Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Technical Problem.

Am I the only one having problems with posting comments? It never lets me post them under my Google name. On both my own blog and on other blogs as well.

So don't think I'm not commenting back to all you lovely followers who have been nice enough to take the time and leave a comment. Blogger simply is not letting me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Overdone in YA

Recently I read a blog, a popular blog, but I can't seem to remember which one. Anyway on the blog they had people submitting their lists of what they think is overdone in YA lit. I decided to write my own list after stumbling upon one of those in the current book I am reading.

1) Fencing. I have a friend, one friend, that did fence in high school, but she is the only person I have ever met that even had the option to do so. Whatever happened to soccer and volleyball?

2) Boarding Schools. Do you know anybody that actually went to boarding school? I don't. Maybe Catholic School but definitely not boarding school.

3) A girl falling in love with a guy that is not human. Switch it up. I think that is why I like Beautiful Creatures so much. The girl is the supernatural not the boy. Take note.

4) A girl falling in love with a guy that is not human and if they consummate their relationship something horrible will happen. The Immortal Series, Hush Hush, Haunting Emma, I can keep going, but you get the point. It has been done and it has been done well so move on.

5) Absent parents Though, I admit I fall into this category. However, in reality my parents were a huge part of my teenage years they were huge pains in my ass actually. I'm sure most teenagers would agree to this.

6) Love triangles when it is obvious who the girl is going to pick in the end. Boring and aggravating.

7) Damsel in Distress. I don't know if you've noticed but it is 2011. Girls are strong and independent they don't need a guy to save them every five seconds. If you want a little damsel in distress fine, but don't let that define who the girl is.

8) Red Hair. Is red the new blonde?

9) Series. Whatever happened to stand alone books? I admit that I wrote a series myself and I do love series, but having to wait up to a year for the next installment, well to be honest, it sucks. I read so many other books in between by the time the next book comes out I have a hard time remembering what I read in the first book.

10) Lab Partners. I don't think I even need to elaborate. I'm sure you all can name at least five books where the lead character falls for her lab partner.

I'm sure I can think of more but these are the ones that have been standing out the most to me. Do you agree with my list? Are these ten overdone? Do you have any to add to the list? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Books, Wedding, Earthquakes and Hurricanes Oh My!

There are about seven days left of the month of August and to meet my reading goal for the month I have four more books to read. I started off this month so strong, reading the first four in less than two weeks and then nothing. Between my cousins wedding, reading a critique partners manuscript and working on my own WIP's I had little time for reading. However, seven days is more than enough time to meet my goal. I'm going for it. Especially now that a hurricane is set to hit Long Island, which I'm not exactly happy about, but you have to make the best of it.

I've been in a hurricane once. Hurricane Gloria in 1985 and I wasn't even a year old. So I'm a little panicked. My mom on the other hand she is taking it with a grain of salt. She cracks me up. I said to her what if my car floats away with all the water and her response "Oh that won't happen. A tree might fall on it but it won't float away." And she said it so matter-of-factly. Then she went on to say "Well hey if we lose power we won't have to go to work on Monday." So here I am expecting the worst and here she is looking on the bright side.

But even though the hurricane isn't sending her into a panic the earthquake we experienced definitely did. It freaked me out too. I live on the east coast for a reason. Earthquakes happen on the west coast not the east coast. It was only a three but it was enough to send me into a tizzy. It's not something you expect when you live in New York. I was sitting at my desk and a coworker came in to talk to me. She was sitting next to me as I was typing and my chair started to sway. I turned and looked down at her foot and started to say "Stop kicking," when she said, "You feel that too?" We both jumped up and ran out of my office. The garage to my building is right beyond my office wall and all I was thinking was something was about to blow. Then another coworker's mother called her and told her that their house was shaking and I realized it wasn't our building. Though, an earthquake didn't cross my mind until my brother called me and informed me that it was indeed an earthquake. Have you ever been in an earthquake? I couldn't imagine being in anything more than a three that was bad enough.

