Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson spoke to me…

I first and foremost must thank the awesome ladies on Twitter for turning me onto this book. It is by no means new, since it was published eleven years ago. Actually the year I graduated high school. I wish I would have known about it then. I say that now but as a senior in high school, who knows if I actually would have read it. I pulled a full class load that year AND a full-time job.

Apparently this book is on some school required reading lists and people are all in an uproar. It is being classified as pornographic and violent, not suitable for impressionable minds to read. I highly disagree and find it ironic that the main cause of the uproar, was a man. As if he has any clue what goes on in a female teen girls mind, or the stuff that they deal with on a daily basis in high school.

The book focuses on the life of Melinda, an outcast. You can tell from the beginning that she is only recently an outcast for some reason. Her one time friends are no longer speaking to her, she is ridiculed by her other peers and her home life is lonely. Her parents are simply way to busy to deal with a moody teenager. She goes through the motions day by day but she never actually functions. She does befriend a new girl in school, Heather, but even that doesn’t last. Heather wants to be popular, she has no need for a moody, depressed friend and so even she abandons Melinda.

The only person that actually hears the real Melinda is the art teacher. He seems to understand her pain even if Melinda doesn’t actually ever voice it. Through her art she is crying out for attention.

We find out that the reason Melinda has become a outcast was because she called the police at a high school party. However, no one actually takes the time to find out why. Teenagers are so self-absorbed that they never take the time to find the answer, they simply jump to conclusions. Melinda was raped. She was drunk. She was in shock.

The message of the story screams at me. Even if you can’t talk to your parents. Even if you can’t voice yourself to your friends. Find it within yourself to speak out. If that person happen to be a crazy art teacher, fine. The point being, SPEAK OUT. Don’t suffer in silence.

Now, everyone that knows me knows I rarely pick up a YA book. There has to be serious buzz around it for me to try it out. This book was one of those instances. I heard people wanted it banned and so I was curious. Maybe I did it to thumb my nose at society. Whatever it was, I picked it up, I read it in one sitting. I cried. I do not regret it. To call this book pornographic is simply ludicrous. If someone thinks rape is porno, they need their mind examined. This book is a heartfelt tale of sadness, love and then redemption of ones self. What better message is there to send to a teen girl? I know personally, I plan on buying an actual copy and giving it to my daughter when she hits her teen years. I want her to know that she can ALWAYS come to me with ANYTHING. But if she is a typical  teen, she won’t. I would much rather she talk to a friend, teacher or counselor then have her keep it in and eat at her.

Now this isn’t an actual book review…but I am giving this book 5 stars anyway. I urge you to read it. Read it for youself. Read it for your daughters. And don’t let anyone ever tell you what you should or should not read.

Time To Branch Out

 

I have been doing this blogging thing for a month or so. I think it might be time for me to branch out a bit. I want to do so many things with it. I want to review and beta read and throw my opinion out there. I feel like I have made a couple of solid contacts in the blogging world (Can you hear me yelling Bells, Judi and Colette, I bow down to thee). I have read about a zillion blogs and seen what they have to offer. I want that. You would think this would be simple huh? It’s not. I have no clue how to go about it. You see, I don’t work in that world. I’m at the other far end of the spectrum. I don’t stay at home all day and I don’t work with access to a computer the majority of the time. I cannot read a book within a day unless it’s a weekend, and even then its sketchy. I have two kids, two dogs, two cats, four frogs and a husband *sigh* someone always needs me for something. I am a fast reader though and can certainly read on a deadline if need be. I worry though that because I simply don’t have the kind of time these awesome other bloggers do, that I won’t stand a chance. Add to that the fact that these ladies are TIGHT. I mean they all know each other and have for what sounds like a long time. That’s right bloggers I am stalking your twitter accounts 🙂 . It’s like they have been blogging together since internet was first invented, HA.

