Thursday, December 6, 2012


Ok for the entire month of November I wast posting random numbers as my status on Facebook. I had a lot of people coming up to me or commenting asking what the hell the numbers meant. I would explain that I was participating in NaNoWriMo and that the numbers were the word count. Most people gave me a look like I'd drank my breakfast, so I've decided to take a minute and explain what NaNoWriMo is and why I did it.

To start with NaNoWriMo stand for National (Na) Novel (No) Writing (Wri) Month (Mo). As the NaNoWriMo website states it's 30 days and nights of literary abandon. NaNoWriMo is a month long challenge for writers to complete a novel, 50,000, words in one month. In order to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month every participant must write 1667 words per day to finish on time. I went in with the understanding that the reward was simply knowing that you completed the challenge and now had the first draft of a manuscript. However I was pleasantly surprised at the end of November when I completed the challenge to find that there were several wonderful writer-y prizes to be had.

I first learned about NaNoWriMo back in 2008 when I took a Creative Writing course at the University of Maine. On the first day of class our professor informed us that we would be writing a novel that semester as well as several other pieces, and no joke the number of students was cut in half by the next class. we used the NaNoWriMo concept but had almost two months to complete it rather than just the one. Ever since then I've wanted to see if I could do the one month challenge but would forget about it until halfway through November. This year a friend of mine asked me if I was going to do it and I thought about it. I had just finished completing the first draft of another piece and I wanted another writing project while I let the previous one sit for a while before editing. I had multiple ideas kicking around in my head (per usual) so I figured I would take one and see if I could do it for NaNoWriMo.

The biggest worry I had about NaNoWriMo was the fact that when I write I write by hand not on a computer but in order to maintain accurate word counts and to validate my novel at the end of the month I would have to write on the computer. I was worried because typically when I write creatively and I do so on a computer I stare at the blinking cursor until my eyes go cross at a loss for what to write, but when I put a pen to paper it spills out of me a lot of the time faster than I can write it. I also like the pen and paper because you can take it anywhere and write when you get a free minute. Also I was worried because I work two jobs one writing for a paper which could exhaust my writing and consume time with interviews and retail which has it's busiest season in November.

But despite my insecurities with using technology to write and the heavy workload I faced I completed the challenge. I had friends pushing me keeping me on track and asking about my word count, so to you I say thank you. I had family who questioned my involvement in such a challenge and I thank you for wanting to make me do it that much more so I could show you the finished work. And to all the people on Facebook who wondered what drugs I was on writing random numbers as my status, thank you for making reaffirm my reasons for participating in NaNoWriMo.

Monday, November 26, 2012


I want to start today by saying that I am sorry I've been slacking a bit. Life as is has a way of doing has gotten in the way of my blogging. I was unable to continue my reading challenge month by month. With moving and trying to find a place to live and a new job things kind of fell by the wayside. When I picked up a book i wanted it to be a book I wanted to read and not a book I had to read. I wanted to get lost in the fictional world and sometimes familiar world. I wanted to find that escape into a well read book with cracks on the spine and earmarked pages. I wanted to find the new tales of familiar friends. I wanted to delve into those books that I'd accumulated on my night stand until my challenge was over because they didn't meet any of the criteria.
The with Novemeber came a new challenge a month long challenge, NaNoWriMo. I will explain that later but for now I want to again apologize and tell you I will now resume my installments of book reviews, writing nonsense, and endless chatter about nothing at all.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Biographies #1: Night - Elie Wiesel

I started my biography month just a tad early because I wouldn't have had enough time to finish another book by the end of May and because I can't not be reading something. I started with "Night" because I'd heard great things about it from many people.

Elie Weisel was only thirteen when he was forced with the rest of his family to leave their home and board a train destined for a Nazi concentration camp. "Night" follows his journey through his life during World War II and the multiple c a story, with concentration camps he was placed in.

This was not an easy read. While with other books you can tell yourself that it is only a story,  with biography you can't do that. There is no denile that this didn't' happen and that a real human being dint' go through all all of these things. Weisel's story in painful to read but a story that will truly reach down to your soul. Weisel's recounting of this painful period in his life is so vivid and real that I couldn't help but feel like I was there with him, while still knowing that as much as I was feeling, for him it would have been at least twice as much. I'm not really one to cry at books and movies not matter how sad, however, once I finished reading this book all the emotions that had been building up as I read poured over and I cried. I highly recommend this book. It is a story everyone should hear.

Classics # 4: Anne of Green Gables - L M Montgomery

Again this month I wasn't able to read as many books as I would've like to, but it was another crazy month. As my last book for my Classics challenge I chose. "Anne of Green Gables" for a couple of reasons. One was because almost everyone I know was telling me what a good book it was. The second reason I chose this book was that when I was about five years old my family went on it's first and only vacation to Prince Edward Island, where this book is set, while there we visited Green Gables. 

Anne is an orphaned girl who has never known a real home and has come to Green Gables on Prince Edward Island completely by mistake. Here she finds a home, a home she always wanted and never had. Here she struggles with growing up and trying to fit in, in a place where she can't help but stand out.

I enjoyed this book. It wasn't lie a lot of the other books I read. Most of them are book with mystery, action, or science fiction, whereas this book was about the human experience, real life, no frills , nothing extra, just real people in real situations. Montgomery's writing is person and realistic Anne personality jumps right off the page making you fall in love with Anne. While you could easily imagine this story becoming sad and sappy but it doesn't. This story is excellent and well done a story any little girl would fall in love with.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Classics #3: The Crucible - Arthur Miller

The great thing about classic books is that they come in all shapes and sizes. No one would dispute the face that William Shakespeare's works are classics yest mostly they are plays and poems. Embracing the the diversity that comes with reading classics and opted for a play as my third book in this challenge.

In 1692 in a small Massachusetts village was plagued by witchcraft hysteria. This incident would go on to be remembered long after those involved were dead and gone and the village of Salem Massachusetts changed beyond what the victims would recognize. In this short play Arthur Miller takes a look at the hysteria that consumed Salem Village and follows the lives of some of the major people involved.

First I want to state that from when I first heard about it I have be absolutely fascinated by the Salem  Witch Trials. It was my favorite part of history class and my favorite destination on my eighth grade class trip. Reading this was enjoyable and interesting. Aside from getting to read about one of my favorite topics I also got the challenge of reading a play. Plays are a little more difficult to read only because they are meant to be seen visually and not necessarily read. Thankfully I have an active imagination which helps me to see the play staged out in my head without the aid of actors. Another interesting thing about reading this particular play an knowing when it was written is seeing the correlation in the topic chosen and the politics of the time. You draw a line of parallel between the hysteria of the witch trials in 1692 and the McCarthyism that was plaguing our nation in the 1950's. "The Crucible" was  a powerful piece bringing to life a dark period in American History giving it's perpetrators and victims a face and a voice.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Classics #2: To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee

Again this book was another cross over book from the previous challenge. This book was recommend to me by my friend Ann. She said I would love this book and I should give it a try. So I did. Now not really what most people would term a classic "To Kill a Mockingbird" fits in this category because it is a book that has stood the test of time and is one of the books a lot of teachers in this country require their students to read. Having said that I will state that I was never required to read this book in any of my English classes in high school or college.

For six year old Scout Finch the world is about to change. Set in a time when race was a much bigger issue in this country "To Kill A Mockingbird" is a tale about race, justice, love, and doing what your conscience tells you to. Scout is the daughter of lawyer Atticus Finch and along with her brother Jem and their friend Dill they are about to face some of the hardest things they will ever have to face. When a black man is arrested and accused of raping a white woman Scout and Jem come face to face with the realities and harshness of racism and intolerance.

I have to say Ann didn't lie when she said I would love this book, I did. Lee created a wonderful story that talked about real, hard issues and put it through the eyes of a child. Children see things that we as adults don't. There is no gray area, it is black and white and they want to know the reasons for why something is happening whereas as adults we tend to ask fewer and fewer questions instead of more.There is an honesty in Lee's story and a blinding truthfulness that comes from being told from the point of view of a child. Scout doesn't have a bias, or the agenda of an adult. This is an excellent way to get a message across to a wide variety of people without the claiming of prejudice. I loved this story and am finding it hard to put into words at the moment all the other things I think about this book. The piece is fantastic and everyone should read it. It is relevant to all people of all generations.