Since I keep talking about the wedding I thought I should share some pictures.
My Brother, Cousin Vin, Me and My Boyfriend Eric

My Grandma (AKA G-Ma)

My Uncle Bill, The Bride (Jen), Me, and The Groom (my cousin Bill)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Quick Post

My copy of Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles is in. Now if I can just get my Mom to hand it over.
Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry Novels)

Friday, August 19, 2011

My cousin is getting MARRIED tomorrow. It's been a hectic few weeks that's for sure. And come tomorrow it will all be over. Crazy if you think about it. Anyway I'll be back Monday with pictures and hopefully a review of Betrayal by Lee Nichols. Hopefully. Till then have an awesome weekend. I know I will.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


It's been a couple of days since my last post and I promised myself I wouldn't do that anymore. Though, I have good reason. I have been writing and am making pretty good progress on my WIP. Also I joined a new site for writers looking for critique partners.  Ladies Who Critique is a great site for writers who want to meet other writers. Within minutes of introducing myself I met a fellow writer who was interested in reading my manuscript and giving me feedback. We swapped and that's what is taking up the rest of my time. I have been reading her manuscript and leaving notes along the way. It's taking me longer than usual to read but that is because I want to be able to give her the best feedback that I possibly can.

So please don't think that I am ignoring my blog. I am not. I'm still reading Betrayal by Lee Nichols and hopefully will have a review up soon. Until then if you are a writer head over to Ladies Who Critique right now and sign up. If you're still hesitant it's free. So what are you waiting for?

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Day with Penguins

If you follow me on Twitter you most likely read one of my tweets about planning my boyfriends, Eric, birthday. If not let me explain. Last year for his 30th birthday I got him the day off of work, which was easy since he works for my dad, and planned a day of birthday fun. Though, I didn't tell him until he was outside in his work clothes ready to start his day. It made it that much more of surprise when he found out he didn't have to go to work. I had handed him a piece of paper with a silly poem I created that basically informed him that it's his birthday and did he really think I would let him go to work and then it told him we would spend the day at  the NYC Aquarium (If you haven't been don't go. I know that might sound terrible but it is one of the worst aquariums I have been too.) After the aquarium we walked the Coney Island boardwalk and I gave him another piece of paper that told him we would be going into Manhattan for dinner at Sushi Samba (this place I would definitely recommend especially their mojitos). As we ate I handed him another piece of paper and tickets to see Blue Man Group. We ended the night meeting the performers then driving home listening to music. It was an awesome day. An awesome birthday. So of course this year all I could think was how am I going to top that?

It was days of looking up things to do/places to go and on a smaller budget than last year. Eric loves aquariums. He loves marine life and can spend hours staring at a fish tank. On Long Island we have the Atlantis Marine World Aquarium (which is worth the trip. It's a beautiful, clean aquarium) and just recently they opened up a new butterfly exhibit. Granted we've been to the aquarium more times than I could count, but figured what they heck. It's something he loves so why not. On the website I came across a penguin encounter. How cool is that? We could actually hang out with penguins for forty five minutes. Sign me up. So naturally I did just that.

The day of his birthday I let him get dressed for work (I get amusement out of it) he said goodbye and was about to walk out the door when I yelled "Wait!" He came in and I handed him a piece of paper with a number one on it (I have a thing for Publisher). It basically told him we would spend the day at the aquarium. I then cooked breakfast and if you knew me you would know this was a big deal. We headed out once our plates were clean (breakfast was darn good if I do say so myself). I didn't give him another piece of paper detailing the penguin encounter until we got to the aquarium. 

We were put in a group with five young girls and of course I got a look or four from him. I just rolled my eyes and focused on our guide. She brought us into the actual penguin exhibit. So we were behind the clear walls of the tank with the penguins while people watched us from the outside. It was so cool. We met all the penguins that were all named after Seinfeld characters. At one point one of the penguins, Mona I believe, was staring down Eric's flip flop. She literally was crouched down looking like she might attack. He asked the obvious question "Uh is she going to attack my foot?" The guide told him no that she was just focusing on the reflection my camera was making on the ground. Then she disappeared and came back with a mirror. She held it up until a bright reflection shimmered on the rocks and suddenly every penguins (13 in all) head snapped up and in sync moved back and forth following the shimmer of light. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen. She said for some reason they love reflections and try to chase them.

