That YA: It’s So Hot Right Now

I can’t say that title without saying it like Mugatu from Zoolander. That YA is so hot right now. Ahem. Anyway.

I’m not sure what it is about the stellar writing in the YA world right now, but man, am I ever driven to select from that section of the library/bookstore so much more than I am from the good ol’ adult section.

I read an entire book yesterday. It was really good. It was called 45 Pounds (More Or Less) by KA Barson and it made me FEEL, you guys.

I winced at her embarrassing moments – ones that easily could have been me (drunkenly Thriller dancing, anybody?). I clucked at her poor food choices- ones that I make nearly daily as well. And when she said, “It doesn’t make any sense to want one thing and do the opposite. But somehow there’s a disconnect between my brain and my stomach. Somehow my stomach got connected to my heart,” I cried. Because apparently that’s what I do these days; I cry.

The story follows aged 16, sized 17 Ann as she tries to navigate life as an overweight teenager. As an overweight 30-something, I had no problems at all relating to her and to her struggles. I’d even go so far as to say that this little YA book gave me some optimism and some hope that maybe one day, I too, can change.


Confidence & Writing

I know that I’m a decent writer.

My blog posts are generally off the cuff and usually laced with typos because I’m lazy and I look over them too easily in a draft, but I’m talking about some solid fiction writing.

I know that I kinda rock at dialogue.

I also know that I can take a completed piece and I can edit the hell out of it and make it something way better.

But I seem to have a huge problem in being confident of my own work. I did NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for you uninformed folk) in 2012 (and 2010 and 2008 and I think 2007, too) and won for the 1st time in 2012. I was in tears when that word count came up as over 50,000 words.

I proudly ordered my winner t-shirt (because that’s a hell of an accomplishment, it deserved a t-shirt).

I hardly ever wear it. The reason? i get asked what it means and the next question is always, “What did you write about?” I DESPISE that question.

In 2012 I wrote a YA novel about a young girl whose mother is diagnosed with cancer and passes away. No shocker there, it’s my life story but slightly fictionalized and sensationalized. So it wasn’t a real stretch. But I still feel awkward saying that out loud in person and usually wind up muttering something like, “Erm, it’s a young adult novel, girl…. it’s dumb. But I wrote a book, hey, go me!”

This year, I’m writing middle-grade fiction, a book that I hope to be the start of a series. Imagine that you’ve lived your short life hoping to avoid falling into the family legacy. You’ve prayed and pleaded and made multiple bargains with the universe and by the age of 12, you feel sure that you’ve escaped your fate and get to lead a normal, uneventful life like you’ve always wanted. And then it happens. In one stroke of magic and with a fluttering of some errant tea leaves, you’re set on a path that ensures that your life will never be the same again.

(OMG it’s so dumb.)

(Stop it, it’s not dumb.)


Reading Habits

I have a lot of strange little quirks when it comes to me and books. It borders on compulsive, these problems habits of mine.

First, I can’t seem to stick one book at a time. I don’t know how it happens, but I always wind up in the middle of at least three books – more often six or seven at a time. I think it’s because if the original book that I started reading isn’t closest to me, I just grab whatever is near and start reading that. Then I like to keep a small paperback in my purse. You know, just in case. Then I have people loaning me books all the time and I like to work my way through those pretty quickly so I can return them to their rightful owners. Lastly, I always seem to be in the middle of that book that I just can’t seem to get through…

Which leads me to my next book-ism. I can’t leave a book unfinished. I’ve only done it once with Frank Herbert’s Dune and I don’t doubt that one day I will go back and finish that. It doesn’t seem to matter how awful the book is or how long it takes me to get through it, I am determined to give the book its chance to the very end. The book that I’m reading currently is one of those ones. It’s good, but not great and I’m finding myself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of characters and the similarities in all their names and titles. I’ve been reading this book since November. Of course, I’ve completed well over a dozen books since then, but this one is still a work in progress. I’m making it my goal to finish it this week.

Another oddity of mine is my need to read all the books by an author in the order they were published. Especially if it’s a series. It doesn’t matter if the novels can stand alone; I have to read them in order. I get a bit twitchy if I find out after the fact that I’ve read something out of order. I hate it when people tell me that it doesn’t matter if I read them correctly or not because damnit, to me, it matters. I used to even wait until a series was completed and published before I’d even start to read them, but I’ve gotten over that quirk. Mostly.

I often find myself staying up late to finish a good book. This wouldn’t be weird in and of itself except that when I finish it, I can’t sleep unless I get at least a page into a new book. I hate the feeling of not having moved on to something else. This probably also contributes to the first bit I mentioned – where I sometimes wind up in the midst of more books than any one person should be reading at any one time.