Classics #1: Persuassion - Jane Austen

Ok so initially this book was supposed to be part of my friends and family challenge but since that didn't work out I decided it would make a great transition book in to the second challenge of Classics. My friend Sunni is a huge Jane Austen fan so when I got her recommendation for my book challenge I wasn't surprised. This was a perfect book to transition over with because it was initiated last month but worked for this month as well.

Anne is the youngest of three daughters and the one most often forgotten and left out. Now twenty-nine years old Anne's young life has one major regret that she let herself be persuaded that the man she loved wasn't worthy enough and so she broke it off with him. When the man she loves come back into her life after being gone so long will Anne get another chance to right the wrong she made all those years ago or will she continue to be persuaded by others?

This is actually the first Jane Austen book I've ever read. Shocking I know it seems to be a requirement to read at least one of these books by the age of 20 if you're a woman. Now while it has taken me a while to come around to fulfilling this requirement by the unseen forces that determine the rules and requirements I am glad that I finally did get around to reading one of Austen's books. The story was well written and the characters were vibrant and alive. The way Austen weaves her story is strong and enticing and you can't help but get ensnared in the lives of the characters she creates. I have to say that upon reading a description of this book it isn't the kind of book I would normally have been drawn to. Now, however, I see that this is exactly the kind of book I like. The characters are strong, true, and real; while the story is well written, captivating and enjoyable. Austen has created a wonderfully strong female character that I can relate to.

Friends n' Family #4: Ender's Game -Orson Scott Card

Okay so in my Friends and Family challenge I have been unable to read as many books this past month as I would have liked to. Also all of my books this past month have been family recommendations except for this one. My roommate Adrienne recommended this book to me along with a great many others. She reads just about everything and her recommendations are all over the map, which I like.

Ender Wiggin is growing up in a world constantly at war with an Alien race known as the Buggars. In a world constantly at war the military needs soldiers and brilliant ones to lead the armed forces and put and end to a neverending war. Ender, along with his brother Peter and Sister Valentine are all candidates to enter the Battle school but for one reason or another both Peter and Valentine are rejected for the program but Ender makes the cut. He is sent into space to Battle school and bred to be a solider. He is only a child but he will be a solider. His brother and sister are also only children but have power all their own. The human race needs a leader and they need it now otherwise humanity as they know it may cease to exist. h

I liked this book. It's not any secret that I like science fiction so this book was pretty interesting. Orson Scott Card weaves an interesting tale about what the future could be like. We have no idea what could be waiting out in space and while a race of bug-people does seem unlikely the threat to Earth  may not be. Now if you haven't decide that I'm completely insane and are still reading this blog than I would like to add Card captured me with an interesting story and a unique one. I loved this book so thank you to my roommate for recommending this book.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Biographies #2: Happy Accidents - Jane Lynch

I jumped right into this book after finishing "Night". With all the emotion and imagery conjured up by "Night" I needed something light to read before going to sleep. I'd been wanting to read Jane Lynch's biography since it came out so I grabbed it.

Jane Lynch has been the ultimate guest star, a wonder on stage, and laugh out loud scary as Coach Sue Sylvester on Glee. But behind the scenes after the curtain falls there is more to her story. How Jane Lynch discovered she had the acting bug and how she struggled and came to terms with her sexuality.

Ripe with Lynch's well known dry wit and sarcasm "Happy Accidents" is a wonderful journey of how Jane Lynch followed her dream of becoming an actress. More than just another run of the mill celebrity biography "Happy Accidents" also talks about the struggle that is far more common than celebrity, the difficulty in accepting yourself. With wit and humor Lynch talks about the accidents that culminated in getting her where she is today. Though not all of her story is a funny one her writing and ability to accept herself make even parts of the tough stuff funnier. This is a wonderful biography about a truly remarkable person.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Friends n' Family #3: The White Queen - Philippa Greggory

Okay again another well timed book with my budding interest in British History. While home on a visit I was talking to my Aunt (my mother's sister) and telling her about watching The Tudors and my new interest in British history. My Aunt who has always been into British history started talking about an author who does a lot of writing about British history. So my aunt suggested Philippa Gregory's The White Queen. While not about Tudor England like a lot of her other work it is still set in Britian's turbulent past and starts setting the stage for the reign of the Tudors.

The White Queen is the story of Elizabeth Woodville who rose from the life of a common woman to be Queen of England. She had beauty that capture the eye of a king and the strength of will to keep her family together and protected for years. Her two royal sons were the central figures in one of the most confusing mysteries in British history. "The Princes in the Tower" were her two York sons who while being kept in the tower went missing. The White Queen shares the story of how Elizabeth rose to royalty and her long fight to make sure she and her family stayed there.

While parts of the story are fictitious Philippa Gregory uses fact and deductive reasoning to create a story that is believable. This story is well written and captured my attention from the beginning and held onto it with an iron grip until the very end. The story incorporated the history behind Elizabeth Woodville but also mythology connected with her and her family. Another draw to the story for me was the fact that Elizabeth was a strong, fierce woman who demanded respect and fought tooth and nail for it. She went from being a woman with no power and a family supporting the loosing side to marrying the oppose and becoming the most powerful woman in England. I loved this book.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Friends & Family #2: Green Darkness - Anya Seton

Ok a bit of a slow month for me  but the month has been a bit of a wonky month for me work wise. Nevertheless here is book number two for the month, my Mom's favorite book and recommendation for the month. She read this book a while ago and then got my Aunt to read it and she in turn liked it so now it was my turn to give it a go. Generally my Mom and I have similar taste in books however this book isn't one of of typical books we share. Usually my Mom and I share mysteries and this while technically not a mystery certainly has that aspect.

Celia Marsdon looks like everything a proper English lady should be and married to a proper English gentleman. However not is well in Celia's marriage her husband Richard has become withdrawn and then suddenly Celia has suddenly started behaving completely out of character. When the problems in their marriage become life and death the only way to stop a horrible end it to go back, back to the first time they met not the 1960's but further back to 16th Century England. Celia and Richard's story goes back further to when their souls were first introduced bi ack to Tudor England. Saving their lives in the present all goes back to reliving what happened to their souls in the past.

I loved this book there was mystery, drama, romance, and history. Seton created a brilliant story that had you entangled in the web from the get go and keeps you trapped until the very end. The wonderful thing about a book that goes back an forth between two times is that you get to try and connect the characters from one time to the other. Who given what you know about them would be this person and who would be that. The mystery of the story comes from trying to figure out what happened to these two people hundreds of years ago and how the people in their lives are connected both past and present. The history in the book is fantastic. The story spans throughout the three reigns of Henry VIII's children, Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth. More than a story about love it is a story of England and of the constant state of fluctuation it saw with it's monarchs.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Friends and Family #1 : Dies the Fire - S M Stirling

Okay so challenge month one has started and that means for the month of April I'm going to read as many of my Friends & Family favorite books as possible. I started with my Dad's favorite book. He's been trying to get me to read this book for years and I started it a while back but then some books by my favorite authors came up and so I got distracted. So when I made this challenge I made sure to add this book to my last and made sure it was the first book I started with. My Dad is a big Sci-fi/Fantasy buff so a lot of the books he reads tend to fall in those categories which is fine with me because I like those too.

Mike Havel is flying a family to their country home when he looses all power in his plane. Forced to land the plane in the Idaho wilderness he then must lead the family to safety. Quickly he finds that the problems may not be confined to his plane. Meanwhile Juniper Mackenzie is performing in a small town Oregon pub when the lights go out. Cars have stopped where they were and planes are falling out of the sky sending the town into panic and a blazing fire. Juniper with her and daughter and an ever expanding group of friends head to the country and Juniper's cabin to farm and help those who survive the crisis. But while some have helping others on their mind others have nothing but conquest and power.

