Sunday, December 25, 2011

Just Read...

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
YA Dystopian/Sci-fi

Interesting idea, full of potential, but not executed as well as it could have been. I'll tell you why in a bit.



Friday, December 23, 2011

Freebee Friday!

Have you all seen the official Hunger Games trailer?!?! And have you all committed to standing in line to be one the the first to get a ticket? I'm not sure I am, either, but that doesn't take away from the awesomeness that is the official movie trailer! I've included it below. ALSO...I've included a hilarious spoof that is amazing.

Happy Friday, my friends!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

I should be writing, but....

What happens when my love for cellos and my love for Carol of the Bells comes together? This! Thanks @Pamerd!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Busy Winter

Photo found here: 
It's been an interesting winter so far, to say the least. And by interesting, I mean far from the norm. My norm.

Growing up, I severely disliked my mom (like all teenagers across the world) and thought she was cramping my style and making my life miserable on purpose. Of course, now that I'm an adult, I realize how smart and wise she was, and glad that she ruled with an iron fist (some of the time), and actually thankful that she caught me when I did some pretty stupid things. Now, she's the best friend I have. 
She moved away about six months ago (but it feels like a lifetime) for an extended vacation. It's been a weird six months. Not being able to see her a few times a week. Not having someone to do things with that Hubby would rather skip. A piece of me has been missing for six months and I'm not functioning properly. That's the first "out of the norm" thing.

The second is, we had Thanksgiving at our house this year, with 20 adults (my mom being one, yay!), 5 children (3- to 6-years-old) and two infants under a year old. I loved it, of course, and can't wait to get a bigger house so we can fit everyone in the kitchen and instead of the living room. I forgot to take pictures to show you all how beautifully it all turned out. I made boat loads of food to make sure there was enough (we ran out of stuffing last year), and I forgot to send leftovers home with the guests (note to self: buy cheap Tupperware for next year). As a result, my fridge was wall to wall stuffing, turkey, yams, and mashed potatoes. In fact, I was eating Thanksgiving Dinner for lunch and dinner up until a couple weeks ago.

Christmas is going to be crazy this year with my mom being gone and with a new niece and nephew added to the bunch. So, seven total to buy for. I actually had a Christmas list for Hubby to choose from and he didn't (surprise, surprise). Oh, and, in a manner of a month, I've had close friends/family either get engaged (2) or exchange promise rings (1); and when it happens bam-bam-bam, it's a bit overwhelming.

We still don't have any snow. And while I'm not terribly upset by this absence, it's weird. We usually have snow by now. A lot of snow. We haven't seen one flake. I admit, I don't like driving with idiots who don't know how to drive on freeways in the snow. I don't like having to shovel and salt the driveway and sidewalks. I ESPECIALLY don't like having to replace my sensational high heel collection with sensible foot ware (Excuse me while I gag). But it doesn't feel like the Christmas season without a bit of white on the ground. I miss seeing The Machine run around like a black dart through the park and our back yard, her mouth open like a shovel, scooping up the snow. But, *sigh*, it looks like a non-white Christmas.

I made my mom's trademark Christmas cookies yesterday (I call them the cookies from hell) for my husband (they're his favorite and very tasty, but hard to make) and immediately called my mom and said, "You can never, never, never, EVER die, because I'm never making these cookies again!"

There's an agent looking at my book. My ENTIRE book. She still has my book. I've been told that the longer they have it, the better your odds are. At least, that's what I've been told. Did I say that already? That bit of news still has me a little delirious.

I have three completed YA novels under my belt, all of which I am in love with. I'm a quarter to a third of the way through three others, all of which I adore, as well. I've joined SCBWI and a subscription to Writer's Digest which prove I'm both dedicated and motivated with this whole writing "thing". I'm gearing up for my second writer's conference in San Francisco and I'm going to start another writing group (I hope) in January. I'm almost up to date on all my BR's and that's saying something! I've read about 25 books this year, and since I started keeping track in the summer, that's pretty hot.

Things are a-movin' and a-shakin, people. I'm feeling good about it all.

What about you? How is the end of your year shaping up?


ARC Alert!!!

That's right, I said it. And I'll say it again. ARC ALERT! It's been a while, because I haven't had that much time to read extra books. But I saw this one and I just had to have it! I mean, look at that sweet cover!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Book 1 in the Lunar Chronicles)

A rebooted fairy tale about Cinderella. Starting it at lunch today. :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Great song that I need to have playing when I'm reading. :)

Happy Friday my friends!


The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
YA Fiction
Rating: PG-13
Coffee Beans: An entire burlap sack full
Spoiler Alert: None

I'd seen this title around, but never really had the desire to read it. The summary told me it wasn't my typical type of book. Then I read Tahere Mafi's review, and changed my mind. I consumed this book in 24 very short hours. It's hard to describe the feeling this kind of book gives you. How it changes you as a person. It sounds so cheesy, but it's true. This is a book about life. About people, and sadness and how loss can kill a person inside, how it effects everyone and the importance of family and loved ones. This isn't just a story, it's a life and that life's pain unfolding on each page.

Her words are so poetic and simple and real and oh, so powerful. The way she expresses the profound sadness and emptiness that comes with losing someone you love with all your heart was overwhelming. I felt everything Lennie did, I was riding this rollercoaster with her. I was crying with her, in the darkness of the closet amongst Bails' clothes. I understand why she did the things she did, because while reading this story, I lost Bails too, and felt the need to do those same things. Make those same decisions and say those same words.

