Sofie (the youngest sister Sofie's story)
  4. Romero (Angel's best friend's story)
  5. Making You Mine (Sal's story)
What I liked
  • These guys (the brothers and friends) are the guys I grew up with.  As I read them, I felt like the author and I went to the same high school, they felt so 'real'!  These guys swear, have booty calls, act tough and sometimes do stupid things.  They also are romantic, loyal, and have good hearts.
  • Multiple Generation Ethnicity.  I'm so glad to see these stories feature ethnic character but the author doesn't beat you over the head with it.  Just like most second-third-fourth generation Hispanics, they're English-Speaking dominant.  To the point where one of the brothers is failing Spanish because he only knows the curse words! I loved this!
  • That the author didn't try to do a trilogy.  I LOVE that each of the books is a complete story.  The stories intertwine and I got a kick out of reading a scene from Character A's POV and then reading the same scene from Character Bs POV in a different book.
  • That the author didn't try to force the stories into YA or New Adult categories.  The stories cross the lines/borders.  Be warned - there is swearing - a lot of it.  And there is sex - I wouldn't say a lot, but it is probably more graphic and detailed than you're used to in YA. And the themes, especially in the later books are mature, adult themes.  I didn't have a problem mainly because I'm well past the YA age. 
What I didn't like
  • Typos - there were a lot.  Especially towards the end of each book.  Like whomever was checking for the typos got tired in the end.  I usually am cool with a few - I get that at these prices, not too many can afford a proofreader.  But this was noticeable.
  • Some of the later books could have done with more editing.  The first few were tight and fine.  The later ones, I found myself editing as I read.
Overall, though, the series was addicting, easy to read, and an enjoyable way to spend 5 days.  I'm giving the series 4 stars - I liked it but you might not.


 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hidden by Sophie Jordan

Yeah, some people go on drinking binges, food binges.  Me? I go on reading binges.  I was MIA all weekend, reading!  So I have about a week's worth of reviews

First I had to get the third installment of the Firelight Trilogy by Sophie Jordan.  Stayed up to the wee hours of the night reading it as soon as it came over on the Kindle.  Oh Kindle, how I love thee!

Reasons to read:
It was exciting reading and no chore to finish it all in one sitting. 
Twists I never saw coming. 
Satisfying conclusion to the trilogy

There were some things I didn't like but they are spoilerish:














Will displays some powers that came out of nowhere.  I was scratching my head at it - 'huh?'
Tamra's story also felt like it ended with a 'huh?'  Like the author was trying to wrap it up. 
Cassian's story ended appropriately but it felt a bit rushed also.
Heat level went down,  instead of up.  That was a little disappointing.






















OKAY, YOU CAN LOOK NOW:

All in all, it was entertaining and I'm not sorry I read it.  I'm giving it 4 of 5 stars - which is "I liked it but not sure you will."




Sunday, September 9, 2012

Charlie-Cat

This is Charlie-cat telling me to get back to work

And this is Charlie-cat telling me he's watching me.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Norton Simon Museum

I've lived less than five miles away from the Norton Simon Museum for over twenty years but never been inside.  For those who watch the Rose Parade on New Years, this is where they put some of the network cameras.  For film buffs, Jennifer Jones (Song of Bernadette) was married to Mr. Norton Simon for many years and was trustee of the museum.

Anyway, I finally decided to go take a look around.

Recognize this guy?


Yeah, guess Mr. Simon was big on Rodin.


Inside there were a ton of famous paintings I recognized.  But the highlight was the sculpture garden. I need to come back when the flowers are in bloom.




Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Two good books

I read these two books this past summer and I'm still thinking about them, so I thought I'd share a little about each:

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Set in the future (yes, another dystopian story) about a girl with the power to kill by touch.  Yeah, reminds me of Rogue from X-Men but totally different.  The government captures her and tries to use her as a weapon.

The writing style was unique and effective and the plot was spot on.

There was a kind of an ending even though it is the first in a trilogy.

I'd give it four stars.