I have to say that the first time I tried to read this I didn't really get into the book which is probably part of the reason I was so easily pulled away and into other books. This time however when I started reading the book I found that I got pulled into the story. It was interesting to see how a world so dependent on technology fared once they had to do without it. The writing was well down and the characters unique and well developed. I liked that there were two main groups of people experiencing the same phenomenon and that they react to the Change in different ways. One thing I had a hard time with was the quick passage of time. In the beginning the passage of time was consistent and easy to follow. Later time jumped rapidly and took a while to figure out how much time had passed. All in all however I really enjoyed this book. Thanks Dad.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The 9 Month Challenge

Dear Friends, Family, Followers, and Facebook Stalkers,
 I have decided to expand my reading habits and give myself a different challenge every month for the rest of the year. My goal is to read as many books in that month meet the challenge. While I've already picked out the various month challenges I welcome the input of you all for books I can read. Here are the challenges:

April: Friends and Family Favorites
May: Classics
June: Biographies
July: American Fiction/Non-fiction
August: Book/Movie Crossovers
September: Women's Fiction
October: Horror
November: Relgion
December: Kid's Fiction

This is going to be difficult to say the least because there are a lot of books between now and the end of the year that I am going to want to read, books that don't meet the challenge requirements, but that is the point. So here I will be posting all my reviews of my challenge books. Here we go.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

#35: The Weird Sisters - Eleanor Brown


A funny story (or not really funny more just slightly interesting) about how I stumbled upon this book. We were doing a massive store wide inventory scan and I was scanning the Teen Fiction section when I pulled this book off to scan the barcode. I figured this was probably going to have some copies sent back because there quite a few copies in section. After pushing the button on the scanner I looked at my screen and saw that none of them were going back but also I noticed it was in the wrong section all together. So I checked the book out and read the back of it. It sounded good and I needed something to read so I grabbed a copy.

When you are named after three of Shakespeare's characters you are destined to lead interesting lives. That is the case for the three Andreas sisters Rosalind, Bianca, and Cordelia who's Shakespeare quoting father named them. When they learn that their mother has breast cancer the three girls return home to help out. But there is more than just being good daughter bringing the three girls back home. There are challenges worthy of any Shakespearean character hovering around these three ladies will they be strong enough to meet these challenges before the final curtain? 

This book was unique in the fact that the entire book was written in collective first person. I'll admit I had a difficult time at first getting used to this but after a while it was easier. I liked it the story was complex and intriguing. With the collective first person I got to be inside all their heads and experience all their stories in a way typical third or first person doesn't allow. It was a great story about family and the connections that bind us together and also the connections that bind us to a place. There is no place like home and sometimes you have to go back there to remember it.

#34: Hunting for Hemingway - Diane Gilbert Madsen


We always go back to the classics. There is always a comparison between the authors we deem the masters, the fathers, the cream of the crop. There is always a standard in everything, writing, painting, acting, directing, everything. What makes them great? What makes theme the standard for everything else? Whatever the reason may be the point is that they are now at least in terms of the work immortal.

 DD McGil has been unlucky in love from day one. So when her boyfriend Scotty goes missing she uses her investigative skills to try and find him. But when a man with a badge shows up at her door and tells her to stop investigating. Looking for a distraction DD jumps at the chance when she is hired to authenticate some lost Hemingway writing. But what could've been an interesting, enjoyable case quickly spins into a murder investigation. With something so valuable hanging in the balance there's no telling who will be next.

One of the things I like about Madsen's books is the fact that she always incorporates a literary icon and connects it in with a modern day mystery. there isn't a lot of technical jargon that needs explaining which makes the story easy to follow. They are enjoyable mysteries that keep you engaged and entertained the whole time. But more than just a good story with Madsen's books you also get history and information about whichever author she is focused one. It's a wonderful blend of mystery and literary history.

#33: The Book Theif - Markus Zusak


Once in a while there are some truly unique ideas and spark your interest and cause you to become captured in the world created by the author. Too often stories are just different tellings of a similar story or even in more frequent they just redo the story. A lack of uniqueness is depressing, not to say that these other stories aren't interesting or enjoyable it's just nice when there is a new story to be told or an old story with a new voice.

WWII Germany: Hitler and his Nazi power are in control and there is only one way of thinking for all others are punishable. Liesel is a foster child who has a habit of stealing the on thing she cannot resist . . . books. Her accordion playing foster father teaches her to read and ignites her passion for books which give her a purpose and something to do during the bomb raids.

Though it is just another story about WWII it is also so much more than that. This is a story about words and their power, the power to heal, the power to distract, their power to give knowledge, and the power to inspire. The story is truly moving for anyone of any age whether young or old you will find in it a compelling story that will move you. A largely unique part of this book is that it's told from the point of view of death. It's interesting to see how Death perceives things and what the world looks like not only through to the story of a young German girl during WWII but from Death itself. I really enjoyed this book it was very well written and entertaining. I found myself captivated by the characters, the places, and the story drawn into a world I sympathize with a world where words have intense power and give life a purpose.

#32: Real Murders - Charlaine Harris


After reading a book that you loved that really captured your interest it can sometimes be hard to shift into another book especially when it doesn't grab you right away. If you're like me you stick it out until the book is done and sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised as the way things turn out.

Aurora Teagarden is a small town librarian who has an interesting past time, she is part of the Real Murders group. Once a month they get together and discuss real life murders that have happened long in the past. But Aurora and the group get a violent shock when the murders they have been discussing start occurring in the present day. Now the experts on the crimes are now the suspects and Aurora must figure out what is going on and who is doing this before she is next,

I found this book a little slow at the start now whether this is coming down off a great read that I had trouble adjusting but I stuck with it nevertheless. Once I was into the book I found that reading it got easier. The characters at first were a little hard for me to connect with but after time I got it. The story line was interesting, recreating past crimes and putting them together. I really enjoyed the historical crime aspect of the story and got pulled in by that. The plot is what kept me going and eventually I found my connection to the characters. Over all pretty good read and definitely worth checking out.

#31: Buried in A Book - Lucy Arlington


Sometimes there is just something about a book that catches your eye so you pick it up and give it a shot. Maybe it's the title, the cover art, or the authors name at any rate you're intrigued so you start reading it. It's this first catch, the first meeting that grabs the readers attention first, and this is why putting time into a creative cover and attention grabbing title is so important. This is what happened with this book. I couldn't tell you what it was about the book that grabbed my attention first but it got it and stuck.

It's hard to loose you job at anytime but for Lila Wilkins as devastating as it is she sees it as an opportunity.  Now she's going to start over and do something she's dreamed of work at a literary agency. When one of the clients drops dead on Lila's first day she is appalled to find that no one seems to be disturbed by it and it's business as usual. But Lila isn't wiling to give up on this just yet.

It's rough when you start reading something new, trying to get into the author's style, characters, etc. One of the things that really grabbed me about this book was the characters. they just jumped off the page as if they were right there in front of me. They were very dynamic and entertaining. The story was also well constructed creating a nice cozy little mystery. I was raving about this book as soon as I finished it telling everyone I knew to read it. You will laugh out loud and enjoy every minute.

#30: Chocolate Covered Murder - Leslie Meier


There is something to be said about a cozy mystery. They're very comforting and simple reads that are perfect for a rainy day, a day at the beach, or just a day when you want some simple fun entertainment. Without question they are well written good books they capture us and transport us for a little while to some where else like all books. The sleuths in these books aren't police officers, forensic experts, or other professionals, no in cozy mysteries the sleuths are everyday people whom circumstances have led to become involved in a murder mystery. I think this is one of the the biggest draws of these type of books is the connection we feel to the main character. They are mother's, fathers, college students, reporters, etc.

Lucy Stone is a small town reporter, mother, and wife. When a new sweet shop move's into the tiny Maine town of Tinker's Cove competition becomes fierce. The town is shocked when a local turns up dead in a rather unusual manner and Lucy is suspicious that it was more than just an accident. When the flirt manager of the new chocolate shop is the next to turn up dead people are less shocked and Lucy senses a connection that no one else seems to recognize. Lucy starts snooping and soon realizes that there is nothing sweet about what is happening in Tinker's Cove.

I have read everyone of the Lucy Stone mysteries and enjoyed everyone for the same reason, they are well written and fun. Leslie Meier has created a town that is like ones I know in Maine and characters that could be. The mysteries aren't so involved that you need a forensic textbook to follow them or the author has to spend half the book explaining the jargon. These mysteries are simple and wonderful. Meier allows you to play detective right along with Lucy it's great!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

# 29: Mokingjay - Suzanne Collins


It's always sad when a series we like comes to an end, however it is good for both the author and the reader to end on a high note for the series rather than dragging something out longer than it should just to put off the end. IF a series keeps going for too long the author looses the passion hat made them good and the readers loose the interest as well. So though it is sad the Hunger Games series is over I know it is also a good thing.

Katniss has survived the Quarter Quell but at what cost? A new game awaits Katniss a full out rebellion against the Captiol by the Districts and she has become the face of the rebellion willing or not. A war with the Capitol is not so different from the games themselves, the area is larger, there more people, but in the end the only one you can trust is yourself.