The poems in the books, the snippets of Lennie and Bails lives together was perfect and heart-wrenching and beautiful all at the same time. Jandy has a way with words that I have never seen before and I doubt I'll see them again. There were so many times where she expressed something so complex in such a rudimentary, brilliant way. There's a poetic element to her prose and narrative that is so fluid.

Every character, and I mean every character is real enough to touch. I wait for them to come walking down the street. I want a grandma like Grams, I want to live in their town, I want a crazy uncle who's been married a bazillion times, I want to be able to play an instrument like Lennie or Joe can. I want to know them all. It's just a great story and experience that you'll have to have for yourself. Loved this book and will read it again. It definitely made it onto The List.

The toes knows.

Here are a few of my favorite lines from Jandy's book:

"It's as if someone vacuumed up the horizon while we were looking the other way." Pg 3

"My sister dies over and over again, all day long." Pg 9

"I wish my shadow would get up and walk beside me." Pg 37

"But what if music is what escapes when a heart breaks?" pg 86

"Our tongues have fallen madly in love and gotten married and moved to Paris." Pg 125

"My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn't go away; it becomes part of you,m step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That's just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don't get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy." Pg 257

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Just Read...

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

A Paranormal YA firmly grounded in reality. Strong and believable development in characters, plot, and relationships. A Very good read. I can't wait for the second one, Enshadowed, to come out next month. BR to come soon...


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's by Ransom Riggs

(Sequel yet untitled to be released Spring 2013)

YA Paranormal Thriller

Rating: PG

Rating: 3.5/5

Spoiler Alert: Only a little

Note: This author has the coolest name ever. I need to thank his parents for this.

This guy's awesome. There, I said it. And I think his name set him up for great things. If you get a chance, check out his YouTube videos about the book trailer for this book and the making of the book trailer, and all the others he has out there. So much entertainment from one guy. Here's what he did: He went around to flea markets, etc and purchased old and intriguing black and white photographs (apparently this is a pretty popular hobby) and turned them into a story. It's spectacular how they all dovetailed together. 

This was another book that I tried to get as an ARC because it looked and sounded cool. I had to buy it by myself, which I was more than happy to do. I have to say, that even though it was well-written and a brilliant story, it wasn't anything like what I was expecting. I will even go far enough to say that the was a bit of false advertising that went into me buying the book. Let me show you. Here's the official summary according to Ransom's blog: 

"A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

"A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows."

After reading that, I was expecting thrills, mystery, ghosts, and a lot of scariness. The only a tiny bit of what I felt was promised, was delivered. And that was at the beginning when he was in the woods behind his grandfather's house. Overlooking that, I thought it was a very entertaining story. Clever and imaginative, and given its paranormal nature, pretty believable. The only part I found hard to swallow was the end, when Jacob makes a decision there's no going back on. It's going to be interesting to see how Ransom makes that play out in the follow-up to this book. How he's going to make it believable and realistic. The characters were interesting and surprisingly well-rounded.

Even though this wasn't what I expected or one of my favorite books, I'll probably pick up the second installment to see what happens to Jacob and the other peculiar children in Spring of 2013. It looks like it's going to be made into a movie as well (screenplay written by Jane Goldmen X-Men First Class and a rumor that Tim Burton might be directing it—which would be, in one word, perfect) and I'd actually be VERY interested to see. I already know a song they should put on the soundtrack – Dead Hearts by Stars.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

(#2 From Bad to Cursed, #3 As Dead as it Gets due out 5/15/2012)

YA Thriller/ghost story

Rating: 3.5/5

Spoiler Alert: No


Official summary from series' website: "When Alexis's little sister Kasey becomes obsessed with an antique doll, Alexis thinks nothing of it. Kasey is a weird kid. Period. Alexis is considered weird, too, by the kids in her high school, by her parents, even by her own Goth friends. Things get weirder, though, when the old house they live in starts changing. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in. Kasey is changing, too. Her blue eyes go green and she speaks in old-fashioned language, then forgets chunks of time.

"Most disturbing of all is the dangerous new chip on Kasey's shoulder. The formerly gentle, doll-loving child is gone, and the new Kasey is angry. Alexis is the only one who can stop her sister — but what if that green-eyed girl isn't even Kasey anymore?"
Ha! Finally, one of the books that I marked as I read! Here we go.

I love scary things. It's fun every once in a while to jump and scream. The summary on the book and the cover made me think that I might get a little bit of the heebie-jeepies from this book. But it's so hard to find a book (especially YA) that will really scare me (I'm still on the search. If you know of any, put it in the comments). Bad Girls Don't Die didn't scare me – not even a chill—but it was well-written and told. I think some of the issues for me was that the story and the "haunting's" were a bit cliché.

High school-y enough without being overdone This, I especially appreciated. It's so easy for a YA book with a high school setting to be to cliquey and cliché and horrible. But Alender steered clear of that, and it was nice

Good dialogue fast, witty, natural and smooth. Loved the bantering between Carter and Alexis, it gave us entertainment and told us more about who they were.

Nice metaphors "The oak tree in the front yard adds to the effect. It's enormous and gnarled; it hangs over the house like an overprotective boyfriend."

Good characterizations I kept reading Kasey (the 13-year-old little sister) and saying, "Oh. My.Gosh. I sincerely hope I wasn't like that when I was 13". Great job reminding the reader how at that age, everything is life or death. Alender gives the MC, Alexis, a great spunky personality that entertained me on every page

Humor up the wazoo

This book isn't a literary masterpiece, it doesn't have a profound theme; it's strictly for entertainment value. I found myself getting further and further along in the story with little to no effort on my part, the story moved itself along, until I finally realized I was turning the last page. Katie moves the story along really well with her humor, metaphors, and clever dialogue, not once did I ever get bored reading this.

