Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Tuesday Ten for Summer Reading

What I’m Reading: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and The Devil’s Company by David Liss

What I’m Working On: Some plotting exercises

On Sunday, I posted 7+ books that I’ve read this summer (or just before it started) or want to read this summer. I have ten more to add to that list.

It’s eclectic, but so am I.

1. The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great by Donald Maass. I attended a Donald Maass workshop last fall. It was great. Overwhelming. Intimidating. Pretty damn scary. So why do I want to read a writing book by him? Because he’s one of the most successful literary agents in New York and someday I want to be good enough to not be intimidated by him.

2. My boss’s boss (my ultimate boss, the man with President – not of the U.S. – in his title) handed me Brain Rules by John Medina, so I guess I’d better read it. He read it for a conference he attended where all attendees were asked to read it. Obviously, he liked it. In all actuality, it sounds very good. Its subtitle is “12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School”. It supposedly informs us as to how our brain really works and how to get the most out of it.

3. I am very, very, very excited about Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning. I have read all her books – both the sexy highlander series and the fever series. I like them both. A lot. I’m dying to figure out what happens next to MacKayla Lane, the protagonist of Moning’s feverish (grin) series. She was in quite a predicament at the end of Faefever. I’m sure she survives, but I have no idea how. Dreamfever doesn't come out until August 18th. I’m almost afraid to download it to my Kindle that day. I may have to splurge for hardcover. Can a hot book melt a Kindle?

4. The next three made my list because they were big vote getters on my favorite high school’s summer reading book club list. I figure I’ll read them, too, just in case I get called to lead an impromptu book discussion. I probably wouldn’t have read any of them if it weren’t for the school’s book club, but who knows, maybe I’ll fall in love with at least one of them. The first is Kiss My Book by Jamie Michaels.

5. The second is How to be Bad by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle.

6. The third is The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

7. Gone and Hunger, both by Michael Grant. Check out the book info on the publisher's (Harper Teen) website. The publisher is offering the first 100+ pages of Gone as a free e-read. Click here to check it out. Gone is the first book in the series. In Gone, only the young are left as everyone over the age of 15 disappears. Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day. It's a terrifying new world. Hunger is the sequel and is set three months later when conditions have deteriorated even more. Sounds exciting, huh?

8. April & Oliver by Tess Callahan has been calling to me. Here's what it's about: Best friends since childhood, the sexual tension between April and Oliver has always been palpable. Years after being completely inseparable, they become strangers, but the wildly different paths of their lives cross once again with the sudden death of April's brother. Oliver, the responsible, newly engaged law student finds himself drawn more than ever to the reckless, mystifying April - and cracks begin to appear in his carefully constructed life. Even as Oliver attempts to "save" his childhood friend from her grief, her menacing boyfriend and herself, it soon becomes apparent that Oliver has some secrets of his own--secrets he hasn't shared with anyone, even his fiancé. But April knows, and her reappearance in his life derails him. Is it really April's life that is unraveling, or is it his own? The answer awaits at the end of a downward spiral...towards salvation.

9. Don't Judge a Girl by her Cover by Ally Carter. I blogged about it for a "Waiting on Wednesday." I'll be reading it this summer.

10. Finally, my book club choice for Affairs of the Pen: Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Sunday Seven for Summer Reading

What I’m Reading: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and The Devil’s Company by David Liss

What I’m Working On: Expanding the plot (mostly in my head right now)

Since in my job, I deal with selecting and advertising summer reading, I thought I might post some of my summer reading (or at least what I want to read).

Today’s list will be a Sunday Seven. I hope to post ten more Tuesday (a Tuesday Ten).

1) Something by Ernest Hemingway. I’m leaning towards The Sun Also Rises or A Farewell to Arms. Every summer, I try to read one of “those” books that everyone has to read at some point in time. Sometimes, it’s something I’ve read before (like last summer – Great Expectations by Charles Dickens) or something I haven’t. This year, the choice is easy as we’re taking a family vacation to Key West. We’ll be staying near Hemingway’s house so it seems appropriate to read one of his great American novels. Plus, I actually like Hemingway. Of course, I could read a pirate story, too, since we’re taking a day trip to the Dry Tortugas, but I can’t think of a good one. (And, no, I’m looking for something other than Treasure Island.)