While I enjoyed this book it was my least favorite of the trilogy. Throughout most of the book it kept pace with the first two but at the end I found it dropped significantly. The ending felt rushed, too much information packed into too few pages. It was not the ending I expected for me otherwise well written series Despite the rushed ending I enjoyed the book and would happily read it again (and probably will).

#28: Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins


The biggest challenge is the sequel book, especially when the first book was such a hit. The author has a great expectation from the fans that the second book just as good if not better than the first. A lot of authors feel the pressure of the fans expectations and some fail to meet the expectations, however there are other who exceed the expectations.

Katniss and Peeta have survived the Hunger Games and are about to start their Victory Tour. Katniss finds out her act to save her life as well as Peeta's has been taken as and act of rebellion against the Capitol. Now she must try and convince people it wasn't in order to save her life and the lives of everyone she loves. A new set of challenges awaits Katniss, a new game with a new set of rules.

This sequel was all I wanted and more. The story continued realistically and believably. It had all the excitement and that of the first book and all new challenges and changes. I found myself as equally drawn into this book as I was the first. The words come off the page and come to life. A movie was running in my head the whole time. Truly very well done!

#27: The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins


This was a great read! You know when people keep telling you that something is the greatest and naturally you're skeptical and put off finding out if they're right? Or watching something become a huge craze and saying you don't want to be part of that? Well, that's what I did with this book and honestly I'm sad I didn't read it sooner because it was very good.

Katniss Everdeen is a young girl in a future where America no longer exists and trouble is a daily occurrence. When the thirteen districts rose up against the Capitol was angry and as punishment for the uprising the Capitol instituted the Hunger Games where a male and female between the ages of 12 and 18 must compete until only one victor remains. When Katniss' sister is selected to be District 12's representative Katniss volunteers to take her place. Now she will have to negotiate the arena and the other players and try to survive the Capitol's dangerous game.

Like I said I was hesitant to start this book because everyone was telling me how great it was I wasn't eager to jump on the band wagon with everyone else. When the movie was announced and my friends bought tickets and one for me. I was told that before I was allowed to go to the movie I had to read at least the first book. So grudgingly I dove in to the first book. Immediately I was captured and enthralled in the book. It was a fantastic read and I was thrilled throughout the entire thing. Collins created a world that was exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Whatever your age you will enjoy this book. You will be captured by the places, the characters and the threat. And wonderfylly written tale that will make your sking tingle with fear and excitement.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

#26: Mystery at the Ski Jump - Carolyn Keene


So yea guess I was feeling a need to retreat to my childhood with all these Nancy Drew books. But it's ok since a quick retreat once in a while is necessary for the mental health of a person.

Nancy's loyal housekeeper Hannah has been taken. A woman claiming to represent a fur company sold her a questionable fur and some equally questionable stock. Nancy determined to help Hannah sets out to investigate. Along the way Nancy finds that someone is going around impersonating her. It's a chase to find the scammers and to figure out who is using Nancy's name.

Another well written story though there isn't as much mystery in this as their typically is. We pretty much know who did it from the get go it's more of a chase to catch them. While not as strong a mystery as others it's still very good and enjoyable.

#25: Raven Calls - C E Murphy


Don't you just love it when you go into a bookstore and when you're browsing the shelves you find a new book by one of the authors you like to read. It's definitely a kid in a candy store kind of moment. Your eyes get wide, your mouth forms an "o", and you start hopping just a little bit because you're so overcome with excitement. Well imagine working in a bookstore and seeing the book come in with a shipment and just waiting, itching to take the book home with you. When I saw this book I was having a conversation with two other employees in the back room and my eyes fell on this book that I didn't even know was being release yet. I cut between the other two women and grabbed the book from the cart it sat on. Neither woman said anything they just shook their heads with amused understanding.

Joanne Walker has been fighting to come to terms with the reality that she is a shaman and that there are powers in the world that she has to heal and others that she needs to stop with her power. Joanne having just finished a werewolf fight in Seattle, quitting her job, and finally able to pursue the feelings she and her boos have for each other now must go to Ireland. She as felt a pull that she must go there and the timing couldn't be better because Joanne has a secret, she's been bitten by a werewolf. In Ireland she will fight a power stronger than any she has dealt with before and hopefully will find a way to heal her bite before the beast takes over.

One of the reasons I like C E Murphy's Walker Paper series so much is because of the seamless blend between the world magic and the world we accept as the normal world. Joanne is a great character, relatable and easy to like. While in all the other books we get to know the  Native American half of Joanne's heritage in Raven Calls we get to learn about the Irish-Celtic portion of it and how it affects her in the way the Native American part doesn't. Murphy brings to life the beauty of Ireland and the light and dark parts of it's mythology. Murphy's style is inviting and exciting. The stories and the characters are so real that it seems like you're there and part of it. Wonderful read for anyone who likes mystery, sci-fi/fantasy, or just a good read (def. start at the beginning with Urban Shaman though). 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

#24: Mystery of the Tolling Bell - Carolyn Keene


Okay so once again I travel back in time to visit Nancy Drew and her friends and follow them as they get involved in another mystery. Nancy and her friends as well as her father head to a client's inn to help her figure out how to get out of the scam she got reeled into as well as catch a little beach time. But trouble starts almost immediately and Nancy's father has gone missing. Worried Nancy desperately works to figure out what has happened to him and how it's connected to the case they are working on.

I've said it before and I'll say it again I like the way theses stories are written. The mystery is suitable for everyone. Despite being considered a kids books and not being very long I am roped in every time and usually kept guessing about the conclusion until the end of the book. Because these books are part of my childhood when I read one of them part of me goes back there and while I'm reading I"m not the 24 year-old woman sitting in her apartment reading while dinner cooks but the 12 year-old girl who is reading on the grass in the park.

#23: The Hidden Window Mystery- Carolyn Keene


So when doing a little bit of research about Carolyn Keene and the Nancy Drew series I learned something I never knew before. Carolyn Keene doesn't exist! Well that is to say that one person with the name Carolyn Keene that wrote the Nancy Drew series isn't real. In fact the series is a collaboration of work by a variety of women authors who all wrote under the same pen name thus keeping the series and it's integrity intact. This has been your interesting factoid of the day.

Nancy's mailman has found something he thinks she might be interested it. A wealthy Englishman is looking for a stained glass window that belonged to his family and sometime ago was brought over to the states. Eager for a chance to find this heirloom (and of course for a mystery) Nancy jumps at the chance. Along with her friends Bess and George, Nancy searches for the window. There may be more to this mystery than she thought.

The thing I love about the Nancy Drew books (aside from the well written mystery) is that for me they are set in another time and another place, neither of which I'm familiar with. I like to read them and be taken back to a place and time that is much different than my own and experience the adventures of Nancy and her friends. They are wonderful mysteries suitable for all ages. Interesting enough to keep older readers engaged and clean enough for young readers to enjoy. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Storytelling: A Family Tradition

Okay from the time I was a kid both of my parents have been telling stories to my brother and I. My dad would come and sit on my water bed with my mom, my brother, and me and start telling us a story. There weren't any story books he would just come up with the stories in his head and tell them to us. Each one started the same way and had the same main characters, a boy and a girl (go figure!). We would sit listening, enthralled by the places, people, and adventures he created. He also helped me start writing some of my earliest stories. I would sit on his lap at the computer and he would type up what I told him on the computer we got from QVC. He also wrote quests for his D&D group that would meet Monday nights at our house when I was little.

My mom is also a creative story teller. Being an Elementary school teacher a lot of her stories are children's stories. She keeps them hidden under her bed (or she did before she moved I'm not sure where they are now). The stories are the kind of stories you hear you're parents reading to you growing up or you beg your teachers to read to you during story time. My mom also is a songwriter. Now before you go getting all excited it's nothing you've ever heard of or are likely to ever hear. She takes the tunes of familiar songs and adds her own words. One of her favorites that she will still occasionally sing is "Riding Home From Mimi's house" which she would sing on drives back from my grandmother's house usually on night's when I had dance class.

My brother is also a story teller of sorts. He seems to make up things from our childhood that most definitely never happened.

My dad's sister also likes to write. Aunt Nancy took me to a writer's group she was part of on one of my visits to Florida to see her. It was wonderful. It was the first writer's group I was ever exposed to and for that I will always be thankful. Aunt Nancy is also one of the first people to read most of my work despite living so far away. She gives me great feedback and advice. Writing is one of the many things we are both passionate about and can talk about.

