Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Review Discussion: It's Not Summer Without You and We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

Book(s): It's Not Summer Without You and We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
Genre: YA Romance (the last book might be more considered NA)
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ (for both of them!)
For: Fun and the Readathon
From: the Library

Short Synopsis: These are the second two books of the trilogy. The first book is The Summer I Turned Pretty (my review of that one here). In that book, our heroine Belly, changes and the boys she's hung out with all her life are suddenly noticing her. She likes them both, but especially Conrad. When the second books starts, everyone is dealing with the death of the mom of these
two boys. We learn in flashbacks that Belly actually did get together with Conrad, but it didn't last long and the death of his mom really threw them all off course. Meanwhile, Conrad's brother, Jeremiah, moves in and Belly suddenly decides he's actually the one. (This story is mostly in Belly's point of view, but with several chapters from Jeremiah's.)

In the last book, she's been with Jeremiah for two years now and in flashbacks we get the whole story of what's gone on between them. But when this book opens, Belly learns that he has not been totally faithful. She freaks. He freaks and suddenly they find themselves engaged. The whole book is then the events leading up to their wedding, and then what happens at the actual wedding. Conrad features heavily in this book and we get some chapters from his POV.

My Response: I really enjoyed these books. Lots of angst and romance and back and forthing between these two boys, both of which have their strengths and weaknesses. Really fun characters and character development. I loved the chapters with the thoughts of both of the boys. Always fun to get inside a guy's head! Some hard, sad, growing up things here too, stuff that all of them have to deal with. But I enjoyed it and these books were perfect for readathon choices.

Bottom Line: If you're in the mood for contemporary romance this trilogy is a great choice. Reading these last two close together was lots of fun!

Let's Talk About: We've discussed triangles before and this story is big on that. But let's talk about the chapters from the guy's POV. Are you like me? Do you like knowing what the guy is thinking sometimes? Even if the book centers on the girl, do you find it fun to know what's going on with the guy? What they are thinking and perceiving during the same scenes we just read from the girl's side? I find it very fun and totally enjoyed the boys' chapters in these books.

Other Reviews:

It's Not Summer Without You

I found myself engaged in these characters and, more specifically, their own distinct personality traits - which for me, was really the attraction of this book. From Bookshipper

These books are about first love and family — the one we’re born into and the one we choose. Though romance is a key part of Belly’s life and the narrative arc, it’s not the sole focus of Han’s novels. From Write Meg

 We'll Always Have Summer

 It's the only love triangle in a book series that not only could I stand but had me emotionally invested. From Alternate Readality

Also, we get a few chapters from Conrad’s point of view. They ripped at me, you guys. We finally see him on an emotional level and it was so worth the wait. From The Allure of Books

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Announcing the Winners for The Shadow Prince Giveaway

According to the number plugged into, the winners for these two copies of The Shadow Prince are:

Hannah from Word Lily and


As for the rest of you that entered, I have bookmarks for all! I'll be sending them out soon. Be on the lookout. :)

But, the giveaways are not over yet! I have one copy (an ARC) also signed for the second book in the series, The Eternity Key. Head on over to this post to fill out the form for a chance to win that one!

Thanks to everyone who signed up. Good luck with the next one!

Dune Readalong: Part One Discussion

I must admit, I've been struggling with this book! And I even knew what to expect! Still, the writing style is so different from my favorite that I'm just really having a hard time. That being said, I'm having a blast with the read along and plan to just keep reading, just keep reading, just keep reading!

Jenni Elyse posted some fun questions on her blog yesterday to get the discussion going. (Beware a couple of spoilery things if you haven't yet read this book!)

Here are my responses if you're interested:

1. Have you ever read a high sci-fi book before?

Yes, many times. Many many Orson Scott Card books, many Ray Bradbury books, The Sparrow and Children of God by Mary Doria Russell (both AWESOME by the way) and. . . I can't remember what else. 

2. Is this your first time reading Dune?

No, I've read it before, though it was so long ago I can't even remember when. I would guess maybe early married years? Maybe college days? I really have no idea when it was. I remember liking it, but not understanding a whole lot. I remembered worms and sand. 