 

I was watching an episode of The New Adventures of Old Christine last night (LOVE that show) and it totally hit my feelings on the head. Christine was talking to the rich mommies at her son’s school. She wanted into their club really badly, they ignored her. They were mean and snooty (though that has NOT happened to me, most bloggers are really very nice to me when I bug them). She was on the outside looking in and talking to the rich ladies maid. Oh yeah, in this scenario I would be the maid. Because well, I am one. Point being, she wanted in but was on the outside. I am not a writer, so I don’t fit in there. I can’t really contribute to the conversations they have. Most of the time I just listen and try to absorb. My opinions are strong but my writing skills vary on how passionate I feel on the subject. Bloggers are my best bet here. Over the course of the past month I have read some reviews that I thought I could NEVER top. However there were a few that I thought the opposite.

So bloggers out there…LET ME IN, YOUR SUPER COOL…I’M COOL TOO I PROMISE!! 🙂

The Lazy Underbelly

 

Today I am wondering about the laziness of people these days. For the past few days I have taken a step back and really looked at the population from a fresh perspective. Tried to nuzzle my way into the underbelly of the lazy. It’s not pretty in there either, let me tell you. Lots of dusty things lying around. I even saw some tumbleweeds rolling around under there. Now I certainly have been known to be lazy, everyone has. If you say you’re not at least partly lazy, well then your just lying to me and to yourself for that matter. However, some people make being lazy an art form. Take for instance my kids school. Everyday I have to drive up there to get them since we live to close for bussing and I refuse to let them walk. There are several doors to which the kids come out of according to grade level. Kindergarten (which is what my daughter is in) gets to come out the front door where the parking lot is. You are to pull into a parking space and then actually get out of your vehicle and walk 20 feet to wait for the kids to come out. The parking lot is small but since only one grade is coming out there is plenty of room to park. Like clockwork there is some mom that feels the need to just pull her minivan up to the front door and park it in the middle of the lane instead of parking in a space like everyone else. Therefore blocking all the traffic because there is only one way in and one way out. She can obviously see because you can’t drive blind. But the fact that everyone else is walking up to the door doesn’t phase her in the least. She would rather sit there and block traffic. LAZY.

Then you have the people who are perfectly capable of taking care of their houses and they just don’t. Ever see Christmas lights still hanging halfway off a house in July? I sure have. Right down the street from me actually. It’s not that the homeowners are old or disabled. They are just lazy. The grass is almost a foot tall, the shutters are hanging off the house, there is trash on the porch…but hey, the guy has an awesome Jeep Cherokee that he washes at least once a week. That must take up all his time. Maybe he doesn’t want to mow his grass because he will get his white tank top (the only shirt I have EVER seen him wear) dirty. Who knows…but its LAZINESS. The fact that his Jeep has a huge “Git R Done” sticker on the windshield is kind of ironic to me.

The cart corral situation I talked about in an earlier blog can fall into the category of laziness too. Seriously just put your cart away. It’s not hard or difficult. As someone who has had to replace an entire side mirror on her car from a rogue rolling cart…I implore you. $300! Just walk the cart to the cart corral. That’s the reason they are there.

Think about it. Right now where you are? Sitting on the couch perhaps just like me. Remote for the tv right beside me, cell phone on the other side of me. I do not have to get up. I even have a kid if I want a drink..hahaha. Society makes it so easy to be lazy. What I am asking you to do is just take a look around. Take the extra 20 seconds it may take you to put something away. Don’t become “that neighbor”. You know the one, every neighborhood has one. Your thinking of the exact person right now I bet huh? I know I am.Walk somewhere close by instead of driving. Be a little more active when you can. Take pride in what you own and how you present yourself. It’s totally okay to be lazy every now and again, but don’t let it define who you are.

Now go and have a lazy Sunday…it is the day of rest after all. 🙂

Supply and Demand

 

This year I decided since our cash flow keeps fluctuating that I would start Christmas shopping early. The boy is easy, video games and clothes. Maybe a couple of weather books or science stuff. The girl on the other hand had only asked for one thing so far. Monster High dolls. If you havent heard, these are a new line of dolls from Mattel depicting popular monsters kids. So there is a Cleo De Nile, Frankie Stein, Draculara, Clawdeen Wolf, Lagoona Blue and the sole boy, Deuce Gordon. I thought, sweet, something easy and fast I can pick up occasionally so by Christmas she will have the entire set. That idea came crashing to the ground as soon as I started looking for them. No one had any. Nada. Nothing at all. The displays were there and some of the stupid accessories but the dolls were just empty spots on the shelves. All the online stores said “currently out of stock”.