Then I got to the end of the book (page 259, to be precise) and got a little peeved at her. Where the heck did this come from? The revelation that she gives the reader feels so far out of the blue, it's unbelievable. If there had been some foreshadowing earlier in the book, this part would have been easier to swallow. As it is, it feels a little like Deux e Machina (or whatever that is). The ending was sweet…a little too sweet…but I got over it. Anyway, the goal was met, I want to read the second one.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Dulstlands trilogy (Rebel Hearts is the second installment, but I couldn't find any more information on it)

YA Dystopian

Rating: 4.5/5

Spoiler Alert: Only a little

I loved this book. But I grew to love it. It's one of those books that I started to read and didn't like, then enjoyed it immensely. It's a story that sits with you well after you've finished reading it, and still calls you back to think about it. I had seen it around everywhere. I passed over taking it as an ARC, even though it piqued a slight interest in me. I finally purchased it at one of Border's closing sales. It was the last copy on the cluttered shelves. 

It was meant to be.

Here's the official summary from the official S&S page: "Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's find by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives bearing four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on a quest to get him back. 

"Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And shehas the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

"Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story."

Stumblers What the heck are the first three pages? An intro? A prologue? Looking back, I understand it; and it's perfect. But starting off, it was a bit disjointing. 

Accents in the author's spelling *groan*

What?! No quotes for dialogue?! I have to admit, that when I first started and realize these two things, that was a showstopper. I put the book down for about a week and reconsidered even reading it. I mean, I didn't want to invest the brain power trying to figure out what the characters were saying through their accent, who was saying what when, and the lack of punctuation was jolting. But, after a week, I decided to give it another shot. Just one more page, I'd say. Then I got to the end of the book. 

Good and addictive, but hard to get into because of the formatting. But a REALLY great book. The storyline was well told--and I agree 100%, had "a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story." Saba loves and idolizes her twin brother, Lugh, and despises her little sister Emmi. I cringed a lot at some of the things Saba said and did to Emmi. Saba goes after her brother and Emmi follows. Emmi never does what she says. It's great. 

The thing I truly enjoyed about this book was the fact that every character present (Not Lugh, because he was kidnapped) grew and changed in this story. Saba realized there was more to life and family and relationships than the sun rising and setting on her brother, She came to value and love her sister Emmi, and Emmi grew as a person, too. Matured into a smart, independent little lady. Saba let down her guard and let Jack in, and vice-versa. 

I really enjoyed the relationship Young created between Saba and Jack. You knew that they liked each other, but that they were holding back (for various reasons). There were parts where I laughed aloud and cheered and cried and screamed because their path to each other wasn't taking the straight one I wanted. But it was their perfect path to each other (crap, did that sound as cheesy as I thought it did?).

Life happened in this book, the good, the bad, the funny, and the ugly. And I think that's what I appreciated so much about it. There's tragic heartbreak that befalls characters I really cared about. There's selfish decisions that are made that will forever scar someone. But it's okay. Because that's life, and when is life ever perfect, and beautiful, and without tears?

This is definetly a story that I'll read again (and probably soon) and recommend to others. The story is real and true to itself and its characters. I love it when an author and a book do that. 

There's no official BRR or Moira Young website out there (just the S&S and the fb page) and that's sad. In a world like today's, you can't not have those things. BUT! I was able to find that the book was optioned by Scott Free Productions to be made into a movie (decision announced May 13th, 2011) which makes me all sorts of happy inside. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

The Chemical Garden Trilogy (Next book, Fever, is due out February 2012)

YA Distopian

Rating: 2.5/5

Spoiler Alert: Only a little

Another kick-ass cover is out in the world, folks, and it belongs to this book. I mean, how can you look at it and NOT pick it up? But to be honest with you, after reading this book, I kind of wish I hadn't. Maybe just slipped off the book jacket and asked if I could buy that, instead. No margin notes in this one, either, so I'll try to recapture the emotions I had when I wrote down my notes in my notebook. Again, this is from back in August. 

ere's the official summary from the series' website: "By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold a polygamous brides to bear more children.

"When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can't bring herself to hate him as much as she'd like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband's strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate with her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape—before her time runs out?"

Great concept Oh my gosh, what a great concept this book has. The potential for this story to completely ROCK is limitless (good movie, by the way, Limitless)! But alas, the author has failed to find it.

I wanted a little more emotion from the MC Rhine, (while her name was awesome), was flat and bland. Through the entire book, I felt as if her emotions weren't realistic to the situation she was in. She either didn't care enough or cared too much about the wrong thing. She obsessed over finding her twin brother, but I constantly felt like it was an afterthought slipped in by the author to remind us she had a reason to get out of her situation. As if being forced to marry a psycho and being held prisoner by a crazy father-in-law wasn't enough.

Too much back story given-even though it's "dispersed" I know that back story can be important, and I know it's best not to deliver it in dumps. But I felt like the back story delivered in this story was pointless. It didn't add anything to Rhine's story and I only found myself getting bored and skipping ahead to where the flashback ended.