After we finished with the adult penguins we went to Penguin Preschool where we met Pam, Kevin and Angela (All named after characters from The Office). All three were younger than two years, but already full grown. However, they were sweeter and friendlier and even more adorable. They listened to our guide as children listen to their mother. She said come here and they waddled over to her. She told them to go swimming and they jumped in their pool. She brought them around and we were able to pet them and then at the end we got to take pictures with Kevin. And yes I always look that awkward in pictures.

After Penguin Preschool we said goodbye to our friends and explored the rest of the aquarium. The butterfly exhibit we saved for last and it was awesome. We stepped into a peaceful indoor garden and there were hundreds of butterflies flying around us. Eric was hoping one would land on him and right before we walked out a beautiful yellow and black butterfly landed directly on his chest.

From the aquarium we went to The Long Ireland Brewery tasting room that just recently opened as well. We got to taste the four beers they had on tap and then got to taste them again. We bought a growler of raspberry wheat and headed home. I took a nap. Hanging out with penguins is exhausting. After my nap we went to his favorite sushi restaurant, Kotobuki, and had an amazing dinner. So all in all I think this year came very close to topping last year's birthday. Below are a few more pics. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Heist Society by Ally Carter

A quick overview from Ally Carter's website:
Heist SocietyWhen Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.
Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

I actually loved this book. I didn't know what to expect never having read an Ally Carter book before and now that I have I want to read all of her books. I loved all of the characters. They weren't cardboard cutouts, they were realistic and all had traits that gave them depth. I fell in love with Hale the minute he shows up. Other than the handsome factor you can tell he genuinely cares a great deal for Kat as she does for him and their chemistry is amazing. They don't always agree with each other but no matter what they are always there for each other.

Usually when I read a book that involves a fifteen year old girl who doesn't have parents around and just so happens to have the means to be in America one minute and Paris the next I find it too hard to believe. However, in this book it didn't bother me. It seemed to fit the story perfectly. Ally Carter created the lifestyle that would make the constant jet hoping believable instead of farfetched.

I was so happy that the book didn't take place at boarding school. How many YA books that are out now take place in boarding school? If you're a reader or YA you will know the answer is a lot. Possibly too many. Especially considering the fact that in my 26 years I have never met a single person that attended boarding school. Boarding school is just a temporary stop in the beginning before departing for the bigger destination or should I say destinations.

I'll admit that there were many times when I was confused to the point where I was flipping back to see if I missed something. I never did. It's just the way Ally Carter writes. Everything happens before you, the reader, have a chance to register what is going on. I learned after flipping back a few times that if I just read a few sentences forward everything would be explained or at least explained enough to understand. This book was like a puzzle. She gave you pieces to the story and as the ending neared all the pieces started to fit together. 
As I read the book I was able to visualize everything and kept thinking how great of a movie it would be. Fingers crossed that that becomes a reality because I would love to see Kat, Hale and the rest of the characters on the big screen.

If you read my blog you know that I'm a sucker for a good love story and how it plays out in a book can be a huge factor for my feelings towards the book. In this book *SPOILER ALERT* while Kat and Hale don't wind up getting together in the end it didn't change my feelings about the book. If anything it made me like the book more. Because you know it's coming. You know that they will have their moment. Maybe it will be in Uncommon Criminals or maybe it won't but it's coming and sometimes I like the buildup more than the actual moment. With that said I can't wait to get my hands on Uncommon Criminals and see what Ally Carter has in store for these characters next.

Heist Society was a fun, fast paced adventure and I would definitely recommend it.

Currently Reading:
Betrayal (Haunting Emma)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Enough is Enough!