About this time I start having flashbacks to last year when a month before Christmas the girl comes to me and says “Momma, all I want is a Zhu Zhu Pet”. Yeah sure honey, you and about a zillion other kids all over the world. I refused to pay $50 for a $10 toy on Craigslist or Ebay either. I ended up standing in line at Toys R Us for two friggin hours but I got one. Merry Christmas, Bah Humbug.

I haven’t even seen a commercial for these dolls. So I have no idea why people are so fanatical about getting them already. I have never allowed Bratz type dolls in the house because they look like skanks, but the girl is obsessed with supernatural type stuff this year and these are right up that alley. I honestly think that Mattel puts little spies in all the elementary schools that whisper in little girls ears. “you want this, you must have this, you will be devastated if you don’t get it”. Then they go back to the company and release two per store.  Maybe the gas companies are in on it too. The more you have to drive aimlessly to Walmarts all over the state, the more gas you have to buy. Then you get there and cage match some other mom for the right to the toy. You ever see that movie Jingle All The Way?

So anyway I came home deflated the first time I went out looking. I took solace in the fact that instead of knowing a month before Christmas, at least I had a few months to round-up the items. Then last Wednesday I found one at a local Walmart. At that point I became fanatical. The hunt was on, it was now a game. By the end of today I had been to every Target, Walmart and Toys R Us around. I managed to round-up every single doll except for the most popular, Lagoona Blue. The bitch is already going for $37-50 online and wasn’t any way I was paying that. Several stores told me that hadn’t ever even gotten her. AWESOME. Thanks Mattel. So I proceeded to call everyone I knew in and out-of-state to have them look. Nope, nothing, no one had any. Then one of my oldest friends found me one right here in town. At a girls clothing store! I know right…what is a girls clothing store doing with several dolls? No clue, but I didn’t ask questions. I don’t care if they “fell off the back of the truck”. She is now in my possession and that’s all that matters. Seriously, if there was an emergency and we had to vacate the house, those dolls are coming with me. I spent a good chunk of the last two weeks looking for them.

So I can relax now. Until something else comes out and the girl just has to have it to for Christmas. Video games are just way easier to buy…*sigh*.

 

Shopping Courtesy 101

 

I was recently reading on another blog about grocery store etiquette and some of the things that should be common knowledge to other people, but apparently are not. There are several things I would like to address in this blog that I read and found myself nodding my head in agreeance on my couch. If we could all do this, my shopping experience would improve greatly. Perhaps I wouldn’t leave Walmart wanting to knock someones head off.

1. If you can manage to walk into a store with your own two feet and push a cart around, you can manage to put that cart away after you complete your shopping trip. By that I mean either walk the cart back to the store or use one of the cart corrals. They are there for a reason.  Do not leave your cart chilling in the middle of the parking lot where its bound to roll off and dent someones else’s car. If you don’t want your car dented, I’m sure other people don’t either. Please do not give me the “well, I have kids and can’t leave them in the car while I return it” excuse. I have two kids. I either think ahead of time and park by the cart corral (HAHA SMART HUH), lock them in the car while I return it or make them come with me and buckle them in afterwards.

2. If you insist on writing a check, then start it before you get up there. Your standing in line behind a bunch of people anyway, the name of the store and the date are probably not gonna change in the time it take you to get up to the front. And unless you get married while in line, your name isn’t changing either. Please don’t make me wait in line any longer then I have to. Especially if you’re a really slow writer (heads up old people, I am talking to you).

3. Don’t be a line crowd-er. By that I mean personal space. I had some lady standing so close to me the other day I could smell her Charlie cologne. Yeah I said Charlie cologne…I mean really. Is there a reason you need to be touching me? I am not a touchy person, back up please. Unless you want me to “accidentally” elbow you in the ribs or perhaps run my cart into your ankles. Both easily avoided by getting off my rear.

