Thursday, February 28, 2008


Okay, I'm gonna say this straight up. Miss Long is getting off _extremely_ easy tonight because of my last book review. (g) Right now, any flaws I may have seen in her work are almost diminished to a point of non-existence. Well, not quite, but I'm feeling quite generous at the moment.

Before I start, can we just take a moment to reflect on the title of this book?

*blinks at it a few times*

Yeah, who comes up with these things? All throughout the book, I looked for some deeper meaning that could be attributed to it, but I didn't find anything. What a seriously random title. I guess the reason they chose it is probably similar to the way they insist on putting man-titty pics all over romance covers. Does that really sell more books, tho? Speaking for myself, I'm a bit put off by such things. But I guess I'm not one to judge. Apparently what they're doing is working. (g)


Historical Romance

Brief Synopsis: Colin Eversea has been found guilty of murder and is on the verge of being hung for a crime he didn't commit. On the day of his hanging, he's rescued by a mercenary for hire, Madeleine Greenway. When Madeleine attempts to deliver Colin to her unknown employer, someone attempts to take her life instead. Unable to move about the country alone, the two band together in an attempt to discover who is behind framing Colin, etc.

Oh goodness. I really shouldn't attempt a synopsis after 10PM...or ever. (g)

Okay, I'll begin by saying that Long has a lovely way with words (despite her headhopping, which fortunately was rather smooth and infrequent). She's very skilled and I sank right into her world. Her descriptions are vivid, and I could picture the setting through her eyes.

I liked the set-up of this story. In a way, it reminded me a great deal of THE SPYMASTER'S LADY by Joanna Bourne (yay, Jo!): A female in this highly dangerous profession, whose past is somewhat of a mystery, comes to the rescue of a man who isn't used to taking a backseat to strong women. I settled in for a good ride.

Unfortunately, about half way through, she started to lose me. I think I've pinpointed why that is. As I said earlier, she headhopped. However, I'd say she told most of the story from Colin's POV. And well, Colin is such...such a man. He thinks with his *cough* and well, was all around a bit shallow. He says he's in love with his childhood sweetheart, but yet, all he talks about is all of the affairs he's had, and well, he basically lusts after Madeleine from day one. Since his main focus is breaking up this sweetheart's wedding to his brother, it got a bit far-fetched for me. Deep devotion and rakish lust aren't exactly a believable mix.

When she told the story from Madeleine's POV, I felt very distanced from her. I think it was because she was hiding a bit of backstory for a late reveal. So for that reason alone, it seemed she couldn't dig too deep into her thoughts, etc. Put the two together and you have two characters I didn't really care for much. I wanted to, but could never get there.

The plotting... well, it was quite an intricate story. I would argue, TOO intricate. When she tied it all up in the end, I was left thinking, WTF? It was all a bit too far-fetched for me and *cough* appeared to be held together very loosely. Crazy because it didn't bother me until the very end. Up until then, I was going right along with the story. Mostly. I wish she would've simplified it a bit. Sometimes less is more.

The romance between the two MC's? Well, it was okay. The ending was your typical HEA, a lot predictable...but you know, I guess that's to be expected in a romance. I just wish someone would go out on a limb once in a while and write an ending that will surprise the readers. For a minute I thought that might happen here, but then it all turned around again.

So, final thoughts... GREAT writer but she needs to dig deeper into her characters and show us why we should care about them. I think she's almost there. And I feel the same about her plotting. I think with a little bit of stream-lining and simplification, this would've been a much better book. Once again, I think she'll get there. I'd probably give her next book a shot.

I Don't Think So

The third book I wanted to finish by next week is GILEAD by Marilynne Robinson. After that last one, I was really hoping to fall into a great book that would wipe the memory of it away. It's a pultizer, so yeah, you'd think I'd be set...

First line:

I told you last night that I might be gone sometime, and you said, Where, and I said, To be with the Good Lord, and you said, Why, and I said, Because I'm old, and you said, I don't think you're old.

'nuff said. I'm taking it back. (g)

(I really wanted to take part in the reading group at compu...but I just can't do it.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Orange Chicken Is The Enemy

Innocently, and with one clear goal in mind, I went to the mall today. I meant to pay a credit card and then skidaddle. HEH. The bookstore called my name, and then Panda Express.

I'm now officially in an orange chicken coma. Too bad I have class in a couple of hours.

Worst bit? B. Dalton's didn't have the book I _really_ wanted. LOL. Now I have to fend off the urge to go to B&N. (g) I'm only HUMAN!!

