Tuesday, November 27, 2007

ARCHANGEL by Sharon Shinn

Well, I made the mistake of starting this book this past weekend. And well, I had to finish it. Simple as that. So, rather than working on my family law outline that I vowed to have finished by Friday, I read and read until I finished the dang thing. Wow. Loved it. :) Guess it's time to work on homework after this. LOL.

Brief Synopsis: Gabriel is six months away from taking his place as the Archangel, the highest amongst the angels and the one who serves as an intermediary between the people of Samaria and Jovah, their God. In order to secure his position, he must sing with his angelica at the Gloria. Should he fail in this task, Jovah will smite the world with his wrath. Only problem is that Rachel, the one chosen to marry Gabriel, his angelica, isn't what you would call cooperative. In addition, the current Archangel, Raphael, isn't ready to step down and is attempting to thwart Gabriel's ascension.

Gah...as always...that sucked. LOL. However, I did manage to work in the word "smite" which has always been a personal goal of mine. ;)

Okay, where to begin. First of all, I LOVED this book. Wait, I said that already -- but heck, it bears repeating. I've never read a book about angels (well, other than a couple of Frank Peretti's books) and I really didn't know what to expect. I want to preface this review by saying I know nothing about angels and whatever mythology/etc. surrounds them. Therefore, I'm completely unable to judge whether anything in this book would be offensive to certain religions, etc. However, as one friend pointed out, the angels in this book do get married and engage in *cough*sex*cough* and aren't exactly champions of monogamy or marital vows. So, be forewarned.

One of the things I loved most about this book is the world Shinn created. It was just so...vivid. I had no problem imagining myself walking through the stone buildings atop Eyrie or the crowded marketplaces of Velora... I could almost feel cool wind through my hair as I flew high above Samaria with Gabriel. If I closed my eyes, I could hear angelic voices raised in harmony... Man, it gave me goosebumps. If anything can be said about Shinn, it's that she knows how to turn a phrase--knows how to make you feel things in the marrow of your bones.

Rachel was a great character and her flaws made her real. The tragedies in her life made me empathize and care for her. Even so, at various times throughout the book, I found I wanted to shake, hug, comfort, throttle, or just plain murder the girl...All at once. (g) But man, she was definitely someone I could get behind. Shinn, I've found, often takes a long time to reveal her characters' true motivations. Rachel was no exception, and in the end I really felt like I understood her. Not that this made me want to hurt her any less during certain parts of the book. (g)

Gabriel... oh man. First of all, y'all know I'm partial to that name. And yes, my mind sing-songed "Gabe the babe" many a times during the book. (g) I can't help it. I thought he was wonderful -- and I'm not just saying that because of the fetching leather briefs he ran about in. He had his surly moments--moments when I would think, "What a jerk!" But by the end, he had blossomed like a flower. (VBG) Nah, really -- he was tough, but fair. Stubborn, but flexible when it mattered... There was never a moment I doubted his character.

The two of them together -- Le sigh. At times I wanted to send them to their corners to think about what they'd done or said to the other -- at other times, I wanted to smack them upside their heads and say, "Don't you know you love one another!!" Yeah, true to Shinn form -- their relationship started out a bit rocky and grew throughout the book... man, it was GOOD.

Now, I must admit that the whole "we must sing together on the Gloria" or Jovah will smite the world was a bit...well....sketchy to me. It seemed so...well, silly. (g) But once I allowed myself to sink into and accept the rules of this world, it was a wonderful ride.

I'm not sure I really understood Raphael's agenda in trying to stop Gabriel. Overall, his character was a little weak -- a bad guy who's being bad...for the sake of being bad. He was a bit undefined and my biggest complaint about this book is that she didn't take more time to flesh out why he chose the path he took. But obviously it wasn't a deal breaker for me.

Overall, man....a great book.

Buy or Rent? BUY. NOW.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Blog List

I tried to update my Fellow Writer's blog/livejournal list tonight. Blah. If I'm missing you, please let me know. I was practically going cross-eyed trying to compare my two lists. LOL. So, if I left you off -- totally unintentional. And if you'd prefer NOT to be listed, that would be good to know, too. :)


I'm Alive

And when I say that, I mean just barely. (g) It's been a CRAZY week, topped off with a 4am ride to the airport this morning. I am so beat, even my toes ache.

