"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

What it's About:
Camille is a reporter who cuts herself to deal with her painful past.  When one young girl is killed and another goes missing in Camille's hometown, her editor sends her to cover the story.

Camille reluctantly returns to her mother's house where she is forced to deal with her difficult past head-on while trying to solve the most serious crime her hometown has experienced.

 What I Thought:
In Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn has created a whole gang of damaged, faulted people.  I have often wondered how an author finds such damaged creatures in her imagination.  Maybe the characters write themselves, pouring their torture onto the pages one word at a time.  From Camille, a girl who carves words into her skin, to a mother who inflicts illness on her own children.  Even Alan, the main character's stepfather, who is described as a prim southern gentleman but is portrayed slurping down sardines and eating sickly green pudding.  Gillian Flynn describes each character with care, creating a vivid image of each individual's pain and devastation.

Camille is far from a perfect protagonist.  Reading her story is like watching a train wreck; you don't want to see how low her life can take her, yet at the same time, you can't take your eyes off her.   She is so eager to please and is destroying herself in the process.  I wanted to yell at her, shake her awake, knock some sense into her.  I could see the final destruction coming for her before she was ever willing to admit how bad things really were.

The twist at the end of the book was well-planned and well-written.  Enough clues were presented, enough breadcrumbs dropped, to lead the reader to the murderer while also keeping the killer's identity hidden until the last possible moment.

I loved this book; I loved everything about it.  The characters, the plot, the writing, the plot twists and turns, every detail was perfect.  The mood was carefully crafted.  I was enthralled by this book and I highly recommend it.


Friday, January 5, 2018

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes - A Review


 What it's About:
Shonda Rhimes is the brains behind ABC's Thursday night tv line-up but she had lived much of her life saying no to everything she feared.  She missed out on some amazing opportunities, until she decided to spend a year saying "Yes!" to everything.  Her life was changed forever.


What I Thought:
Before I read this book, I had never heard of Shonda Rhimes.  


Crazy, I know.  


I don't watch the Thursday night line-up on ABC.  I can't watch medical shows (they make me queasy), so I have never even attempted or thought about watching Grey's Anatomy.  I did not know about Shondaland or any of the amazing firsts that Shonda Rhimes was responsible for (even though I have been know to use the word vajayjay; I had no idea it was her invention!).


I decided to read this book after seeing it on a list of inspirational books on Pinterest.  The cover (which I conveniently forgot to take a picture of before I returned it to the library) pulled me in immediately.  It is beautiful, inviting, and empowering.  It made me want to start saying "Yes!" immediately (even though Oprah had already taught me the power of saying "No!").

I read the book in one day.  I could not put it down.  Shonda Rhimes captured my attention on the very first page.  Her writing voice made me feel like we were having a conversation over coffee.  She welcomed me into her life and taught me how important it is to say "Yes!" to the things I fear.

Shonda Rhimes inspired me.  She inspired me to watch four seasons of How to Get Away with Murder on Netflix.  She inspired me to start watching Scandal (I am watching an episode while I am typing this).  She inspired me to make 2018 my year of saying "Yes!" to the things I fear.  She inspired my words of the year for 2018.  She inspired me.

What does that mean for you, dear reader?  Well, one of my fears is putting myself out there.  It sounds weird to say that out loud (write that out loud?) since I have multiple blogs, work as a teacher, and dream about being a published author, but I do have a fear of putting myself out there.  I agonize over every single post.  It has made it difficult to keep a blogging schedule because I doubt every single word I post.  I end up sounding artificial, fake, not like me.

So, dear reader, my year of yes means that you will get more blog posts to read.  Heck, you might even get some video content.   Who knows what might happen when I start saying "Yes!"


Have you read this book?  Are you a fan of Shondaland?







Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2017 What I'm Reading Wednesday #15 - Yearly Wrap-up

Well, the end of the year if upon us, and I have met my reading goal of 32 books!!  

Yippee!

I am very excited that I reached my goal, so excited in fact that I am increasing my goal to 50 books this year.  I will be using the Book Challenge by Erin and the Popsugar Reading Challenge prompts as inspiration and trying to read as many books as possible from my personal bookshelves.  I am always looking for new books to read, so please comment below with recommendations.  I am interested to see what this new year brings.