So as you can see, I’m a bit weird about my books. I also don’t get rid of anything in my collection. Not even when it sucks. If it’s awful I just stick it on a shelf out of sight, but I can’t seem to get myself to pass it on. I tried taking part in this really neat project (whose name I can’t remember or I’d link to it) where you’d leave a book in a public place with a note and a link in it telling the finder to read it and pass it on with the same link. When they went to the link they’d find a page where they could register where they found the book. Then you could see how far and how often your book travels. I was able to do it with one book and it hurt. So I stopped. I like to keep my pretties where I can be surrounded by them. I love sitting and reading the familiar titles and figuring out which books I’d like to read next and remember which were good and which were stinkers.

I just love books. What are your weird reading habits?


I Don't Say That I Dreamed It, I Dreamt It, Damnit

I am a huge reader. I love to read, I read all the time. One thing that I am working really hard to do is to cultivate an early love for reading in my daughter. I buy her books all the time. I try to read to her every night and we look at books throughout the day. I read in front of her.

With my love for reading and my want for a daughter who also loves to read, I was overjoyed to receive books at my baby shower. Books for the baby. However, once I got home and looked at them, I was really really annoyed. You see, these books use what I consider to be incorrect grammar and it uses this grammar in the title. ANNOYED.

I looked it up and apparently the language they used in the book is technically also correct, but still, I don’t like it.

What do you think about these title?

I Dreamed I Was A Mermaid
I Dreamed I Was A Princess

Shouldn’t it say this instead?

I Dreamt I Was A Mermaid
I Dreamt I Was A Princess

Weigh in, please. Am I insane to be really irritated at the way they phrased that?


Lucky You – Three Memes In One Post

I swear to Hades, people, my brain is fried. Lucky for you, not so fried that I can’t be a trendy follower and post up some memes for ya. The 25 things one is on my Facebook as well so likely you’ve all already seen it, but whatevs. Read it again.

First. 25 Things About Me. ‘Cause 100 Things wasn’t enough.

(1) I love cupcakes. I think that they’re beautiful and tasty and fun and I love them.

(2) I put $70 onto an online poker site and was actually able to play with the same money for a year and a half before I ran out. I’m not that great at poker, but I’m not always terrible.

(3) I’m going to Mexico in April! Tickets were purchased yesterday and I’m ridiculously excited. Yay for my friends getting married in the Mayan Riviera!

(4) I used to read obsessively. Now, because I’m way too much of an internet geek, I read far less. It bothers me. In fact, once I finish this note, I’m shutting the computer for a bit and reading a book. So there.

(5) I get really attached to people and have a very hard time letting go. It’s why I love sites like Facebook where I can find people from my past.

(6) I’m not religious. At all. Yet somehow, I manage to have a lot of very religious friends. Not just religion-lite, but the real deal. Sometimes it makes me a little uncomfortable because I used to be very religious, too.

(7) I dressed like a tramp whenever I went to church when I was younger. It wasn’t intentional. Well, I wanted to look HOT, but not so much like a hooker.

(8) I haven’t seen a lot of movies that supposedly EVERYBODY has seen. Pulp Fiction was one of those until a few years ago when I watched it and didn’t like it. Yup, that’s right. I didn’t like Pulp Fiction.

(9) I am completely and totally obsessed with Lost. I love all the mysteries, the twists… I’m madly in love with Desmond. I watched the first four seasons in a period of about two months and now I wait eagerly for Wednesday’s when I have Lost parties with an awesome similarly obsessed friend.

(10) I find it weird when people tell me that I’m strong because I don’t think that I am. At all. I can never come up with anything that I’ve done that would give them reason to think that I’m strong.

(11) I don’t cry in front of my friends. I get really weird about it. I called my best friend in tears last night and I think I shocked the hell out of her. I think she was afraid that someone had died. (No one had.)

(12) I function mostly fine on very little sleep. Eventually though, I get really giddy. Then I get really emotional and will cry in frustration.

(13) I overuse the word really.

(14) Next on my list of places I’d like to travel is Greece. I’m fascinated with Greece and I cannot wait to set foot there.

(15) My favorite movie is The Princess Bride and I can quote extensively from it. And will. At random times.

(16) If I ever manage to lose the 50 lbs that I want to drop, I’m going to have professional semi-nude pictures taken. No, I won’t put them on Facebook or the blog or any other public site.

(17) I love reading and studying about body image in women. Eating disorders and general self-esteem issues are really interesting. My own opinion of my own body is lousy.

(18) I have so many songs on my iTunes that I can’t name every one as it comes up on my shuffle. Like right now, some song is playing and I really like it, but I have no idea who does it or what album it’s off it. I’m also too lazy to get up and check because my iPod is on its dock and not playing off the computer.