The rest of my family while not big on writing are definitely readers. It's great I have a group of people that will read my writing and give me feedback. They don't hold back because they're family they tell me what they really think and for that I'm eternally grateful. My grandmother once told me that a piece I had written had a part that was unbelievable and so when I looked at it I found out she was right so I went back and fixed it making my story better (thanks Mimi).

To my friends and family who I subject to reading my pieces and offering their advice I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. To my parents thank you for instilling in my the passion for stories whether writing or reading and encouraging me to follow my dreams.

#22: The Clue of the Black Keys: Carolyn Keene


It's amazing what you find in used book stores and antique stores. One weekend when my mom came to stay the weekend with me we ventured to a new favorite place of mine, the Chicken Barn. Despite what it's name implies there are no chickens present however the building is in fact a barn. A very large barn. The entire first floor of the Chicken barn is full of antiques, antiques of all shapes, sizes, and prices. The second floor of this wonderful establishment is comprise of used books and magazines. Being the avid reader I am I merely stood in amazement and awe on my first visit. Some of the books they have there are old, first editions, or just really cool looking. My mom, my aunt, and I all like Nancy Drew books but we especially like the hardcover ones that don't have the glossy covers that are in stores today but the older ones with original artwork.

Nancy Drew the young detective from River Heights has another mystery on her hands. A young professor comes to Nancy with a bit of a dilemma. He has a missing fellow professor and what they believe the location to a treasure. The young professor asks Nancy to hand on to one half of the three keys they found so as to keep it out of the hands of the people behind the older professor's disappearance. Nancy learns that this mystery must be solved quickly or she could be in trouble herself.

I read a lot of Nancy Drew books when I was younger and haven't picked one up in years until recently. I liked this one particularly because it tied into the archaeology I studied when I was in college. I love it when I connect the things I learned in school with the stories I read. It was a good mystery with lots of adventure and suspense. A perfect read for anyone of any age who enjoys a good mystery!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

#21: Explosive Eighteen- Janet Evanovich


Sometimes when you read an author's books back to back to back they can seem a bit of the same over and over. Not so in the most recent installment in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. With her unique style Evanovich keeps the characters we all know and love fresh and exciting. Like with all of her other books I was smiling and laughing through the whole thing and left guessing until the end.

Stephanie has just returned from Hawaii and there's a little white tan line on her left ring finger that has people wondering . . . what really happened in Hawaii? Also the two men in her life are both showing signs of a physical confrontation only adding fire to the flame. But Stephanie has a lot more that followed her home than just personal problems. Stephanie finds a photo mixed in with her belongings but throws it away thinking nothing of it. Suddenly people are coming out of the woodwork and they all want the photo they think Stephanie has. Trying to describe the man in the photo to a sketch artist only results in pictures of celebrities. So until she can sort through the jumbled images in her mind she needs to watch her back so doesn't join the man in the photograph.

Friday, March 9, 2012

#20: Smokin' Seventeen - Janet Evanovich


Stephanie Plum has an eclectic group of friends, family, and acquaintances this time however, she's attracted the wrong sort of people. While the empty lot where the Bonds office once stood is getting underway for new construction the project his a snag when the backhoe unearths a body. Slowly more bodies show up and the killer has a special message attached to each one, "For Stephanie". To add even more trouble to the pot Morelli's grandma Bella has put the vordo on Stephanie. This definitely spells trouble for this bounty hunter.

Ripe with Evanovich's typical humor, mystery, and action Smokin' Seventeen is sure to have you reading page after page on the edge of your seat. As always Evanovich has multiple story lines going at once but they never seem to be overwhelming. On the contrary the overlapping and concurrent story lines make the lives of Stephanie and the others more real. Our lives are just one thing at a time and all the rest gets put on hold, no we usually have more than one thing going on at once. Stephanie's unique approach to her problems makes for a nice break from reality and a story you can't wait to finish!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

#19: Sizzlin' Sixteen - Janet Evanovich


Have you ever found that when you get reading a series especially one that is already out that you just read one book after another. That's how it is with this series. They're such quick reads that I get going and as soon as I finish on I'm on to the next one. The characters are so real and so likeable that you just can't help but getting attached to them and wanting to know more about them and their lives.

Vincent Plum, Stephanie's cousin and employer has a nasty habit and wracked up a great deal of debit. Now he's gone missing and his debtors are saying that the bond office has to pay the money he owes or Vinnie's never coming back. Thankfully Stephanie is in the business of tracking people down so she Connie, and Lula should have no trouble tracking him down, besides they have Stephanie's inherited lucky bottle to help them out. The problem then becomes if they can get Vinnie back how are they going to pay off the guys Vinnie owes? Be prepared for an exciting tale of, danger, excitement, and hobbits that will leave you on the edge of your seat until the last page.

Monday, March 5, 2012

#18: Finger Lickin' Fifteen- Janet Evanovich


Sometimes I get so into a book that it seems real. Everything about the book is real, the smells, sights, sounds, everything. So you can imagine my distress at reading a book entitled Finger Licking Fifteen and all it does is talk about food. So while I'm at work reading about all the great food in this book, barbecue, post roast dinner, birthday cake, all I want to do is go home and eat me and my roommate out of house and home. I like when books are so real that I can almost touch and smell them however when they cause me to want to eat to the point where I'll need a new wardrobe it gets dangerous.

Stephanie Plums faithful but eccentric sidekick Lula is in deep trouble. She witnessed a famous chef get his head whacked off and the killers are now after her. The only cop sh will talk to is Stephanie's on-again off-again boyfriend Joe Morelli who is currently in the off again stage. On top off all of this Ranger needs Stephanie's help. There is a leak at RangeMan and several of their properties are getting robbed. Now Stephanie has to figure out what's going on and try to keep Lula from getting her own head chopped off.

As as with Janet Evanovich I laughed continuously while reading this book. As always Evanovich manages to blend humor, action, and mystery into one captivating story that will keep you turning page after page.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

1st vs. 3rd

When starting a story it is important to figure out from what perspective you want the story told and who is going to tell it. Once you have a character or characters in mind it will help you in deciding whether you should write in first or third person. Some will find one style easier to write in than the other which could also be a determining factor.

If your story is going to revolve around multiple characters instead of just one main character third person is really the only way to go since it is the form that makes the most sense. With third person since you are not using the possessive I forms you have the ability to switch from character to character realistically. With this form while you may have one character that is predominant throughout your story you can expand beyond what they are physically present for allowing you to go other places with the story and show other scenes and interactions.

Third person omniscience allows you to go into the mind of other characters and hear what their characters are thinking and how they react to various situations. While Third person limited omniscience restricts the allows all the advantages of having a third person narration but restricts the focus to main characters instead of including minor characters into the mix as well.

If you decide on a story with one main character it can be advantageous to use first person narration. First person allows you to focus on one character and set up a unique connection with the reader and the character. Because we talk in an I, me, my way in our everyday life this form sometimes comes more naturally when writing. The disadvantages to this type of narration are: you are limited to one point of view, the narrator must be present all the time, you can only write about what the narrator can see or sense and no one else.

Personally I tend to write in the first person more than I do in the third person. Part of the reason I do this is because I find it easier to write this way but also because most of my pieces center around one character rather than a group so third person is not necessary. Contrary to what I have read about most authors opting for first person,  friends of mine who write tend to favor the third person narration rather than first. They find it easier to write this way and find it strange that I favor a first person perspective. First person for me is more fun because I get to create a personal relationship with my main character and get inside their head and get to know them. I still get the benefit of connecting with other characters but the added advantage of experiencing the story first hand.

If you decide to write a series of stories or books there is one thing I would suggest to you and that is consistency. If you start a series in first person stick to the first person throughout the series. Your readers are accustomed to the perspective and will likely have some difficulty adjusting to the change.

These are my feelings on the dominant narration types where do you weigh in?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

#17: Fearless Fourteen-Janet Evanovich

The benefit to having a roommate as obsessed with reading as I am is the fact that I can borrow books from her. Sharing books you love with someone is a wonderful feeling, it's one of the reasons I like working in a bookstore so much. Talking, laughing, and just enjoying reading is infectious and a great way to meet people with similar interests.

Stephanie Plum, Trenton's . . . luckiest bounty hunter has some problems. First, Morelli's cousin's son Zook is in her care while his mother is FTA. Second, people think there is the loot from a nine million dollar robbery hidden at Morelli's house and are literally killing to find it. Third, Moonman is Morelli's protection against treasure hunters and his methods are a little out there. And fourth, Ranger needs some help nights working security for an eccentric aging singer. Stephanie has her work cut out for her.