Here are all the books I read in 2017.
2017 Goal: 32 books
Books Read = 32/32
Books from TBR list: 6
Series completed: 0
*Erin's Book Challenge #6:  8/10  0/Bonus Round (Final Score)
**Erin's Book Challenge #7: 5/10  0/Bonus Round (Final Score)
BC = Book Club book

January
1.  Midair by Kodi Scheer
*2.  And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (TBR)


February
*1.  Christine by Stephen King
2.  The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (yup, I started a new series)


March
1.  The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens (second book in the series)
*2.  Wonder by RJ Palacio (TBR)
*3.  Matched  by Ally Condie
*4.  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (TBR)


April
*1.  The Ancient Ones by Kirk Mitchell
*2.  The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
*3. The Breaking Light by Heather Hansen

May
*1.  11/22/63 by Stephen King (TBR)
2.  Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
3.  The Vines by Christopher Rice

June
0 books read :(

July
**1.  Yo by Ricky Martin
**2.  Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

August
0 books read :(

September
1.  The Passage by Justin Cronin (TBR) (BC)
**2.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (TBR)

October
1.  Dualed by Elsie Chapman (BC)
**2.  Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
3.  Breathe by Sarah Crossan (BC)
**4.  Little Town Lies by Anne Strieber

November
1.  Portrait Revolution by Julia L. Kay
2.  Interference by Amélie Antoine
3.  Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
4.  The Night Bird by Brian Freeman
5.  Skinny Liver by Kristin Kirkpatrick

December
1.  Art and Soul Reloaded by Pam Grout
2.  Extracted by RR Haywood
3.  The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
4.  Ocean of Storms by Christopher Man and Jeremy K Brown
5.  Rewire by Richard O'Connor



What are you reading this week?  Have you made reading goals for 2018?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What I'm Reading Wednesday #14 (December 13, 2017)

This week finds me still reading Extracted by RR Haywood.  I started out strong and then lost a little steam along the way.  I am still hopeful that I will meet my goal of 32 books this year.  I have a couple of weeks left.  Fingers crossed!

Here's my progress so far:
2017 Goal: 32 books
Books Read = 28/32
Books from TBR list: 6
Series completed: 0
*Erin's Book Challenge #6:  8/10  0/Bonus Round (Final Score)
**Erin's Book Challenge #7: 5/10  0/Bonus Round (Final Score)
BC = Book Club book

January
1.  Midair by Kodi Scheer
*2.  And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (TBR)


February
*1.  Christine by Stephen King
2.  The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (yup, I started a new series)


March
1.  The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens (second book in the series)
*2.  Wonder by RJ Palacio (TBR)
*3.  Matched  by Ally Condie
*4.  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (TBR)


April
*1.  The Ancient Ones by Kirk Mitchell
*2.  The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
*3. The Breaking Light by Heather Hansen

May
*1.  11/22/63 by Stephen King (TBR)
2.  Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
3.  The Vines by Christopher Rice

June
0 books read :(

July
**1.  Yo by Ricky Martin
**2.  Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

August
0 books read :(

September
1.  The Passage by Justin Cronin (TBR) (BC)
**2.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (TBR)

October
1.  Dualed by Elsie Chapman (BC)
**2.  Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
3.  Breathe by Sarah Crossan (BC)
**4.  Little Town Lies by Anne Strieber

November
1.  Portrait Revolution by Julia L. Kay
2.  Interference by Amélie Antoine
3.  Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
4.  The Night Bird by Brian Freeman
5.  Skinny Liver by Kristin Kirkpatrick

December
1.  Art and Soul Reloaded by Pam Grout


Currently Reading:
Extracted by RR Haywood
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher




What are you reading this week?  How are your reading goals going?

Friday, December 8, 2017

I'm Sorry, NaNoWriMo. But It's Over...

Dear NaNoWriMo,

I'm sorry but it's over between you and me.  We've had a good run, but you're just not the right fit for me anymore.

Breaking up with NaNoWriMoI want you to know that it's not you; it's me.  Really.  You're a fantastic challenge!  Every year you help thousands of people to write novels.  Some folks even end up as published authors because of you.  I honestly don't believe I would have ever tried writing a book if it hadn't been for you.  Now I have three partial manuscripts and many more ideas banging around in my head waiting for their turn to meet paper.

