Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quick Reviews

I haven't had much time to read since last week, but here are the ones I've managed to finish:

A MONSTROUS REGIMENT OF WOMEN by Laurie R. King -- I really liked this one, though, again, it was a little slow in the beginning. I can't put my finger on what I love so much, but there's just something about this series that leaves me salivating for the next book. They're very...dense...books, with a lot of details, and I love all of the historical tidbits. In this novel, Mary Russell is drawn into the confidence of a friend who is part of a women's organization that is pretty much aimed at women's rights. Someone is killing off rich young women who, of course, managed to leave all/most of their money to the organization. Again, the relationship between Russell and Holmes is _wonderful_, though the father/daughter aspects of it are taking a backseat to something a bit...less father/daughter. (VBG) I really didn't know what to think of that, but found myself cheering it on in the end. We'll see how it goes from here on out. Anyway -- very good book.

Buy or Rent? BUY.


This is the story of a young guy who has dated and broken up with no less than 19 Katherines and his search for the reason _why?_ Colin Singleton is a "former" child prodigy who feels he hasn't lived up to his potential. As he points out numerous times, a prodigy (unlike a genius) only learns things quickly--things others invented or figured out. All he wants is to leave his mark on the world, and he finds his chance when he comes up with and tries to prove the "Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability" -- the idea that he can predict how long any couple with stay together before their relationship falls apart. And perhaps answer the "why" regarding all of those dang Katherines. Accompanied by his best friend, Hassan, he sets out on an impromptu road trip which lands him in Gutshot, TN. General teen mayhem ensues.

I liked this book -- the humor was great and I laughed out loud many, many times. Hassan is one of the best sidekicks I've read in a long time. Seriously, he should have his own series. (g)

Here's the thing. It's light, it's fun...but it's not what I would call a deep read. It's pure entertainment and I totally recommend it for a good laugh. (FYI -- it's coming out in paperback this August (I believe) with a cover price of $3.99. Go forth and buy, people.) Green's use of footnotes was HYSTERICAL. Haha...just thinking about them makes me laugh. (g)

Buy or Rent? Buy.


This is the story of two best friends -- told from when they're very young, through their teenage years. At first their relationship seems pretty standard. Sure, one of the girls is a little bossy, but overall, typical kid stuff. But then it became apparent that Leah held a great deal of power over Laine and used that power to manipulate her. It's disturbing and gritty, but overall, pretty realistic, I think.

I can't say I loved this book, but it definitely made an impact. It was powerful stuff, but at times, I felt the prose didn't quite live up to the potential of the story. Could be me.

However, I think Knowles really captured what it's like to be a teenager -- the stupid decisions all of us made at one time or another, the power of peer pressure, the way a relationship will ebb and flow through the years, how finding your way out of one bad situation may lead you into another... It felt real, and I have to applaud that.

That said, this book is rather dark. And well, I think I'm a little burned out on hard-hitting books with an in-your-face storytelling style. (g) I think I'll read something a bit lighter next... maybe THE PRINCESS ACADEMY by Shannon Hale. :)

Okay, off to see Batman *dun dun dun dun dun dun dun BATMAN!!*

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunday! Whoo-whoo!

Ahhhh, I had a lovely, lazy day. I did nothing. I mean nothing. I could barely muster the energy to get out of bed. Alas, I finally rolled out mid-afternoon and managed to get some (much-needed) laundry finished. Then I did my FAVORITE Sunday activity -- book shopping. :) Got the next Laurie R. King, a Thomas Perry someone recommended to me, and a new YA by Kelly Armstrong called THE SUMMONING. I've got more reading material than I will ever be able to finish. But I'm totally thrilled to have spent some of those duckets I worked so hard to earn last week. (g) And the next Stephenie Meyer comes out on the 2nd. (!!!!)

The great news is that I only work two nights this week. Lots of time to get back on the writing wagon. Of course, guess which book is barking (literally)? BTPM! LOL. I've had some great ideas this past week -- they hit at totally random moments. I may work on some of them just to get back into writer mode. Dangerous, I know. Eh, we'll see. Why is it that the wrong book barks when you need to work on another?? I don't get it. (g)

Anyway, if you've sent me an email, I'll try to get back to you soon. I'm a bit behind. (g)

(Also -- there are a bunch o' movies I MUST see. Batman, The X-files, Mama Mia...blah. Too many movies, not enough time.)

Hope everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dreaming Of Sunday

I've received a couple of nudge emails, wondering how I'm doing. Well, I'm alive. (g) That's about as good as it gets right now. LOL.

I just started two new jobs (technically one is at the same place, but they (gak) put me "in charge" at the restaurant and Monday was my first time on the job semi-alone. Tonight is fully alone -- eeeeeeek). Gah. And let me tell you, I think this week is a little taste of what hell must be like. (g) I've literally worked from sun up to sun down every day since Saturday, and I'll continue working that long until this Saturday...