3. If this is your first time reading Dune, is the book anything like you expected it to be? If this isn’t your first time reading it, have you noticed anything different this time around?

What I've noticed that's different is my criticism of the writing. (See my issues below.) I can tell this is very old school writing. Is there such a thing?  I don't think people these days could get away with some of the things he's doing. 

4. Were you surprised that you knew who the traitor was before everything went down at the end of this book? Did it help prepare you? Or, were you bugged by it?

I was a little bugged. I mean, I like some foreshadowing, some hints and etc, but but to just KNOW everything right off? It takes away some of the suspense for me. (And don't talk to me about Death in The Book Thief! That's different!!) 

5. What do you think of the idea of recycling the water from your body to survive in such an arid climate?

Very cool. Gross. But cool. I'm not sure I can picture this suit though. And gosh, wouldn't it be awfully hot and sticky and stifling and most terrible to wear. ICKY! One thing, reading this book makes me thirsty and want to guzzle lots and lots of water!

6. What was your favorite part of this section? Why?

I liked it when Paul caught that hunter seeker thing. That was cool. I liked it when Paul and his mom were trying to escape the bad guys. That was exciting. 

7. Which character(s) do you find the most interesting? Why?

Paul is interesting, the powers he's learning about and all. But he's not very, shall we say, relate-able, or vulnerable enough, or REAL enough to truly like. I'm hoping that will change up a bit. 

8. Are there any revelations in this section that surprised you?

Yes, as others have mentioned, the "you're the Baron's daughter" thing was pretty surprising. I did not see signs or foreshadowing for that. The vision thing that assaulted Paul there at the end of the part was surprising. 

9. What do you think of Dune so far? Are you having a hard time following what’s going on? It is engaging? Boring?

Well. So far I think it's quite hard to read. I have a very difficult time staying focused. I find it so far to be a lot of info dumping and set up and talk about all the technology, the planet, the society and such. I'd much rather be dropped right into the story and figure it all out as we go along. I think I can follow what's actually going on, but most of the stuff I'm wondering... do I really need to know this? The style of flipping in and out of everyone's head is crazy and knowing all the thoughts that everyone's having takes me out of the story. It's a lot of telling and not showing. 

10. Do you have any predictions about what’s going to happen in the next section?

Worms? Romance? Spice? Lots more Freman? Tons of religious stuff? 

Okay. Up next is Book Two! Which I'm hosting! AH!!!! Here's hoping I find a groove. Get my scifi on, and my Frank Herbert interpretation glasses shined, and my Dune technology all spiffy! I can do it!

See you back here for that discussion on May 6, with the Twitter chat the next day on the 7th at  9 pm. MDT. Okay? Okay.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Book Review Discussion and Giveaway: The Eternity Key by Bree Despain

Book: The Eternity Key by Bree Despain
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Review
From: Received for free from the author. All opinions are my own. (To be released April 28, 2015)

Short Synopsis: This book picks up shortly where The Shadow Prince left off. Daphne, Haden and the others are back from their adventures in Utah. Daphne's raving mad at her dad for some things she learned about him, Haden is scared something is going to happen to Daphne so he's stalking her house every night and Tobin is even more determined to find his sister. While on their adventure, a guy on a motorcycle ran off with the compass that will allow them to get the key that will allow them to open the gates to Hades, which then will allow them to stop the Underrealm from releasing the monsters into the world. So, they've got to find that guy. And then they've got to find that key, and then Daphne can open the gate. And then... well...

My Response:  Whew. Yes, it's a little complicated but in a crazy fun and lovely way! The characters that I grew to love from the first book get even more interesting in this one. Daphne discovers her own power, Haden is full of all sorts of vulnerability and Tobin is not completely and totally what he seems. I was getting a bit nervous when I started approaching the end, you know that feeling of there's no way there's enough book left to fix all that's going on here! Yeah, and well, I was right! There was not enough book! This is the only reason why I docked a star off this rating because, yeah, that ending. Oh boy.

Bottom Line: This sequel is just as engaging as the first with a story line just as crazy and characters just as fun. You really should read these books!

Let's Talk About: We've already talked about books based on mythology. We like them, right?! What about books with music as strong element? We like them too, right? Actually, I love them. How about you?

