Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I'm an eye-phone for Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Went to the 2013 NJLA Adult Services Forum...left with a book list.

Yesterday I attended the NJLA Adult Services Forum (don't worry you don't need to know what it is for this post) and while there attended one panel and spoke on another and walked away with a list of some new books to read.  Since I'm really behind in writing reviews I decided to just share these new books so I at least had a post for today!

The Marked Men series by Jay Crownover

Rule (Marked Men, #1)Jet (Marked Men, #2)Rome (Marked Men, #3)

Real series by Katy Evans

Real (Real, #1)Mine (Real, #2)Remy (Real, #3)

Vintage by Susan Gloss

Vintage

I Love This Bar by Carolyn Brown

I Love This Bar (Honky Tonk, #1)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Trailer Thursday (Kinda): Comic Genius by Matt Hoyle

Matt Hoyle's new book, Comic Genius: Portraits of Funny People, is a collection of portraits of some of the funniest people around.  Included in this collection are some of my favorites like Mel Brooks, Billy Crystal, Carol Burnett, Jon Stewart, Joan Rivers, and the two in the video below.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I'm still writing...

kind of.

With school work and work work I feel as if I don't have the time to write.  When I'm not at work, and not working on school stuffs, I really have no desire to be in front of the computer.

With National Novel Writing Month approaching I'm considering if I'll be attempting the challenge this year.  I'm leaning strongly towards 'no' for those reasons stated above. I am however determined to write in November.  While I won't officially be participating, I am planning on focusing on some writing.

I started working on turning one of my failed NaNo novels into  short story.  I think I write better as a short story author.  I started my editing of the original text and weeding out the sub plot lines that just won't work in the shorter version.

Besides not writing I haven't been going to writer's group meetings.  I'm going to start to go back, at least to help the other members with their writing projects. I'm also going to do the writing exercises they started doing.  Even if I'm just hacking out 2 pages every 2 weeks, at least I'm writing.

Here are the prompts for the upcoming meetings:

Writers' prompts for October 28th -The asteroid was hurtling straight for...
Writers' prompts for November 9th -The garden was overgrown now.
Writers' prompt for November 18th - Fads never really go out of style.

Reading Challenges Update

A friend posted on Facebook yesterday that we have just entered the last quarter of the year. (It's a little depressing.)

Anyway I thought it would be a good idea to see where I stand with my Reading Challenges for 2013.

Nora Roberts Reading Challenge
I don't really set any goals with this one. I try to stay current on her new releases while putting  dent in her back list.  I've pretty much current (just need to read the novella and wait for the new series to start). I've read about 30 of her back list titles.  I read the MacGregors series. It also helps that they have been re-releasing her back list.  Of course it's two titles to a book so my overall book title count is lower (if I'm reading them in one book, it counts as one book).

The 2013 TBR Challenge
I started off strong with this one, and then hit a wall. I just couldn't get into the one book I picked up, and then everything just seemed to bump those books down the list. It looks like at least 4 of my picks (plus my 2 alternates) will be on my TBR list another year.

GoodReads 2013 Reading Challenge
For 2013 I set a goal to track 200 books.  As of this posting I'm at 130 tracked books, with 2 currently being read/listened to.  According to the tracker I'm currently 30 books behind where I should be. I don't think I'm going to make 200, I'll be happy if I hit 150; which is what I should have set as my goal for this year. I had a goal of 100 books last year and passed that, and I guess I thought I would have more free time to read this year.  I'm both happy and sad that I didn't have as much time as I assumed I'd have.

Check back in January to see how I finish the year!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What I'm reading this semester in grad school...

This semester I am taking Graduate Seminar in British Literature: Written Revolutions.

We are in week 4 and I can say already this is an interesting topic.

Here's some of what we've read already:

  • Section from Milton's Paradise Lost
  • A number of 18th Century poems
  • The Rover by Aphra Behn
  • The Beggar's Opera by John Gay
What we're reading this week:
  • A section from A Vindication of the Rights of Men by Mary Wollstonecraft
  • A section from Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke
  • A section from The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine
  • and other selected works by all Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and Richard Price
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Some of what we will be reading:
  • Poems of the Romantic Poets
  • Readings about the abolition of slavery
  • Gender issues in Victorian Society
  • Writings on the Industrial Revolution
  • Works of Moderism from James Joyce, Virginia Wolfe and T.S. Elliot
Unlike last semester I don't have access to our full reading list a head of time, just selected readings. It makes it kind of hard to be on top of things, so I'm already dragging behind in other nonwork related readings. Kind of upsetting but this looks like an interesting topic and I'm looking forward to the Romantic Poets!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Blog Tour - Sometimes in Dreams - Mini Review

Sometimes in DreamsSometimes in Dreams by G. L. Helm
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For the first part of this stop of the blog tour, G.L. Helm wrote a guest post which you can find here

It's very rare for me to like a book while disliking the main characters of a book.  It's rare for me to even finish a book if this is the case, yet I found myself compelled to finish this book.

