Saturday, June 30, 2012

June = Jam Packed Month

BEA in NYC, book club (x2), Loudoun library sale, black tie gala, bridal shower, bachelorette party, wedding hair trial and so on - this month was beyond nuts and that all happened after my full time job.  It was a sad reading month in terms of numbers, but I think this is the norm for me for awhile, at least until October.  So here is what I did read this month:

Books Completed:
. One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf
2. Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris
3. The 500 by Matthew Quirk
4. Jennifer's Garden by Dianne Venetta
5. A Lighter Shade of Gray by Devon Pearse
6. Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer
7. Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
8. Showbiz by Ruby Preston
9. Safe Within by Jean Reynolds Page
10. A Long Way From You by Gwendolyn Heasley
11. You Take it From Here by Pamela Ribon
12. The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Total pages read, clicked, and flipped: 4,409

Where Have I Been Reading?:

Hollywood, CA
Washington, DC
Miami, FL
St. Augustine, FL
New York City, NY (2)
North Carolina
Ogden, LA

Friday, June 29, 2012

Interview with Gwendolyn Heasley

After reading and reviewing A Long Way From Home by Gwendolyn Heasley, I am excited to share an interview I had with her. Without any further ado . . .

1. What do you find yourself rambling about?

Celebrity. While I do somewhat follow celebrity gossip, I’m most interested in how fame changes people and why so many of us are obsessed with celebrities.  I wrote my master’s thesis on the subject and it’s still something that I’m always thinking and rambling about. Also, I miss the Oprah show and occasionally I must lament about that. Oprah, I miss you.

2. You have written two books that are both in the "women's fiction or chick lit" genre, would you ever consider writing in another genre?

I would love to write a nonfiction book at some point in my life. Or work at a newspaper or magazine.  I loved studying journalism and use a lot of what I learned about it in my fiction writing.

I would love the challenge of practicing journalism at some point, especially since I’ve never worked in the field and it’s always been a dream of mine. But I think I would still want to write about women and/or teens because that’s what I’m the most passionate about.
3. What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
       I like the first draft even though it’s so rough and rugged. I think there’s something special about putting it all down on paper for the first time even if it all ends up changing in the end. Plus, I feel the most free then. I’m less worried about details, so it’s more fun!

4. Before becoming a published author, did you have any speed bumps along the way?  If so, how did you overcome them?
 Yes. I got out of school during the height of recession and couldn’t find a job in the journalism field. I felt a bit defeated.  WHERE I BELONG is a recessionary tale and was inspired by that transitional phase in my life.  I learned that you might not have the job you want but you can always write. Foremost, I wrote WHERE I BELONG for myself. I never thought it’d be published.
I’m pleased that it was published, but even more than that, I’m just glad I wrote it because it was cathartic. I think you can have a great writing experience regardless of whether you get published or not. There are just some stories that we must tell and WHERE I BELONG was one of those for me.

5. When looking at your female leads, do you put a piece of your own personality into the characters?
I don’t. My characters are always more extreme than I am. Kitsy, from A LONG WAY FROM YOU, is way more brave and kind than I’ll ever be. Corrinne, from WHERE I BELONG, is more confident and sophisticated than I’ll ever be.  I might share some qualities with both of them, but they are always the extreme version of me. I love writing from their perspective because they do stuff that I would be too scared to do, especially when I was a teenager. Both of my heroines are risk takers, so they are delights to write about.
6. What is next on your plate?
      I’m writing my third book with HarperTeen. At this point, I’m not sure what it’ll be about, but I know that it will not be related to WHERE I BELONG or A LONG WAY FROM YOU. It’s a bit intimidating to step away from my characters who I adore, but I’m excited for a new challenge.

THANK YOU for having me on your awesome blog! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: A Long Way From You by Gwendolyn Heasley

A Long Way From You by Gwendolyn Heasley

Publisher: HarperTeen 
Pages: 336 
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon   

Goodreads:  For too long, Kitsy has had to satisfy her dreams of becoming a real artist by giving her friends makeovers before prom. So when her best friend Corrinne's family offers to sponsor her for a summer art course in New York City, Kitsy bids a temporary good-bye to Texas to say hello to the West Village.

Between navigating the subway and the New Yorkers--namely, the Art Boy who has a nice trick of getting under her skin--Kitsy knows that this summer is going to be about a "lot" more than figure drawing.

Kritters Thoughts:  Kitsy has never left the state of Texas and she is headed to New York City for the summer for art school.  She has always dreamed of leaving her small town and discovering what is out there beyond her home town and she is given the perfect opportunity to experience NYC for a summer.  Staying with her friend Corrine's parents, she has a home base, but she learns where to find trouble and what she is willing to do to concur her dream of becoming an artist.

The characters were flawlessly age appropriate, but not overwhelming for this adult.  I was completely taken in by the story from the first page and I wanted to know more about the adventures that Kitsy would endure while she was away from her family and friends.  I would love another book that took the reader inside these girls lives, I just wonder who would be the next lead.  