Other Reviews:

Holy crap! As Emeril says, “Let’s kick it up a notch! BAM!” Yeah, Bree definitely kicked it up a notch with The Eternity Key. From Jenni Elyse

From the very moment I picked up this book, I remembered exactly why I loved Haden so much. He was his normal, charming, underworld self. (If charming can be used to describe him at all.) Seriously, I think I like him so much because he's such an honest character. From Chasm of Books

As I said before, the last third of the book was wonderful. I flew through it and now I can't wait to read the next one. From Challenging Reads

The ending is definitely the killer! The kind of ending that leaves you screaming! And I did! There was so much action, so much danger, so much suspense! From A Great Read

The Giveaway: Today, the giveaway for The Shadow Prince that I've had going on for a couple of weeks ends, (I'll announce the winners in another post soon.) But now you can enter win an ARC of this book, The Eternity Key. And yes, it's also signed! Same procedure as before, just fill out the form with your info and then I'll choose a random winner next week on May 3. Good luck!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Currently: Readathon Wrap 2015


Listening: I've just sat down here to write this and am blasting my "song" playlist from Spotify. Currently the awesome music from The Imitation Game. So many miscellaneous things on this list. I love blasting it whenever on the computer.

Watching: I've been trying to catch up with Reign these past weeks. I think I only have two episodes to go in the first season. Here's hoping the second season doesn't take long to show up on Netflix. Also, still keeping up on Survivor and Amazing Race and Arrow. Wow. Arrow had a crazy sad crazy intense episode this past week!

Reading: We had a blast during the Readathon yesterday! We started at 6 am and I lasted until 1 am. I would have gone longer, but I had to get up for 9:00 church so I finally stopped. We had three extra teenagers join us for the day. One lasted from from 6 am to 3 pm and the other day from 8 am to 11 pm. They did great! I read two and a half books, plus several pages in Dune. The teenagers all read one or one and half books each. Awesome.

Readathon crowd.

Writing: I sent some pages off to the author that was assigned me during Writing for Charity. Because of a mix up there, she said she'd look at pages on her own time. Excited to hear back from here. This week is another writing group meeting at the library. I need to figure out what I'm taking to them this time! Can't wait for Storymakers coming up in just a few weeks!

Blogging: We started our Dune Readalong this week. I'm struggling a bit with the book so far. Too political but I'm promised some stuff happens soon, so keep plugging along! Also, I have a giveaway that ends tomorrow if you want to have a chance at that be sure to sign up today. Then, I'll have another one going for a different book this next week. All part of my ambassador duties for the release of The Eternity Key! Fun!

Eating: This is not a good one to answer the day after a readathon! So much junk yesterday! And Cafe Rio! Today we are not eating anything to make up for it! Ha! I already had a ton more M and M's! :)

Planning: Doing lots of stuff to get ready for my son to head off to France this Saturday. So excited and nervous for him. That means our own trip is just a six weeks away! So we are doing lots of planning for that too. Booking train tickets, apartments, car rentals, buying guide books and maps and etc. Can't wait!
The family all together before everyone
takes off on their adventures.

Worrying: Which means I'm worrying about all that... a lot. A whole lot. All the time. Can't sleep. Ugh.


  • We want to plant a garden but the weather is still too cold.
  • My married daughter is off to Ecuador this weekend too, for a nursing internship thing. 
  • My married son got a puppy and they are having fun dealing with all that entails!
  • Finals last week and this week for all the college kids in this family. One month of school left for the one not yet collage kid.
  • We cleaned up our garage. It was really exciting. We found a dead squirrel in the shed too.
  • I've done Zumba for TWO WEEKS straight! I'm still fat though. I could probably do it for two years straight and still be fat. Anyway, I'd like to see some sort of improvement, just a little, by the time we go on our trip. I'd like to be able to do all the walking one does on such a trip without dying, you know.

Happy new week everyone!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Readathon 2015 Updates and Challenges

Hour Eighteen Update

Whew! That was a long haul of reading just now!

What I’m (we’re) reading now: I read 15 pages of Dune and then switched back over to We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han, the final book in that series.