Synopsis:
Daniel Pentland is a broken man; torn between the two women in his life. He is tormented by guilt over his love affair with a beautiful English girl he met while living in Italy, and the loyal devotion of his wife, Amanda.

Two years after the tragic death of his lover Kit, he is continually haunted by her memory. Across the sands of the Mojave Desert, her voice calls out to him, pulling at his heart and his memories.

Each night as Daniel wakes screaming and fighting against the phantom of Kit’s killer, his wife does her best to soothe his pain and help him overcome his grief.


Sometimes in Dreams is a story of redemption through a love that simply refuses to die.

Review:

There were a lot of things I didn't like about this book. I didn't like Daniel, I didn't like Amanda, and I didn't like Kit. I didn't like the instant, all consuming love of Daniel and Kit. I didn't like that Amanda sticks with Daniel.  

Normally, this would make me put a book down and give it up for a loss. As a reader, I want to connect with at least one character, otherwise I don't feel a connection to the story and I don't care enough to keep reading to see what happens to the characters.  

That didn't happen with this novel, even though I didn't like these three characters, I needed to know how this story would play out.  I wanted to know how Kit died. I wanted an answer for why Amanda stuck with Daniel. I wanted to know what was going on with Daniel in the present, not that I really cared.

I got my answer about Kit.  I know why Amanda stuck with Daniel.  I know how Daniel fares.  I'm happy I finished reading.  I liked the back and forth nature of the story.  It felt as if the reader was on the journey with Daniel, through his struggles with dealing with Kit's death. 

I say if the synopsis intrigues you as it did me, to give the story a chance. Sometimes the journey is worth taking. 

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Blog Tour - Sometimes in Dreams by G.L. Helm

I'm happy to be participating in the Blog Tour for G.L. Helm's novel Sometimes in Dreams. Today he has written a post about his novel.  On Thursday I'll have my mini-review of the novel. 


Sometimes in Dreams: Fact or Fiction

There is always a question when an author writes a book. “How much is fact and how much is fiction?” In Sometimes in Dreams that is a very hard thing say for sure. All the places and settings in the story are completely real. Some of the settings have been bent around to fit a particular need, but not bent much. Everything in Venice is completely real with the exception of Campo Redemptor, which doesn’t really exist, but Bar Redemptor does exist in a different part of the city. It is much more of a working man’s bar than a restaurant bar I created. The barkeep in my Bar Redemptor is like a hundred real ones all of whom had their own coffee and drink ballet performed behind their bars, and the bar itself was patterned after a bar-restaurant where I really did hang out. It wasn’t in Venice, it was in Aviano and was called Mario’s.

But of course the real question is how much of the love story is real. In that I would have to say none of it. None of the affair between Kit and Daniel is at all real, though I must tell you that Kit was based on a real lady with whom I was quite smitten. The description of her is pretty accurate also. The love story between Daniel and Amanda is very much true as well as many of the happenings therein, including the dangerous assignments and the months of separation. There were obviously no years of despair because there was no affair with Kit. But there have been other times of despair and frustration where the woman after whom Amanda was patterned cared for me in much the same way Amanda cared for Daniel in Sometimes in Dreams.

I have said in other places that most of my work is really just wish fulfillment and that absolutely includes Sometimes in Dreams. That is what is great about being a writer. I can take any situation in which I find myself and pretend it is real, at least for the length of time it takes to write the story. I am always the hero in all my stories, but then again I am also the villain and the heroine and the barkeep and the beggar on the corner. They say, who ever “they” are, that we should always be the hero in our own lives and I try hard to live up to that.

Author Bio:

G. L. Helm is a 'ne'er-do-well scribbler'—novelist, short story writer and poet—who has tramped around the world for the last forty years thanks to his long suffering military wife. He has lived in Germany, Spain, and Italy. His epitaph will read, “He married well.”



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