Characters seem a little flat – I'm not emotionally connected—potential to have been deeper I didn't care if Rhine got out of the house, Linden wasn't as bad as she made him out to be. Even I could see that. I didn't care if she lived happily ever after with the servant boy (and yes, there is a love interest there even though the summary didn't mention it at all), and I certainly didn't care if she found her twin brother or not. Does this mean I'm a harsh person? Nah. It means the story didn't deliver what it needed to in the most essential part.

There were some parts that seemed completely out of the blue and a bit awkward Darn it. I wish I would've put down the page numbers for this one. I can't remember what I was referring to, but if you pick up the book, you'll see what I mean.

Good story idea, premise—but I feel she could have gotten a lot deeper That's pretty self-explanatory.

I felt the constant flashbacks of her brother were distracting and forced

I liked the end of the book It was well written and I think, fit the story. Leads up to the sequel, but ties up the current book without the reader feeling cheated.

I enjoyed the tension created by Vaugh The father-in-law is a creepy, perfect villain. I have a soft spot for the bad guys.

Gross/good/realistic descriptions about childbirth and location, but not on other things. All I ask for is consistency! If you're going to give me details on a 16-year-old giving birth (which, I'll be honest with you, I could have done without) and the pretty little gardens, then darn it, give me those kinds of details for the story and character arcs!

Overall, it's not a bad book. Am I going to recommend it to friends, probably lightly. Am I going to go out and buy the second installment? Probably not.


I've rewarded myself with a bag of M&Ms because of my productivity this weekend. I'm stellar, really, and I need to hang onto that feeling because it fades too quickly.

I purchased Florence + the Machine's new album, Ceremonials, and it was easily one of the best investments of my short life. Friday we went to see our 5-year-old nephew in his school's Christmas Choir Concert and it was the cutest thing ever. I leaned over when the kindergarteners were singing and said to Hubby, "Your window of singlehood freedom is closing. We need to have a cute little kid soon." To which he gave me his classic, what the heck?!?! Why did you just say that and freak me out look. To which I replied as I patted his knee, "Nice try. I'm immune to that look now." In the lobby after the show we spotted Spock, which was exciting.

Saturday I headed off with a friend to watch the last Bronco home game in freezing weather. And we kicked some major New Mexico trash. Hubby was very jealous.

I came home and watched, for the first time, Gone With the Wind. Oh, so many memorable lines in that five-hour time span. Two of my favorites:

"No, I don't think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how." –Rhett Butler . 

And who can forget this one: 

"I've always thought a good lashing with a buggy whip would benefit you immensely." –Rhett Butler. 

But you know what will always resonate with me? The crappy way they ended it!! I was very upset Saturday night. Finally, that stuffy, selfish, spoiled brat realized what really mattered to her and who she really loved, and it walks out the door without a look back. Oh, I hope they ended up together in the end. Even though I like tragedy and drama, I'll always be a sucker for a happy ending where true love always finds a way through any heartache.

I've given up on Inheritance for now and have opted for lighter reading of Nevermore. Inheritance was just too…boring….and cumbersome to read right now. I'll have to find a time when I have more time and brainpower to invest into reading a book.

Then, Sunday, I caught up on ALL my missing BR's! Or most of them, at least. That's right, I wrote SEVEN book reports and will be posting them throughout the week. And I took The Machine for a run, and I cleaned the house, and I did the laundry. Man, I LOVE productive days.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie

(Crossed, the second in the series, is available now)
YA Distopian

Rating: 4/5

Spoiler Alert: Nope

I've taken to writing down things that catch my interest at the moment in the margins of the books I read and realize that I enjoy doing that; it helps when it comes time to write Book Reports. But Alas, I didn't start doing that until I read Divergent, and it was only because I didn't have my notebook handy, and I have yet to be consistent about this new practice. 

Matched is one of those books I failed to take good notes on. I read it back in August and am just now reviewing it (so sorry, no excuse available that you'd be interested in). I'll have to remember the details of the book while I'm skimming the notes I took in my notebook and writing this BR. Okay, here we go.

The official summary from the series' website: "In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It's hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion."

You all know I'm a sucker for a good cover, and that's what got me to pick up this book. Between that and my love affair with Lois Lowry's The Giver, I figured I just had to have this book. Then there was the first line, "Now that I've found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?" Great stuff, people, and I figured I had to find out what else Condie had in store for me.

Here's what I had in my notes, and I'll try to elaborate on what I meant (back in August):

Well-told story, but not very attached to Cassia. So far, I still know very little about her I think I wrote that about half-way through the book (maybe a little less) and that's not a good thing. I like to be attached to and rooting for the protagonist from the very beginning, but I just felt Cassia was a little flat. A little bland and passé. And that feeling only changed a little towards the end.

I hope this doesn't turn into one of those "Team Ky", "Team Xander" obsessions. I'm so tired of the predictable love triangles As soon as she introduced Xander, and it wasn't even something as obvious as, Hello, reader. This is Ky, the love interest that's going to rock the boat of Cassia's perfect little world. Despite the fact that he's the other face that pops up as her Match. I think I literally groaned out loud.

Well-written and interesting, flew by when reading it And it did. So very fast. It's an interesting story, and while not entirely original (very strong similarities to The Giver) it's a new interpretation (but not a new spin), and entertaining.