Too many details to go into, but it was a good time. Had lots of fun with the fam--we shopped, hung-out, played cards...slept very little. :) They kept me busy carting them around--so much so that I got nothing accomplished. No writing, no studying. You know I'm just heartbroken over the latter. (big wink)

At any rate, I'm sort of in recovery mode today -- BUT, it seems my "creative mojo" has been somewhat replenished. I had a really cool, vivid dream this morning. A lot of it was disjointed, but there were some real gems throughout that could turn into a nifty story. I'll need to work on it a bit to flesh it out, but hopefully this means I'll be revved up to continue work on revisions. Of course, I may need a nap first. LOL.

Anyway, just thought I'd pop on quick to give a feeble lil' wave atcha all. I should be back more regularly--at least until finals kick in.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Turkey Day!!

I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday filled with turkey, family, and football. (g) I'm out until at least Friday--off to the g'parents house to mingle with the crazy relatives. I may or may not return sane--if I ever was to begin with. :)

See you soon!

Monday, November 19, 2007


As expected, my family is keeping me fairly busy. So much so, that I haven't finished my project that's due tomorrow. (g) Oh well, I can get it done in about four hours -- I hope. LOL.

Anyway, nothing too much going on right now -- just chauffeuring the fam around and doing a lot of shopping. My mom took me to church yesterday...i.e. Barnes & Noble, and I picked up a few more books. Man, love it when she comes to visit. She suffers from the "I only see you once every year or so, so I must buy you things" syndrome. (VBG) To be fair, I had every intention of paying for an outfit yesterday -- until she snatched it out of my Kung-fu grip and scampered over to the check-out line. Hehe.

Anywho -- I may not be too active on the blog this week, but I had to mention a comment I received on one of my book reviews. Some kid said (and I know where you're from!) that he thought MYSTIC & RIDER was a stupid book, but that I really helped him with his book report. ROFL. Dude, I'm the blogNotes of the internet -- well, at least for this guy. (g) Maybe that should be Jen's Notes...hmm. :)

Friday, November 16, 2007


I'm super excited by some news I just received from a writer friend... You go, girl!!! :)

(Not saying what or who -- she will in her own good time -- just couldn't contain myself though!!) (VBG)



Things in my life are pretty nuts right now. I've been rather stressed out and it's all having a negative effect on my motivation to keep going on my wip's. Unfortunately, it's a bit more than visiting family, but alas, too upsetting to really blog about at this time. At any rate, let's just say that Jen is stressin'.

New words haven't really been an option, so instead I decided to take a look at the final confrontation scene in BTPM. I haven't really looked at it in a while -- as I've been concentrating on the front end of the book. It was an eye-opening experience. LOL. I realized that the way it is now is very telling. There's no immediacy to it... it's all so...so...distant. Blah.

I would post snips of it for comment, but man, talk about spoiling the ending. LOL. At any rate, here's the thing....

I KNOW the rules of how to pump up the tension in a fight/scary scene. Short sentences...quick pace...blah blah blah. But, to be frank, I feel very few people really pull it off well. LOL. I find, 9 times out of 10, that they sound choppy to my inner ear. That said, my scene is falling in the majority. Le sigh. Because I take such issue with most of these kinds of scenes, I gotta wonder if it's just ME. LOL. Maybe my scene is fine as is...doubt it. (g)

So...my family arrives tomorrow. I have a huge project due on Tuesday...big Thanksgiving plans beginning on Wednesday, including my grandparents 60th anniversary party...and well, I don't forsee much time to work on anything new. My concentration will simply be too split with all this and much much more going on. So...my goal for the coming week is to tear this scene apart and rewrite it. The bones are there...they're good bones... but it needs more...oomph. My second goal is to tear apart the outline of FI and figure out what remaining scenes need to be written, and start tackling them one by one. Systematic as I can get. (g)