(19) I love Apple. I would probably buy an Apple product JUST because it’s Apple and not because I need it. I love them that much. I won’t pressure PC people to change, though. I’m not one of THOSE crazy Mac fans. (But I will say that once you go Mac, you’ll never go back. Hee.)

(20) I beat Guitar Hero on the easy level and I’m too intimidated by that damn blue button to try to do it on medium.

(21) I read a book called Youth In Revolt over ten years ago and it remains in my list of top favorite books. I just found out that it’s going to be made into a movie soon which has me both a bit excited and bit nervous. I always get nervous about favorite books being made into movies.

(22) My favorite author is Jennifer Crusie. I got to meet her (on a few different occasions, actually) and I was just as nervous as if I was meeting a bona fide rock star. She’s fantastic. I’d still be nervous around her, though. I can’t help it. She’s like, my idol. Her books are so well-written!

(23) I used to buy a lot of movies and then I would never watch them. I still have movies in their shrink wrap. New house rule: No buying movies unless they’re Disney classics and/or for the kid. We NEVER watch movies at home.

(24) I really don’t like football and I’m really annoyed that the Super Bowl is on right now so everybody is busy with Super Bowl stuff. BLEGH.

(25) I don’t like coffee. Or cider. Or tea. Or any hot drink excepting hot chocolate.


This one is courtesy of Odette and looks like fun so here goes. I’m supposed to take the fourth picture from the fourth album in my pictures folder and post it up for y’all to see. It’ll be an old one because all my pictures are sorted by date, but here goes. Actually, heh, turns out it’s not that old.


That’s my cat trying to fit into a box that’s far too small for her. I was still pregnant and trying to put away baby clothes.


Last, but not least, comes this bookish meme from Toni. I’m supposed to grab the book nearest to me (When Christ And His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman) and go to page 56. Then type the fifth line and the next two to five lines that follow.

There were many men, though, drawn by her brazen earthiness, reassured by her easygoing approachability. And for the others, there was Sybil; tall and slender, with small wrists and feet, high breasts and unblemished skin, so prideful and poised that a man could easily indulge in fantasy, could pretend he was bedding a lady.

Heh. Of course, that particular section would be about a prostitute.

No tags ’cause that’s not how I roll, but feel free to take part if you’d like. Let me know if you do.


Book Review: Who By Fire, by Diana Spechler

First and foremost I want to thank Lara-B of Red Red Whine for enabling me with the opportunity to get this book and review it. Awesome.


Second, I love the title of this book. It comes from a section of prayer discussing different ways of death. In the book, the character Ash says this about the prayer:

I envision a sudden orange fire, and I think of the paryer we say on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: Who by water, and who by fire; who by sword, and who by beast. Every year after Alena disappeared, my mother would cry when we got to that part in the service. It’s about God’s having already decided who will die that year, and how.

This is one of those books that I would pick up off of the bookshelf in a giant bookstore because the title draws me in.

Here’s a basic recap of the book. It’s not thirteen years since Bits and Ash’s younger sister, Alena, has disappeared. Bits buries her grief in multiple meaningless sexual encounters and Ash has escaped to religion. The family is Jewish, but Ash has taken it to a whole other level and has moved to Israel and is living as an Orthodox Jew – following all the rules and studying in Yeshiva Hillel. Their mother, Ellie, has decided that Ash’s form of Judaism is akin to a cult and joins a support group for parents of children in cults. Now Alena’s remains have been discovered and nobody can get ahold of Ash to bring him home for the funeral. Bits brings it on herself to bring her brother home and so begins the story.

I really enjoyed the book and there was a nice twist at the end that I didn’t see coming. The characters were fantastic – my only regret being that I wanted to know more about them. I felt like their flaws – their sexual deviancy, obsession with absolving guilt through religion, and trying to save your remaining children – were a little too heightened and wiped away some other aspects of these characters’ personalities. I wanted more.

I read the book quickly because it was a great and easy read. I found myself reading slower in the beginning – learning each character’s voice and figuring out who was narrating each chapter – and then just plowing through the end to find out what was going to happen.

One other aspect of the book that I loved was learning about what it means to be an Orthodox Jew. My father-in-law’s family is Jewish and it was fascinating to learn more about the religion and the difference between what i see and what the other end of the spectrum is. I had no idea about a lot of the formalities and I loved learning about it through a good story.

Overall, I’d rate this book a 4 out of 5 and I would gladly pick up another book by the author.


A Book Review Of Sorts: Blood Noir

Dear Laurell K. Hamilton,

Please return to the original Anita Blake stories that you started the series with. The plots were fantastic, the character development was awesome and the books were amazing. Now, it’s sex sex sex orgy sex with a little tiny bit of plot thrown in.

Find some more plot. Please. You have the Merry Gentry series to write your erotica.

Thank you very much.

A reader who is thisclose to abandoning the series completely.