Monday, November 21, 2011

Back in the Stacks

Alright my lovely readers whoever you may be I have some news. I am officially working at a bookstore again. After indecision and lots and lots of figuring I have started working at Books-a-million in the old Borders building. It's wonderful to be back working with books again I love it! I find it hard to refer to the store as Books-a-million rather than Borders but I'll get there. The disadvantage of working at a bookstore again is the amount of books I am finding that I want to read. While working in a bookstore you handle a lot of the books so you get to check out a lot of books that you might not normally pick up. My to read list has grown considerably in the last week I have been working at Books-a-million. Another great thing about going back to work at the new store is getting to work with the people I used to work with at Borders. It's great seeing familiar faces and even better getting to meet new ones. Here's to a new adventure and working with one of the things I love the most  . . . books.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Creativity or Insanity?

There are times when I get writing that I am completely lost to whatever is going on around me, friends, time, movies, etc. There are times when I am writing that I don't know what has happened, how much I've written.

Last night I got so inspired I started writing sitting on the couch in the living room of my apartment. Eventually I moved into my room and lay on the bed while a movie played on the tv. I continued writing through the movie and when the movie ended I put another one on and continued to write. I wasn't getting tired I just kept writing. I don't remember what happened in the movies I don't' even know what time it was when I finally went to bed. I felt the compelling urge to continue writing I just had to keep writing. It got to the point where I knew I had to stop writing so I could get some sleep so I wrote all the ideas I had for the current piece I was working on so I wouldn't forget anything.

I get into such a state that I don't know whether I am insane or being creative. I just know that when I woke up this morning I had nearly 10 pages in a notebook filled. Am I creative or insane?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

#58 - The Day I Shot Cupid - Jennifer Love Hewitt

I bought this book in the final days of Borders when things were very on sale and books that I may not have bought orignally became things that I would pick up and set aside to buy at the end of my shift. This book was one of them. I had heard of the book and I thought it sounded intersting but never picked it up before. Now I picked it up for more than one reason. The primary reason I picked this up was because this book is about dating. I was interested to see what it was like since a book I am currently working on is about my past dating experiences so I considered this book to be research.

This book is just short little snippets of advice, experiences, and other thoughts. This was very well done and well written. I found myself comparing the experiences in the book to my own experiences. These were not only well written but funny as well.

I never figured I would be reading a self help book but that is what this book was categorized at Borders. This book not only was entertaining but I actually found some useful information in it. I found myself looking at my own past dating experiences through the eyes of someone else who has had less than a stellar dating record.

This book was very interesting and I enjoyed it considerably.

#57 - Cum Laude - Cecily Von Ziegesar

I've said it before and I apologize for saying it again but I don't stay within a specific genre for books. Now this book isn't something I would've picked up on my own but my friend Shawna had it and said I should read it. I started the book with some apprehension but quickly found myself setting that apprehension aside.

This book while not something I would typically read and not one of my favorite books was not bad. I enjoyed the characters in the book. They seemed very real and relatable to some extent as I am not far out of college myself.

The story while not overly enthralling was real and relateable. this seemed more like typical teen fiction or even some of the teen shows that are on tv. This auythor is in fact the author of one of the most noteable teen series "Gossip Girl".

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the location and the way the setting was described. Since the setting was in Maine I found it interesting. The author described the location well and I was able to picture many of the places in Maine that I recognized.

This books was entertaining to a point and like Shawna said 80% of the way through the book it got a lot better. If I were to rate this book I would give it 2 stars out of 5.

Friday, September 2, 2011

#56 - Never Knowing - Chevy Stevens

We all love to see those human interest stories where children that were put up for adoption are reunited with their birth parents but what about those reunions that are less than happy?

Chevy Stevens brings a compelling story about a woman who's decision to find her birth parents turns up at a past and secrets best left alone. If you found out your birth father was a killer and your birth mother was the only surviving victim what would you do?

Despite the length of time that it took for me to read this book it was very good and very interesting. The story is original and has all the elements of a good suspense thriller. Stevens also has a unique structure to the chapters. Every chapter is set up like a session with a psychiatrist. So there are little openings and conclusions o each chapter, it's definitely a style of it's own.

This book was well written and interesting. I loved the storyline and setup. This book will have you on the edge of your seat and wondering how this will turn out.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Writer's Journal

When I was in High School the University of Maine at Machias hosted a Writing Workshop for young writers. My creative writing teacher suggested it so my mom and I went. While I was at the workshop I learned a lot of things but one of the biggest things that stuck with me was the idea of a writer's notebook. As we left the workshop I convinced my mom to stop somewhere so I could get a Writer's notebook.

I have had many different notebooks since but the idea behind them all is the same. In my notebook I can write down story ideas, character descriptions, things I see I want to remember, quotes I like, I can also add pictures postcards and other little doodads that interest me.

