Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Books I've Loved: Girl Against the Universe

After having been in something of a reading slump for a few weeks, it was refreshing to pick this book up and really enjoy it.  Unlike other books I've read recently, this book's depiction of therapy rang true. Maguire's issues felt real and scary, and the way she and her therapist worked through them felt realistic and sensible.

The romance was cute and charming too, even if Jordy did feel a little to perfect to be real.  I'm willing to overlook that though, because when you're in love, the object of your affection can appear perfect because you're too besotted to notice the flaws.

I liked that friendships were important in this book as well as romance, and there was a very realistic and awkward relationship between Maguire and her stepfather.  So often step-parents are portrayed as evil or annoying (probably because the step-child resents their presence), but here the step-father was trying hard despite Maguire's complex feelings about his presence in her life.

I'd recommend this one because it feels honest and personal and because Maguire and Jordy and their circle of friends are people I enjoyed spending a few hours with.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb!

From the author of The Art of Lainey and Liars, Inc. comes a fresh, contemporary story about a girl coping with PTSD and the boy who wants to help her move on from the past. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen or Jenny Han.

Sixteen-year-old Maguire knows the universe is against her. No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when she's around. Like that time the roller coaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or the time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash--and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

Despite what her therapist tells her, Maguire thinks it's best to hide out in her room, far away from anyone she might accidentally hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star who wants to help her break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for him is to stay away, but it turns out staying away might be harder than she thought.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Weekly Goals 20-3-17

I'm ghostwriting an autobiography at the moment - or at least, preparing to - so this week is all about continuing research and trying to put together a proposal.

I've never done a non-fiction book proposal before, so I've had to research what to include and how they go together.  I have a feeling it will take me a few weeks to get through because it's a way bigger job than a fiction query!

Still house hunting.  We went to look at two yesterday, but neither would have suited us.  We decided against the new house we'd been considering.  Too risky when we know houses made at that time have a history of leaking.  Even though this one seemed perfectly dry now, it's of the age that those kinds of houses start failing, so best not to invest all my money into it.

Fingers crossed something better shows up!

What are your goals this week?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 17-3-17

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

So what am I celebrating this week?

We found another house we like.  It has an ideal layout, plenty of space and is in a good location.  Unfortunately it's also a new house and lacks the character and charm older houses have.  It was also built at a time when building materials weren't the best, so it may not last as well as an older house.

So we have to decide whether or not to put an offer in on it, or if we keep looking for something better (assuming there is something better).

I started working on my ghostwriting project.  I think it's going to be fun!  Hard work, but definitely fun.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Books I've Read: If I Ever Get Out of Here

I haven't had much luck with the books I've chosen recently, and nothing has really stood out as being outstanding in the past few weeks.  Perhaps it's my mood or something, or maybe I really haven't chosen well at the library.  Either way, this was the best of the five books I picked up at my last library visit.

I enjoyed the fact the book was completely frank about living in poverty.  It's something you don't see very often in YA books where kids so often seem to be either super-wealthy, or at least comfortably middle class.  Lewis's unwillingness to let his new friend see his situation was very realistic.

I also liked that Lewis had always been an outsider, that finding a friend was a new experience for him.  At least a friend who wasn't forced into friendship with him by living on the reservation. This friendship grows out of a mutual passion for music, as so many friendships do.  I loved the way these two boys were so serious about their records.  It reminded me of being thirteen or fourteen and scouring record stores for albums that I would take home and lift from their sleeves with as much care as a first-time mother uses when picking up her baby.

It's also a book about bullying, and the helplessness someone being bullied can experience.  Especially when the person being bullied does reach out for help, but doesn't find it.

Lewis is an engaging protagonist and I enjoyed spending time with him.  I felt for him when he first visited George's house and realized he would never be able to invite his friend over to his house.  Keeping a secret like that is never good for a friendship, but family loyalty is often just as important.

So while I wouldn't rave about this book, it's an interesting read and there are some very important issues touched on.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb.

Lewis "Shoe" Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he's not used to is white people being nice to him -- people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family's poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan's side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis's home -- will he still be his friend?

Acclaimed adult author Eric Gansworth makes his YA debut with this wry and powerful novel about friendship, memory, and the joy of rock 'n' roll.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Weekly Goals 13-3-17

After failing miserably at getting much writing done last week, I'm going to try, once again, to be realistic this week.  We have more house hunting to do, another house we're interested in to research, and our house to finish packing and cleaning to go on the market.  Plus the day job…

So I'm only going to try and get through two or three chapters of revision this week.  If I can do that, I'll feel like I achieved something.

But if the material for my ghostwriting project comes in, my own book gets set aside while I start sorting through that and making a start on the proposal and sample chapters.