How many pages read since last update: almost 100 maybe?

How many pages read total: 600 plus?

Books finished since last update: I finished The Red Notebook. Really cute book! Toto finished Ignite. Loved it. Her friends finished The Graveyard Book and almost Harry Potter #2!

How many minutes/hours read since last update: 3 hours perhaps. We had a dinner break when the husband went out and got Cafe Rio for us!

What we are listening to: We put Spotify back on for awhile. Oliver Shanti radio station

What we are eating: Cafe Rio!

Distractions: dinner, and the more crazy kitty stuff (sheesh I can tell she can tell something was weird about today!), rain, feeling uncomfortable ( I kinda got sick of my reading spot) and etc.

I didn't take more pictures and I didn't do any more mini challenges. :(

This will be my last update for the day! I'm going to read in bed for awhile and then I'll do a wrap up tomorrow! Take care and Happy Reading!


Hour Fourteen Update:

What I’m (we’re) reading now: The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain . Really enjoying it!

How many pages read since last update: 133

How many pages read total: nearing 500

Books finished since last update: none

How many minutes/hours read since last update: 2 hours

What we are listening to: silence. It's sort of making me crazy.

What we are eating: nothing since last update. I'm feeling a bit snacked out.

Distractions: nothing too much here either. Very quiet at our house right now.


Hour Eleven Update:

What I’m (we’re) reading now: I read a about 30 pages in Dune. I need to read something else now. I think I'll try this really tiny book that came to me in the mail the other day called The Red Notebook. The girls are still reading the same book from last update. The one boy joining us said he was done reading and left the party!

How many pages read since last update: 30!

How many pages read total: 300 and plus

Books finished since last update: none

How many minutes/hours read since last update: three hours maybe?

What we are listening to: hmmm, nothing now. Wind and rain is starting up though.

What we are eating: we've just finished a lunch break of frozen pizza and a brownie. Yeay!

Distractions: sleepiness is setting in pretty big. Also, just the comings and goings of people in the house. The cat left us alone for several hours so much so that we thought she'd become lost! Also, my phone, Instagram and Twitter and taking pictures. See below.

Here are some pictures:


Hour Eight Update:

I finished a book! :)

What I’m (we’re) reading now: In between books, but I think I read a few pages in Dune now.

How many pages read since last update: about 100 I think

How many pages read total: 280 or so

Books finished since last update: I finished It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han. One teenager finished The Winner's Curse and started in on Ignite by Sara B. Larson. Another one stopped Harry Potter for a bit to read Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale. Yet another one is getting tired and called for his mom to come get him in a bit!

How many minutes/hours read since last update: a couple more hours

What we are listening to: Han Zimmer

What we are eating: same.... broke out the chips and nuts now to. I'm getting hungry for some real lunch soon though.

Distractions: starting to feel a little sleepy eyed. Not too many other distractions this time though. It's been pretty good!

Some more pictures:

The treasure hunt:
tree, snow, weapon

We are eating a lot of caramel popcorn!


Hour Six Update:

Sheesh! This is when I freak out about how fast the day is flying by.

What I’m (we’re) reading now: We are all still reading the same books!

How many pages read since last update: I think I've added another 80 pages or so.

How many pages read total: 200 ish

Books finished since last update: none!

How many minutes/hours read since last update: Many distractions this past sprint, probably only actually read half of the time, an hour and a half maybe.

What we are listening to: changed the Spotify station to Hans Zimmer. A lot of Interstellar is coming through.

What we are eating: broke out the caramel popcorn and the peanut butter m and ms. :)

Distractions: giggling teenagers, crazy cats, beeping phones and etc.

Here's the group reading shot if you missed it on Instagram:

Also, our four seasons books:

And now I'm going to have a shower so I can feel a little more human.


Hour Three Update:

What I’m (we’re) reading now: It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
The teenagers are reading: The Davinci Code, The Winner's Curse, Harry Potter #2 and The Graveyard Book

How many pages read since last update: I've read 120 pages so far! Other pages reported: 50, 75.

How many pages read total: See above!

Books finished since last update: None yet!