Hmmm..Next week should be better. A lot better.

So for now, I'm dreaming of Sunday and a chance to be lazy for an entire day. (Ha)

Not getting much (well, any) writing done...not getting any reading accomplished either. I'm seriously that busy -- and I gave up my energy crutch a couple of weeks ago! Caffeine. Blah -- headaches for about a week, but I'm feeling pretty good now. It's hard not to reach for a cup of coffee or a Pepsi when I need a little boost, but overall I think my energy level is more even and constant than before. So it was probably really good timing to go cold turkey when I did. Otherwise I probably would've hit a wall sometime last night. LOL.

(Sidenote: Can you believe I'm writing this from the morning side of 630?? LOL) Yeah, it's pretty shocking to me, too. (g)

Anyway -- I'm doing well -- sorry for the radio silence, but hopefully next week (when the boss gets back in town) will go a little more smoothly. Hope everyone has a good week!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Somehow I can't see D.A. being this way with me. Heh.

A "conversation" between agent and author as that pesky deadline approaches. HERE.

And another reason why I must get a room in the YA mansion someday. In fact, I want Maureen Johnson as my roomie.

5 Reasons Why I Love John Green

Not to go all fangirl on y'all, but good grief. This guy is awesome.

5. The Yeti. I love how he respects his wife's decision not to appear on his vblog. The Yeti sightings are one of the highlights of the whole thing. And it's too sweet how when he's out on the road, he'll stop in the middle of a sentence and say, "I miss the Yeti."

4. Hank. He's related to Hank Green, and that's pretty damn cool.

3. He's not only funny, but he's _smart funny_. He reminds me of the guys I hung out with in high school -- the kind who knew totally random facts that _shouldn't_ be funny, but just are. The kind of guy who probably memorized PI to the billionth number.

2. He's an all star in my heart. Is that the funniest story or what? Don't know what I'm talking about, go HERE. I love when a person shares funny (somewhat embarrassing) stories in such a self-depreciating way.

1. He writes amazing books that I don't want to put down. (Seriously, I had to leave AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES in the other room so I could get some writing of my own done. (I'm only about 40 pages in and I'm HOOKED.) And I finished LOOKING FOR ALASKA in one sitting--when I needed to be doing other things.)

John Green...you rock!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Living In The Monkey House?

So, I'm a Project Runway addict. I happened to catch the finale to last season (as tonight is THIS season's premiere -- YAY), during which Tim Gunn goes to visit Chris and is a bit...put-off by his collection. He then makes this really great analogy, which goes something like this: When a person walks into a monkey house, they're overwhelmed by the stench of the place. It's nauseating, but after a few minutes, you become somewhat used to it. And then an hour later, you don't even notice the smell anymore. It's only when someone new walks in and remarks on the smell that you're reminded of all the crap strewn about.

Okay, so obviously he was trying to give Chris a not-so-subtle hint that he had obviously been around his collection for too long, and what he thought was good, was really crap. LOL. Harsh, but man, what a great way of looking at things. And a great reminder that every now and then we need to take a step away from our work and get the opinion of others. Are we really as good as we think we are or have we simply grown accustomed to what others would think is complete shiite?

So my question to myself is this -- have I been living in the FI monkey house too long? I swear, there are days when I'm actually quite proud of my writing. I think to myself: Wow, Jen. YOU wrote this. It's awesome. Who woulda thunk it??

Other days (if I'm honest, MOST days) -- such as the past couple, I've been reading back through and thinking I've seriously produced some big lumps of crap. Not only do I need to watch where I step, but I worry that a bunch of turds do not a book make. (Any of you who know me well, know this is pretty much standard operating procedure for me. Seriously, tho...will I ever be confident?? Do these self-doubts ever go away?? Yeah, yeah...I'd say no at this point.) Heh. Yeah, so what's my point?

Not sure that I have one. But I find it all very interesting that I saw myself in this. LOL. To be honest, it frustrates the heck out of me. So, what to do about it? Any suggestions? Shall I post some snips for feedback? Either way, I'm putting my head down and gutting through...if this is truly the monkey house, then I need to be done with it and get this dang book out into the daylight to air out.

I Can't Be Stopped!

LOL -- seriously, this library thing is addictive. It's nice to run in and find titles I haven't been able to locate at church. Of course, I still want to BUY many of these, but alas...for now, I'll read and enjoy. And I'll do it for free. (g)

Today's take:






and for inspiration:

HOW TO WRITE A DAMN GOOD NOVEL by James Frey (a recommendation -- thanks, Claire!)