I always try to keep some sort of notebook with me. i have small notebooks that I keep in the center console of my car and one in my purse. Then I also have my writer's notebook. This is a small three ring binder. I like this because it's easy to add and remove pages. I have decorated the outside to reflect my personality. I love my writer's notebook because it gives me a place to put ideas and it is also a great place to pull ideas from if I get stuck.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Things Change

Okay so I just want to take a second to apologize for not psting for a while and also to catch you up on things so you understand why.

Like I explained a while ago Borders Bookstores are closing, not only does this affect me as a loyal  customer but as an employee as well. In order to make ends meet I have to work two jobs. Borders being my biggest source of income, loosing my job there is a huge hit. So most of my available time has been spent job hunting Thankfully I now have another job.

To add insult to injury my lease on my apartment was coming due. Now in good faith I didn't want to renew my lease and then have no job and not be able to pay the rent. So when I did get a job I now had no home because someone was slated to take over my room. So I have been house hunting as well. Again thingshave worked out and I move into my new place on Friday.

So not only have I not had a change to write on here but I haven't had a chance to write any of my stories either and I have been reading the same book for almost 4 WEEKS!!!! But life is slowly starting to calm down and things should return to normal, or my new normal anyway.

Friday, August 12, 2011

#55 - Before I Go to Sleep - S. J. Watson

If you like a book that will leave your nerves tingling and make the hair on the back of your neck stand up read this book. What would you do if every day you woke up and didn't know who you were or how you got where you are? This is what Christine Lucas must do everyday of her life because despite what she remembers or is told as soon as she goes to sleep her mind erases it all and she must start from scratch again tomorrow. So everyday she takes the time and writes down what she learns so that the next day she has someplace to start, a way to try and remember what happened to her. If she can find out what caused her to loose her memory then maybe she'll be able to remember her life.

This is S.J. Watson's first book and what a way to start out. This book has everything, mysteries about what really happened to Christine, suspense about what the truth could be, will hve you asking questions you might not have an edge of your seat story that will have you turning page after page. I started this book and immediately I was hooked the story gets right up and going and keeps you right on the hook right up until the end. I kept trying to figure out the story as I was going along but then something would happen and I would start to second guess myself. Multiple possibilities ran through my head and sometimes I would think I had it then start to wonder about another possible scenario. The way this is written you as the reader get to feel similar frustration and confusion about what is happening and even though it's not you at times you feel like it is. You get both the present and the journal entries, little pieces of the puzzle with which to construct the bigger picture. You will stay up all night reading and want to keep reading.

There is nothing boring about this book. The story is new and different and will have you asking questions you never would have before. What would you do if you woke up and couldn't remember your life and the face you saw in the mirror wasn't the one you were expecting?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

#54 City of Angels - Sheralyn Pratt

I picked this book up on a whim several months ago and it was sitting next to my bed up until just a few days ago.

Rhea Jensen is anything but a normal twenty-something woman. Rhea is a private investigator. she spends her days following people and getting to the bottom of mysteries. But in this new case Rhea may find more than she bargained for both professionally and personally.

This was an enjoyable little mystery. It wasn't a complex mystery that required a lot of thinking. This book was a lot like an episode of Remington Steele. There was a mystery and there was humor and life thrown in for good measure. I don't know that I would categorize this as a cozy mystery but it's not a forensic thriller either.

The characters are different and realistic. The plot while not overly complex is enjoyable and entertaining. This is a good book for a light read on the beach.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

#53 - Spellcast - Barbara Ashford

The theater is a magical place. Whoever would have thought that there would be a book that combines science fiction/fantasy an musical theater? I have to say that this would've never crossed my mind but it certainly caught my attention.

Maggie Graham is having a bad day, she lost her job and here apartment is literally falling down around her or on her.So she packs up and heads to a small Vermont town to take a break from the mess at home. She stops when she comes across a barn that seems unsettlingly familiar. So it begins a summer Maggie will never forget, a summer where anything can happen and does.

I love this book! I was turning the pages and staying up for just one more chapter. I love the combination of theater and science fiction/fantasy. There was something about the book that grabbed me and wouldn't let go. The characters are so real that you'll want to say something about one of them to a friend only to remember that it is a character in the book you're reading. I found myself laughing out loud and wanting to go tell everyone about the book I was reading. (sorry everyone at Borders who heard me go on and on about it every day)

Spellcast is a new and different and will have you under it's spell from the get go. (Yes it's a pun  but I like it so deal)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

#52 Maine - J. Courtney Sullivan

I want to say that I picked up this book as much for the title as the description on the back. I love reading about Maine in case you haven't already noticed by my selections in cozy mysteries. So I picked this book up because of the title being my home state and was pleasantly surprise by how much I enjoyed the book.

Maine follows the lives of four women Alice, Ann Marie, Kathleen, and Maggie. Here are three generations of a family all with a connection to their little Maine cottage and all with a secret. Between pregnancies crushes, and deeply buried guilt over past events this will be a summer that these women won't every forget.

One of the great things about this book is that each chapter is dedicated to one of the women. Sullivan takes you into each of their lives allowing you to get to know them better and share theirs secrets. This is a well crafted story about family and the imperfections that make us all human.