I'm way behind on my word count goal, but if I can get some things accomplished while my family is here, I'll be very happy. My first final is on the eighth, so progress in December is going to be slow until after my last--on the 17th, I think. Blah. I hate this time of year, but I'm hoping that my inspiration will kick up a notch with studying/finals looming. It always does. (g)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Four Things You May Or May Not Know About Me

Got this from a friend this morning, and thought I'd start another round of blog tag. Woohoo. (g)

Four Things You May or May Not Know About Me

A) Four jobs I have had in my lifetime:
1. Investigator (UC and surveillance)
2. Waitress
3. Answering Service
4. Senior Resident Assistant (yes, I was that girl telling you to turn down your music)

B) Four movies I would watch over & over:
1. Pride & Prejudice (A&E, Colin Firth version)
2. The Notebook
3. Erin Brockovich (I literally can't turn it off when I see it playing on TV.)
4. Tie between That Thing You Do!, The Sound of Music, and Center Stage (Love music and dancing)

C) 4 places I have lived:
1. Chicago
2. Nashville
3. Kansas City
4. Los Angeles

D) Four TV Shows that I watch:
1. Lost
2. Pushing Daisies
3. Project Runway (All of the Bravo shows of this variety, actually)
4. American Idol (Gah, I'm trying to break my addiction and failing miserably.)

E) Four places I have been:
1. Niagra Falls
2. The Corn Palace in South Dakota
3. Disneyland
4. The Sears Tower
(Okay, technically this is _supposed_ to be exotic locales, but I've never been outside the U.S. (g))

F) Four people who e-mail me (regularly):
1. Carol
2. Erin
3. Claire
4. Sister

G) Four of my favorite foods:
1. Mexican
2. Potatos -- all varieties.
3. Seafood
4. Pizza

H) Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Europe
2. An exotic beach...ocean, sun...sand...mmm.
3. NYC
4. Mom's house

I) Things I am looking forward to this and next year:
1. Finishing revisions of FI and BTPM, and starting a new book.
2. Publication
3. Graduation from Law School
4. Sleep

Okay... I tag Carol, Claire (whenever you see this), and Susan B.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Another Back-up PSA

OMG...computer scare from HELL!!

Earlier, my computer started freezing up. I decided I needed to reboot, shut everything down, and turned the thing off. It froze on the "windows is shutting down" window...FOREVER. I sat here for about 10-15 minutes, waiting for it to shut off the rest of the way, and it never did. Left with no other option, I cut the power. LOL. Okay, I hate doing that...but sometimes you have no other choice. You've done it...I've done it...we've all done it. (g)

Anyway, when I restart it, a little box comes up, saying something about how there's an error with my personal settings...something like that. So, it opens up to what looks like a computer that hasn't been used before--the plain Compaq background...the trash can in the wrong place... but strangely enough, most of my icons are still there. Okay... hmmm.

I immediately go into Word to make sure my files are okay. Ummm, wtf...the "preparing to install word" box pops up. *blink blink blink* When it finally gets going, I open my file box to find NOTHING THERE. *thumpthumpthumpthump* (That's the sound of my RACING heartbeat) I immediately freak out...when's the last time you backed up your MS's, Jen??? I _can't remember_. NOT a good sign. I snatch up my USB key and RUN to my uncle's computer... it won't recognize my key... *THUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMP*

Okay, by this time I'm also freaking out about my class notes and outlines...HOLY F*CK. Finals are in 4 weeks!! Maybe it just needs to be restarted... I try...same screen comes back...still no files.

So, I scour my brain for every little bit of computer knowledge I have. Took about three seconds. LOL. But then I thought about that neat little system restore option... Won't hurt to give that a try. I restored to yesterday and bam...everything came back. *wipes brow and heart slows to small letters again*

Oh yeah, Jen did some backing up--PRONTO.

WTF...I have no clue how this all happened, but man... SCARY. I'm wearing my USB key everywhere I go now. LOL.

Can you see my new grey hairs??