I enjoyed the "love triangle" between Cassia, Xander, and Ky. I especially loved the integrity of Xander Okay, so my "jump the gun" groan about the "predictable" love triangle I mentioned earlier was for not. While it was a love triangle, and I put that in quotes earlier because it's a loose title, it wasn't cliché or typical. Neither of the relationships was the ohmygoshIjustsawyouandnowIloveyouwithallmyheartandwilldieforyou that are so prevalent in what seems to be ALL young adult books now-a-days. Xander and Cassia's relationship had always been there—best friends—and Cassia and Ky's relationship was fresh and new and unexplored. We got to see it develop and grow (somewhat realistically) as they did. Well done.

There wasn't a lot of high-stakes action going on, but I didn't really miss that at all It's not an action story, and while many books have the fights, drama, etc to fill that void, Matched dealt a lot with moral decisions ad dilemmas that had severe consequences. Which, while they were adequate, I would have enjoyed higher elements at stake.

Good book, good ending—would recommend it and looking forward to Crossed Which has already come out and you can purchase here. I need to get on that and read it. The cover looks good on that one, too, not sure about Cassia's outfit, but given how Matched ends, I guess it's appropriate.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Freebee Friday!

So I have a couple of Freebees to share with you today. Yay!!

The first is a really cool webisode series I discovered on Hulu (through SYTYCD Season 8) called The LXD (Legion of Extraordinary Dancers). And if you LOVE dance like I do, check it out. These people have massive amounts of talent and skill and the story lines are pretty entertaining, too. Each episode is only about eight and a half minutes long and there are three seasons up.

Seriously guys, I cannot express the amount of talent these dancers possess.

The second is one of my favorite songs from Florence + the Machine's new album, Ceremonials. Once again, she's put out a fierce album. Great, great, great.

I'm working on a slew of posts for December so that I can actually contribute to the online world of information. Bottom line, you all will be hearing a lot more from me in December than you did in November.

Happy Friday, my friends, after a week like this one, we all deserve it.


Friday, November 25, 2011

So Sorry

So sorry I haven't been around in November; it's turned out to be a sort of hiatus. Unintentional, though. Got sick (still sick, have been for three stinkin' weeks), trying to catch up on writing, our big dance show, my momma being in town (yay!), reading (still have so many Just Read.... to update and Book Reports to do. Maybe today), Thanksgiving at our house (what a BLAST), and many other smaller things that just added up to me not being here.

So, for that, I apologize. I hope you all had a stinkin' wonderful Thanksgiving and stay safe on Black Friday! Me? I'm staying indoors. :)


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Just Read...

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Quick read, total of 2.5 days (but I was a tad busy at the time). Book Report to come soon.



Friday, November 18, 2011

Freebee Friday!

It's a double whammy! I was over at Michael Offutt's blog, saw this and HAD to share it with you all. It was too touching not to. :)


Freebee Friday!

Happy Friday everyone! It's been a super long week for me with being sick (all last week and this) and then pretty much daily practices for our big dance show on Saturday.

One of my favorite websites helped me get my morning started right. Thought I'd share one of the funnier ones I found (You can leave out the last bubble on the first one, it's funnier that way).

Happy Friday, everyone!

damn you auto correct funny iphone fails and blunders

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Roll Call!

I like looking at the map that shows me who's visiting me from where. I smile seeing all the countries represented. Like that one person from Latvia who keeps coming back! Hello, Latvian! I've noticed some new countries representin':

Spain (if I could live anywhere besides where I do, it'd be here. Beautiful country and awesome people. Barcelona or San Sebastian)
Argentina (my friend and I are planning a girl's trip here someday, when we do, look out)
Russia (something unknown about me, I'd love to learn this language. Talk about bad ass)
Australia (bucket list: scuba-dive the Great Barrier Reef)
Latvia (Hey!)
Hong Kong
The Phillipines
India (my sister-in-law and sister have both visited here)
And our AWESOME neighbors to the north, Canada (home of the rockin' band USS - whom I LOVE)
Italy (Hi!)
Norway (Hello!)
France (Welcome!)
Taiwan (I know someone who lived there for a while)
Belgium (Always wanted to visit)
Azerbaijan (I admit I had to Google Earth you, but I'm so glad I did!)
South Korea (Glad you stopped by :))
United Arab Emirates (مرحبا) I think I translated that correctly.
Czech Republic (ahoj! Your country is so beautiful!)

I'd love to see this list get bigger, in fact, I may keep adding to it when I remember. In the meantime, leave a comment, tell me where your from and how to say..."Does this shoe come in my size?" in your native language. :)

Ooh, this should be fun! Hubby will not be happy that I will be able to ask for and buy shoes in several different countries.

Alright, everyone! It's that time again. Current song I'm obsessed with (maybe too strong of a word): This is Gonna Hurt by Sixx:AM. I was going to post the official music video, but with circus freaks, tattoos and other "interesting" shots, I figured you could look that one up on your own

Monday, November 14, 2011

oh. wow.

More, Please!

Monday's are usually cruel jokes that start the week. But, this one was different. I walked in and had an email waiting from an agent I submitted to about a month ago. And what a surprise, she asked to see the FULL THING!

I'm so oober excited right now, guys, you can't even imagine.

So, NaNo gets put on hold (I really was going to catch up, promise) and I'm going to finish reading through the last ten or so chapters and send her THE FULL MS this evening.The best thing is, she read through the synopsis and still asked for more (synopses are of the devil, in case you had questions).

I'm dancing and hopping around the office like a person on crack and generally annoying everyone in the building, but you know what? I don't really care. :) That's right, I DON'T CARE! I'm living in the moment and basking in the excitement of someone wanting more. And if it happens that, like the last agent, she decides this isn't for her, well at least I'm doing something right because two people, so far, have wanted more.