The other book I read this summer I really liked is

Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.  Another dystopian tale.  This time, one about a future in which the citizens live under glass domed cities.  Aria is one of those citizens until some horsing around leads to a terrible tragedy and she's forced outside of the safety of the dome into the outer wastelands.

I really liked the world the author created and the surprising reveals.  I had a little bit of a quibble with how the main character and the love interest Perry, flipped overnight from squabbling to being in love but other than that, really good read.

Four stars here too.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Been a sloth

I've been a slug/sloth these past few weeks.  It has been too hot to do anything, and the cat has been sick.  I finally got out the other day and did my walk. 
I looked for some remnants of summer color.

These morning glories made me feel cooler.   
red roses

awash in color


Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Review - "Crossed" by Ally Condie

This is the second book in the "Matched" Trilogy. 

Here is the description from Ally Condie's website (www.allysoncondie.com)

Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky—taken by the Society to his sure death—only to find that he has escaped into the majestic but treacherous canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices everything to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again.








This book suffers in that it is the middle book of a trilogy.  At the beginning, Cassia and Ky are separated and Cassia goes to look for Ky.  This goes on for 200 pages.  Yeah, the descriptive passages lives from both Cassia and Ky's POV emerse the reader into the bleak lives and dystopic worlds.  But it gets a little long.  You just want the two to get together already.
The writing is gorgeous, just like the first book.  I especially liked how the poetry is so precious to the two of them.  Each word, each line as precious as gemstones.  Made me want to go read some poetry afterwards.


SPOILERISH BELOW:











I admit, I skipped over until I found the re-union (pg 200) then went back.


But in the end, we were almost back to where we started.  I thought the book was kind of pointless.  Would have been better if parts of this book beefed up the first and last book.      So, I'm giving this book 3 stars - If you like gorgeous words, this book is for you.  But the lack of any sort of significant movement of the plot makes it a kind of waste of time.  You could sum it up in a paragraph or two and move onto the last book. 



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Earthquake Weather

We in So. Cal. are blessed with weather year-round that makes the rest of the U.S. (except for Hawaii) envious.  You can go skiing in the mountains and swimming at the beach in the same day.

But we have earthquakes!  There is something in the air or the temperature that other Angelenos will attest to - we know when it is earthquake weather. Usually when it goes from being cool to super hot overnight, that is earthquake weather.  And today was definitely earthquake weather.

So guess what?  We just had one.  4.4 magnitude.  Enough to get me out of bed and running for the doorway. (Although, they say now doorways aren't the safest place during an earthquake)

They also say pets are able to sense earthquakes and the smart ones give warning to their owners.  No such luck here.  Both Charlie and Chester cat didn't even wake up until they saw me running for the doorway.  And they just yawned and went back to sleep.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Review - Happily Ever After by Jean Haus

See previous post for description and cover:

What I liked:
  • The one thing the author does really really well is the male and female voice.  I was captivated by it in the first book "Sleeping Handsome."  And I love the voices again in this book.
  • The first chapters have the two main characters Paige and Zach together and their relationship feels real and it was everything I wanted in a sequel. 
  • Effortless writing style makes it easy to read in one sitting. 
But of course, too much happily ever after and it gets boring and not enough to sustain a book.  So,

What I didn't care for:
  • The plot keeps the two on separate continents for three-fourths of the book.  This I didn't like, as the relationship is via texts, skype, and phone calls.  And we get to see all the insecurities each has in their relationship.
  • Here is where I didn't like Paige so much.  She comes off as petty and weak.  And she seems untrusting and petty at times.  Meanwhile, Zach comes off as perfect Prince Charming so it makes empathizing with Paige even harder.
These are minor:
  • That Paige gets cast in a major role in a major motion picture and her time working on the "set" didn't feel real to me.
  • Quibble - the title of the movie she's working on is called Valkyrie.  Isn't this the name of a Tom Cruise movie?   
Overall, it was an entertaining read and I enjoyed it. 

