Tag Archive | Reading

One More Book

My son needs to read one more book to get a Library Champion lawn sign. It’s from Sacramento, not our home one… but it’s still going in our yard.

My son has read 15 books since Saturday.

My son, who hates to read, and has consistently struggled with it, has read 15 books.

Since Saturday.

I can’t tell you how proud I am right now. Although, I call myself a writer so I should probably try. It’s a Supercalifragilisticexpialadotious kind of feeling! See! Mary Poppins does have all the answers 🙂

Comics were the gateway, of course they are with so many boys. Once he started reading those, I knew it was a matter of time until he caught the bug. I’m not sure if he loves reading as much as I do, or if it was a competition to get the sign, or medal (there’s one of those too!).. but he did it.

I’m dancing in my chair at the library telling you guys this. I had to share, right away. Because… oh my goodness! My boy did it! So inappropriate for the library (the dancing, not the reading).

Lets hear it for the boy! Lets give the boy a hand!

 

Broadening Horizons: Book Review of Reunited, A Cybil Lewis Story By Nicole Givens Kurtz

So I picked up something to read that I never in a million years would have imagined that I would love.

Reunited-Book Cover-1

Re-United, by Nicole Givens Kurtz. I know! I read a Sci-Fi title! Can you believe it? I haven’t read Sci Fi in too long, mainly because the titles that I picked up way back in the past seemed to sacrifice both character and plot for hard science. Or, you know, they’re all “The future sucks, we’re all going to die!”

But this story had everything that I love… Great story line, kick a** heroine and accessible story telling. I was caught up, and stayed captured for the duration. It’s great read, which means Kurtz doesn’t bounce you out of the story just to tell you how something whizbangcool works.

In a lot of ways, this reminded me of the urban fantasies that I love: Kim Harrison, Anne Bishop… only, you know… more mechanical and less magical. But here’s the thing… It reminded me that I actually started out loving Science Fiction. When I was a teeny bopper all those years ago, I’d check out Heinlein, Card, Herbert… (Never any Asimov, although I don’t know why. )

Oh. And I loved, loved loved the Crystal Singer Series by McCaffrey, though I didn’t read her Pern series until recently (I know, go figure).

Re-United caught that enthusiasm for the future and made it bubble again. Since then, I have checked out  a couple of SciFi titles…

And on pay day, I’m going to have a new Cybil story on my reader.

Series… Serious Work

Writing a series isn’t an easy thing. I have nothing but respect for those authors who are able to jump in and make a series that grabs a reader by the throat and shakes vigorously. Now, despite what I’m about to say about the following novel, I did enjoy it. I finished it, after all (and we all know I don’t do bad books)… But…

 

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Well, we need to have a talk.

The first book? Ripped right through it. And yet this one, well, I circled it for a very, very long time.  The story is still great. It’s just, well… There’s a lot of stuff to get through to get to the story. There’s a lot of historical factoids in this one, which I understand. The heroine is a historian/ buff going back in time and Hey! They never mentioned THIS in any of my research. (From the main character’s  point of view). All the factoids are in character… but…

Well.

I skipped a lot of this book. Maybe a third? But it go me to thinking about working on a series of books,or on any book with a magical system or research involved in it. As writers, we want to put in all this nifty cool stuff. But when we edit, we need to think of the reader. Because I skipped fully a third of a novel and didn’t miss much. Just skimmed through until I got back to the interesting bits.

We spend all this time building a world that we can go play in, and then we want to invite others to come play. The problem mentioned above doesn’t really smack me upside the head too much. I’m more the writer who forgets that you don’t know what I know, and so puts in too little. Kind of why I’m writing shorts right now, but anyways! In my writing, I don’t do a lot of filler.

And it’s kind of leaving me scratching my head because the first novel didn’t have that much filler. Perhaps because it was modern day? I don’t know.

So what do you guys think? If you’re a writer, do you end up cutting and cutting, or like me having to go back and figure out what to add where?

If you’re a reader, do you skip over the filler or do you enjoy it?

 

 

 

Mocha Memoirs Press: a brief interview with the publisher :)

I’ve always believed in the power of a question. Because, honestly, you never know until you ask (or submit your stories). I didn’t expect to get a positive response, because I know how busy Nicole is with everything…. and yet, she did say yes.  So as promised, my lovelies, here is the interview with Nicole, publisher of Mocha Memoirs Press!

  1. Just to get it out of the way… When I go to the Mocha Memoirs Press site, there is an 18 year old or over only disclaimer. Nothing weird is going to pop up on my computer when I go in there, is there?

NK: Nothing strange at all. We just want to give parents and readers a heads up to the fact that some of our titles are erotic romance.  Some people don’t like those more erotic elements to their romances, we like the disclaimer to be there as well, a disclaimer. It’s harmless. Just a big message box.