Barnes & Noble = My Mecca

On the advice of a friend, I decided to stop at B&N tonight to read through a specific chapter in this book she recommended. Thought I'd drop in for a gander, put the thing back on the shelf, and walk away. HA! I will say that I _didn't_ buy THAT book...so I guess it's a partial success. (vbg)

However, I picked up three others. LOL. I got the fourth book in Katie MacAlister's Aisling Grey series...HOLY SMOKES, although I haven't read books 2 & 3 yet... the anthology HOLIDAYS ARE HELL, with the forum's very own Vicki Pettersson as one of the contributing authors (I haven't read any of the other authors, so I'm curious), and HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE by Jeaniene Frost.

Ahhhh, I feel at peace.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Is There A Secret?

I've noticed a trend on this blog. I seem to be pulling in a lot of hits from people looking at the book reviews I do. I'd say maybe a quarter of my visits come from that. Of those visits, I'd say 90% are for Stephenie Meyer's books. The most recent was a google search for "Stephenie Meyer's writing secrets." Hmm, seemed interesting.

Now, I don't know how many of you have actually read these books, but if you're not in the know, apparently people are touting Meyer's books as the next big thing--destined to be a phenomenon of Harry Potter proportions. I don't know the stats, but I DO know that the first run of her latest book, TWILIGHT, was for a million books. I couldn't say if there has been a second or third...etc. run, but that number alone is very impressive. Obviously. (g)

And on a personal note, I love these books. I think Bella is a great character and both Jacob and Edward are yummy in their own ways. I first discovered them earlier this year. I had already written a good chunk of BY THE PALE MOONLIGHT, but hadn't picked up a young adult book in goodness...a long time. I thought I would do a little market research...read some books in the genre I hoped to break into. Let me tell you, there are some high quality books in YA these days. Not only did I discover Meyers, but I also stumbled across Libba Bray, Stolarz, Ally Carter, and many others I can't wait to read. A high point was when a couple of readers compared my style to some of these women... I mean, wow. (g)

At any rate, it seems everyone is out to discover that certain IT factor that makes a book breakout. I know agents blog about this all the time -- often saying that they just KNOW it when they see it. LOL. Well, that's not exactly a scientific or or even a stylistic delineation. But this latest google hit has me thinking about what attracts me to a book.

1. First and most importantly: Characters. I think the best way to drive a story is to have memorable characters that leave an impression. Characters you can care about, cheer for...empathize with. When they suffer through some hardship, and I'm not crying with them, you probably haven't snared me as a reader. That goes the same for their triumphs, losses, the first time they fall in love...

2. An offshoot of characters is their relationships with one another. Be it friendship, love, father/son, mother/daughter, I want to feel the emotions they have for each other. It doesn't necessarily have to be love -- however their relationship is defined, it needs to progress in a natural fashion and without those pesky about faces that come out of nowhere. Nothing bothers me more than when the foundation for a relationship isn't properly laid out. Now, that doesn't mean you need to give me a ton of backstory nor that I need to understand every intricacy... but when something is done for story purposes alone, trust me, it shows.

3. Story. Story. Story. Now, I'm not a believer in the necessity of coming up with some great new concept that will blow peoples' minds. Granted, it would be nice...but let's face it... it's hard to do. Therefore, I believe you can take a classic tale and tell it in a unique and fresh way that makes it your own. I think sometimes people try TOO hard to come up with something that has never been done before and end up muddling things in the process. This reminds me of Nathan Bransford's first paragraph contest. The ones he chose were simple, straightforward beginnings that didn't go over-the-top in order to snare his attention. (Granted, I wasn't a big fan of most of them. LOL. Go figure.) But seriously, if you're going to tell _another_ vampire story, come up with a unique concept. It worked for Meyers. (g) (It's what I'm _trying_ to do with BTPM...but heh, that's neither here nor there. LOL)

4. A unique voice. I think the biggest thing I've learned in the past three years is that you CAN NOT (or at least I'd argue you shouldn't) try to emulate your favorite author's story concepts and characters. Seriously, you're only asking for a heap o' trouble and endless comparisons if you don't tell a story In. Your. Own. Unique. Way. Plus, it's really doing yourself a disservice because you could be BETTER, only you'll never know. Study them...learn from them...but find your own path. Think how excited you get when you find a voice you really dig. YOU can do that for someone else.