I remember when I first met you.  It was 2009.  I was laid off, depressed, and searching for purpose when all of a sudden you came along.  You inspired me.  I planned.  I dreamed.  I wrote over 12,000 words.  That was the most I had written in a long time, maybe ever.  You gave me hope.  I am forever grateful for that.

I have clung to that hope for eight years now.  Every year I think I can do it.  I believe I can do it.  I can write 50,000 words in 30 days.  But it's time I admitted the truth, to you and to myself.  That kind of writing is not my style.  It does not work for me.  I prefer a more laid back approach to writing.  If it takes me years to finish my first draft, I'm ok with that.

So, I'm sorry NaNo, but it's over.  Next November I will ignore all the people chatting about you online.  I will go about my normal routine without you, and everything will be ok.  I will keep writing, but on my schedule.  You will move on and help thousands more people realize their dream of writing a book.

It's for the best.  I promise.
Love,
Lisa

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Interference by Amélie Antoine

Interference by Amélie Antoine - A Review

What it's About:  
Gabriel and Chloé are young, married, and in love.  They live a near perfect life until Chloé, who is very athletic, mysteriously drowns.  Gabriel is left to deal with the tragedy alone.  He joins a bereavement group where he slowly learns to deal with his wife's death and meets a beautiful photographer, Emma.  As Gabriel and Emma start to build their relationship, new revelations about Chloé emerge, changing Gabriel forever.  Will Gabriel be able to move on and start a new life with Emma or will Chloé's death haunt him?

What I Thought:
Wow!  Wow!  O. M. Goodness.  This book!

I almost put this book down.  I almost stopped reading.  I almost gave up.  But I am so glad that I kept reading.

Each chapter of Interference has three parts, each one written from the point of view of one of the three main characters.  The story is revealed to us through the experiences of each of these characters.  In the beginning of the book, one of these characters is already dead.  I found this detail very annoying at first and almost stopped reading the book (I don't always like books that are narrated by ghosts), but I am glad that I kept reading because the twists and turns that the plot takes kept me guessing until the very last page.  I think this book is the best example of the unreliable narrator I have ever read.

I don't want to give away any details.  No. Spoilers.  Which is really hard to do when talking about this book.  O. M. Goodness.  You just have to read this book.    You just have to read it.  
Interference by Amélie Antoine - A Review



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

2017 What I'm Reading Wednesday #13 (November 29, 2017)

November was a great month for reading.  I've already read 5 books this month and I still have another day.  Only 5 more books and I will meet my goal for this year!  I walked to the library today, so now I am reading three books at the same time.  I'm sure it will work out :) Anyway, here is my progress so far... 

2017 Goal: 32 books
Books Read = 27/32
Books from TBR list: 6
Series completed: 0
*Erin's Book Challenge #6:  8/10  0/Bonus Round (Final Score)
**Erin's Book Challenge #7: 5/10  0/Bonus Round (Final Score)
BC = Book Club book

January
1.  Midair by Kodi Scheer
*2.  And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (TBR)


February
*1.  Christine by Stephen King
2.  The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (yup, I started a new series)


March
1.  The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens (second book in the series)
*2.  Wonder by RJ Palacio (TBR)
*3.  Matched  by Ally Condie
*4.  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (TBR)


April
*1.  The Ancient Ones by Kirk Mitchell
*2.  The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
*3. The Breaking Light by Heather Hansen

May
*1.  11/22/63 by Stephen King (TBR)
2.  Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
3.  The Vines by Christopher Rice

June
0 books read :(

July
**1.  Yo by Ricky Martin
**2.  Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

August
0 books read :(

September
1.  The Passage by Justin Cronin (TBR) (BC)
**2.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (TBR)

October
1.  Dualed by Elsie Chapman (BC)
**2.  Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
3.  Breathe by Sarah Crossan (BC)
**4.  Little Town Lies by Anne Strieber

November
1.  Portrait Revolution by Julia L. Kay
2.  Interference by Amélie Antoine
3.  Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
4.  The Night Bird by Brian Freeman
5.  Skinny Liver by Kristin Kirkpatrick


Currently Reading:
Extracted by RR Haywood
Art and Soul Reloaded by Pam Grout
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher




What are you reading this week?  How are your reading goals going?