Sullivan's style is easy and entertaining. The stories come off the page and make you feel as if you are part of them. I found that despite the four simultaneous stories I knew everything that was going on without having to go back ad re-read to find out who someone was or how/when something had happened. The story lines are easy to follows and enjoyable as well as moving. Also the characters are so real that you'll feel as if you've met them and know them personally.

I picked this book up because of the title but kept reading for the story and the characters.

Monday, August 8, 2011

#51 High Five - Janet Evanovich

Stephanie's back and up to her old tricks in Evanovich's High Five. Times are slow for the bounty hunting business so when Stephanie's family asks her to look into the disappearance of her Uncle Fred she figures why not I'm not doing anything else. But quickly Stephanie realizes that her Uncle being missing may not be as easy of a case as she was thinking. To throw a wrench into her personal life Morelli is still causing her confusion and not to mention that something is different with Ranger. Will Stephanie be able to figure out what happened to Fred and solve the the continual mystery that is her love life?

Evanovich has done it again. Even in the fifth book Evanovich's style remains the same funny and a good mystery. The characters just keep getting better with each book and you want to immediately grab the next one and start reading. Evanovich's style is one that's engaging and fun. You can't help but fall in love with the characters and become part of the story.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

#50 Plaster and Poison - Jennie Bentley

Avery and Derek are at it again renovating house and solving mysteries. In the third book in the Do-It-Yourself Mystery Series Avery and Derek are renovating good friend Kate's Carriage house to make a new home for here and her soon to be husband Police Chief Wayne Raussman. They're on a time crunch to get it done before the wedding only a few short weeks away not to mention the upcoming visit of Avery's mother for the first time. As if this wasn't enough pressure on Derek and Avery one day when getting to work they stumble across a body. This isn't just anybody though it's someone Kate knows all too well. Can Avery and Derek get to the bottom of this mystery before Kate and Wayne say I do? Will they get the Carriage house done? And what will Avery's mother think of Derek?

Bentley pulls out yet another great mystery leaving you want more and turning the pages. Avery and Derek have such a great chemistry that it just works. You may find yourself wanting to move to Maine and start fixing up some old house, just watch out for dead bodies and handymen with a sarcastic sense of humor.

# 49 English Tea Murder - Leslie Meier

Lucy Stone is doing it. Afters raising four children and working at the Pennysaver in Tinker's cove Maine she is realizing her dream and going to England. But even a jump across the pond can't diminish Lucy's knack for stumbling upon mysteries. While on the flight over one of the passengers and members of Lucy's group dies. Was it murder or an accident? With Lucy's past it's hard to say. To throw a wrench in Lucy's trip a former professor is hinting that he's got more than the sights of London on his mind.

The Lucy Stone mystery series is refreshing in that it is real. Lucy could very well be a real woman living down the street from you the mother of four, wife, and part-time reporter. There is no limbo with Lucy where she ceases to age purely because that's what the big wigs would want. No, Lucy grows older, her children grow up, and she even becomes a grandmother. Meier stays true to the character throughout the series. With this series you also get a taste of what living in Maine is like and the people that are here. No pretenses, no stereotypes just real people. Even though this book is based in England Meier handles the shift well and keeps you enthralled page after page.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

#48 Spackled and Spooked - Jennie Bentley

I'm pretty sure I've said it before but I'll say it again just for good measure, I love reading cozy mysteries. These are the kind of books you can curl up in front of a fire  with in the winter or read on the beach in the summer. They're entertaining and enjoyable, you may not learn anything profound and it probably isn't going to change your life but at least you're reading. My favorite are cozy mysteries based in Maine (go figure).

Spackled and Spooked is the second in the Do-It-Yourself mystery series. Avery has partnered up with new boyfriend Derek to by and renovate houses to sell. But when Avery and Derek buy a house with a dark past they may get more than they bargained for. This old house has more than on set of bodies buried in it's past. Will Avery and Derek be able to finish their renovation or will history repeat itself yet again?

This series is great because you feel like you're there in Maine but the characters aren't stereotypical with heavy accents. Yeah, there are Mainah accents byt they're not over done. Avery isn't your typical sleuth either. Most, while upset by the death, are drawn to it. With Avery we see a character who, while curious about what happened, isn't necessarily fascinated by it. This give this series a fresh approach as do the how-to home improvement projects at the end of the books.Readers of cozy mysteries or anyone just wanting a good entertaining read will love these books.

Friday, August 5, 2011

#47 Sentenced to Death - Lorna Barrett

In this fifth book of the Booktown mystery series Tricia Miles has yet another mystery on her hands. Tricia owns the Haven't Got a Clue Bookstore and has a knack for stumbling across real life murder mysteries. Stoneham is having their first annual Founder's Day Weekend Celebration and Tricia's friend and fellow bookstore owner Deborah Black is giving a speech. But when the plane hired to fly a banner overhead crashes into the gazebo where Deborah is standing Tricia is devastated. The mores Tricia learns the more she suspects that it was more than just an accident but can she prove it?