Wish me luck!

ohmygosh. ohmygosh. ohmygosh. A REQUEST FOR A FULL! praybreathepraybreathepraybreathepray

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Just Read...

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
Pretty good book, not that scary but entertaining none the less.
BR here.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fall is Officially here

The seasons have officially changed.

I had to bring out my scarf this morning, I'm starting to plan for the big Thanksgiving dinner that's happening at our house this year, and today is the first official day of NaNoWriMo.

I wasn't going to participate this year because I've just been so busy and preoccupied; but then I got to thinking. I could I NOT participate? It's the perfect motivation. So, I'm going to. Good luck to all of you who are planning to take on the challenge of a 50,000 book in 30 days!


Just Read...

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

This book is both beautifully emotional and beautifully written. In less than 48 hours I read through Lennie's journey and fell in love. Deninitely a book I'll be adding to The List.

BR to come soon.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just Read...

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

Overall, a pretty good and entertaining book; although it wasn't anything like I expected. BR to come soon.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Yay, Freakin’ YAAY!!!

Just a quick stop in to tell you all, I HAD AN AGENT ASK FOR MORE OF MY BOOK!!!! I know it's not much, but it's the first "more please" that I've had on this project and it's a refreshing change. J There, I feel better sharing the news. Here's to her falling in love with it and asking for more.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Freebee Friday!

It's a little late, I know, but this only now showed up in my inbox, and it was perfect!

Enjoy, my friends, and HAPPY FRIDAY! I'm off to see Dream House tonight. I'll let you know how it is.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Breaking News: Re-writing Queries Renews Writer’s Hope!

I send my queries out in batches. Usually about 10 at a time, and because of my hectic schedule, it can be anywhere from 3-5 weeks between batches. In however long I've been doing this, I've found my secret for getting through the disappointment of the no's and the dreaded "no responses". It's this:

Rewrite the query.

Yup, that's it. Nothing else. Somehow, re-working the query allows me to find a better way to pitch my story, a new direction to come from, a better voice to tell it in. And, it renews my hope. It gets me excited again. I finish a new draft and think: This is the one.

And chances are, it probably isn't. I'll probably have to do a few more versions to get it good enough to start getting a "yes" instead of a "no". But, for the moment, this is good enough. The hope and positive thinking this may be the draft that my agent falls in love with is enough to get me through.

The fact that every other writer on the face of the planet has gone through/is going through this process just like me helps immensely.

Oh, and the over sized bowl of buttered popcorn. Can't forget to mention that. :)

Happy Thursdays, my friends! Friday is almost upon us!

Just Read...

Torment by Lauren Kate

Okay, so I started this book when it first came out (2010?) and stopped reading it with about 10 chapters to go. Don't know why I stopped, to be honest, I probably lost interest. I have the third installment, Passion, and I read about two pages of that before I said, "Nah. I wanna read Ransom Rigg's book, instead." (Good choice, by the way).

BR to come.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Random Thoughts

I'm sitting here at my kitchen counter, putting off what I should be doing and thinking about all the things that I need to do. Typing up a random blog post is part of my procrastination. I have a really yummy cup of coffee in front of me and I'm telling myself this post is a good distraction and will not keep me from all the things I need to do.

My writing goal this weekend (which included Friday) was15k. Honestly, that's not bad. I can easily do 5k in one sitting. The only problem is, Friday was so busy (with work and then the football game at our house) that I only got around 700 typed. I'm trying not to laugh. But, I think (or I'm going to try, at least) to hit that 15k mark between now and Sunday night.

The only problem is, I have a crap load of junk to do. Take the dog for a run, clean up from the aftermath of our ritual football party, the dreaded laundry, planting some bulbs before the first freeze blasts us, try to find and kill this blasted fly that's been buzzing around since the dawn of time, rock it at our performance today and a slew of other little things (like try and watch another episode of Merlin, watch the Supernatural I have recorded along with TVD--yes, I've fallen into the trap, and then try and find where I can watch the first episode of American Horror Story I missed.).

So to you I say toodles. I need to go and hunker down for the long haul, seeing how many words I can write between now and when I have to leave. Wish me luck!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hubby deserves more credit than I give him

(Read this post for my conversation with Hubby about a couple versus a few)

Text @ 8:31 AM from Hubby: My sweatshirt showed up at Cabela's. Maybe we will go pick it up after work.

Text @ 8:43 AM from Hubby: I will need to look at a few + a couple things!!! Silk liners, reloading bullets, GPS, scope.

Text @ 8:56 AM from me: What?! I told you yesterday you don't get more than 3. For you, that word doesn't exist

Text @ 8:57 AM from Hubby: That's why it was a few + a couple things! That gives me at least five

Text @ 8:59 AM from me: You're learning quickly. This is not good…


From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 3:32 PM
To: Hubby

You know you're going to have to get me a Starbucks to keep me happy while you're trolling around in Cabela's, right?



From: Hubby
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 4:00 PM
To: Me
Subject: Re: AFTER WORK

Dear Mrs. Lovely Eyes,

I regret to inform you that your personal request, dated 9/28/2011 at 3:32 pm, for such a luxurious, extravagant (and might I say highly over priced) burnt beans & watered down drink has been declined for the following reasons:

1. Your request is delinquent and has passed the contract negotiation period of 9/28/2011 at 12:00PM
2. Furthermore, independent studies conducted by the CWANA (Caffeine Watchers Association of North America) have proven that 99% of women who drink coffee past noon go crazy. (Please see attached exhibit A: Document for Independent Study Results. *Disclaimer: No Animals were killed because of these studies. However many lunches where provided to the volunteers researched in these studies that consisted of numerous species being devoured
3. It should be considered a privileged to accompany Hubby on his safari to locate the newest and greatest equipment available
4. You have no money!