Learning To Say No

Good. Gawd. I so need to learn how to do that. (g)

I have three books I need to have read by next Tuesday, and I've only finished one so far. These were VOLUNTARY books, btw. LOL. I seriously need to learn when enough is enough. On top of that, I still have at least 10 first pages to comment on over at the forum. I'm going slightly nuts right now.

On top of all that, I have to finish my professor's book for class, and read CRIME AND PUNISHMENT for the thirty page paper I need to write for that same prof. *bangs head on wall*

Oh yeah, and yanno...write. HEH.

Please send all chocolate, sugar, and virtual caffeine my way. (g)

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Hey All! I've been a little bogged down with life and what not, so I apologize for being so quiet over here. Things haven't really settled down, but I think I'm in a better place--mentally--to handle everything. I hope. (g) I've gotten some rest, so that's a bonus. :)

Anyway, thought I'd dip my big toe back in and do a review. So, here we go.

by Maureen Johnson
Young Adult Contemporary

Brief Synopsis: Nina, Avery and Mel have been friends forever--referring to themselves as the Bermudez Triangle. Nothing can get in the way of their friendship. That is, until Nina goes away for an out-of-state summer program and returns to find Avery and Mel have begun a romantic relationship. With each other. Now she's left trying to figure out where she belongs in the triangle--if at all.

To my shock and surprise, I just learned that this book was banned in certain places. Well, I guess I'm not totally shocked. The book addresses lesbianism, which is of course a hot button for certain people and areas of the country. To be frank, I'm not sure WHAT these people think goes on in this book, but I highly doubt many have actually read it. I thought the topic was handled wonderfully and with subtle restraint. There aren't any graphic chick on chick sex scenes (there aren't any sex scenes _at all_) and it certainly didn't take a moral stand on the issue. All viewpoints were represented, and it gave an insightful glimpse at what a young girl might experience upon coming out about her sexuality.

What I really liked about this book is that it deals with a universal theme that most teens (or adults) go through at one point or another--what happens when two of your good friends fall in love and start dating? And where do you fit into the scheme of things when that happens? Who hasn't gone through that? Now imagine it's two thirds of the circle you run with. Goodness. That would be hard. Especially when you used to spend every minute together as a group. Now they have "their" time when you don't belong. Everything would change, I imagine.

This book doesn't celebrate any choice of sexuality as being the correct one. It simply focuses on these three girls' journeys toward finding out who they are. And while some of the characters know exactly where they stand as far as their sexual preference goes, others are still trying to figure themselves out. I really liked the way it was all handled. (Trying not to give too much away here. (G))

My only real complaint about this book is the sheer amount of characters involved in the story. It's told from the viewpoint of all three girls and each has a group of periphery characters trailing behind them. There were so many that at times I got a bit confused about who was who, etc.

Other than that, the viewpoint characters all had unique voices and personalities. I enjoyed all of them. The writing is fast-paced and lively -- all around a really good book. I highly recommend it.

Buy or Rent? Buy.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Amen And Hallelujah!

That's all I have to say about Kristin Nelson's post, found HERE.

Well, not all, I guess. (g)

I'm not sure how I feel about the no vampires bit. I mean, it's one of those general themes that people never really get tired of. But from Kristin's talk with the editor at Little Brown the other day, obviously people are trying to cash in on the success of the TWILIGHT series by Stephenie Meyers. I think vampire stories will always be in demand, but you'll have to try hard to come up with a new angle that hasn't been done a million times.

What I want to celebrate is the second part of her post. Let's hear it for vulnerable heroines who get freaked out from time to time...and yanno, aren't killing machines in lycra. (g)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Laying Low

Hey All! Sorry I've been so quiet lately. I've sort of been keeping my head down, barely managing to keep up with priorities. Unfortunately, that means there hasn't been much time for blogging.

That, and I've been having further computer issues... and that's in addition to trying to keep up with the Firsts Workshop. I'm slightly out of breath over here. (g) And yes, I've been writing, too. Actually resorted to good ole' pen and paper when my computer wasn't working. I'm making some good headway, though I never think it's enough.

I think I've discovered one of my problems. I've been keeping my eye trained on finishing the book--allowing myself to become overwhelmed by all that encompasses. Thinking I need to do it NOW. Yeah, it's so hard to remind myself to take it one sentence at a scene at a time... So, I'm trying to force that mindframe on myself. Baby steps.