How many minutes/hours read since last update: 2 hours

What we are listening to: David Arkenstone station on Spotify

What we are eating: We have just taken a breakfast break... strawberry banana smoothies and muffins.

Distractions: Breakfast... and the arrival of two more teenagers. So that's me, me daughter and three extra kids now! We'll see how this goes!


Happy Readathon! Let the reading begin!

Here, all day long, I'll be updating my (our) reading progress and experiences and fun. Be sure to follow along on my Instagram and Twitter too! (See sidebar for links!)

Each time I update, I'll put the newest bits up top and I'll just add to this post all day. I always start out strong and peter out as the day goes along. I expect tomorrow to be no exception! But maybe I'll update a little more than normal!

Here's my opening get to know you post:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?


2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

You know, I'm not sure! I think a Jenny Han book will be fun. :)

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Peanut butter M and M's.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

Let's see. I have four kids, two still at home. One of them is off to France in a week for study abroad and I'm so nervous! I work at the library in administration doing odd jobs and secretary stuff. I've been blogging for a long time and knew Dewey and her readathon way back when. I remember thinking..."you guys are so CRAZY!!" :)

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I've got it pretty much figured it and won't be changing anything up too much. We are expecting a bunch of teenagers to join us today, so I'm looking forward to that. One of them is here already! Arriving a few minutes before the official start time! (which is 6 am here. Crazy!)

I'm off to read! See you back in a few. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Readathon Prep

The biannual Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon is coming up in just two days! I have every intention of participating and reading from 6 am to midnight at least! (However, there's lots of stuff happening in life at the moment so I will have to be flexible as usual!)

My daughter (now 16) has participated with me since she was,  I don't know, probably 10 at least. And she can't wait to do it again! She's even inviting all her friends! If we end with a teenager readathon crowd at this house, you know I'll be taking pictures and sharing!

Anyway, here's the stack of my potentials. I forgot to include our current read along book, Dune, but yes, I will knock of some pages in that during the readathon too! Also, I may dab into some Kindle books, but I have no idea what at this point. So, they are not listed.

Mostly this is some fun fluffy library books that I grabbed the other day, plus a couple that have been kicking around here dying to be read. I'll probably jump into the Jenny Han books (those are the ones on the bottom that are hard to see), just because I know they'll be fun and easy. I wanted so bad to try Saga for the readathon, but when I went to get it from the library, it was already checked out. So it will have to wait.

It's fun to look at the stack and think about reading all of them! But I can pretty much guarantee that I'll make it through only one! Sigh.

As for snacks. All I know is that we need to make caramel popcorn. And I should probably do that today since tomorrow might be already booked. I have no idea what else we'll munch on. Maybe I should buy a frozen pizza. That'll probably do it. M and M's maybe and we'll be good! Keep it simple I say!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Authors... EVER?

The prompt at The Broke and Bookish is to list our favorite authors. Our ALL TIME favorite authors! List them by genre! List 20 of them! Just list them!

Yeah. Right.

Well I'll attempt. But I'm thinking you can guess a few of mine.

Did you guess them?

Top row: Charles Dickens, Kasie West, Neal Shusterman, Laini Taylor
Two center rows: John Green, Brandon Sanderson, Wilkie Collins, Jane Austen
Bottom row: Laura Hillenbrand, Patrick Rothfuss, Elizabeth Gaskell, Melina Marchetta
Center Square: Markus Zusak! :)

All lovely lovely authors. And just SOME of my favorites.

Who are your favorite authors? Do we share some of the same?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Book Review Discussion: Remake by Ilima Todd

Book: Remake by Ilima Todd
Genre: YA Dystopian
For: Fun, Supporting Local Authors
From: I bought this one at Costco

Short Synopsis: The main character, Nine, is trying to figure out if she wants to be a boy or a girl. In this future world, when kids turn 17 they can decide to become whoever they want, including changing their gender and their physical looks. Nine and her friend Theron are about to become remade but she is really stressing about this decision. However,  on the way to the facility, there is an accident, and she is washed ashore to a whole new world. One where people embrace who they are when they are born (and that whole being born thing is fascinating too!) and live in families with parents and siblings. All this is new to Nine and she's not sure she really likes it.