5. Conflict and good storytelling. Nothing kills a book for me faster than when an author doesn't know how to self-edit. When they don't know what scenes should or shouldn't be in the book -- refuses to cut when cuts need to be made... when a story isn't told in an interesting way that propels me forward...that makes me want to turn the pages because I _just have to know_ what's going to happen next. This doesn't have to be in the form of your MC finding a dead body or something exploding at the end of every chapter. But however you choose to tell your story, it has to be interesting, relevant to the story, and something I want and can't help but become emotionally invested in. And it doesn't always have to be in a nice, safe way... shock me, that works just as well. You're talking to the girl who loves cliffhangers -- use 'em, cuz you bet I'll be in line to pick up the next book. LOL. Maybe I'm an anomaly, but whatever. (g)

So, these are all pretty obvious. I'm sure nothing has knocked you upside the head and made you say, "Of course!! Jen is a genius!!" LOL. So I guess it really does boil down to that IT factor...

How would you define IT?

First The Good News...

I finished that beta read!! Woohoo!! Now I don't feel like such a slacker. Feels good to finally send it off. As of right now, my time is my own--completely. No obligations hanging over me. Don't get me wrong -- not an obligation of the ball and chain variety. Just a constant guilt when I couldn't get to it. (g) I've also done my book review for facebook -- ah, a very productive day.

The bad news is that I haven't accomplished much on my writing front. Ah well, hopefully this little break will get me all revved up to work on it tomorrow. My goal is to write 22500 words this month. Heh, I'm nowhere near the halfway point, so I better put it into gear. My family is coming on Saturday, and well, I never get anything accompished when they're here. I'll have to try and be extra diligent about pulling out my laptop and writing. It'll be hard--I won't lie. I swear, my fam can eat up my time like no others.

Okay...class tomorrow...blah. (g)

SOME NERVE by Jane Heller

Brief Synopsis: Ann Roth is a celebrity reporter for FAMOUS, an L.A. based gossip magazine. Much to her boss's disappointment, she's got a good reputation for not using sleazy tactics to secure an interview. Pressured by him to get the "big get," Malcolm Goddard, an actor with one serious grudge against the paparazzi, she caves and tries to woo him in to talking to her. In the end, she fails and it costs her the job she loves. Left with no other option, Ann returns home to the midwest, hoping things will eventually blow over. When Goddard checks in to the local hospital for extended treatment, she seizes the opportunity and goes undercover as a volunteer, determined to get her story--and by default, her life back.

I really enjoyed a lot of elements in this book. The beginning was just hilarious and it was fun having little tidbits about famous celebrities thrown in. It all felt very believable to me, and I found myself laughing out loud many times. I immediately liked Ann -- she seemed very level-headed in her approach towards people and yet had this vulnerability that was truly endearing. Plus she had some of the best comic moments I've read in a long time.

Malcolm, well....he was a bit of a jerk in the beginning. In fact, so much so that I had a hard time being sympathetic toward him later in the book. And when I was expected to see him as a potential love interest, I sort of had a hard time really overlooking that initial impression I had of him. I can't say I ever really got over it, in fact. Kind of a detriment to buying into a romance. LOL.

While I really enjoyed the beginning of the book, I found the ending to be a little weak. Maybe a little too happily-ever-after. I was actually expecting someone to declare world peace at some point--it was that tied up. (g) I think it's because there was a really good buildup to the romance itself, that the ending, out of necessity, had to be rushed. Ah, those word restraints!

But, like I said, I really enjoyed Ann -- thought she had a great voice -- and well, her hospital antics were priceless. (vbg)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

MYSTIC AND RIDER by Sharon Shinn

I want to admit right upfront that I haven't read much fantasy in my time. (g) I think the last (other than Urban fantasy) was probably Lord of the Rings, and that was a LONG time ago. When I was in junior high, actually. So, my point is that I don't know a lot about the genre. At any rate, I've heard good things about Shinn and decided to give one of her YA's a try. But oops...this book turned out NOT to be YA. Oh well. LOL.