4. If you happen to run into your bestest friend from middle school (O.M.G!) take your conversation somewhere other than the middle of the main aisle. Take it over to the condom aisle because based on the people I am running into, a lot aren’t using those. I do not care to hear about that time when you were forced to climb the rope in gym class in 7th grade. Or who Cindy is sleeping with now. I just need to get my cart through the store and back up to the registers in a timely manner.

5. Treat the aisles like a road. Please don’t park your cart in the middle and wander off to the other end. It’s totally ok if you need something from the other side of the aisle but don’t act like you don’t see the other people trying to maneuver around your cart…you do.

6. Please don’t let your child push the cart if they aren’t capable of doing so. If I am keeping a good distance I don’t need a cart rammed into my ankle. I am also sure the workers of the store don’t like their displays jacked up by little drivers.

7. The bikes are there for trying out ONLY. Not to ride through the store at breakneck speed while the parents are buying beer over in the grocery section. Either buy it and ride it at home or leave it alone. This goes for all toys. If I can manage to control my two houligans…others can too. Simple, say no. Try it out once, it works.

8. Last but not least. Look in the mirror before you leave your house. I implore you. Unless your goal is to end up on peopleofwalmart.com that is. Ask yourself if you honestly think you look ok. There is a huge difference between sloppy/dirty and having an off center/unique sense of style. You can wear what you want without your ass hanging out. Or even worse, your belly. Just go one size up if your on that border…please. I hate having to bleach my eyes after witnessing your latest attempt at “looking hot”.

So there is it. Do you have any pet peeves? What really sets you off when you go shopping somewhere? I am sure that I could think of more, but I think this covers the majority of mine. I often can be found just shaking my head in awe when I go out. It’s like the evolutionary chain missed some people in the very important stage of “common courtesy”. These people are still flinging poo at each other….

For His Eyes Only by Avery Beck

Jacey Cass and Alex Vaughn meet once a year at a company social extravaganza. They share one night of mind-blowing, knock your socks off sex, and then part until the next year. Jacey has always refused to give Alex any information that might lead him to find out who she really is, a sales girl at the lingerie company he is looking to become CEO of.  Her ambitions aren’t exactly within her price range on a cashiers salary, but she refuses to accept help, instead approaching everything on her own. The last thing she wants is to end up like her mother, dependent on others for everything.

Alex is looking to take over the company from his aging father. When he offers a modeling position to his unknown lover, he can almost see the stock prices raising. She not only lights up his night, but her body is perfect for his newest campaign. He is more than a little shocked when she flat-out refuses him.

Jacey decides to enter and win the modeling competition on her own. Only this way would she be able to accept the prize money the job is offering. Her dreams of going to college and getting out of her rat trap apartment are finally within her grasp. Cinching the win won’t be so easy though when everyone has a hidden agenda.

With her relationship to Alex heating up more than ever, can she resist the urge to turn to him with her dreams? Jacey will need to let go of her past if she ever has a chance at the independent future she craves so much.

I received this book from Avery a few days ago after winning it from a contest. It moved to the top of my pile because I was eager to try her writing since I hadn’t before. The book is only two hundred pages so it was a fairly quick read, even for me with my hectic schedule and kids running around.

I enjoyed the story overall. The story line of a beautiful young woman in love with a CEO of the company she works for has been done to death. Avery manages to change it up by adding in the element of the lingerie modeling contest, backstabbing side characters and Alex’s unsavory father. I will say though that Jacey’s constant mood swings did get a bit much. I wanted to shout at her to just tell Alex how she was feeling instead of regressing into bitch mode so often. However, we all know that women can be that way, so I can’t fault her for writing the truth. The sex scenes (and there were a LOT, be forewarned) were well thought out and most definitely scorchingly hot. There were, however, several lines that I thought if some guy ever said that to me during sex I would bust out laughing and immediately look for my underwear. Though I think that at least once in every book I read..probably just me and my twisted-ness.