The thing I love about this series is that it is just fun reading. The characters are entertaining and the plot is engaging. Barrett does a wonderful job describing Stoneham and the unique characters that live there so well that you'll wish that such a place really existed and want to pack up and move there. The plots are different and fun. You'll be trying to solve the case along with Tricia and laugh with the characters. These are well written books that will have you wanting more. The perfect type of book to just relax with at the end of the day.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Getting the Itch

Now I never pictured myself as the type of person who would be constantly moving and making changes and yet here I am. Since I graduated High School I have moved 5 times in and out of apartments and dorm rooms and houses. Also since I started working I have had twelve jobs (most were seasonal or school positions I just want to make that clear). Now that I am out of college and have been for a year and working two jobs while I wait for a opening to start my career. I feel the itch to try something new. If I have to work jobs while I wait why could I go somewhere else to try it?

I've lived in Maine my whole life and only ever visited Florida, Massachusetts and Canada (just New Brunswick which is right across the river and Prince Edward Island but I don't really remember it). I want to try something new and exciting while I'm still young and not tied down. I want to go to all the places I've heard about. I want to see what life is like somewhere outside of Maine.
This attitude may seem strange to some of my family and friends. When I was younger I never wanted to go anywhere I was perfectly content at home. I wouldn't even stay at a friend's house for a long time. But something changed when I went to college four hours away from home and keeps changing as I get older. I want to see what is out there I want to try new things (not food probably I'm pretty stubborn there). There are days when I'm heading South on I-95 on my way to work and I contemplate just continuing to drive.

I feel like Bell at the beginning of Beauty and the Beast. "I want adventure in the great wide somewhere. I want it more than I can tell" I need to do it, start putting aside money when I can and work toward my next adventure.

A Big Screen Move

More and more books are being made into movies and this is causing some readers to become upset. This isn't really a new idea, after all Lousia May Alcott's Little Women was turned into a movie in 1933 starring Katherine Hepburn. Movies are a great way to reach audiences who may not have otherwise heard the story and may in turn inspire them to seek out the book.

One of the biggest complaints readers have about their favorite books being put on the big screen is that a lot of material from he book is cut to make it fit into a workable movie length. As frustrating as this is you have to remember that people aren't going to want to sit through a 5 hour movie just to get all the details right not matter how good it is. This is where compromises are made. In order to get an acceptable length and stay within budget smaller scenes are cut or the details are incorporated in another scene.

I'm not saying that all books that are made into movies are as well done as they could be. A good example is Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief. In the movie many things were changed from the book. The characters' ages were progressed, major plot points were over looked, and critical scenes elminated. I'm not saying this was a bad movies, becuase it wasn't as a matter of fact I own it, but as a movie adaptation of a book it was very disappointing.

If you go into a movie based on a book expecting exactly what you pictured when reading, you're going to be disappointed. But if you go in only to watch a movie without letting the comparisons interfere you may find you enjoy it a lot more. I love books and I love movies when they cross it's awesome but even if they don't I always have a movie going in my head when I read.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Dying Passion?

Well it's out. You can read about it anywhere and everywhere and depending on who you are you will be upset, happy, or indifferent. Borders bookstore is closing. No this is not just a regional tragedy this is a country wide loss. And while I am sad as employee loosing their job and find it more difficult because of that fact, I am mostly distressed as a loyal and faithful customer. Clearly books are my hobby, my passion, and my work. I love to read them as much as I love to write them.

The reason I am saddened by the loss of Borders is because it is a loss of an era in a way. People are becoming less and less apt to go into a bookstore and pick up a hard copy of a book to read, as e-books and e-readers are becoming more and more popular. I'm not saying that these are bad things or that they shouldn't be there I'm just saying it's not the same. There's nothing quite like curling up with a good book in front of the fire in the winter, or lounging on the beach with a book, or reading to a child and seeing their eyes light up with wonderment and pleasure. To me there will always be joy found in a paper copy of a book. With a hard copy you can tell how well read it is, you can see the history right there on the page and in the binding.

Also as more and more bookstores either independently owned or corporate are closing you are also loosing a wonderful piece of culture. One of the best things about being a part of the book community is being with other people that share the same passion for the things you do. You probably won't like all the same books as someone else but by talking about them and discussing them you may find something new you like. There is a laid back atmosphere about bookshops, yes even the big ones, where you can browse at a leisurely pace, sit and sample the book to see if it's something you're going to like before you buy it, and in a lot of places you can even sit and have a cup of coffee. It isn't just about the selling of the product its about the atmosphere. bookstores are a place where people can go to take a break from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives and escape into another world if even for a little while.

The other day while we were preparing for the start of our liquidation sale one of my co-workers compared what was happening to the closing of The Shop Around the Corner in You've Got Mail. Despite the fact that we are a large company our store especially is in a smaller area and so there are many customers who are regulars who we know and they know us. There is more than just sales people and customers there are Borders Friends and Family. I love when I can be at work and have discussions with customers about favorite books, books we've heard about, writing, etc. It is this sense of community that is such a loss.