You have 15 min to submit your appeal to this ruling. If you do not meet the time frame you will be considered non-responsive and penalties set forth will be upheld.

No Fun 


From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 4:03 PM
To: Hubby

Oh. My. Gosh.

I can't believe you put that much effort into telling me no.

 PS – you know I'm going to do it anyway, right?


From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 4:05 PM
To: Hubby


Ps – you forgot the attachment with the independent findings of the CWANA "we give you nothing but crap" group.


From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 4:05 PM
To: Hubby


Oh, and you KNOW this is going to be made into a blog post….


From: Hubby
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 4:09 PM
To: Me
Subject: Re: AFTER WORK


You clearly missed the disclaimer at the bottom.

* Rule to a happy life supersedes original terms and condition set in place. This rule dictates a happy wife gets what a wife wants.


From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 4:23 PM
To: Hubby


That's right.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Inspiration in all shapes and sizes

It's weird the things that inspire me to write. In this case the song in the first video plus the action in the second video.

Song + action = fun new book idea.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tuxedo Row

Me and some coworkers
before the race
I ran in my first 5k race this weekend and it was a blast. It was an all women's race, so the only men were at the very end where they were dressed in tuxedos lining both sides of the street. They cheered us on as we finished the race. It was such a blast. If you watch the video, it's like your running Tuxedo Row with me. :) Better than 3D. Also, in the middle, I kind of ran into the woman in front of me. :)

Sorry lady.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

A couple is 2 a few is 3

I've been trying to teach Hubby the difference between the meaning of "a couple" and "a few". Correction: I've been trying to teach Hubby that those two phrases actually have a numeric value attached to them. I figured this was a necessity in our marriage after a few trips that went like this:

Hubby: "We need to go to the sporting goods store."

Me: "Why?"

Hubby: "I need to look at some camping/fishing/hunting stuff and a couple of other things."

Okay, I could handle that. Meanwhile, TWO HOURS and every product in the store later, I realize Hubby doesn't know that couple & few have literal values. So, I decided to educate him the next time he tried to pull this with me.

Hubby: "I need to go to Wal-Mart."

Me: "For what?" *Trying to finish Blood Red Road*

"I need to look at a couple of things."

"First of all, you don't need to, you want to."

*Rolls his eyes* "You're right; I want to look at a couple of things I need."

Touché, Hubby, Touché. "How many things?"

"I don't know--a couple."

"A couple is two."

"No it's not."

"Yes it is."

"Fine then. A few things."

*Doesn't look up from book* "A few is three."

"No it isn't."

"Yes it is, look it up."

"I don't like being limited."

"Tough, you have to choose. I don't want to wander around Wal-Mart for hours; it's a black hole in that place. Seriously, who puts water filters for Brita pitchers in the auto section?"

"What if I need more than three things?"

"For you, that word doesn't exist. Three's your limit"

"Fine, a few things." At which point I think the conversation is over. But then I hear him say under his breath, "Or right around there."

Just when I think I've got him….

Happy Thursday, my friends!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some things I’ve discovered along the way in the world of writing

  1. Answers don't need to be given for everything, some mystery is good (and may give rise to inspiration to other ms ideas) Nothing is ever answered fully in the real world
  2. There doesn't have to be a reason behind a character's every action, merely a clear motivation (which are, in fact, two different things)
  3. Nothing has to be tied into a pretty, neat, sparkly bow, it only has to be plausible and make sense, having enough of a conclusion to be realistic and satisfying for the reader
  4. Not every character has to be beautiful and perfect and well-rounded. Rarely does someone in the real world fit into a nice, patterned geometric shape with bright pretty colors
  5. Actions/trials/crisis can be simple to the reader, it only has to feel big and earth-shattering to the character that it's happening TO
  6. Everyone needs an ally--someone to balance them out, give them encouragement, and act as a slight comic relief at times (in my opinion and in my stories, anyway—the comic relief part)
  7. People don't always take the simplest, most straight-forward route out of a difficult situation
  8. But then again, they usually do. Just not always
  9. Some questions can't be answered and some answers aren't known. By anybody (see point 1)
  10. Characters need flaws/shortcomings/insecurities and they need to feel real and relatable to your readers. They need issues to overcome, making them stronger and changing them for the better in the end (P.S. – the outcomes that make them stronger, don't always have to be happy. Again, real life.)
  11. You, as a writer, need to be able to laugh and roll your eyes and criticize your own work. If you can't look at a really bad piece of writing and say to yourself, "This is horrible!" and then laugh, you won't be able to see how you can make it amazing.
  12. That being said, you, as a writer, also need to look at your work and be able to cheer, puff out your chest, and admit to yourself that, "Damn, that really is GOOD."
  13. It's okay to get depressed every once in a while after getting dozens and dozens of rejections from agents and/or publishers. Just park your butt on the couch, grab a gallon of your favorite Coldstone or Blue Bunny ice cream and watch a marathon of Supernatural, seasons 1-6. Just make sure you get over it when you reach the bottom of your ice cream bucket(s) and the credits roll on episode 126, ready to start fresh in the morning.
Enjoy and happy Tuesday, my friends!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just Read...