If you’re looking for a book about personal goals, integrity, enough hot sex to set yourself on fire and the gray areas between right and wrong, then For Your Eyes Only is for you. It will warm your soul. I look forward to reading the other book she sent, “Sexy By Design”.  On a side note: Take a look at that cover! WOW! HOT! I want that chicks airbrushed body!  I give the book 3 3/4 stars.

Social media authors and my buying trends

I love authors. Who I started out reading has quickly morphed into many additional authors within the last few months. I blame Twitter and Facebook for my newest plight. I especially love those authors who actually connect with their readers. Before social media the only chance you might have to connect with anyone you read would be to go stand in some long line hoping to get 5 seconds of their time and an autograph. Now there is ONLINE.

 

Not that it was an option where I live, which is in the heartland of Ohio. I’m at least forty minutes from anywhere a decent author would be signing anything. Now I don’t even have to leave my house, not that I wouldn’t if someone came to somewhere near me. *HINT HINT*

I have found that I tend to pick up books lately whose authors I have spoken to on Twitter. Those who have taken the time to answer people’s questions or go to other people’s blogs. I know personally I have had two authors on this blog and each time I was ecstatic. That they would take the time to acknowledge anything I wrote amazes me. Especially since these two particular authors are at the very top of my list. These are the authors that I knock people over to get to the display on the day the books come out. You get my drift, they are my favorite.

I wonder why more authors don’t follow suite? It seems to me you would want to connect with your readers. Get a feel for what they like and don’t like. There are some very awesome authors, whose work I love, but they just seem so aloof and impersonal. They don’t have any type of social media and their websites seem very proper (for lack of a better word). Like someone in their publishing house put it online and they have no interactions with it.  They just write their bestsellers and that is that. It doesn’t mean that I won’t read their books, because I certainly will. There are several authors I would stand in line for hours for my five seconds with them. It’s just nice to be able to connect with people on a personal level. Times have definitely changed.

I wonder if it’s a status thing? Maybe these authors feel they are so popular already that they don’t need to do any interacting. They are household names. People buy their books on the name alone. Maybe they are so busy writing that they simply don’t have time. Both understandable, certainly. Having said that however, I was recently in Borders and only had money to buy one book. After perusing the shelves for at least an hour I had it narrowed down to two books. One by my standby favorite author and one by an author who I have spoken to in an online chat and on a social media site. Guess whose I bought? I ended up choosing the author who I had personally spoken to. Why? Because I felt a connection with her.

Twitter has turned me on to so many new authors. Some are just starting out and only have a few novellas. Others have been writing for years, but somehow I just hadn’t heard of them. How is it possible that for years I was only reading romance from one author? The array of writing styles and different romance genres are so expansive. Now I have a whole list of people I connect with on a daily basis.

So I guess this is my point. It’s not that I won’t still read books from my favorite author, it’s just that she won’t be the one I’m rushing out to spend my money on. Given the choice, I will buy first from the person I feel a connection with.

Hard decisions are, well…..hard

There comes a time when you need to look at what your goals are. Most importantly you need to look at not what you want to do, but what you HAVE to do, to get there. Having a husband that was without a job for a time puts everything into perspective with what I need to do. I have decided that I need stability. Stability makes me feel safe, it also pays my bills. As much as I want to I can’t wait for opportunities to find me, I have to go actively look for them. Doesn’t mean I won’t still be doing everything I do now. Just means that I need to pick the most stable thing I have right now and work that first. Everything else will have to come in second, if I have time.  What it boils down to is family…and the fact that I have one. It’s not just me that I am supporting. I have two beautiful kids that I need to make sure have everything they need as well. They actually expect me to feed them….daily *sigh*. As much as I want to be there for people, I need to be selfish when I am dealing with my kids. I have to pay my bills just like everyone else. I will miss some things about what I am backing away from. However, it’s not like I will be losing this part of my life completely, just focusing the majority of my time elsewhere until I can find better stability there.

Plus, this means I will get to spend a little more time reviewing books and helping out my aspiring author cousin…which is one of my true passions. If I could make a living out of beta reading, I would be totally all over that.

Until then, I will grab my mop and broom and get back to work.