Brief Synopsis: Fearing unrest, the King of Gillengaria sends a party of scouts to access the threat throughout the country. Most importantly, he wants them to discover where each of the twelve houses would fall should a power struggle for the throne ensue.

They're a very unlikely group of people:

-- Senneth, possibly the strongest of all mystics, who has the ability to control fire.
-- Kirra, a noble woman of one of the twelve houses of Gillengaria, and also a mystic with the ability to change appearance.
-- Tayse, first among the King's riders.
-- Justin, another King's rider, whose true loyalty lies with Tayse.
-- Donnal, a mystic able to shapeshift who is, above all else, loyal to Kirra.
-- Cammon, a wayward mystic they pick up along the way. He has the ability to read emotions.

Reluctantly banded together, the group must learn to trust one another. Easier said than done when the riders are both extremely skeptical and suspicious of mystics in general. When they uncover a rising fanatacism that would have all mystics purged from the country, they must all learn to trust and depend on each other.

Blah blah blah, yada yada yada. Yep, still suck at these summaries. (g)

At any rate, I don't know what it was about this book. It took a while for me to get into it... actually, during the first 40-50 pages, I didn't know whether I wanted to continue. But then I just _really_ got into it. Not sure what factors changed for me, but I have a feeling it might have been just a matter of growing accustomed to the world and characters. The whole thing just grew on me to the point I didn't want to put it down.

There are a number of things that bothered me about it. LOL. There seemed to be quite a few point of view slips in the beginning--they either lessened later in the book or I must've grown accustomed...not sure which. Also, at times it had a slightly omni feel to it... hmm, but for some reason I really liked it.

The whole book centered around the group traveling to various regions of the country, trying to assess where that particular house's allegiance lies. So, it was a lot of 'how should we appear before them' or 'is it safe enough to go' sort of thing. Very repetitive, yet not annoying. lol. I think it's because the growth of the relationships was really the driving force of the story. I wanted to turn the page to see whether Justin would _ever_ trust Senneth... if Tayse would give in to his inclination to believe mystics have their uses...etc. etc. It was exciting to watch the subtle changes happen amongst the group. Of course, there's one character about-face that bugged me to no end. I just didn't buy it when it happened. Won't spoil it here, but it involved very unlikely tears. (g)

The fanatics (Daughters of the Pale Mother) were FREAKY. They wear moonstones, which mystics are unable to touch without being harmed. There was this really great scene where all of this acolytes of the Pale Mother surrounded the party, basically insisting everyone touch their hands (covered with moonstones), in order to ensure none of them were mystics. Given four of the six were, you can only imagine the tension, etc. Eee. (g)

Anyway, the whole thing had a very familiar feel to it. Will this country go to war in order to met out the future of this one particular group of people (mystics)? Harkens back to the civil war....the world wars... great theme with lots of tension.

The underlying love story -- beautiful. :) I liked the slow progress it took -- the subtle changes pulling them together. Hah..notice I didn't say WHO. (VBG)

Anyway, I really liked it and I woke up thinking about the ending... great sign that I need to get the next book. Well, if there IS a next book out right now. Need to look into that. (Oh YAY...there are two paperbacks and one hardback available in the series.) Hmm, it looks like they shift MC POV... not a BIG fan of that, but perhaps I'll give the second a shot to see how it goes. I really prefer when they stay in the head of the same characters throughout a series... Drat. LOL. Oh well, I'll check out the next to see what I think....and probably try out her other series--both adult and YA.

Buy or Rent? Buy.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Oh Where...Oh Where...

...has my internet gone??

Okay, the official black out began late last night. It's weird... lol. I will admit that I already broke it. (g) I woke up this morning with three messages from the forum...two from goals...and I felt bad not answering them until mid-month. So, I hopped on, but allowed myself to read _only_ those messages. It was hard not to look at others -- interesting thread titles this morning. Or perhaps they only looked interesting because I couldn't read them. (g) Either way, I was on for no more than five minutes, so I figure that isn't too bad. Of course, I've only been awake for about a half hour....sooooooo...