Oh, and did I mention I tracked down the next Laurie R. King? Found it in a small bookstore near the place grandpa got his teeth worked on. So far, A MONSTROUS REGIMENT OF WOMEN is living up to the title. LOL. Not sure what I think of it yet, but I'll let you know.

Yet Another Reason Why Libba Bray Is Fantabulous!



Monday, July 14, 2008


Well, I pulled out everything for FI today and did a read through. Unfortunately, I'm feeling a little discouraged at the moment -- there just seems to be so much left to do. Blah. I'm chalking it all up to being exhausted. My week (last week, that is) didn't turn out the way I expected. Grandpa came to town in order to get his teeth fixed (LONG overdue). Anyway, I was put on official Grandpa-watch--had to make sure he ate enough pudding and ice cream, had something to drink at all times, and was fairly entertained throughout the day. He didn't want to do anything other than listen to music and talk. And the talking was pretty sporadic. I couldn't really write so I did some reading in between our convos.

Then this weekend was BUSY. Lots of working, late hours...throw in a couple of friends who came to town (a visit that lasted almost 8 hours!! LOL), and it was gone, gone, gone. So yeah, new week, fresh start. I'm going to pull out one small section of FI tonight and just try to concentrate on that. If I look at the whole, I become overwhelmed. Weird because I know there's not THAT much left to add. It's just that there are a lot of little problems I need to fix and well...yeah...that equals one freaked-out Jen.

Anyway, finished a couple of books.

Stephen King's THE GUNSLINGER -- can't say I loved it, but I'm interested enough to at least try the next book. I have to admit, I'm a little lost on some of the terminology, but his world-building is good overall. I seem to recall someone saying that the first book wasn't really representative of the series as a whole (meaning the others are much better), so we'll see.

Dana Stabenow's DEAD IN THE WATER -- so, I've made a decision about this series. It's a BUY. :) Her writing really did a huge leap between books 1 and 2, and she really seems to have hit her stride in book 3. In this book, two fishermen disappear off of a crab boat and Kate joins the crew, undercover, to discover the truth behind their disappearance. Let me tell you, there is no way in heck I would ever want to do that job! LOL. She really brought you right on to that boat, and I do not want to go there again. (g) At least, not physically. But it was a great read -- terrifying, actually. (That drowning thing of mine (g)).

Okay, off to dinner -- then to write.

Friday, July 11, 2008


All of the cool kids are doing it... :)

For Faking It:

Erm, I'm betting all the cool kids know how to enlarge this...I don't. (g) Go here.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008


As I said in a previous post, I've been reading up a storm. (g) I really need to stop slacking and get to work on FI, so that's my goal for this afternoon. In the meantime, here are some quick reviews of the books I've gulped down during the past couple of weeks.

FEARLESS FOURTEEN by Janet Evanovich -- I actually liked this a lot more than I thought I would--simply based on the reviews I heard. It's extremely fast-paced (almost too fast in parts), but actually tied up rather well. I would agree that it wasn't as funny as some of her others--and, gah, Ranger was almost an afterthought (seriously, we need something to happen--soon). Overall, tho, I enjoyed it. It was a nice, fun, light read that kept my mind off things.

DEVILISH by Maureen Johnson -- This one is about a high school student who discovers her best friend has sold her soul to the devil in order to become popular. In order to save her, she makes her own deal and gets into all kinds o' trouble. This one was okay. I didn't love it, didn't hate it. The characters are well drawn, but the devil character was a little too...hmm, random is the best word I can come up with. But it's a page-turner, and light...so yeah, it's enjoyable and worth a read.

A DANGEROUS MOURNING by Anne Perry -- LOVE LOVE LOVED this one. This is a must-read series, imho. :) A young widow is murdered and all evidence suggests it was one of her family members who killed her. Inspector Monk recruits Hester Latterly to go undercover (yay) as a nursemaid, and _everyone_ looks guilty. (g) I loved it (repeat yourself much, Jen? (g)). Again, a lot of historical detail, without beating people over the head with it...and characters that are so richly drawn. I sank right into this book.

SHUTTER ISLAND by Dennis Lehane -- A patient has gone missing at the Ashcliffe mental institute and Teddy Daniels and his partner have been called in to investigate. What they find is a bunch of clues that lead them to believe there's more going on than meets the eye -- in other words, the mental institute isn't just treating patients, but perhaps....experimenting on them. Throw in a hurricane, and...Muhahaha. I liked this book. It was intriguing and had all kinds o' twisty plot turns. The ending was pretty surprising. LOL. Not sure I could've seen it coming while I was reading, and it was more than a little far-fetched...but still. Enjoyable. I liked the characters a lot and the writing, as always, was superb. Lehane was able to create another great world -- this time set in the 1950's -- that felt very authentic. So different than MYSTIC RIVER, and I respect his ability to create such differently colored books.