2.  Can you talk about the books you publish? Do you enjoy all of them?

NK: I do enjoy them all and have read them all. I publish stories that I enjoy and ones that I find are character driven. Genres I love are science fiction, fantasy, horror, and of course, romance.

3. I noticed that you have a lot of recognition in the Science Fiction genre… Do you write in any other genres, under any other names?

NK: I do write under various pen names in other genres, namely romance; however I am not at liberty to share it because it’s a secret. In the past I have used Elisabeth Gordon and Nicole Givens as well.

4. What’s your favorite genre to read?

NK: My favorite genre to read is cyberpunk. Well, I also enjoy reading urban fantasy too.

5. Between MMP and writing, how on earth do you find time for it all? Did I hear that you’re also a grad student? Do you sleep at all J ?

NK: LOL. I sleep very, very little, but every once in awhile, my body rebels and I sleep for 12 hours.

6. Anything you’d like to leave us with? Anything new and exciting coming up from Mocha Memoirs Press?

NK: Our anniversary is coming up in July and we tend to go BIG during that time. Stay tuned.

Keep up with Mocha Memoirs Press at their website here While there, don’t forget to catch up on my favorite story there *wink wink*, Dragon’s Champion

You can catch us MMP authors on the MMP blog, which can be found here

Why I finally picked up Paris in Love, by Eloisa James

I’ve been circling this book since it first came out. I didn’t originally pick it up because a) memoir isn’t my favorite and b) it contained short snippets. I like to sink down deep into a story, coming up for air only occasionally.  You know, for things like feeding my kid, that sort of thing.

(And no, I’m not quite that bad but mainly because I remember my mom not paying attention when I’d tell her I was going somewhere… because she was that into a book. If we didn’t make absolutely sure she knew where we were, we’d get into BIG trouble… even though we’d told her.)

Anyways, I went ahead and bought the Nook version of Paris in Love today. And while the move was spurred by tragedy (shortly after her mother died of breast cancer, she was diagnosed with it), the book isn’t about that. It isn’t a memoir where she’s sitting around, feeling sorry for herself.

Instead, it’s like she’s writing letters home. In fact, in the Author’s Note, she says that some of the snippets are from Facebook and Twitter. Which isn’t why I picked it up.

I picked it up because someone (maybe even James herself) likened them to prose poems. Capturing a moment. And that’s all these are. Like the moment when she’s on public transportation and takes her jacket off only to realize she’s still wearing her jammies.I kind of snorted on that one.

I also like that she went to a large city and learned to enjoy walks, and the peace of centuries old beauty.I want to go and experience it myself, but mayhaps for only a week or two LOL.

So. I’m currently dipping in and out of it, much as I would a collection of my favorite poets (William Carlos Williams, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Shakespeare). I also bought a book online tonight that claims to take Shakespeare’s plays and reduce them down into sonnets. I’ll let you know if the author was successful.

In other news, I finally started writing on the computer.I did 1,024 words today. Yay me!

Ta for now, my lovelies, I’ll talk to you soon! (I still have 2 novels to review, and some other things cooking up my sleeve…. hehehehe)

 

 

Beautiful Days

So the trip to Disney was great. Much needed break from everyday life~ a chance to recharge the batteries. I’m sorry I didn’t post last weekend as promised, but I was a little stressed trying to make sure that I had everything packed.

Now that the tiredness from the traveling has faded, it was time to set down to work. Writing work. Specifically, I wrote a poem based on the ride “Haunted Mansion.” It is exactly 10 lines, so it will be going up for my 10×10 post for the Mocha Memoirs Press Blog. I’ll make sure to post the linkage for you as soon as it goes live.

I’ll be having a guest post soon on Rie Sheridan Rose’s blog as well. About not my first sale, but the first time I felt like an actual writer.

I’ve subscribed to the digital edition of Writer’s Digest Magazine.

I’ve started a novel.

I’m keeping a running log of ideas….

In general, folks, I have to say…. I think I’m going all writerly again. However, I’m still a voracious reader, so I’ll do a couple of reviews a week and a couple of writing posts. How does that sound to you?  

I know i’m behind on posting some of my reviews… I’ll get them up this week.

So. How’s your writing going? Read any good books lately? If not, go look up Wynelda Deaver on Amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com…. I hear she’s pretty good (cheeky grin).

Oh! and always, always remember…..

IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL!

The Night Before Christmas Eve

If you’re still searching for the perfect gift, I gotta tell you…. Well, truthfully that it kind of sucks to be you. Don’t get me wrong, I feel for you. I took my mother in law (ex mother in law? how do I address her now?) and two neices to the mall yesterday. Yes, the Saturday BEFORE CHRISTMAS. EEEWWWW….