However fear not faithful readers and booklovers there is hope. As long as people are willing to buy books there will be books. Keep in mind that if books are something you are passionate about then you need to support them or they will go away. Seek them out, buy them, share them, save them. Books are wonderful things tomes of knowledge, escapes to another world, even just great ways to relax and clear your mind. Books will stay around as long as those who love them are willing to buy them.

As an extra little note I would just like to ask any of you going into a Borders bookstore during the final days and sale days to keep something in mind. We as employees are more than willing to help you and wait on you but we need something from you in return. We need your patience and understanding. There are thousands of people going into all of the stores daily and there are only a handful of us employees there. Please try to bear with us and remember as upset as you are about whatever it maybe the people waiting on you are about to loose their jobs and don't need the constant reminding and sharp jabs to make things any worse. Thanks you for your patience and indulgence in listing to my little rant.


Right off the bat I'm going to admit it I"m awful at editing. Okay, well maybe not awful but pretty bad. I attribute my bad editing practices in part to the fact that I was never directly taught grammar in school. Now when I told a college professor  this she asked me how I'd made it to college. Basically I taught myself, learned from what teachers marked on my papers, and there was a major cram session with my mom before a grammar test. I can sort of tell when things are in the wrong spot or missing but if you ask me to point things out I'm doomed.

Now when it comes to editing for content I'm much better. I"m good at making sure the story flows, characters don't drastically change, etc. This part of the editing I really enjoy, especially in my own writing because it means I can identify parts that aren't working and change them This is part of the editing process is important because what makes sense in our heads as writers doesn't always translate to paper as well. Because this type of editing makes changes to the story I've found that writers, myself included, are a little more resistant to these changes. As long as your changes are honest and productive they're easier to make.

Since I write by hand I take advantage  of this and two edits. The first edit is on the hard copy. I used colored pens or markers and make what grammatical corrections I can. Here I'm not really reading the story as going through line by line. Next I type the piece. As I'm typing I'm reading the story so here I'm able to edit the content of the story. As I type I make changes, then I have someone else check it over a final time.

So if you're like me and lack skills in editing it pays to have two things. One, a supply of books like Elements of Style and Painless Grammar on hand. And two, friends who respond to facebook pleas for editors with no pay.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


This can be a very scary word for writers. I know it was for me for a very long time. I would try to write poetry and it would end up sounding stupid and really cheesy. In my head poetry was something that rhymed and everything had a deeper meaning to it. So in other words I was thinking too much and now I've come to realized that the best poetry doesn't require anything you just go with it and feel it.

The first poem I wrote that I was really happy with was called "Lost Innocence" and I wrote it just after my great-grandmother died. I was a sophomore in high school and one day after I found out about my great-grandmother's passing I sat in my room and put pen to paper. I've gound that when something really emotional has happened I tend to deal with it through my poetry.

I don't write poetry consistantly, but when I do write it I feel it. That's not to say that I haven't written more light hearted poetry but I do that less. I have only ever written two love poems and both were at the request of friends for their weddings. I was a nervous wreck about it but the finished products speak for themselves.

There is one poem that I've written that I have committed to memory. On the last day of my creative writing class my sophomore year of college our assignment was to write four lines of iambic pentameter. I put pen to paper and not even five minutes later I has this:
               I like the rain most of the time
               Except when I am forced to rhyme
               My feet are wet and I am cold
               But I will always do as told
               So here I sit and try to write
               Four lines of rhyme with all my might

The moral of the story is poetry is not something you think but something you feel. Have fun with it enjoy it, and remember poetry doesn't have to rhyme.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

#46 Disturbance - Jan Burke

Irene Kelly is back! After years of waiting newspaper reporter Irene Kelly is back with more trouble than ever. Like most newspapers, the Las Piernas Express is in trouble and Irene's life as a reporter is threatened. To add to her stress level is serial killer Nick Parrish. A few years before Irene encountered Parrish when she was part of a group led into the mountains by Parrish to show where the bodies were buried. After narrowly escaping with he life Irene could rest a little easier knowing he was behind bars and paralyzed, and she could go back to her life. But all that's about to change.

Jan Burke has created a wonderful character in Irene Kelly that keeps readers hooked. The other characters are alive and come right off the page. To compliment the great characters is a plot that leaves you hanging on and staying up "for just one more chapter." The description makes you feel like you're right there with Irene going through the same thing. Burke's dialogue is sassy and smart.

A great part of this book is that Burke incorporates what is going on now in the real world with what is happening in the book.  Some authors create their stories and put what they want in without consideration for what is really happening. The newspaper business, like so many others is struggling and ignoring this is unrealaistic when you're main character is employed at a newspaper. This does of reality makes the story and the characters more believable.

There is no doubt that people will enjoy this book, I did. It is well written and entertaining.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

#45 Kingdom Keepers: Power Play - Ridley Pearson

It's true what they say, you're never too old for Disney. (on a side not as I type this I'm listening to my Disney Pandora station) In his Kingdom Keepers series Ridley Pearson tells what what happens when Disney World shuts down and the characters come to life.