Blood Red Road
by Moira Young

Another well-written and engaging book. Book report to follow. And it has followed.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Truth Hurts

When I turned 25, it was like a mid-life crisis for me.

In five more years, I'll be thirty. I'm a quarter or a century. I think I was bed-ridden for days. Once I passed that little setback, I was fine. I actually started to round up in age. I was finally over the fact that I was getting "old". Even though my birthday isn't until the end of January, I always round up and when people ask me how old I am, I tell them I'm 27. Because, after all, I'm totally over the fact that your age is what makes you old. I'm so cool and "don't care" that I'll tell people I'm older than I really am.

So, I was registering the other day for a the 5k I'm doing next weekend and filling in all the information. There's a minimum age requirement, so I skimmed across the section that said something about having to be at least nine on 9/14, or something like that, and then a lot of other stuff that sounded like yada, yada, yada.

It asked for my birthday, I put it in. Then it preceded to tell me that I'm 27.

What the heck. Only I'm allowed to round up on my age. Not some 5k online registration form. Then I remembered that thing about having to be 9 by 9/14 and I thought that had come into play, but the more I thought about it, the more confused I got. I held out my hands and did the math on my fingers.

Oh crap…..

I'm 27 turning 28. NOT 26 turning 27.

For two years I've been lying to myself/others—and believing—that I'm only 26. I'm not. I'm 27.

I told Hubby my revelation when we were driving home from work. His response? "What do you mean you're turning 28?!?! I thought you were turning 26!"

And that's why I dyed my hair brown. Not knowing my own age was a serious blonde moment. But I have to laugh, otherwise I'll cry. I'm 27, folks. In a few short months, I'll be 28.

Excuse me; I need to go get a tissue.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sometimes, I wish I wouldn't get so many judgemental looks at work when I'm chair dancing. what? It's a good song!

Monday, September 12, 2011

ARC Alert!!!

Haven't done one of these bad boys in a loooong time. I don't even remember signing up for this one, to be honest. I think I'll put aside Blood Red Road and read this one. The other one is AMAZING, but it's slow going, and I feel like dipping into a quick read. So, this means that I'll have to pick up the first in the series, Halo.

Hades by Alexandra Adornetto
YA Paranormal

(I guess it's not really an ARC because it came out 8/30/11, but, it still says so on the cover)


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

You know in movies when something bad happens and the MC just stands there, staring in disbelief? I totally know why they do that now.

Justin for Senator

From: Justin
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 10:46 AM
To: Me
Subject: nonpub ad


This is a non-publishable ad that ran in today's pub.  Can you make it publishable please??  Thanks!



From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 10:59 AM
To: Justin
Subject: RE: nonpub ad

Give me a "D"
Give me an "O"
Give me a "N"
Give me an "E"

What does that spell?!

Thank you,


From: Bennett, Rachel - Boise
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:00 AM
To: Winegar, Justin - Boise
Subject: RE: Mesa Systems 543507 nonpub ad


I said. "What does that spell", darn it?

Thank you,


From: Justin
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:01 AM
To: Me
Subject: RE: nonpub ad

Wow!  Okay, okay, it spells DONE!!  Don't hurt me!!!!!!!!


From: Bennett, Rachel - Boise
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:01 AM
To: Winegar, Justin - Boise
Subject: RE: nonpub ad


Darn skippy.


Thanks for participating.


Thank you,



From: Justin
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:01 AM
To: Me
Subject: RE: nonpub ad


You're welcome. 


Don't you mean "damn" skippy??  




From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:02 AM
To: Justin
Subject: RE: nonpub ad


That too.


Thank you,



From: Justin
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:02 AM
To: Me
Subject: RE: nonpub ad


Good.  Now that's $10 you owe the swear jar! Ma-ha-ha




From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:02 AM
To: Justin
Subject: RE: nonpub ad


You cheater! You belong in Congress.


Thank you,




From: Justin
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:03 AM
To: Me
Subject: RE: nonpub ad


Hahaha, that I do!


2012 here I come!  Congressman Ju…no, no…SENATOR Justin! 




From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:05 AM
To: Justin
Subject: RE: nonpub ad


I will contribute to that political campaign fund.


What will your platform be? Swear Jars? I think that would definitely clench it for you.


Thank you,



From: Justin
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:07 AM
To: Me
Subject: RE: nonpub ad


Thank you!  Yes, swear jars will be my number one concern, along with making Mumford and Sons mandatory listening, once a week.  Also, some less important stuff like lowering taxes on the middle class and getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan. 




From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:13 AM
To: Justin
Subject: RE: nonpub ad


Those last things should only be a minor mention, though. May I also suggest adding to your list of Mandatory Listening: Frances + the Machine & Adele. It can only make our country grow stronger as individuals. That alone has the power to stop the earthquakes in Japan and the tsunamis in Thailand.


Also, I strongly urge you to mention something about May 21, 2011, and for those of us left, October 21, 2011 as well.


Thank you,




From: Justin
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:18 AM
To: Me
Subject: RE: nonpub ad


Good points!  I totally spaced the May 21st thing.  Wow, I guess I don't have time for 2012, I need to be elected NOW!  The world needs to know they only have about two months left.  That means a LOT of listening to Mumford and Florence needs to be done.




From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 12:20 PM
To: Justin
Subject: RE: nonpub ad


Heck yes it does! Maybe copious amounts of listening will push back the timeline for the destruction of the world.


Thank you,




From: Justin
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 12:23 PM
To: Me
Subject: RE: nonpub ad


We can only hope!