Boooooo I hate hard decisions that leave me feeling unfulfilled.

Under Construction?

 

Well now I’ve gone and done it. I changed the look of my blog…as you can tell, I hope. However, in doing that it opened up a big door of crap. Literally things disappeared, links popped up that weren’t there before and a bunch of general strangeness abounded. So, for the past several hours I have been sitting here trying to keep it together and not flip out. Using the very last bit of patience I have (hey, it’s the end of the day) to try to salvage my blog and make it look at least halfway presentable.

This all started when I saw this super cool carousel thingie on a bunch of other blogs I stalk, er visit. It goes around and shows the viewer what books someone wants, whats on their “to be read” pile, what they just finished….whatever. I wanted it very very badly. So I managed to put one together and then nothing, nada, zilch. Couldn’t figure out how to put it on my page. After at least an hour I see a teeny tiny sentence at the bottom that states:  “can not be used on wordpress.com due to security reasons” WHAT??!! Grr! Ok, so I had wasted an hour. In the process of putting an entire paragraph of code about 20 different places on my blog trying to get it to work, I had manged to erase some crucial pieces of information. Go figure. So I basically started from scratch. I now have a shiny new background and two new columns. I even added my own dang “to be read” column. It may not be a super cool carousel, but it’s mine. Whatever. No, I am not bitter. Ok, maybe just a little. It is SUPER COOL. This is why I stay off other people’s blogs. They have DOMAINS. I have a tiny wordpress site. They have pages and contests and pretty little things everywhere. I have this, HA. It took me at least 30 min to figure out how to put the “about me” page up with a picture. Having a blog should come with some large amounts of St John’s Wort or some other antidepressant. I seriously need it. I am vowing to leave the blog alone and not to try to add shiny, super cool widgets from now on. Ok, no I’m not. Next week I guarantee you will be reading something entirely similar to this after I once again “visit” someone blog and find something cool I want on here.

Maybe I can write a “How to Blog For Dummies” book….

Sin Undone by Larissa Ione

Sin is a Seminus demon, the only female one in existence. She is a freak of nature. Not meant to be. Or so she has been told her entire life. Sold into slavery years ago she had become a hard and unloving assassin. Her love for Lore, her twin brother, is her only link to what little humanity she has left. Now she has found herself thrown into a family she never knew nor wanted. Having three new overprotective brothers is definitely cramping her style. How is she supposed to be a good assassin master when they keep harping about family dinners and holidays? Not to mention she has accidentally started a werewolf disease that is quickly spreading through the species.

Con has been charged with bringing Sin in for justice. The disease she has started, involuntary or not, is punishable most likely by death. Being half werewolf gives him the incentive to bring her in. He never expected to develop feelings for a demon he has every right to hate. Getting her to drop the walls she has built around her for years is a hard feat to accomplish. Fighting his very nature is even harder. Because there are things no one knows about dhampires. Secrets that he can’t afford to let slip. When this is over, he is to take his place among his society. Become what he has wanted for so long. Now that Sin has breached his own defenses, is what he has always wanted going to be enough?

Sin Undone is book 5 in the Demonica series for Larissa. Sadly, since there are no more siblings, this is the last book in the series. I will venture to say this was my favorite. I completely connected with Sin and her abandonment issues. I felt her pain and even shed a tear at one point in the book (much to the hubby’s amusement). I loved the interaction between Sin and Con and found it completely believable. Well as much as I can believe a demon and a vampire/werewolf conversation. Larissa has a way of drawing you in and making you invest in her characters. They may be demons or mythical creatures but you will laugh with them, fight with them and even cry with them. The way she weaves a story truly blows my mind and gets better with every book I pick up. I give 5 stars to Sin Undone.

*side note* At the end of the book there is a sneak peek into her next series due out in spring 2011.  Oh lordy, am I excited. We met one of the characters briefly in this book. The series is going to be based on the four horseman of the apocolypse…or “The Lords Of Deliverance”, as she is calling them. Except there is a twist (of course), one of them is female.  The series will start with Eternal Rider, Ares’ (War) story. I can not wait…seriously….

, PHPlist