In the fourth installment of the series the Kingdom Keepers must foil the latest Overtaker (Disney Bad Guys) plan to control the parks and the magic in the parks. With Malificent and Chernabog under lock down the other overtakers are plotting a jailbreak. The Kingdom Keepers have to figure out what the plan is and put a stop to it before Malificent and CHernabog can get free.

The thing I love about this series is that is takes the Disney Magic we all grew up with and brings it to life in a new way. It's the character of Disney mixed with the ideas of "Night at the Museum" We all wonder what it would be like if the Disney parks came to life, Pearson lets us in.

Even as a twenty-three year old with a tendency to lean to toward mysteries I love these book. The characters are believable. They're not superheros who continually save the Disney parks from Malificent and the like, they're just typical high school kids dealing with everyday problems and have to use their abilities as DHI's to save the day. Pearson has created a wonderful world where Disney Magic really does exist and the characters we love and villains that scare us come alive.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What Did You Say? Dialogue

There are some really great writers out there who have amazing stories and wonderful characters but the dialogue is flat. If you're writing and what you're characters have to say is dull or unrealistic your readers are going to give up. If you want your characters to come alive for your readers you need to make sure what they're saying is believable.

WARNING!!! Be careful when writing your dialogue that you don't fall into the stereotype traps out there. When you're writing about characters that are from a specific area you want to make sure that the dialects match bu it's easy to make everyone sound like the stereotype. A good example is the Maine accent. A lot of people who write about Maine give all of us Mainers that thick Maine accent with no "r's" and a lot of auyhs. It's true we say these things but not all of us and not everywhere. This accent is strongest Downeast and with an older generation. So just be careful that you don't stereotype.

If you're having trouble gtting your dialogue to sound realistic there's a good trick to try. Go somewhere, anywhere where there's people and park yourself. Once you're settled just listen. One of the best ways to write good dialogue is to listen  to how people talk. If you are writing about a specific area listen to how they talk and write it the way you hear it. by writing certain words phonetically rather than correctly you help your readers make the characters come alive. 

Also remember when writing dialogue you don't always have to put "said Joe," "Joe said," etc. that's what quotation marks are for. if you d this to much it becomes repetitious and will bore your readers. Keep in mind too, to add some description because your readers may not pick up on some of the subtleties like sarcasm, anger, and other emotions. Even though you want to make sure you don't over use said and other like words you also want to make sure that your readers know who's talking so they're not constantly having to go back and reread passages to keep the dialogue straight, it's a tricky balance but gets easier the more you practice.

Dialogue is tricky but if you just listen t people it'll get easier to pick up.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things (well books actually)

Here are some of my favorite books and why.

Little Women This classic tale has wonderful characters that everyone an connect to. You follow the lives of the four March girls and their ups and downs. My favorite character is Jo. Jo is a strong independent woman with a passion for reading and writing with a Tomboy streak a mile wide (can't imagine why I like her). Alcott's writing style is easy and wonderfully descriptive so that even a person in the 21st Century can feel like they're in the 18th.

Mary Russell Series: It isn't easy to take a classic character and story and throw in a completely new concept. King manages to keep the integrity of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (and other characters) while creating a new partner for him, the perfect match a younger woman. the Russell-Holmes partnership seems natural and flawless. It's classic Holmes with a new spice.

Home Repair is Homicide Series: The cozy mystery series is set in Eastport Maine, just 20 minutes from the hometown of Calais Graves has wonderfully fun characters and mysteries that are compelling and enjoyable. One of the great things about Graves' book is the familiar setting and the feel of home.

Walker Paper Series: These books have an unusual blend of Native American folklore, Celtic mythology, and mystery. Joanne Walker is a Police detective in Seattle who was given a choice to die or become a Shaman. These books follow Joanne as she battles the every day bad guys as well as the supernatural ones.

Temperance Brennan Series: I love these books because they combine mystery and science. Reichs uses her profession as a forensic anthropologist for her books. Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist who has a knack for getting a little too involved in some of the cases she works on.A great blend of humor, science, and mystery.

What are your favorite books?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Taking the Block out of Writing

Like probably just about every other person who has ever written anything I get writers block. I will sit and stare at something trying desperately to come up with something, anything to get me writing again. Sometimes this goes on for days or longer and all I get is endless frustration. Over time I have found ways that work for me to get over the writers block and back to doing the thing I love to do.

1) Write By Hand: This probably won't be an option most people will like or use but it works for me. I find that if I am holding a pen or pencil or whatever in my hand and writing that I am more likely to keep writing and less likely to hit a road block. If I try writing something straight on the computer most of the time I sit there and stare at the blinking cursor willing myself to write and all I end up doing is hitting a bunch of random keys typing nonsense. For me writing is what happens when I put the pen in my hand and then pen to paper.

2) Take a Break: If I hit a point in a story where I'm completely stuck I'll stop writing for a while and go off and do something else. I'll hang out with friends, go to a movie, take a walk, just do something to get moving and give my brain a rest before getting back to writing.