From book one I have enjoyed Janet Evanovich's books because they are entertaining, exciting, and just down right funny. The characters she has created jump right off the page. Stephanie's outrageous group of friends and family will have you in stitches from page one right up until the end. There isn't one of these books that I haven't laughed out loud while reading. If you enjoy mystery, action, humor, or just a good read you'll enjoy the Stephanie Plum series.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Everyone needs an outlet. Some way to just release the stress of work and responsibilities. People find their escape from all of these things in various ways exercise, music, dance, gardening, etc. Personally I have a couple of ways I can escape all of the worries and stresses in my life for a while swimming, writing, and reading.

Swimming is a great way for me to just zone out for a while and not do any thinking. When I'm swimming all I have to do is concentrate on the stroke I'm doing and controlling my breathing. I get the physical exertion that you just sometimes need when you are really stress and the calming effect of being in the water at the same time. I have loved swimming since I was a kid and it would take forever to get me out of the pool or lake. When I finish swimming there is just a sense of accomplishment and contentment.

Writing is a wonderful way to escape because I get to go into a world that I create with characters I know and that are part of me. Here I get to counter my stress and anxiety with creativity and imagination. Writing lets me take pieces of me and incorporate them into stories that are nothing like my life and so I get to do things I wouldn't normally get to do.

Reading has been my escape for as long as I have known how to read. One night I had trouble sleeping because my brain was in overdrive and thinking about issues way too big for a 7 year old to contemplate. Nevertheless difficult topics were on my mind and my brain just wouldn't quit. Tired and out of idea my parents suggested I start reading before bed so I could push other things out of my mind and think only about the story and the world in which it took place. Little did they know they were creating a monster and sense that night I have read before bed almost every night. When I read I get to step into someone else's life for a while and experience what they do and forget about my world completely for a while. I get to forget myself and my worries and just enjoy a story. Reading gives you a freedom to experience lives, people, and places you might not get to in your normal life. When you're reading you believe that magic is real, you explore space and meet new species, time travel to times past, present, and future. When you're reading there is nothing to outlandish and everything enters the realm of possible.

Monday, February 27, 2012

#16: A Cadgers Curse- Diane Gilbert Madsen

One you've started reading a certain type of book or a series  ti can be hard to adjust and get into the next one. Also when reading an author I'm unfamiliar with I sometimes find it difficult to get into the book at first. I faced both these challenges going into this book but was pleasantly surprised at how easy the transition was.

DD McGill, once a professor of literature at a Chicago area University, now works as an insurance investigator. All of a sudden her life is full of murder investigations and suspicions. But on top of this her Aunt is visiting from Scotland and brings with her another mystery for DD.

It's funny how things just seem to connect together. Lately in the books I read, a story I recently finished writing, and in tv and movies Scotland has become a reoccurring theme. My mom's side of the family is from Scotland but I've never been, perhaps this is a sign that I should go.

I really enjoyed this book for many reasons. Madsen's writing style was easy and real. The characters were fun and interesting. The story had two different line to follow and yet it didn't become confusing. Madsen brought here Chicago setting to life making it easy to picture and got there in your mind. There was action, suspense, mystery, and a little bit of humor all combined to make one great read.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

#15: Star Trek Destiny: Lost Souls-David Mack

There is always a feeling of content as well as sadness I feel when I have finished a series. Although this was a trilogy as part of multiple series and the characters will continue in other books the sadness is still there. But alas things must end and the story must come full circle.

As the relentless Borg press on the future seems dim but Captains Picard, Riker, and Dax all have reasons to keep going and reasons to survive. The Federation and it's neighbors are in the eleventh hour and without what may be a crazy plan there is no hope. The time has come for the captains to face their destinies but destiny has also come calling for those who millenia ago had no choice.

In a brilliant finish to his Destiny Trilogy Mack brings all his stories to completion. The interlacing story lines are woven together and the finished product is astounding. I felt myself saying "ahh, I get it now" when the pieces I had been assembling finally fell into place. Past, present, and future combine to make a story worth reading over and over. Mack provides many perspectives giving us a complete picture of every side of the story, In a series that could have easily been make into a war saga Mack provides more substance. While the Borg conflict is a large factor int he story so are the back stories, the personal character struggles, the stories of a race before unknown, and the way things connect. Mack has written a wonderful series with action, drama, and yes even humor, and with Lost Souls he completes the Destiny Trilogy. I promise Star Trek fans won't be disappointed and neither will other readers. ( I will admit some familiarity with the shows or any of the book series will help and make it more enjoyable.)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

#14: Star Trek Destiny: Mere Mortals-David Mack

 I've found there is a wonderful advantage to not jumping on the band wagon of a series right away. That advantage my friends is that the wait for the next installment is considerably shorter, also you can get into a groove and read a bunch of them at the same time (as evidenced by my overwhelming number of Star Trek books in this past month.) These facts are especially advantageous when reading books that finish with cliff hangers. Unlike season finale's of shows or real time reading and waiting for release dates I need only wait as long as it takes me to put down one book and pick up the next.

Captains Dax, Riker, and Picard continue their struggle to find a way to stop the impending Borg invasion. But across time and space Erika Hernedez  spends centuries with the Celiear learning and working in inescapable exile. Time however, is a funny thing an it has a way of sneaking up on you, and time is running out for the Federation. But what can you do when your enemy is almost invincible?

Mack continues his well crafted and brilliantly woven tales. Again as in the first Destiny book he blends different times and different ships into a journey that will have readers on the edge of their seats. Whether you've read any of the other books besides this trilogy or watched any of the show ro not you will enjoy the depth of the characters and the complexity of the story. This is more than just a book about catastrophic war it is part of a series of beginnings, endings, and destinies.

Friday, February 24, 2012

#13: Star Trek Destiny: Gods of Night - David Mack

Very rare is it to find three consecutive books in a series like Star Trek books written by the same author, even when those books are part of a series within the series. Here David Mack takes on that challenge though and connects himself to the three books of the Destiny Trilogy.

Time has passed and enemies have been defeated but one of the greatest threats the Federation has ever faces is back and this time their only objective is complete annihilation. Elsewhere in Federation space the mystery of what happened to one of Earth's first generation starships is solved. But there is more than the mystery of where the starship was. More questions arise and shed light on one ship's struggle for survival. Three captains will find that no matter what we do sometimes destiny is inescapable.

Mack had taken on something I have found to be rare, no I'm not just taking about all of the books in this trilogy, but different times and three different ships. Throughout the first book of the Destiny Trilogy we enter different times and actually four different ships. The way Mack weaves the tales together is effortless and artistic. There are connections among all the stories and a deeper story that sets the stage for something much bigger.

All the characters we know from the crew of the Enterprise E and the Titan are present as well as new character from the Aventine and the Columbia. Mack creates stories that weave together like colors of paint that combine together to create a picture.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

#12: Faery Tale-Signe Pike

Titles can be deceiving if you look at a title sometimes you can tell what the genre of the book will be. But don't be swayed into immediate judgment, basically  don't judge a book by it's cover What I have learned in my over a year working at a bookstore is even thought we have heard not to judge a book by it's cover over and over it its still the cover/title that sway us. By looking at the title of this book most would be drawn into assuming it was a sci-fi/fantasy book so when I saw it at Borders in the biography section I was intrigued.

Signe Pike is a writer/publisher living in New York trying to cope with a devastating loss. Day after day it's the same thing. As she sets in her windowless office she wonders is there something more? What happened to the magic and wonderment she felt as a child? So she sets out on a journey, a journey to see if magic still exists in the would and maybe just maybe there really are faeries among us.

Though I bought this book well over six months ago and I just read it, and the timing couldn't have been better. I have recently found myself wondering the same things as Pike As I stop and think about what is going on in my life I find a hole in me , the place  where I sued to be able to see the magic of the world around me. Pike takes you along with her on her journey, her writing and experiences are so vivid and real you feel as if you are there with her. Even if you don't believe that faeries exist almost everyone can relate to her desire to recapture some of the magic we loose in growing up and having to find a way to accept and deal with the loos of a loved one. Pike reawakened the magic in the world around me and spurred my passion for creating and exploration.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I've noticed that when I'm writing I get inspiration for new stories and ideas everywhere and at any time. Ideas for stories, papers, poems,etc I find come at times that aren't always the most convenient. When I was back in high school I was taking a creative writing class and we were given the assignment to parody a song. I was stuck in the first drive-thru window at McDonalds and then all of a sudden I was hit I got an idea for my parody. All I had available to write my parody down with was a dull pencil and some receipt paper. I printed out a length of receipt paper and started writing. Within a few mintues I had a parody draft written and just like that my homework was done.