Surely I must've read more books than this.... Oh, I'm in the middle of THE GUNSLINGER by Stephen King, and got about halfway through another that I just had to give up on. (blech) OH OH OH..and I got MY LORD AND SPYMASTER by Joanna Bourne the other night. I'm listed in the acks!! Me, MY name in lights (so to speak). (g) Too cool for school.

Anyway, off to try and get some words in. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

You Never Quit On Your Writing

So, I've had a hard time picking myself up after this past week and the loss of my grandma. I know I'm not the first person to lose a loved one, but I must admit it feels that way sometimes. Part of it is that no one close to me has ever passed before, and part of it is that this was my grandma. My only grandma. Long story, but she was it. As my grandpa is my only grandpa. It's hard to let go and I find myself tearing up at random moments.

Writing hasn't even been a possibility for the past week, and I'll admit it's more about being too sad to muster the energy. My characters have been knocking, but I've been too tired and emotionally drained to answer right now. I've been reading a lot -- watching movies. I happened to have August Rush waiting for me when I got home, and it has this really great scene where someone (no spoilers!) is telling August to never give up on his music. Because that's the one place he can escape to and let go of all the bad things in the world. It really hit a nerve with me, and I've given it a lot of thought. August had his music, and I have my writing. I shouldn't feel guilty for writing, for wanting to get back to my story so soon. It's the place I feel safe, where I'm happiest, where I can go to heal.

So, today I pulled up a blank page and just wrote. About my grandma. It was hard, I cried, but yanno, I feel better.

Am I cured? Heck no. But it's a step. Perhaps I can even work a little on FI soon.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Random Meme

I stole this from Deniz's blog.

1. What’s in your pocket right now? Lint, prolly.

2. Have you ever gone skinny-dipping? Erm, no. LOL. Doubt I ever will.

3. Did you have a baby blanket? Nope -- didn't suck my thumb either. (g)

4. Have you ever tried to cut your own hair? My bangs, yes.

5. How did that turn out? Heh...don't ask. (g) I don't do it anymore.

6. Have you ever sleepwalked? Either that, or I was really restless when I was younger. I moved around a lot. That's all I know.

7. Have you ever had a birthday party at a restaurant? Showbiz Pizza, baby! For those of you don't know, it's along the lines of Chuck E. Cheese.

8. Have you ever eaten a dog biscuit? Hell's no, but my mom claims I ate dog food. (BTW, never fill these things out with your family in the room. They have way too much dirt that you've forgotten all about.)

9. If you were in a car sinking in a lake, what would you do first? Panic and die. Drowning is one of my worst fears.

10. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance? Nope, though I probably should have a couple of times. LOL. My sister says I need a one-way ride to the psych ward, tho -- right now.

11. Have you ever fallen asleep in school? Uh, yes. LOL. The worst is when you snort or something and wake up to find the cutest boy in school laughing at you. Or drool. Drool is bad.

12. How many foreign countries have you visited? Uh, one...though it barely counts. (Canada) My mom went to Japan and she says it wasn't worth her time. Clearly she's insane.

13. Have you ever broken a bone? Yes -- a small one in the bridge of my foot.

14. Have you ever accidentally taken something from a hotel? No, but I have on purpose. LOL.

15. If you could invite any movie star to your home for dinner,would it who be? I gotta go with Gerry Butler here. Or Ewan McGregor. They can both sing to me...naked. (g)

16. If you could attend an Olympic Event, what would it be? I'm a figure skating junkie...though curling fascinates me for some reason.

17. How many pairs of shoes do you own? Rough guess...somewhere around 25-30.

18. If you won a $5,000 shopping spree to any store, which store would you pick? Is there any doubt about my answer here? My Church!!!!!! (Barnes & Noble)

19. Have you ever been rushed to the emergency room? Yes -- Once when I was a baby for apparent evacuation from both ends. (g) Once in high school for some bizarre digestive problem, and then again a few years ago for the same condition (Oh yay, a pattern -- looking forward to the next occurrence. :P). And a fourth time for a rapid heartbeat (195, I believe). It's been a real pleasure. (Kidding)

20. Have you ever had surgery? Does an IV count? No? Uh, then no. (g)

21. When was the last time you had a sit-down dinner with your immediate family that didn't consist of a television? Tonight -- about an hour ago.


Well, I'm "back." Not really, tho. I'm still out of town, but plan on going home tomorrow -- just in time to work. (joy) Thought I'd get caught up on some email's, etc. Anyway, it's been a rough week -- lots of tears, lots of laughter -- all for one very special lady who I will miss terribly. Here's to Ruby -- love you, Grandma.