My Response: I really liked this one! Very interesting premise, especially given the hot topics of families and gender in this day and age. And while the author's viewpoints on this topics are pretty obvious, I never felt banged over the head with them. In fact, it's actually quite thought provoking on many levels. What makes a family a family? What makes a person who they are? What are all the different kinds of love? Anyway, I was totally engaged and read the book in only a couple of sittings. Also, it ended well enough that I figured it's a stand alone but I've just found out that it's actually a trilogy. Which makes me quite happy!

Bottom Line: I really enjoyed this fun book and interesting take on yet another dystopian society.

Let's Talk About: your feelings on books that tackle hot topics. Do you like it? Are you interested in what an author has to say about such things through their stories? Or would you rather not think about these sorts of things when you're reading? Do you worry about that fine line between preaching and interesting?  As for me, I think it's really interesting if it's done well.  I enjoyed how this one was done.

Other Reviews:

Like I said, I loved Remake! The world building, the characters, the plot twists, everything. The only thing I disliked was that the book ended. From Minding Spot

A post-overpopulation dystopia, Remake is in many ways quite typical of the genre: our young heroine grows up in relative isolation, unaware of any alternatives to her controlled community, until circumstances force her to consider her place in the world. From Rachel Cotterill Book Reviews

If you like dystopian novels with romance, pick this one up. It's different enough and will immerse you in its story. From Library of Clean Reads

I fully believe this book should beat Hunger Games in every shape and form; no obvious plot holes, better heroine and love story then any dystopian book on the market, and overall a universe that keeps you wanting more. From SweetEnd Book Reviews

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dune Read Along Starts Now!

Welcome to the Dune Read Along!

It's time to start reading!

Schedule of Events:

Section 1: April 19 - 27 Discussion post by Jenni Elyse on April 27, Twitter chat that same evening at 9 pm MDT.

Section 2: April 28 - May 6 Discussion post here at It's All About Books on May 6, Twitter chat the next evening on May 7 at 9 p.m. MDT

Section 3: May 7 - 16 Discussion post by Kami's Library Thoughts on May 16, Twitter chat the same evening at 9 p.m.

Be sure to follow the #DuneRAL hashtag all throughout the read along. Post your thoughts. Let us know what's going on with your reading experience in real time.

As mentioned on our sign up post, this read along is in conjunction with our IRL book club book for May. We are inviting you to virtually join our book club discussion on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 7:30 pm MDT as Jenni live tweets! 

As with our last read along, we plan to have a movie party to watch the Dune mini-series. The date for that as of this moment is set for May 30 at 6 pm. MDT. Join us IRL if you live nearby, or join us on Twitter if you don't!

Mark, get set, READ!!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Movie Review: The Theory of Everything

Movie: The Theory of Everything
Genre: Biography
Staring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones
Rating: PG 13
My Rating: Two thumbs up

We are meant to think this movie is about Stephen Hawking, the brilliant scientist with theories about space who ended up in a wheelchair. And it is, but it's really even more about his wife, Jane.

They meet at college. They fall in love. He is diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease and told he has about two years. She says, I don't care and they get married.
Falling in love.

From there, it's story of how she takes care of him, has his three babies and gives her whole self to his work. Many many years go by.

And I thought this would be the whole story. But that's not how it ends. Things start to become too much for her. They get help. She falls in love with the help. But does nothing. Then, after things become even worse for him (after he loses his voice for instance) they get more help. Now he falls in love with the help! And he does something.
The help.
(Aka. her church choir director!)

Which makes him look bad on the surface, but I think, really, he was setting her free.

Fascinating story, truly.
Eddie as Stephen

And yes, the acting job deserved an Oscar. He made you think he was truly and genuinely losing his ability to move. Amazing.

I've been wanting to see this movie forever! So glad it finally happened!

Eddie and Stephen together.

Here's the trailer:

Speaking of movies and trailers... here's one you should see if you haven't already:


Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Shadow Prince Giveaway

I have two copies of The Shadow Prince to giveaway. Who wants one!??