Another good example of inspiration hitting when you least expect it is my junior year of college. My friend and I a couple days earlier had gone to pick up her wedding dress. On the way she asked me if I would read a poem at her wedding, of course I agreed. Then she told me that she wanted me to write the poem then read it. I asked if she was sure since my typical writing style at the time was murder mystery. She said she was sure and she trusted me. I had, I think a week before the wedding when she asked me, and finals at school. I was starting to get worried about the poem and I spent the night studying for one of my exams and then hit the hay. Out of a dead sleep I woke up, grabbed a note book and pen from next to the bed and started writing. I wrote straight for 20mins without my glasses on before I was done. I looked at the clock it was almost 1 am. I put the pen and notebook down shut the light out and fell back asleep. A week later I was back in Calais in front of my friend, her husband, and their guests reading the poem. I could tell by looking at her face that I'd done what I'd been asked to do and I felt good about giving them something personalized and just for them.

ne of the great things about being a writer is that inspiration is around every corner just waiting for someone to notice it and take advantage of it. It could be anything a word, a phrase, a picture, a building, anything to get those gears going and the ideas spilling out. Because of this I like to have a notebook and pen with me at all times. I like to keep a camera handy too in case I see something that inspires me so I can snap a picture of it so I won't forget it. Thankfully now I have a phone with a camera so i don't have to have my actual camera with me all the time.

Inspiration is a wonderful thing that can hit like a bolt of lightening and vanish just as quickly. It doesn't care if you have a pen and paper ready, or what time of day it is. I'll stay up all night writing something for a story down just so I get it all down and won't forget it. Inspiration is a writer's best friend and sleep's worst enemy.

Monday, January 16, 2012

#11: Wayfinder- C E Murphy

There is something wonderful about reading that allows the reader to escape the world they live in and be part of another for a while. This isn't necessarily always a pleasant escape as some book and their worlds are much worse places to be in than our own. The beauty of books is that they become par of you, good or bad, and you have more that is part of you (yes even if it is the most outlandish fictional tale ever).

Lara Jansen, less than a year ago was just an apprentice tailor in Boston with a quirky habit of knowing when people are telling the truth. Then she met Dafydd and went to the faery world of the Barrow-lands. She learned she was a Truthseeker and her abilities were needed to solve a murder and to put a stop to a a war. Dafydd is now missing and the Barrow-lands are on the verge destruction. Lara must harness the dangerous power of the staff and find a long forgotten truth that could take them down the path of mending or destroy what is left.

I have read a great many of C E Murphy's books because there is something interesting that she does in all of them. She takes a modern character and setting and does a mash up with mythology/stories/legends and creates a seamless tale. I love the blend of the two worlds. Another thing I love about C E Murphy is her ability to create a strong female character that I not only admire but can relate to. This is a consistency throughout her books that is nice. I also like that her character are just everyday people with jobs that are thrown into a world most of us only dream of.

#10:STNG: Loosing the Peace -William Leisner

Okay before I write this review I want to state what must already be an obvious fact. I am not reading these Star Trek books in order at all. That said it's not because I don't want to read them in order but these just happen to be the one I bought. Part of me did have an secret motive when buying them thought, my favorite character is Beverly Crusher and I loved the relationship between her and Captain Picard so I wanted to know what happened, I wanted the story to keep going (as I always do) so I bought the books that might meet that criteria (with the obvious exception of the early books and definitely The Captains' Honor).

The war with the Borg has ended but that doesn't mean that things go back to normal in the Federation. There are millions and millions of people who have lost their homes. There is much work to be done and Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew must work through their trouble and help those who have nowhere to turn. 

 I loved this book. I read two thirds of this book on the day I bought it and quickly finished the rest of it the next day. This story was good because it highlighted the rebuilding that had t take place after the Borg attack. Too often tv shows/book/movies will pass over the aftermath of a major event because it is anticlimactic. Leisner makes this story engaging and relate-able. Not only are we exposed to what the Federation must deal with but also how the events of the Borg attack affected individual crew members. The story wasn't focused on some major war but rather what comes after and how people who were so important during war time now fare in a time of peace. We are forced to examine the question , "in a world used to and destroyed by war can there be peace afterward?"

#9: STNG: The Captains' Honor - David & Daniel Dvorkin

1/9/12 SPOILER

Hmmm two book in one day? I attribute this largely to the fact that I saw a total of four customers today at one of my jobsand that I settled into bed around nince pm but I wasn't tired in the least. Anyway I finished another Star Trek book, however difficult I found this one to be.

The peaceful planet of Tenara has come under attack by the merciless M'Dork. While the ship Centurion is charged with the duty of protecting Tenara the Federation errs on the side of caution with these recent attacks and send the Enterprise to assist them. However, Captain Picard and Captain Lucius Sejanus of the Centruion have very different stances on the situation.

This was not by far one of my favorite books (Star Trek) that I've read, in fact it was my least favorite. The issues I have with this may seem personal however that is what these entries are. One irritating omission for me was that of excluding Dr. Crusher from the senior staff and almost from the book completely. While the story didn't need a large presence by Dr. Crusher the fact that the senior staff was said to be complete without her was inaccurate. I don't hid that she is my favorite character but in accuracy to the established character was bothersome. Also I had issues with the ending. The story started with the M'Dork attacks/threat and the authors never effectively concluded that story line. The issue was left unresolved which I find frustrating as a reader/fan/writer.

Not to be entirely negative I did find the way Roman history was included and integrated into a planet no where near our own interesting.

#8: STNG: A Fury Scorned - Pamela Sargent & George Zebrowski

Another one bites the dust so to speak, another day and another book. And yes it was another Star Trek book. This time however, I jumped back in time. The last several books I've read happened well after the end of the show and after all four of the movies. This book is back during the show's run.

The Enterprise has been sent on a mission of mercy. Euripidus III is in peril . The planet of 20 million people is at the mercy of their sun which is about to go super nova. The Enterprise now faces a dilemma, should they save children and artifacts from the doomed planet or should they try a risky experiment Data has come up with? Captain Picard faces a tough decision and like anyone he wonders "how do I know what is right?"

I trouble with this book at first for two reasons. The first was the rapidness with which the point of view shifted between characters. It's nice to see the different points of view, however, for a while it seemed like the POV was constantly shifting which made reading the first part of the book, and even some of the later parts difficult. The second issue was one of my own doing. I was reading between fifteen and twenty years after these events. I then had to go back in time and readjust to what time I was in and character changes. I had to back to befroe Data died, before Will and Deanna were married and on another ship, and before Captain Picard and Dr. Crusher were married and had a child. My advice: read books in order it's easier.

The story was quite good and very much like the show. The scenario was a believable voyage and mission for the Enterprise and her crew. (Aside: have you ever notice how ships are considered female yet it was believed that having a woman on board was bad luck)

#7: Star Trek Typhon Pact : Paths of Disharmony

Well, I am no longer at my book a day pace, however, it is a bit of a crazy pace and would be difficult to keep up while working. Regardless of how long it took me to read this most recent book it was well wroth it because it was a great book that kept me reading.

Capain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise are on a diplomatic mission to Andor, a world plagued but reproductive issues on top of a world ravaged and raw after the Borg invasion. There is a new approach to the reproductive issues of the Andorians but many on the planet disagree with this approach. Picard and his crew are sent to help with a conference on the issue. But ever present are the watchful Typhon Pact. There may be more to their involvement than there appears.

I haven't read any of the other Typhon Pact books nevertheless I was able to follow the story fine. My favorite part of this book was that it was not a book about war (be it Borg or Romulans). This was about the other work the Enterprise does, the diplomatic part of it. It was like watching an episode of the show. Ward did a wonderful job of creating a story that included all the characters and fit into a series but works as a  stand alone book as well. This book was like so many episodes of the show, there was a scientific problem and a cultural problem that requires the skills of the Enterprise crew. While the boks about wars with the Borg, or Romulans, or whomever are good and entertaining there was more the show than conflicts and war. While they are equipped for conflict their mission is of anthropologists to explore new worlds and new cultures and to help with cultural and scientific problems of the know world.