The riots in London are making me sick. Every time I see a new picture of a burning building or a person carrying a television down the street I want to scream. It is absolutely ridiculous. I understand that people are upset over the shooting of Mark Duggan, a father of four, but two wrongs do not make a right.

In an interview the brother of Mark Duggan said that, his brother was a good man and would not have wanted this. Shouldn't that be enough to get the people to stop? Obviously not because at this point it is no longer about Mark Duggan, but about themselves. For example I watched a video where rioters were kicking in a stores window and doors and there was no suffering on their face, no hurt and no despair. Instead they were smiling and laughing. These people were enjoying their contribution to the destruction of a city and it wouldn't surprise me as their foot made contact with the glass that Mark Duggan wasn't even a thought in their mind.

If violence is what you are so mad about then why are you using that as your means to express your contempt? I don't understand. I really don't. It's time to stop. Your point is made. Enough is enough.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Love Story by Jennifer Echols.

Love StoryI'm going to start off by saying I absolutely loved this book, that is, until the last page. Before I get into it here is a quick overview of Love Story from Jennifer Echols website:

SHE'S WRITING ABOUT HIM. HE'S WRITING ABOUT HER. AND EVERYBODY IS READING BETWEEN THE LINES. For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions--it's her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family's racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin's college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?
Then, on the day she's sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He's joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin's heart with longing. Now she's not just imagining what might have been. She's writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true. 

The first few pages start with the story Erin has written about Hunter and while it takes place in another time and the names are different it is evident who the characters are based on. I didn't think I would like reading short stories within a book, but the way Jennifer Echols did it I actually enjoyed reading these stories and wished there might have been one or two more. 

The chemistry between Erin and Hunter is tangible on the page every time they are in a scene together you can't deny the connection. I was rooting for them from the very beginning even when Erin despised him. Though, there were moments when you question Hunter's intentions and wonder if he really is a good guy or if he may be using Erin and her family to benefit himself. The last few pages had me glued to the words. Talk about full on blow up that had me wanting to be in the classroom with them just so I could see their faces and the reactions of everyone else. However, once I got to the last page, I flipped to continue reading and there was nothing left to read. I flipped the last page back and forth wondering if the copy I had failed to print the last chapter, but after reading other reviews I realized there were no pages missing, that was it. The ending was so abrupt that I was left lost. Granted I could make up in my mind what was going to happen next but why should I have to? I like stories that have a clean ending and figure it all out for me. I want to walk away going that was perfect not !#$%?! 

*SPOILER ALERT* It was obvious at least in my mind that Erin was going to forgive Hunter and vice versa but I wanted the chemistry to show again. I wanted to be a part of the makeup. Also she never did confront her grandmother and never did get to talk with her. By the way it ended we can assume that was what she was going to do after arriving in Kentucky, but after hearing so much about the grandmother and their relationship or lack thereof I wanted to witness the interaction. Though, if Jennifer Echols wanted to write a sequel she left herself wide open to do so and I actually really hope that she does. Because Love Story was an amazing book and I just want to know what happens next.Even though I know Jennifer Echols is against writing sequels and you can read why on her website, but to argue I would say that Erin and Hunter *SPOILER ALERT* never kissed and made up and she still has all those unresolved issues with her grandmother. For now, though, I will pretend I know what happens next.
Currently Reading:
Heist Society 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Another Great Contest

There have been so many great contests in the past few weeks and I am happy to participate as well as pass along word to other aspiring writers. So head over to YAtopia and add your three sentence synopsis to the comment section. The prize: A full manuscript request from agent John Cusick.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade

A description of the book from Stacey Kade's website:

Queen of the Dead (A Ghost and the Goth Novel)After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare–former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead–finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this, ugh, “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.
Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello?! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.
Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately signs her name in the “clearly not” column. But Will is, ahem, willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.