When I read this book last year, I gave it a five stars. Which means, of course, that I loved it! (Here's my review if you want a reminder.) But if you don't want to click over here's what I said:

I loved this book. The plot was awesome and fun and a wonderful take on the Hades/Persephone myth with lots of other myths also alluded to. It was great. The characters are fun, especially Haden who has this strange upbringing and is introduced to a world where this upbringing is completely wacko. He changes so much! Anyway, I just thought it was really fun and page turning and one of those books that I couldn't stop thinking about when I wasn't reading.

This book just came out this week in paperback and I have two copies... two SIGNED copies I should say. If you would like one, fill out the form with your info and I'll pick two random winners on Monday April 27. At that time, I'll have another giveaway for the sequel to this book, The Eternity Key!

Good luck!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Writing For Charity Experience 2015 Part Two: In Which I Ponder Diversity

Last week I talked about one aspect of my experience at Writing for Charity from a few weeks ago. Be sure to check it out if you missed it!

Today I wanted to talk about something else that happened there and something I've been thinking a lot about lately. Like, a lot. And that's the We Need Diverse Books movement that's really big in the readerly/writerly worlds these days.  Here's hoping I can make my thoughts make sense!

So during the conference, we went to a class about diverse books and characters. I'm always interested in this mostly because I have characters in my story that fit into this category and I'm so worried about doing it right.

But first, before this class even got started, I talked for a moment with the writer sitting next to me. When I found out where she's from, I was like, "Seriously? That's kind of where I'm setting this story of mine! Because I want to tie in this Native American legend/myth/tradition that I first learned about when I was passing through your town."

Her eyes got big and she said, "Oh, you want to be careful if you're writing about them. And about that aspect of their stories. Oh, yeah. Be careful."

So we talked and I said, yeah, I've tried to do a lot of research. (though I know I should do WAY more.) And I said, yeah, I know it's a pretty touchy subject and yeah, I know they don't talk about it and they take it pretty seriously and all. And yeah, it's just plain scary.

Then the class started and they talked about the need for diverse books. And while I totally agree I think that what we REALLY need is diverse authors! Because I feel like and the people on the panel went on to pretty much say too, that if you don't know anything about that culture or race or way of living, then how can you get it right? How can you write about them without it sounding cliche and stereotyped and all? And how it's not enough to just turn your character into a POC just to say you've got diversity, if you can't write that character without stereotyping. And how only people who know what it's like could really get it right.

I love this picture of a Navajo guy.

So, when we call for diverse books, what we really need is the diverse authors to write them, don't you think? So as I'm starting out in this writing thing, how can I ever expect to do it right with POCs if I have no experience? My life has been very un-diverse, sadly. With the exception of several family members who have been adopted, but raised very un-diversely just like me, and now my daughter-in-law who is giving us some taste of diversity, but still, just barely. Know what I mean?

Then they go on to say that if you do have a diverse character in your story, be sure to do the research and even have someone from that culture read it and "approve" it basically. At which point I wanted to hold my head and moan, "where will I find Native American readers?!" That's when the girl next to me handed me her email and said, let me know if you want readers from the Navajo Nation.

And then I really got scared!

I mean how cool would that be. But still. How scary!

So I left that class quite frustrated and wondering why I thought up this story in the first place!

Bottom line is, I feel that we do need books with diverse characters but it has to be organic, meaning, we can't just throw them in there and say, Hey look! I have a diverse character! I especially hate the token gay character. Make it make sense for the story, please! And yes, here's hoping that the call for diverse characters doesn't just perpetuate the perception some have of certain people and that it instead helps break those down. We need diverse authors!

Meanwhile, since I'm so very un-diverse myself... what does that mean for me? Can I truly write diverse characters? Do I keep on with my Native American story even though I really have no idea what I'm doing?

I'd love to know what you think on all this. Am I making sense at all? Do you see what I'm trying to get at? Am I justified in this frustration? Or do I suck it up and get over it!!! :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Inspiring Quotes from Books

Ah, where to begin on this one!? I have quotes! I will share!

From I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

From Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

From A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

From Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
From The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
From Dune by Frank Herbert
From Happy Birthday to You! by Dr. Seuss

That's a start anyway! What are some of your favorite quotes from books? The ones that make you think? Link up over at The Broke and the Bookish today!


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