#6:STNG: Greater Than the Sum-Christopher L. Bennett


I have to state here and now that the reason i have been reading so many Star Trek the Next Generation books is because I love the characters. Maybe it's the writer in me or something else but characters are one of the best parts of the story also one of the most important, without good characters the story goes flat. The hardest part for author's of these type of books is that they didn't create the characters themselves, the characters have been created and given life by actors most for over seven years.

When the Starship Rhea finds a cluster of carbon planets inhabited by a strange new life form they stop to investigate. The Borg have also found these lifeforms and the crew of the Rhea. These lifeforms have a way of transporting great distances in an extremely short period of time a tool deadly at the hands of the Borg. So the Federation has dispatched the Enterprise to handle the Bord and the new lifeforms.

Some might find this book difficult because it delves into the characters personal life more than some might like. The story is good, well developed, and engrossing. The character stories as I said factor critically in this story not without a point though. The personal stories play into the larger plot making what might appear fanciful indulgences of the writer important to the story. Though some may argue the personal stories are irrelevant and nothing more than fanfiction I disagree. Te show worked well because there were engaging stories/missions but also because of the characters. The characters are critical, the magic of these books and the show comes from the seamless bled of both elements. People want to be able to relate to what they read/watch so by showing us the personal lives we have something to relate to in a setting of the future.

#5: STNG: Q&A: Keith RA Ce Candido

Continuing my astounding pattern of a book a day (at least astounding for me seeing as how I feel like I'm constantly at work). I have finished yet another Star Trek the Next Generation book. When I told someone about my current reading pattern they were skeptical saying "They're only a hundred pages right?" And just so everyone knows they are all over two hundred pages most three hundred plus.

Anyway over the course of our lives we meet people and most leave an impression either good or bad. Then there are people you pray you will never see again, it is no different for Jean-Luc Picard. Q has plagued Captain Picard's life since episode one of the show (Encounter at Fairpoint). As is standard Q procedure the crew fo the Enterprise is faced with a problem . . . the end of the Universe. They must figure out what Q is up to and try to stop the inevitable.

This book was hilarious, as with the show Q in this book brings with him loads of humor. The great thing about this book was the shifting perspectives. We got to see not only the Enterprise crew but got to the Continuum (everyone's name being Q is slightly confusing at first) and even for a brief period other ships and Starbases. Here we get to know more about Q and the Continuum and see how and why certain events unfolded. The Q character, as complex and strange as it is, makes it difficult to write however, DeCandido does so making you laugh out loud and fall in love the character all over again.

#4: STNG: Resistance-J.M. Dillard

Days off are meant for running errands, doing necessary household chores, relaxing, and getting caught up on your reading, or in my case ahead. Today on my unexpected day off I did all of these things including finishing yet another book.

Again I have plunged into the world of the starship Enterprise and her crew. Captain Picard and the and other familiar crew member s are back on board the Enterprise and exploring space as they have for well over two decades. This trip, however, is one of the first as well. As so many of the old crew have moved on the old members must now get used to new faces filling old friends' positions.

The ice breaker activities will have to wait as an old foe is moving to rebuild the Empire Picard and the others have crushed, twice. The Borg are back and in a very un-BOrg like fashion they are pissed off. Captain Picard must again face an enemy he knows all too well. Starfleet believes the Borg to be crushed and doesn't believe Picard, now it's up to him and the crew of the Enterprise to take on the Borg . . . again.

Dillard take on a topic so often done on Star Trek it may be over done, the Borg. With so much done ont he Bod it would be difficult to keep it entertaining, but Dillard does. Really for the frist time we get to experience the Borg with the crew and feel their reactions to the threat of the Borg. We feel Picard's anger, live Crusher's fear, and Worf's unrest. Dillard takes up on board with the crew and puts us in their positions, even in their heads.

#3: STNG: Death in Winter- Michael Jan Friedman

It's official I have a serious problem, well two problems I guess. Problem #1 I have read three book in as many days. #2 I have no life enabling me to read three books in three days. Problem number one is only a problem because I'm going to plow through the books I have in record time. There is an upside though, my roommate has a ton of books I haven't read and I work in a bookstore.

Obviously I haven't run out of Star Trek books yet which is cause for much rejoicing, since I'm allowed to further indulge my nerdiness. These books take me to  world where I am lost in it's places and characters even when I'm not actually reading the book. While I was working today I found myself thinking about what I was reading and not what I was working on (granted I was just scanning and pulling inventory).

This book takes place shortly after the fourth Star Trek The Next Generation movie (Nemesis). As Captain Jean-Luc Picard faces many changes the most difficult is the departure of his friend Dr. Beverly Crusher from the Enterprise.

When Dr. Crusher goes MIA on assignment it is up to Picard and some of his former Stargazer crew to complete her mission and (most importantly to Picard) locate Crusher and bring her back safely. This book is wonderful for Next Gen fans with great characters, a well developed story, and an old foe who has again reared their ugly heads.

#2: STNG: Hard Rain- Dean Wesley Smith

Okay space cadets it's time to take a tip with me across time and space out into the stars and to . . . 1940's San Fransisco.

Another Star Trek the Next Generation book under my belt and this one was fantastic. I love it when things I love cross over. For example, when the character I love from the Next Generation are thrown into a good 'ole noir mystery. Captain Picard, Dr. Beverly Crusher, Data, and several other crew members must go onto the holo deck to solve a case that could save all of those in the program but also all the lives on the Enterprise.

So back in 1940's San Fransisco, Dixon Hill, PI, Luscious Bev ( his steady gal), and Mr. Data (his right hand man) must find their prize. As time is running out for the Enterprise and her crew the key to survival could be in the 40's but the question is where?

I loved this book it was well written and expecting and funny. The episode where Picard, Crusher, and Data go into the Dixon Hill program was one of my favorites so to see it continued in a fashion as a book was excellent. Smith did well combining the world of the Enterprise and the world on the holo deck. It was a great mystery perfect for it's setting on the holo deck and a story worthy of the Star Trek name.

#1: Star Trek the Next Generation: Rogue Saucer- John Vornholt

Okay, okay I know what you're all thinking I posted on here that I was going to keep up with my blog and not get behind like I started to at the end of last year. Though I haven't been writing on here I have been writing in the book journal I said I was going to keep and have been busy reading quite a few books. Since I'm now forced to play catch up I'm going to date the next several entries and write them as they appeal in my journal. Also I have read several Star Trek books so I will abbreviate the beginning portions of the title for Star Trek the Next Generation books as STNG.

So I have this quirky obsession with tv shows and movies I like, I never want the story to end. So like any other nerd I go out and buy the books based on the tv shows/movies I love. This can be a hit or miss thing sometimes the books are wonderful and story true to the characters already created other time I wish I'd never read them.

Currently I am reading all the books based on the show Star Trek the Next Generation. I lvoe the show because it's character deep. Rogue Saucer is the second Star Trek novel I read and it was fantastic. This novel is set while the show was still running but written after the show ended. This has the advantage of know what happens in the show but the difficulty of not altering events or revealing things that haven't happened yet.

While the Enterprise saucer receives much needed repairs the hull take and experimental saucer and in typical Star Trek fashion nothing goes according to plan. Now with the Enterprise separated and so is it's crew, they will face challenges they never expected.

Reading this book I fel like I was watching an episdoe of the show. I was laughing and commenting on the book like I would the show. The characters were true to the show and the store was a believable one consistent with the show.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!! Here I sit in front of my computer with my nose stuffed fuller than a turkey on Thanksgiving and hacking my lung up ready to start a 2012 and a new book count. 2011 was a decent reading year for me (probably thanks to the fact that I wasn't in school this year anymore and I was working in a bookstore for a majority of it.) I ended 2011 with 75 books on record for the year. There are a few I read that I didn't write about on here that I may write about because they were excellent books that I think everyone should read.

This year as well as keeping a blog about my reading adventures I have decided that I'm also going to keep a written journal of them as well since as I have mentioned I like writing by hand more than typing on a computer. I'm hoping that hand writing my reviews about the books I read will help me keep better track on here as well.

On the topic of new beginnings and resolutions I am here and now making a resolution to put my writing on the front burner again and not make any excuses why I'm not pursuing it. Yesterday I received a letter from a magazine I had submitted a story to back in November. They had decided not to use the story I sent them. I wasn't upset like most people instead I figure it's a step in the right direction at least I'm getting my work out there and looked at. I have started a folder that is in with all my other writing in a folder labeled "Character Building".

Happy New Year Everyone! Enjoy!