It did not take me long to finish this book. From the minute I finished reading The Ghost and The Goth I couldn't wait for the next installment. Will and Alona are two of my favorite characters and I couldn't wait to see what was in store for them next. Queen of the Dead did not disappoint. The only thing I did not like is that it ended. I'm so used to reading YA books that are well over 300 pages and this one didn't even break 300 and it left me wanting more. So much more. The thing that I loved about the first book was the interactions with Will and Alona and in this book while they were still my favorite parts there was less.

Though, as much as I wanted the interactions, this book was more about them as individuals then it was their relationship. Both Will and Alona go through a self-discovery in this book. Will finally learns tidbits of information about his father and begins to piece the puzzle together. Alona has to come to terms with the fact that her family is moving on which with Alona you know that is not going to be easy and because of that she gets herself stuck in a situation, literally.

*SPOILER ALERT* Don't read any further if you have not read the book yet. I warned you. I was iffy about the ending as it neared. I didn't like the fact that Alona was in another body. I didn't know if Will would be able to look at her the same and still feel the way he did about her when she didn't appear to be the same person. But it ended and what Stacey Kade did made it perfect. Will didn't care about what she looked like. All he cared about was the fact that even if she was Ally she was Alona on the inside. Everything he observed of her physically were the things that made her Alona. It's going to be interesting to see how Alona/Ally handles having a body that is nothing like the perfect tanned and toned body she was used to.


Considering I read the Ghost and The Goth a year ago I did get confused from time to time when the story referenced back. It took me a minute for it all to come back to me. With that said, this book starts basically where the last one left off and while Stacey Kade did explain the backstory at times, I would still recommend if you don't remember much from the first book to either go back and read it before picking this book up or at least skim through it and refresh your memory.

Overall a great follow up and I look forward to the next installment. I'll be impatiently waiting.

Currently Reading:
Love Story

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On Writing by Stephen King

On WritingThe back of the book calls Stephen Kings On Writing part memoir and part master class and that about sums it up. I've been putting this review off because honestly I didn't know what to write. I'm going to try and put my thoughts into words.

First off I loved it. At times I enjoyed his stories more than the actual lessons on writing. I found myself laughing out loud and marking pages to read to my mom and boyfriend. My favorite story of all is when he talks about Carrie and how he had originally thrown the WIP in the garbage. And it would have stayed there if his wife didn't happen to see it, uncrumple it, read it and then insist that "You've got something here".

I actually teared up at the part where he found out the paperback rights were sold and then laughed out loud when he was determined to get his wife the best mother's day gift possible at the local drugstore. And when he finally told his wife about the sale I shed a few tears. I read that part over a few times to myself, once to my mom and another time to my boyfriend and every time I teared up. Pathetic? Maybe. But what it comes down to is he explained every moment leading up to that one single moment and it made the moment that much bigger. There were times he couldn't afford to get his kids medicine and then there he was being told he just made two hundred thousand dollars on a book he almost gave up on. There is a bigger message than the money. It's never give up and when something proves to be difficult stick to it because the outcome will be more rewarding than anything you thought possible even if it is just the knowledge that you were able to finish it.

His main advice is read a lot and write a lot. Basic. Simple. So important. Probably the best advice any new writer can receive. Stephen King can't teach you how to be a good writer that is something that grows with time, practice and determination and even still as he notes might not help. He basically says you either got it or you don't and it can come off as harsh, but I don't think you can argue the point. He's right because it is more than just getting words on a page. It's getting them on the page and having them make sense and lead into the bigger picture and having your characters come to life in the readers mind. If you can't do that it doesn't matter how many words you can get on paper. Without the life, the story and the flow you have nothing but words.

If you are a writer or even if you are just a reader I would highly recommend this book. It had my attention from the minute I picked it up.

Currently Reading:
Queen of the Dead (A Ghost and the Goth Novel)

Monday, August 1, 2011

~July Wrap Up~

Number of Books Read in July:
Favorite Book Read in July:
What Happened to Goodbye 

Favorite End to a Series:
Afterlife: An Evernight Novel

Goal for August: To read 8 books