So. Here’s a hint. If you have a woman who reads, I’ll give you 2 great books to buy and a great e-book (story) to load up on their Kindle/Nook that you’re going to be black mailed into buying them.

1) Mischief and Mistletoe, by Mary Jo Putney, et al.  (Kensington Books, ARC copy)

I love this collection of historical romance,especially the opener: She Stoops to Wenchdom. There were moments where I was really peeved that they were short stories— I wanted to stay with the characters, see what happened next. Lets face it— that isn’t a *bad* thing, either. It’s a pretty darn good thing, and I’ll be looking up a few of the authors and start buying their full legnth works.

2) A Winter Wonderland, Fern Michaels, et al. (Kensington Books, ARC Copy)

These are all contemperary, and there’s a wider variety of types of stories. They are also more of the novelette size, than the short sotries. My personal favorite was “The Christmas Collector,” but as I said, there’s a little something in here for everyone.

The great thing about both of the books above is that they leave you with warm fuzzies. You *know* you’ve been reading a Christmas Book, just like the Hallmark Channel movies leave you feeling all cozy with life. The stories are good, and the writing stands on it’s own… but at Christmas time, we want the warm fuzzies. Lets be adult enough to admit it 😀

Now, for the e-book (short story). You KNOW you want to get my story, Dragon’s Champion (by Wynelda Deaver), and load it on someone’s Christmas Present for them. Don’t cha???

Hehehehehehe

Next week we’re gonna talk about goals and blah blah blah. Normally I don’t do new years resolutions, but we may change that.

Editing, Endings and Evolution

Well, I “met” my editor for my short story and… It wasn’t as bad as I feared. Me, being me (as it’s inconvient to be anyone else right now), had figured something along the lines of “OMG, they realized they hated the story and don’t know how to tell me… or maybe it’s SO horrible it’s taking so long and they hate me and and and…” Yah, I have the tendency to go waaaay past normal and into worst possible case scenario LOL. (In my defense— I do try not to involve too many people in my drama, and I always ASK someone I trust before I go flying off the handle with all the “nobody loves me” stuff.)

ANYHOO— was very nice. Not very painful, at all. Mostly grammar and such, which I get. Well, I understand that the changes need to be made, and made them and sent it back all neat and tidy. SO… that hurdle was cleared and we’re marching onwards toward PUBLICATION! YAY!

 

Ok. So enough tooting my own horn. Lets get down to business.

Specifically, endings.

I don’t claim to have the secret to great endings. I *know* I’m relatively untried as a writer, however… As a reader, you’ll be hard pressed to name 10 people you personally know who reads more than I do unless it’s for their job. And that’s not even counting the books I put down because I can’t get it to them.

There were two great books, one of them A Vintage Affair by Isabell Wolff and the other was Redoubt by Mercedes Lackey. Books held my interest all the way through… And then the endings.

With Wolff’s book, I hadn’t read one of her’s before. Maybe it’s her style. But I honestly thought I skipped a chapter. On my Nook, no less. I went back and forth, through the chapter thing that you can jump around in,… and nope. No missing pages. But to take a book, a really good book, and blow it like that?

Heartbreaking.

You can’t have the heroine telling someone that she’d found someone, but someone who’s currently only a friend, and then in the blooming next chapter holding hands and planning to meet his parents. If you’re going to end it ambiguous, do that. Don’t put the holding hands and plans for future in there. That would have been fine. F I N E. I personally LOVE a happy ending, but not all great books have them.

They do, however, feel COMPLETE. Not as if the publisher had left a chapter out.

Now, I’m going to throw this one out there. First of all, I’ve got nothing but love for Mercedes Lackey. She is one of my all time favorites. The Foundation series that she’s writing right now? I’ve bought all except the current one. In hard back.

I really like this author.

And it sucks that there’s a niggle of doubt over the e-book version of Redoubt, because it is a great read. Oh.. my… gawd… it gets GREAT. And when he realizes what love is, what it truly truly is deep down inside, you feel like crying.

And then you feel like throwing the Nook against the wall when you get to the end and realize… there’s not going to be a reunion between the friends where they can hash things out. For the first time in the series, it doesn’t end with Bear, Lena and Mags huddled up in the Hearler’s college, trying to figure out what’s next.

Now, that could be cuz these kids are growing up. Bear and Lena have gotten married. The second half of the book really picks up and goes and has you by the throat…. and then Dallen is there and you’re cheering, and then… IT’S FREAKING OVER.

And it’s really only a problem for 2 reasons. #1– it didn’t end as the others had, with the friends together and #2…. Someone posted on B&N in their review posted that the publisher had not put everything that is in the hard cover into the Nook version. That it had been EDITED DOWN.

What the heck?!???!!!!