I'm giving it four stars.  I liked it alot, but there were things that you may not care for.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happily Ever After by Jean Haus

I read and reviewed the first book in this series "Sleeping Handsome" by Jean Haus.  I think it is the one of just a few book I have given a 5 star review to.  The author did not ask me, I just found it on amazon and it sounded good.

And then the author found me and asked me to review "Snow, Blood, and Envy."  Liked that as well.

So when the author asked if I wanted to read the sequel to "Sleeping Handsome" I jumped at the chance. 

I got it last night! Here is the blurb from Amazon:

Paige and Zach have the perfect relationship. Too bad the world can’t revolve around them. Responsibilities suck. Paige’s acting career is starting. Unfortunately, half across the world. Thirty days apart. All while Zach has commitments to college and a new job. But they refuse to let time, distance, or obligations come between them.
Yet their biggest challenge may not be time apart. It just might be their belief in each other.
*A warning for those sensitive to profanity, this story contains some.

I'm excited to read it, can you tell?  Pick it up along with "Sleeping Handsome."  If you read YA I don't think you'll be disappointed.


My summer reading list

Yeah, summer is half over, but I just saw my lovely critique partner put up her summer vacation reading list so I figured I'd be a copycat and show you mine!  Note that this is only the physical books and doesn't include the e-reader books.

I was bogged down quite a bit by "The Blood Oath" by T.L. Clarke.  I had a commitment to read that first and it took me a really long time... and the books kind of piled up quickly.

Plus I read a ton more books in between for which I need to write reviews.  Note to self - write reviews!
  • Crossed by Ally Condie (book 2 of a series)
  • Supernaturally by Kristin White (book 2 of a series)
  • Liar's Moon by Elizabeth C Bunce (book 2 of a series - author is a friend of a friend - signed arc!)
  • It's About Time by Leslie Keenan - nonfiction about time management (recommended to me since, um, you know, I waste so much time)
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.  Ransom Riggs doesn't sound like a real name to me...
  • Blue Moon by Alison Noel
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson - heard her speak at LA Times Festival of Books.  She is hilarious so I figured her books are probably going to be entertaining as well.

  • Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck. (The first in a series)  My sister picked it up at Romantic Times book fair last year and it was sitting abandoned on her bookshelf.  I adopted it.
  • Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schrieber.  I love my vampires.  This was calling to me at a bookfair benefitting the local library so I picked it up.
  • Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (third in a series)
  • Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Lauie Viera Rigler.  My wonderful lovely Critique partner sent this to me after the A to Z challenge, urging me to write my story properly.  She also sent me A Jane Austen Household book by Peggy Hickman.  How awesome is my critique partner? 
  • Oppression by Jessica Therrien - picked up at LA Times Festival of Books
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.  Anyone with pink hair must be awesome!
Yep 13 books in seven weeks.  Better start on the time management book first! lol

Got a nom

Out of the blue I got this e-mail saying this blog has been nominated for a creative writing award.

It is for a post that was part of Rachael Harrie's platform building campaign.  Too cool! 

Here is the blog post:

The Next Summer

I should mention that I didn't win anything for the original post but I feel like a winner getting this badge.  I think there is some kind of voting happening next week.  I'll figure it out and let you know.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lee's Sandwiches

I know 56% of the US is experiencing sweltering heat so I'm not going complain about how hot it is here. But I didn't feel like eating microwaved food for lunch today.  Instead I went to Lee's Sandwiches.  It is a chain restaurant and they just opened one nearby.  They specialize in "asian sandwiches" or Bahn Mi.  I tried once two years ago to get a Bahn Mi from the super-popular Nom Nom Truck.  It was just after they were featured on Food Network's Food Truck Race. 

Anyway, never had a Bahn Mi, never been to Lee's Sandwiches so today was the day!! 

Three of us had sandwiches, & soda for $14.00!  Very inexpensive.  And yummy.  The vegetables are pickled and flavorful.  And they bake their own bread.  It is a cold sandwich and it isn't very heavy so it ws just perfect for today. 