3) Work on another piece: This is probably not an option for some people but I find that I always have at least two pieces I'm working on at the same time. though it sounds confusing it's actually very helpful for me to be able to take a break from one piece that I'm having trouble with and working on something else for a while. When I do this I'll get my creative juices flowing again and be able to go back into the first piece with a new perspective.

4) Read: This is pretty my my solution for everything but if you're having trouble writing this is really a great way to get back into it. What better way to feel the spark to start writing than to read some great writing. Whenever I finish a book that was really enjoyable I always want to go and start working on something of my own. I will issue a caution with this, however, if you do choose to read something try and make sure what you're reading isn't something along the same lines as what you're writing. This is an easy trap for writers to fall into you read something and then subconsciously add it into your own story. So be careful.

5) Plan it out: If you're stuck on  trying to figure out which way you want to go with a story try stopping and writing out different ways it could play out. Take a sheet of paper and make a simple flow chart starting with different situations and see where it leads you.

6) Talk about it: Find a friend, a relative, or the person next to you in line at the coffee shop and talk to them. Get their opinions about what your have and what you're thinking. If you can explain to them why you're stuck they might have suggestions about what you can do to fix it. If they're willing have them read it and then talk about it you might be surprised at what a fresh pair of eyes can see.

7) Free write: Just start writing something anything. Don't think just put your pen to the paper or your fingers to the keys and go. If you just stop thinking and just start writing you may find that something you've writen is helpful in what you've been working on.

8) Sleep on it: Put the piece down for a while take a nap put it down for the night and go to sleep. Sleep is a wonderful thing it allows you to work out subconsciously what you're brain is preventing you from consciously when you wake up you may start writing again and find that you're not having the trouble you were having before. If you just relax and let it work itself out you may find what you need.

9) Join a Writer's Group: If you go through a period like I did where you weren't just stuck on one piece but just could write anything at all try joining or starting a writers group. I found that when I joined the writer's group that I found my inspiration again and got moving. These groups are great for bouncing ideas off and getting those creative juices flowing. If you don't have anything to write then there's usually a suggestion assignment that you can use to get back to writing. The difference between this and just asking anyone is that these people know what you're going through and have been through a similar thing, there really is no better place to find some help with any writing issue.

10) Exercise: Find something physical that you like to do and do it. I swim. When I go swimming I get a chance to just relax and let my mind refocus and do it's own thing. After I'm done I feel better physically and mentally and I'm ready to get back into work.

These are only 10 suggestions and things that I've found have worked for me. Ultimately you'll have to find something that works for you. If you find something and let me know I might give it a try when I hit my next writer's block.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Writing Is My Drug

It's the first thing I think about in the morning, the last thing I think about at night, and if I go without it too long I get pissy. I don't remember exactly when I started writing but I do know that I've been doing it ever since. I know I loved books even before I could read because I used to carry around a suitcase full of them. My dad used to tell me and my brother stories at bedtime that he'd made up and my mom has a stock pile of children's stories she's written buried somewhere, so I guess I come fell into writing naturally.

If an idea hits me no mater where I am or what I'm doing I have to write it out. This need to get what's in my head onto paper has led to many sleepless nights and many stories on napkins and receipts. One day when I was working in the first drive thru window at McDonald's I wrote then entire parody to a song on a strip of receipt paper. I've even written story ideas up and down my arm because I didn't have anything else.

I don't sit down and force myself to write something, actually I can't do that (with the exception of school essays). I had a friend ask me to write a poem to read at her wedding two weeks before the wedding. At first I went into panic mode trying to think of how I was going to come up with something and then I just relaxed. One week before the wedding at midnight, with no glasses and having just woken up I started writing. My hand didn't leave the paper for almost twenty minutes and when it did I had the poem I would read.

Writing keeps me going. It is my go to when I'm sad, angry, depressed, frustrated, or whatever I may be feeling. I write. When I write I'm some place else. I go somewhere where I can find myself. I write because I want to, because I have to . I write because it's my addiction.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

#44 Four To Score-Janet Evanovich

Okay, okay I know what some of you are thinking. Why is she writing about this book it's been out for years and the seventeenth book was just released, why doesn't she write about that? Well, the truth is I haven't read it yet. I just started reading Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series back in April. I have a habit of doing this you see, I find a series I like after it's well into the series. This works out in my favor though because there is no waiting time between books. it takes longer for me to get to the point where I have to wait, rather impatiently, for the next book to come out.

Four To Score has all of Evanovich's trademarks, a good mystery, humor, and the characters we've come to know and love.

Stephanie is hip deep in trouble again as an easy apprehension turns into something far more complicated. teamed up with ex-hooker Lula, bad boy cop Joe Morelli, mysterious bounty hunter Ranger, and Grandma Mauzer Stephanie myst catch her woman before Joyce Berhardt, arch nemesis, husband stealer, and now bounty hunter, can.

This is a book you'll want to finish quickly and will with it's page turning action and humor. You'll want to run out and get the next one.