A quick YA read that was a perfect book to take to the pool for the weekend.  A light story that was entertaining and easy to follow - I was reminded how much I love YA contemporary. 

SIDE note - I did not know that the characters in this book appeared in her first book Where I Belong, so you may want to pick that one up first although it centers around a different character, there is a bit of backstory that I was definitely missing for this one.

Rating: the perfect YA read

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Little Bird Publicity.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Please excuse the morning hair and wear, 
we were spending a fun Sunday morning reading on the couch.
Me, Miss Charlotte, Emma and Ope

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review: Keepsake by Kristina Riggle

Keepsake by Kristina Riggle 

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks 
Pages: 384 
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Amazon:  What happens when the things we own become more important than the people we love?

Trish isn't perfect. She's divorced and raising two kids—so of course her house isn't pristine. But she's got all the important things right and she's convinced herself that she has it all under control. That is, until the day her youngest son gets hurt and Child Protective Services comes calling. It's at that moment when Trish is forced to consider the one thing she's always hoped wasn't true: that she's living out her mother's life as a compulsive hoarder.

The last person Trish ever wanted to turn to for help is her sister, Mary—meticulous, perfect Mary, whose house is always spotless . . . and who moved away from their mother to live somewhere else, just like Trish's oldest child has. But now, working together to get Trish's disaster of a home into livable shape, two very different sisters are about to uncover more than just piles of junk, as years of secrets, resentments, obsessions, and pain are finally brought into the light.

Kritters Thoughts:  A heartwrenching look at a disease that has become coming up more and more through tv shows and the media - hoarding.  The reader immediately meets Trish a hoarder who has CPS on her front door due to an accident in her home with her youngest son.  Soon after we meet her sister Mary, who has the exact opposite problem an OCD cleanliness thing.  Without giving up too much plot, there are reasons why each sister has their issues that are very deep and painful; they must come to terms with their past in order to start living in the present and planning a future.

As always, I love a story that has two narrators because I feel like you get an even fuller picture of the story through each of their points of view.  The one minor thing that kept giving me troubles was the switch between the sisters in the narration and the chapters not being labeled and starting out with I and not knowing exactly who was taking center stage.  Call me Miss Obvious, but I like things labeled, so I can quickly find out who is moving the story.

A book that I would recommend to any pair of sisters to understand how each sister comes out of a childhood affected in a different way.  I am a new fan of Kristina Riggle and will definitely be checking out her previous books and will be watching out for her in the future.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.  

Tour stops along the way:

Tuesday, June 26th: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, June 27th: a novel toybox
Thursday, June 28th: Sarah Reads Too Much
Friday, June 29th: Luxury Reading
Monday, July 2nd: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 3rd: Me and Reading
Wednesday, July 4th: Life is Short. Read Fast.
Thursday, July 5th: A Cozy Reader’s Corner
Tuesday, July 10th: Life In Review
Wednesday, July 11th: Proud Book Nerd
Thursday, July 12th: Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, July 13th: The House of the Seven Tails
Monday, July 16th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (77)

After quite a busy week, I am amazed that I am still standing.  A Nationals game, book club, an author signing and a black tie gala for work happened before friends came in town for my bridal shower, so we can all say its been nuts!  I think finishing 3 books is more than an accomplishment!  

The shower was perfect, a bunch of ladies getting together to hang out, I love it when all my circles come together and meet.  The party was loads of fun - a piano bar and all of my fun lady friends - it was a night to remember.  

So now it is Monday, back to the grind and hopefully a quieter week where reading can occur.

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

Showbiz by Ruby Preston
Safe Within by Jean Reynolds Page

A Long Way From You by Gwendolyn Heasley

Currently Reading:

You Take it From Here by Pamela Ribon

Next off the TBR pile:
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Sunday, June 24, 2012

In My Mailbox (73)

This In My Mailbox is so huge that it had to be split into two parts, so here we go!

A meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

For Review:

A Long Way From You  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Hell or High Water by Joy Castro  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Gone by Cathi Hanauer  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Saving Ruth by Zoe Fishman  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Widow's Might by Sandra Brannan  (Goodreads  Amazon)
What Happened to My Sister by Elizabeth Flock  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Better than Chocolate by Sheila Roberts  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Great Aunt Sophia's Lessons for Bombshells by Lisa Cach  (Goodreads  Amazon)

Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City by Holly Denham  (Goodreads  Amazon)
It's Not You, It's Me by Allison Rushby  (Goodreads Amazon)

I Couldn't Love You More by Jillian Medoff (Goodreads  Amazon)

Book Club:

The Bird House by Kelly Simmons  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye  (Goodreads  Amazon)

Library Sale:
Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani  (Goodreads  Amazon)
I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Spilling Clarence by Anne Ursu  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Vows, Vendettas and a Little Black Dress by Kyra Davis  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Just One Look by Harlan Coben  (Goodreads Amazon)

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