Monday, July 9, 2012

The slump is over

I've been trying to re-write the first fifty pages of my first Fairview book for seven months now.  I started out just wanting to fix a few things, make certain characters stronger, bring them into the book earlier, etc.  Well, during that process, the story changed.  And the characters changed (in a good way).  And even the tense changed!

Ay caramba!  What started as a minor fix turned into a full-blown rewrite.  It has taken me seven months (granted not continuous), but I finally finished five minutes ago and sent it off to my lovely critique partner.

Speaking of my lovely critique partner, I got a really nice surprise when I checked out her blog post today.
Her blog is on the right "Writing from the Edge of Distraction"
http://writingfromtheedgeofdistraction.blogspot.com/

And here is her post (all about me!)

Critique Partner's Lovely Blog Post

And to answer her question, here is a photo of me (the one in the pink) 'gettin' jiggy wit' it'!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Blood Oath by T.L. Clarke

Here is the description from Amazon:


Preteen & Teen: Summer Reading
Age Level: 9 and up
Series: The Gabby Girls Adventure Series #2
[mystery, adventure, multicultural, diverse, paranormal fiction]

The battle against pure evil begins. Friendships are betrayed. Rivals bond...and powers collide.

Before I discovered that I was born into a secret society called the Eternals, blood-oath

Warriors sworn to track and slay the dark and evil creatures that walk the shadows of the earth, the only major thing that I, I mean we--that's me, Jessica, Rosalinda, and Zora--cared about was starting our freshman year at Vineswell Academy, the prestigious boarding school for girls.

But that was way before the blinders were cruelly ripped from our eyes and cold reality slapped us on the back of our heads with a chain of not-so-nice realities, like the fact that everything we knew about our mothers was all lies, essentially smoke and mirrors designed to hide their very secretive lives as Circles, women Warriors inside the very deadly world of the Eternal Warriors.

My Review


Huge apologies to the author. I promised to post this after 6 to 8 weeks after receipt of the book and it has taken me more like 4 months.

First, I will start off saying the cover is gorgeous! But the girl on the cover looks older, than the main characters in the story who are 13-14. This book is written for a younger crowd. I would call it Tween, not Young Adult. The good news is there is no cursing or sex. The bad news is there is no cursing or sex.

This book is the second book in the Gabby Girls Adventures series. I haven’t read the first one but I was able to follow along just fine without the background of the first one. However, I found character development was light, making it hard to root for anybody. I’m thinking that the first book focused more heavily on character.

The story has the four girls at a new school. A school where they learn to harness their unique magical abilities. In this regard, it bears a very slight similarity to the structure of the Harry Potter books. But the world is totally different from HP and very unique.

Another similarity to HP was the multitude of characters. I found it hard to keep track of everybody. But, I had a hard time with HP as well. So if you could keep track of HP’s characters, you’ll probably have no problem.

The main character, Gabby is just coming into her own and you have to admire her bravery and her strength.

The chapters on focusing on the lessons were the most interesting. That being said, there isn’t a really strong plot line until the last 20 percent of the book. The ending will have you wanting to read the next installment right away.

Overall I am giving it 3 stars – Liked it more than I didn’t like it

Note: I was gifted a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

SPAM musubi


Went to sister's for 4th of July to watch the annual fireworks at the Rosebowl.  Anyway, she made these SPAM musubi.  They are really popular in Hawaii - canned Spam fried then wrapped in rice and seaweed. 
She made two platefuls of these and they were gone in like 30 minutes! 

I brought chicken which my poor brother-in-law had to grill along with burgers and franks.  I also brought potato salad (from Ina Garten recipe), asian slaw (also a food network recipe) and lemon bars.

The asian slaw wasn't so popular (too healthy?).  There was a stack of boxes from Porto's Bakery too.  I am feeling like I will need to diet the rest of the month to make up for it.

Fireworks were good - there was a new one that supposedly was a twirling red white and blue thing, but I didn't really notice them from the rest.  My pictures also weren't as good as the Barry ones the night before so I'll spare you!