What are your goals for this week?

Book Launch: Incense and Peppermints

Incense and Peppermints
Cathrina Constantine
Publication date: March 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Peace demonstrations, sit-ins, and burning the U.S. flag following the escalation of the Vietnam War are leading to a catalyst known to the world as the Sixties, and a musical revolution, flower power, hippies, marijuana, and drugs are carrying the generations—young and old—into a new decade. All the while sixteen-year-old Mary Monroe is caught between being an innocent good girl and an autumn of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.

When her brother offers a solution to her dilemma in the form of a little pill, Mary ignores the rumba in her brain and takes a walk on the wild side. Plunged into popularity and a life she’s only imagined, she meets Michael Covington, the hot newcomer, and she’s instantly drawn in by his less than flawless exterior and bad boy sex appeal. Caught up in the danger and excitement as they drift from party to party, into underground fight clubs, and through a series of drug and alcohol fueled adventures, Mary follows her new crush into a world where young girls are never truly safe from the predators lurking in the shadows and young men are hiding from the harsh reality of war.

Feeling buzzed and as if her life is spinning out of control, Mary is assaulted by an unknown man at a party, and she’s left questioning if the enigmatic Michael is truly her hero or if he is the face behind the terrible attack. With every piece of information Mary learns about Michael, her doubts grow deeper, but with every minute she spends in his presence, so does her love.

With the war and her fear threatening to separate Mary and Michael forever, only the death of a friend, a crushing confession, and her own sensibilities can carry her over the threshold between adolescence and adulthood.

Goodreads / Amazon


September 1969

The corners of my bedroom had dulled to a muddy gray by the time my brother leaned on, or rather wobbled against, my door. His glassy eyes floated in their sockets. Stoned, again.

“Whatcha doing, Sis?” Stevie, my older brother slurred.

My gaze slipped over his pasty chest, sprinkled with wiry hair, and past his jockeys to his stick-like legs. Did he realize he was only wearing saggy underwear? Normally, I’d say gross and mock him, but only because he normally treated me like a speck of toe scum.

“Nothing much.” I slipped my diary into my sock drawer, away from prying eyes. Our parents weren’t home, and our little sister was asleep in her crib on the other side of my room.

“You need to grow up,” he said. “Here, it’s party time.” Pinched between his thumb and finger, he revealed an ordinary aspirin as if he’d procured the magic solution.

“Uh… I don’t have a headache.”

“Hey, turd. It’s not an aspirin. Stop the nerd act and get with the program. Grow up.”

Our sibling behavior toppled into the belittling and ridiculing stage. Though I figured it was his way of helping me. Yet, staring at the pill, I was interested, but a hootenanny of cymbals clashed inside my head and my sensible side screamed.

You’ll puke! I hate puking. Wasn’t it only last week Stevie was tripping and heaving guts like a water hose?

Shaking my head, I declined his kind and strange offer and tried using simple logic to get rid of him. “Not tonight. Mom and Dad will be home any minute. Go to bed. It’s late.”

“They’ll be so-o plastered. I can’t stand them like that.” Dejected, his shoulders slouched, and his body seemed to deflate. Until he tossed the pill, saying, “Catch.”

Author Bio:

Cathrina Constantine is the Best Selling author of Don’t Forget To Breathe. Her book won Readers’ Favorite International Book Award for 2015 and The Literary Classics Seal of Approval and Literary Classics Gold Award. Her Paranormal Fantasy, Wickedly They Come has been awarded the 5 Star Seal from Reader’s Favorite. Tallas from her dystopian series received Literary Classics Silver Award and Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

Cathrina resides in Western New York with her husband, five children, two Labrador Retrievers and her cat, Bones. Author @chbbpublishing. Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly. When not attached to her computer, she likes to take long walks in the woods with her dogs, drink way too much coffee, and is an avid movie watcher. She loves music and doesn’t need a dance floor to shake a leg.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 10-3-17

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

So what am I celebrating this week?

I made an offer on a house we liked, but we didn't get it.  It was a rather nerve wracking day, especially when the real estate agent called and told me it was between me and one other family and gave me an opportunity to revise my offer.  But even with adding that extra money, it wasn't enough.  So back to spending all my weekends at open homes. I have to believe there is something even more perfect for us out there….

This weekend is all about packing up my house so it's ready to go on sale.  Everyone else is away, so I should have some good, uninterrupted packing time.  And then some good uninterrupted cleaning time once all the clutter is out of the way.

I didn't get as much writing work done this week as I hoped, but I did make it to the book's big climax.  And next week I hope to get the first materials for the ghostwriting job I'm going to do, so will be able to start shaping that and writing a proposal for how the finished book might look.

What are you celebrating this week,