When I start whining, feel free to remind me of this. And it will happen. LOL.

The good news... After I finish the big scene I'm working on now...and a couple of other major ones, I'll be ready to start pulling the book together. OMG, I can't wait! So yeah, I'm getting there...I'm about to put everything on hold (i.e. doing only the minimum of what I have to in other facets of my life -- that includes school! LOL) and completely push through to the end. Maybe in a week or two--most likely when the workshop wraps up. That's when I'll likely need all the virtual chocolate y'all can send. Oh, that and peach rings! I love me some peach rings. (g)

Hope everyone is doing well. I'm planning on doing a couple of book reviews soon -- and I'm putting together a craft post. (VBG) Look out when Jen talks about craft. I'll likely end up confusing myself in the process. The topic? The word WAS. Ohhhh...and I'm starting a new feature in R&C on the forum. Can't wait!!! :) I should have specifics up in the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Vince Gill Is My Hero

If you don't know why, let me break it down for you. (g)

The Grammys. Kanye West wins for something, can't recall the category. During his acceptance speech, he goes on and on about how it's his goal to become the number one artist of all time... Basically, the dude wants to be Humility is not his strong suit.

Later, Vince Gill takes the stage for country album of the year. Ringo Starr presents him with the grammy, which he makes note of by saying, "I just received a grammy from a Beatle." *pause pause pause* "Have you had that happen yet, Kanye?"

ROFLMAO!!! You go, Vince!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What Up?

Well, the Firsts Workshop has officially begun over at the forum. Since yesterday morning, there have been almost 900 posts. Granted, most of those are people commenting on each others first sentences, but when I didn't get to start wading through them until about post 750, it became a big ole' tedious mess. (g) I had to find a very quiet spot after finishing my comments and just...close my eyes and veg.

Why'd it take me so long? Well, my computer was on the blink. I tried everything to get it back on track. Granted, the basic functions work fine...they're just extremely slow. I NEED a new computer. Anyway -- spent about 8 hours yesterday working on it, which is more than frustrating. And then to have nothing improved in the end. WTF. That just sucks. I'm sure I could take it into a computer geek and s/he would be able to do something with it, but yanno...student=poor. LOL. Such a crap position.

Yeah, I'm TIRED and grumpy. (g) And with everything going on, I haven't gotten a lot of writing time in, though it's been on my mind _a lot_. Family, school, the's all turning into one big cluster (you know what) of distraction. But tonight...tonight I will write. Even if I have to turn the internet and the world off to do it.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

STORY OF A GIRL by Sara Zarr

by Sara Zarr

Young Adult Contemporary

Brief Synopsis: Deanna Lambert is known as the "school slut," a reputation she acquired when she was thirteen and caught doing the deed in the back of a Buick with a seventeen year old boy. By her father. The story begins three years later. Her life since the incident has been a series of covert glances and whispered words, "That's her--the one who slept with Tommy. The slut."

Faced with a father who won't look at her, and a home life that is in complete shambles, all Deanna dreams about is getting out. Getting away from her family, escaping the reputation that has haunted her for three years... But as we all know, life doesn't always work out the way we expect it to.

A cover blurb states this book is "Realistic fiction at it's best."

And yeah, I'd have to agree it's a pretty darn good book. I've never been one to want to read this sort of stuff. We all want the fantasy, right? lol Well, this is about as real as it gets -- right down to having to get a crappy part-time job, wanting out of your house so much you can barely see straight...and all the stumbling blocks that arise when you finally realize your reality is nothing like your dreams. That it may never be.

Deanna is some major ways. There are times when you want to shake her and tell her to grow up. But then you remember she's just a kid, and man, kids make mistakes. Kids dream big and fall hard. This girl has had a rough road and I'm left hoping she just makes it out of her current situation okay.

Her relationship with her father is tenuous at best, and I think Zarr nailed it on the head. There's probably nothing worse in the world than losing the faith of someone who is supposed to be your ever-present cheerleader in life. The tension between the two was just spot on.

The characters were all wonderful in their unique ways. All dealing with their own problems and goals...all well developed. Even when I couldn't stand the characters, I felt I at least understood them. I think that's one of the hardest things to pull off in writing--especially when it comes to the real or perceived antags. We need to remember that even the worst person in the world still has hopes and dreams unique to them. That they've been let down in life, too.

I can't say this book left me with a nice happy feeling, but I will say that I enjoyed it a great deal. I'll definitely keep an eye out for Zarr's next book.

Buy or Rent? Buy.