Now, in the first book, I will say in no uncertain terms that I felt as if Wolff had forgotten a chapter. But for Mercedes Lackey? It might just be that it felt too quick because I was gripped into it and wanted more… I wanted the resolution and the kicking of butts to commence. I wanted to find out what it *meant* to Mags… but this could just be a great cliff hanger for the next book.

However…

I can’t tell. Because the pagination in e-books is wonky.

So….

For A Vintage Affair by Isabelle Wolf: Grade B. Solid book, even if it read weird for me. The romance part of it wasn’t really the main part of the story, and the REAL story was taken to it’s full conclusion.

 

Redoubt, by Mercedes Lackey…. I’m going to grudingly give an A to. It would be an A plus, except I STILL (weeks later) feel cheated. Dang it, Ms. Lackey— WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

 

Sorry I’ve been a little wonky myself on posting. I went to doctor’s yesterday— it’s my annual upper respitory / sinus infection time. yay me. But as I am taking my medication, hopefully will be gone by weekend.

 

Ta for now, my lovelies.

 

A Different Kind of Normal

A Different Kind of Normal by Cathy Lamb

 

The very first Cathy Lamb novel that I read was The Last Time I was Me. I loved that book so much that when I was done, I went right back and reread it. Then, I went to the book store and snatched up 2 or 3 more books by her.

I like her voice. A lot.

I also like that she says things that are just plain wrong, but are so true. In A Different Kind of Normal, she continues on in this tradition. It’s warm, funny, heart wrenching and heartwarming. I’ve read it twice. It speaks to motherhood with warmth and humor and heart pounding fear… Hits hard, and realistically.

The last two paragraphs sum up the story (motherhood itself, it you want to get right down to it) perfectly:

He was born with a big head.

And I have loved him, with all my heart, with all that I have, from that day forward.

 

It also perfectly echo’s the beginning, when we first get into the actual story (in chapter 2… but don’t miss chapter one, because it echo’s throughout too).

Bottom line? GO OUT AND BUY EVERYSINGLE CATHY LAMB NOVEL YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON AND THEN SIT DOWN FOR A NICE, LONG READ.

 

In other news, I’ve decided to join Camp Nanowrimo, which is definitely a different kind of normal for me. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it’s a bunch of writers trying to pound out FIFTY THOUSAND WORDS in a month. I, the unwriting writer, actually churned out a little over 1700 words on this, the first day. WooHoo!

What do you get for accomplishing the 50K you might ask?

Pride, my dears. It’s merely a point of pride. Oh, and 50,000 words!

WRITE ON!

I still plan on posting at least once on weekends, however when I’m in full writing mode I don’t tend to read. I’m too busy playing with the story in my mind to be interested in someone else’s story. That may change, though, as far as breaks and lunches at work. It also keeps my imagination clear, doesn’t muck it up with other people’s voices, other people’s dreams.

And the only reason why I can do this is a change in daycare, which gets me home 1 to 1 1/2 hour earlier 🙂

Night, my lovelies!

Best Sellers

What makes a best seller? At its most basic component, a best seller is simply a book that book buyers buy a lot of.  But what gets the book there? Cuz it isn’t always what it should be.

It should consist of a great opening hook, tight writing, great characters and a plot that keeps you wanting more. It should offer late nights and blurry morning after eyes. Too often, though, they don’t.

Contrived.

Lack Luster.

Blah.

Some of it can be straight up attributed to taste. I’m not going to like exactly what you like every single time. And that’s ok. So right off the bat, we’re going to throw out all the non-fiction titles. I don’t generally read nonfiction. I read to escape, pure and simple. Well, except for the stuff you can learn if you pay attention to details.

Ok. Now for Danielle Steele, most mysteries and thrillers (I only like funny mysteries) and the MAN FICTION. Man fiction is defined as anything that can be said to be written in the style of Tom Clancy). Oh, and the legal thrillers can go too.

So there aren’t a whole lot left to choose from. But Romances do end up on the Best Seller list regularly. So why is it that something that is so lackluster that it wouldn’t even register on the date-o-meter in real life on the best seller list while so many great titles languish? Languish, I say!

Have you checked the fantasy and science fiction section of your local book store lately? The stacks LOOK nice and full. But do some searching. A lot of what’s ending up in the new part of it is paranormal romance. Which is fine. But it’s romance. Not really even urban fantasy. Meanwhile, many books and authors that TRULY ROCK languish. Eventually, their books are no longer kept on the shelves.

Did you know that we have power? If every single one of us went to the book store and asked them to order it in for us… They would more than likely take notice and stock the books. This Does Not Work if you use the web site. You have to order it from the book store to ship to them for us to pick them up.

So. We might not be able to control the actual best seller lists. But we can control what gets ordered in by recommending loudly and often those books we love. And instructing our fellow bibliophiles in how to get the books BACK where they belong

What are your favorite non-bestsellers?