Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Maybe There IS Hope

I was reading some blogs that I follow the other day and I stopped on Amanda Hocking's to see what's brewing.  If you will recall, Hocking is the author of Wake, a book I read and reviewed a couple weeks ago.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to give it my highest of accolades, which disappointed me almost as much as the book did.  I like Hocking a lot and wanted so badly to like this book; I have enjoyed several of her other works.

Well, as I was reading I found a piece she wrote back on September 19, 2012 in regards to the Watersong series (Wake is the first book).   She said, "So Wake is setting things up, introducing characters, revealing the danger, and asking questions. Out of the four books in the Watersong quartet, Wake is definitely the slowest. A big part of that is because I had to introduce six main characters - Gemma, Harper, Alex, Daniel, Penn, and Thea - as well as several side characters, like Lexi, Marcy, Brian, Nathalie, and Bernie. I wanted to really take my time and establish who they are and what drives them, so when their motivations and integrity are challenged in later books, it makes more sense.

In the first book, I really focus on Gemma, Harper, Alex, and Daniel. I especially wanted to establish the romance between Gemma and Alex. But in the second book, since I've really set up the principals, I get to dive more into Penn and Thea, and deepen the relationships between all the characters, and delve further into the mythology behind the series. 

With Wake, I wanted to keep the mythology as clean and simple as possible. The mythos behind Watersong is based on Greek mythology, which is so rich and epic, it's easy to want to include too much and make things more complicated and harder to understand. So for the first book, I definitely wanted to keep it on a need-to-know basis.

To read the full piece, go to:

Fans of Hocking can only hope, and pray, that the next couple of books in the series pick up the pace a bit and begin to open up this story to a little magic.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Paging Mrs, Lazy...Mrs. Lazy Report to her Blogs

I totally have been slacking both here and on my other blog too.  Don't have a cow, just relax.  Mostly it's been because my schedule this past week was insanely hectic and I barely had time to breathe, let alone spend actual quality time blogging. 

Okay, so maybe I had some time but I chose to use that doing other more reading!  Duh!  I'm almost finished with one book and have another I already finished up that I need to review and blog about also...more coming soon, I promise.  Just to tease you though...the ones I'll be reviewing next are Life as I Know It, by Melanie Rose and Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos.  Stay tuned. (cue theme music)

When Lightening Strikes

One of the more recent books I read is Life as I Know It,  by Melanie Rose.  This had been on my wish list to read for more than a year so I was exceedingly pleased when it was chosen as one of the books my book club would do.  The funny part is that when I started it, I couldn't remember why I'd originally put it on my list because it was nothing like I thought it was going to be.  That's not to say that I didn't care for it, because I indeed liked it quite well.

Life as I Know It, is a story of how a 
lightening strike completely changes the life of Jessica Taylor.  One day she is innocently walking her dog in the park, gets caught in a storm after catching the eye of a good looking guy, and boom!  She wakes up in a hospital and people are telling her that her name is Lauren Richardson, wife and mother of four.  The only thing is, is that she still has all of Jessica's memories.

Jessica/Lauren struggles with trying to figure out what is happening to her and her life, yet she seems to take it in stride.  She begins to live Lauren's life, trying to understand who her new husband, Grant, is and comes even to love the children.  She feels horrible that their real mother obviously died at the exact same time that Jessica was hit with lightening, whose soul is now somehow inside of Jessica.   She throws herself into Lauren's life, buying pets and swing sets for the children,  trying to make the best out of a bad situation both for the children and for Grant.

When she is Jessica, though, she begins to develop a relationship with the man from the park, Dan.  She knows this life and this is her life, but is conflicted with feeling like she needs to help Lauren's family.  

What I really liked about this book is that Rose easily could have told a story about a girl with memory loss and living two lives simultaneously.  What she did instead was to bring to life a tale that brings ethics and morals into play.  She raises some amazing thought provoking questions to her readers throughout the book, that make the reader actually stop and contemplate how they might react in the same situations...or at least that's what she did to me.

The only thing I disliked about the story was that one of Lauren's sons was constantly being referred to as the "brain damaged" one.  Maybe there was a reason for it, but it seemed awfully insensitive to me, when there are so many other ways that the boys could have been described:  mentally challenged, learning impaired, etc.  I'm just sayin'.

Overall, I really liked this very non-traditional chick-lit book.  I probably ended up liking it more than I originally thought I would too and that rarely happens to me (it's usually the other way around).  Now that I've discovered Melanie Rose I'm really looking forward to reading more of her work.  She now has a new fan!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Must Have

Sometimes I come across something that just so perfectly describes me or my mood that I actually feel giddy inside. Yesterday was one of those days, people!  Check out the awesomeness that is here!

Are these not the cutest things?  I am so hearting them, along with the masses of cute tees I found at Two Chicks Designs.  They even have my all time fave saying on one:

Now, if only I had a credit card with lots of buying power, one that someone else takes care of the bill too.  Yes, that would be fab and I would have such fun on a shopping spree at Two Chicks Design!  Well...maybe when that ol' tax refund check comes I've mosey on back and see what's available.  Until then, I'll keep visiting and giggling at all the cleverness they have in store!

Everything Tastes Better with Butter

Well, it does, right?  Everything really
does taste better with a bit of butter on it.  Or, as Beth Harbison says in her newest title, When in Doubt, Add Butter.  Okay!  As a fan of Harbison's chick lit style writing, I took her word for it with this new book of hers.  I'm just feeling like this recipe was missing something else, especially at the end.