I think the _real_ test will be my reader. I simply love it. (g) And I tell ya, when there are posts from certain blogs, it's like Christmas/Easter/my birthday/Halloween/etc. etc. all wrapped up into one. I get that excited to see them. LOL. I just keep reminding myself it will be the mega holiday of all time when I do get to look at it again. (VBG)

WIP news -- already behind this month (heh) due to the group novel, which I put off due to the houseparty... Vicious cycle. And I still haven't finished that betaread. Blah. Another (or maybe the same) headache yesterday. Could be sinuses...could be eye strain.. not sure which, but it sucked.

And a new week begins! (g)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

One Thing Down, One To Go

I've finished my chapter in the group novel over at the forum. At close to three thousand words, it's the most I've written in a day for a LONG time. LOL. I don't know why that is, but it's true. I also seemed to really churn out the words for the houseparty... Go figure.

At any rate, it's a huge load off. Now all I have to do is finish my last betaread -- I'm about a third of the way through it now...maybe a little less. At any rate, I would love to finish it today, but I'm not sure it will happen. Cleaning day. (le sigh) Technically, _yesterday_ was cleaning day, but I wasn't feeling well..so now I'm stuck doing it today.

This is also my last official day on the net (other than email and this blog). I've been itching to turn it off, to be perfectly frank. Now I don't know whether I can do it. LOL. But I will -- I have to. My family is coming in two weeks, which means I won't get _anything_ accomplished while they're here. Now is the time to buckle down and get caught up on everything--make sure I'm on top of things. (HEH)

At any rate, I'm feeling a little lighter with both the houseparty and group novel behind me. Wow, talk about a lot of work and time. :) So fun though.

Friday, November 2, 2007

BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES by Laurie Faria Stolarz

I've made some decisions about my internet usage. I will be maintaining my blog, so feel free to contact me through this or email. While I'll be turning off IM and limiting my forum/google reading/facebook time, I can't cut out my daily doses of snarking off on this blog. (g) It's my outlet to rant about this or that, and I simply can't give it up. At any rate, I owe six book reviews, so that will keep me busy for a while. :)

On we go...

Brief Synopsis: Stacey Brown isn't your typical high school student. She's a practicing witch and an occasional psychic. She's started having nightmares that involve something bad happening to her best friend, Drea. They're similar to the ones she had three years ago about the little girl she babysat. She ignored them then and the little girl died. When elements of her current dreams start coming true, she fears Drea's life might also be in danger. Only, how can she confide in her friends when they'll think she's crazy?

Blah, another sucky synopsis. (VBG)

Okay, I've read two books in this series now. They're entertaining, quick reads. They're told in present tense, if that's something you steer away from, but I find them pretty easy to get into (style-wise).

What I really like about these books is that they have everything--the crush on your best friend's boyfriend (ex in this case, but still), the whole escapism thing with them being in boarding school (giving them greater freedom over their activities), the weird friends with crazy hair-dos and language, etc. I mentioned that she's a practicing witch, but I want to make it clear this isn't freaky, scary magic she practices. I admittedly know next to nothing about the religion, but it seems that if anything, she practices white magic -- a lot of her spells focus on trying to find peace and clarity in her dreams, etc. A lot of herbal rubbing and candle burning...nothing satanic or scary, which I think is often the misconception labeled on such things.

In fact, nothing in this book is that scary...it's all kept at a PG level. However, there's always a good level of tension that keeps you turning the pages.

The interesting thing about her dreams is that she has bodily responses to them, and that's the way her mind tries to give her clues about the dream's meaning/outcome, etc. In this book, she always ends up wetting the bed. With the ick factor aside, I think this added a wonderful element to the book. I mean, imagine how horrific it would be to hide such a thing from your roommates... how embarrassed you'd be if the boy you liked showed up in the morning before you've had a chance to change... yeah, ICK, but great tension. (g)

A lot of clues are dropped along the way, and the ending didn't come as a _great_ surprise. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the ride. I think teenagers would love these books.

Buy or Rent? Oh, I'd buy. :)