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"

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!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Scout Creative

Every month Scout Creative offers a new monthly calendar to cut out, fold, glue, tape.  The designs are cute and fun to put together.

Check it out!

Scout Creative

Barry, Bowl, Fireworks

I went to the Hollywood Bowl tonight.  It is their annual 4th of July extravaganza.

The reason I went was Barry.  As in Manilow.  Yeah, he was the headliner for the show.  He sang (among others) Mandy, Even Now, Weekend In New England.  And of course, Copacabana.  And he closed with "Let Freedom Ring" which is the photo on the left.  Fireworks!

Then the L.A. Philharmonic came back and did a medley of John Phillips Sousa march songs synchronized to a fireworks spectacular light show.

Ah, such a good time, even though we were in the cheap seats. 

Have a happy fourth everyone!

You can see Barry a little better on the screen to the right

Monday, July 2, 2012

Circle Of Life-type moment

A good friend got married over the weekend.  They gave out little bells to ring instead of throwing rice.  The groom was of Irish descent so he had a bagpipe player!  A good time was had by all. 

I also celebrated a milestone birthday of another friend.  She knew exactly what she wanted to do - sushi at Katsuya.  Very particularly, the Katsuya in Studio City.  Not one of the Stark Restaurant Chain Katsuya's but the original Katsuya.  They are known for their spicy tuna on sticky rice, popcorn shrimp sushi and crab hand rolls.  We had all those and then some. : )

Another friend's mother passed away unexpectedly and of course my Charlie cat's got the big C. It reminds me that time marches on, the circle of life and to live life to the fullest and anyother over-used adages you want to throw my way.