In true Harbison fashion, this book takes 
the reader on a ride with successful personal chef, Gemma (yes, I am aware that it's the same name of the main character in my last review; I made no mistake).  She's 39, single, and happy with her life for the most part.  She works hard and is good at what she does but rarely lets her hair down, until one night she meets "Mack" at a bar and ends up having a one-night stand with him.  Even thought she knows it was just a one-nighter though, she can't help but to continue thinking about him.

In her professional life though, Gemma deals with many characters as she cooks for different families/people each night of the week.  Some are very difficult, like her Friday night people Angela & Peter.  Peter is attractive and friendly (maybe a little too friendly) while Angela is rude and difficult to be around, mostly due to her lack of tolerance for almost all food items.  Then, she cooks for others like Mr. Tuesday, as Gemma refers to him, who truly appreciates her cooking, leaves her witty notes and banter for when she's there.  Unfortunately, Gemma feels a tide shifting among her clients; she loses one client, begins losing out on catering gigs on the weekends, and her life is spinning out of control.

Finally, through a strange set of 
circumstances, she meets Mr. Tuesday and everything changes.

Yep, that's all I'm gonna say about it folks.  No more, so stop your crying!  Besides, if you read the book you'll figure out what's going to happen before you get to the end anyhow; it's just that predictable.  Don't misunderstand me, I liked this book quite a lot but it certainly was not a surprise what happened.  It was more like, "Finally!" in my opinion.

As I stated, I really like this author and have read several of her other books, including Always Something There to Remind MeThin, Rich, PrettySecrets of a Shoe Addict, and Shoe Addicts Anonymous, which are all quick fun reads too.  They are all great vacation books, or light easy reading books.  Harbison has this innate way of creating a voice for her books that just resonates with you and draws you in so much that you want to know all about her main character, be BFF's with them, and find out everything about them. The material might be "fluff" but I still say it takes talent to bring readers into the world that is a book.

The only thing I disliked about this book, aside from the predictability, which I can totally deal with, was the ending.  I know I'm a HUGE stickler for endings (both in books and film) but I really hated the way this book ended.  I invested my time and heart into these characters and you just left me in the lurch, Ms. Harbison!  Shame on you!  You can't just end a book like that and then try to wrap it all up pretty in an epilogue.  That's cheating.  There.  I said it.  You cheated me.  That being said,  I'm still pretty sure I'll be among the first in line for your next release. :)

The Sky is Falling

It's been a while but I have an excuse.  I was deeply involved in a book series that I couldn't put down, the Fallen Star Series, by Jessica Sorensen.  Well, I mean I could put it down; I had to sleep after all, but be assured that I didn't want to.  What strikes me the funniest about this whole series is that I kind of think it's funny that I liked it so much to begin with, especially considering the content.  

So the big thing among YA books lately has been anything dealing with vampires, angels, werewolves, etc.  This series not only had the vamps, but it also included witches, time travel, Death Walkers, star power, ghosts, soul stealers...and probably another couple of weird things that I'm forgetting.  It's like the author took every unworldly thing and just said, "Ah hell, let's throw 'em all in here!"  Strangely enough, I still really enjoyed the series, despite it's obvious flaws, mostly being the editing that made me want to stab my eyeballs out at times.

The series starts with Gemma, a strange 
girl that  nobody pays attention to (except for her violet eye color) and who is raised by her grandparents in a very non-feeling kind of family.  I mean literally she has no feelings or emotions.  No happiness, no sadness, no anger, no joy, no nothing.  Then suddenly she can "feel."  She's having a hard time dealing with all of the new emotions she's experiencing and trying to get control of them.

She meets two new students, Aislin and 
Alex and there's something about Alex that she just can't shake.  They have this electricity between them, again literally, an electric current that seems to spark each time they're near each other.  Alex seems to hate her (typical YA story line) and Gemma can't figure out why.  Then he takes her to a special place of his and tells her a story about a falling star.  Cut to the chase:  the falling star is actually inside of Gemma.

Gemma must come to terms with the 
boring life she's always known is not what she thought it was, nor is the world in which she lives.  She believes she is the secret to keeping the world from falling apart, thus the adventure begins.  She finds out that vampires are real, that witches exist, Death Walkers are ready to freeze her and the world, and that bad bad bad people are out to get her...all of this among the growing feelings of desire for Alex and the undisputed connection that they have with each other.

This series isn't great.  It's not deep, nor 
thought provoking.  It's definitely not award winning, yet there was something about it that I really enjoyed.  Part of that is, I'm sure, because I've turned into a bit of a sci-fi geek lately so all of the otherworldly stuff peaks my interest.  Though, truth be told, I'm not sure I think throwing it all in together is the best idea either.  I kept reading the series because I liked Gemma's character.  Others have described her as "boring" or "whiny" but I just thought she didn't know better because of her upbringing.  I mean, can you imagine living your life with no emotion and then one day it all hits you and you're bombarded with feelings you're unfamiliar with?  Not me!  

If you like the paranormal and so forth, you 
will likely enjoy these books.  There are several twists and turns and you keep wondering what the heck is going to happen next.  The relationship between Gemma and Alex is a bit bland despite their electricity, so I would've loved to have seen that spiced up a little bit, but oh well!

 I would love to see how this could be played out on the big screen, or if that would even be possible with such complex characters and location changes and such.