*WARNING: This book contains an abundance of humor that will make you laugh out loud in public places making you look slightly funny to the people around you.*

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

#43 Promises to Keep - Jane Green

Ok let me take a minute first to explain what the number means. Back a few months ago my friend Adro and I were talking about our not so healthy addiction to books while of course working at a bookstore. Adro and I established that we need to create a BA (Bookaholics Anonymous). Then we decided that we would keep track of how many books we read in 2011. so we started it was already March when we decided to do this so we had to try and remember all the books we'd read since January. So this is what the number means Promises to Keep is the 43rd book I've read in 2011.

And now that the explanations portion is over let's get to the meat of the blog. Typically I have not been a reader of what critics call women's fiction, I've always been more of a mystery buff but I'm a sucker for a good story regardless of genre. I've read  a majority of Jane Green's previous 11books but this one by far is the most powerful.

Promises to Keep starts out seeming to be a light hearted story about this group of family and friends, but becomes a story about the hardships of illness and the strength of love and friendship. Okay, okay I know this sounds like a really girls book, but before you write it off a just another Lifetime movie git it a chance.

Green's style kept me interested and engrossed. Her characters are real and believable which makes the book more than just a story but a story about real people. Green makes the characters come alive and when the laugh you laugh and when they cry your as upset as they are. You feel as if you are part of the story rather than just an observer from the outside.

As an added bonus and incentive to readers Green takes dishes mentioned in the story and puts the receipes for them at the end of every chapter. So all in all I'd give this book four thumbs up (that is if I had four thumbs) for a good plot and excellent characters.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Making It

Everybody says go to college, get your degree so you can get a good paying job when you get out. television and movies glamorize post-grad life, graduates with nice cars, nice apartments, and god paying jobs, an social live of going out to clubs, bars, and restaurants. Well, let me tell you it's a load of bullshit. I went to school, did everything you're supposed to do and where am I? Live in a three bedroom apartment with roommates I don't talk to , driving a car I can't really afford, working 60 hours a week at two jobs, and living on a grocery budget of $20/week. this is the life of a twenty-something American gils it isn't pretty, it isn't glamorous but it's real.

Back when I was deciding what I wanted to study at school I went through all my options considering what I enjoyed doing and what I could make a living doing. Well, I convinced myself that writing, the one thing I never get tired of was not a practical choice, so I moved on. I could be and English teacher, I loved English and I was always told that I would make a good teacher. The problem? My mom is a teacher and I see the stress, the lack of appreciation. When I told my mom what I was considering she told me to consider something else, anything else. So what did I end up deciding? Forensic anthropology. Ever since CSI I'd been fascinated and passionate about forensics, especially the bones. So that's what I studied and loved every minute of it. Of course to do anything with forensic anthropology you have to have a doctorate degree which is more money and a college out of state meaning bigger moving costs. Also it means taking the GRE which costs $120 for a test. A TEST!!!! Not even pieces of paper just $120 to sit in front of a computer for several hours and answer questions on a screen.

So here I am a year out of college living paycheck to paycheck and considering my options. What am I going to do for the rest of my life? Better yet, more immediately what am I going to do now so I have more than $20/week to spend on groceries?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Between A Heart and A Rock Place : Review

OK so lately I have been reading a lot of Biiography and naturally I tend to pick out those by people I recognize; actors, musicians, or just other bios I pick up that sound interesting (the best/worst part about working in a bookstore is that I'm constantly surrounded by books so I'm always finding new things to read). Anyway I love Pat Benatar and when I saw that she had a biography out naturally it got added to my to read pile.

Right away the writing style Benatar uses got my attention. with some biographies you feel like you're reading a press release rather than a book but here you feel like your talking to Benatar one-on-one. The style is very laid back and personal the way a biography should read. You pick up the book becuase you want something that's going to hold your attention and tell you more about the person at the same time, not something that's going to bore you to tears with formality.

one of the most striking things about the book was that when she talked about her career she didn't refer to herself as an solo act but rather one part of a band. Most people think of Pat Benatar the woman and not Pat Benatar the band because most people forget that there is an amazing ensamble of people baking her up including her husband Neil "Spyder" Giraldo. The rare times she refers to herself in her career are when she talks about the struggles she faced as a woman in rock music in the 70's and 80's.

Honestly I would read this book over again! Once I finished reading I didn't feel like I'd finished a book but a conversation with an old friend. I highly recommend this book!!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Ok so this may not be everyone's cup of tea but I'm gonna give it a shot anyway and combine the things I love reading and writing. Reading has made up a good chunk of my life for as long as I can remember even before I could read I was carrying around any book I could find. Once I learned the funny little lines on the page had a meaning and told a story I was hooked. Not surprisingly the written word has consumed my life ever since. I am and avid reader of just about anything that is written in English (only because I can't read any other languages) and write just about anything that pops into my head. Currently I also happen to work in a bookstore which only feeds my addiction to books.

Here I'm going to write about books I've read, things I'm writing, and experiences that come from working in a bookstore (and trust me there are some doozies!!) I welcome any feedback and input you all have to offer. Even if no one reads this at least there's the chance to feed my two passions.