2) I wanted a good summer series and I got it. Inhaled it. The Ivy League Novels by Diana Peterfreund. She’s the smart girl’s beach read. (And, wow, what memories and flashbacks. I totally identified with protagonist, Amy Haskel.)

3) I’m hitting Jodi Picoult pretty hard this summer. Two of her books are on my favorite high school’s “book club” list for summer. Preliminary data indicates that these will be widely read, so I thought I’d better read them, too. I’ve already finished Nineteen Minutes and as soon as my number comes up on the library wait list, I’ll be reading My Sister’s Keeper.

4) I’m midway through Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. Same reason as #3. (This is my second time to read it. The first was at least 5 years ago.)

5) I also read the first two books in Melissa Marr’s addictive YA fairy series and I plan to read the third ASAP. It’s called Fragile Eternity and is supposedly the darkest yet.

6) I downloaded Color of the Sea by John Hamamura to my Kindle. Last year I read The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng. It was probably my favorite book of the year (and I read over 60 books). I’ve heard good things about Color of the Sea and I’m hoping it’s a “read-a-like” for The Gift of Rain.

7) The Places Between by Rory Stewart rounds out my seven. In January 2002, Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan. This is his story. The book was recommended to me as a potential community book for my fav high school in the summer of 2010. I can never start too early when it comes to selecting those community books. It took months to select this summer’s book – The Translator by Daoud Hari.

Thanks for reading. More Tuesday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

What I'm Reading: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and Tap and Gown by Diana Peterfreund

What I'm Working On: Some sort of organization for the plot. A storyboard maybe. Help!

What I'm Waiting on this Week:
Hamlet by John Marsden
August 11, 2009 by Random House/Candlewick
Hamlet’s father has just died. By the time they’ve filled in the grave his mother has remarried. Hamlet suspects foul play, and it’s troubling his spirit. Or maybe he was always troubled. Ophelia is in love with him. His best friend Horatio can’t work him out. Then, on a cold, still night, Hamlet meets the ghost of his father...
This wonderful book, by one of Australia’s most-loved writers, takes Shakespeare’s famous play and makes it into a moving and full-blooded novel. John Marsden powerfully re-imagines the original characters and story. Hamlet, A Novel will be adored by readers young and old.
(I'm not posting a longer synopsis. It's Hamlet. We know the story.)
It's Hamlet for modern times. So many people have said "why" better than I ever could and I agree with them so I'll let them tell you why.
2) Quote by author Chris Crutcher: "John Marsden has done what a legion of educators, my parents, a great number of my more literate friends and my read-anything-you-can-get-your-hands-on grandmother failed to do. He has made me, for one glorious moment, love Shakespeare. Marsden's version of HAMLET is smart, tough, lyrical, thoroughly readable and uncompromisingly engaging. Back off, Mrs. Phelps (my high school English teacher). I now get HAMLET.”
3) Marsden as a great YA writer. He’s Australian and writes the “Tomorrow” series about Australian friends who return from a camping trip in the outback to discover that enemy forces have invaded the country and imprisoned everyone in town. All of his books are engaging.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A song from Kevin's soundtrack

What I'm Reading: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and Tap and Gown by Diana Peterfreund
What I'm Working On: The convulution that is Slayer

Last Thursday I hit the gym for the first time in a week. I'd been away on a Marine Research trip with my fav high school. Life is really rough when you have to snorkel over the best reefs in the U.S. for five days, but I digress.

So, last Thursday, to drown out the rap music the football team was blasting from my fav high school's state of the art fitness center, I cranked some tunes I hadn't listened to in awhile on my iPod

What comes blaring through? Shadow on the Sun by Audioslave (an amazing band fronted by hottie Chris Cornell of Soundgarden fame). Can you tell I'm a fan?

I'd forgotten I'd even put this on my playlist back in the day when I began Slayer's soundtrack. But, wow, it really fits for the hero of my story. (Technically, I have a heroine, hero and another hero. Don't ask.)

Now I'm wondering if it would be beneficial to make a different soundtrack for Tara, Kevin, and Galen. Or would that be further procrastination?

Regardless, I thought I'd post the lyrics for you. Now that I've said this is the perfect song for Kevin (about 3/4 into the book), what do you think he might be experiencing emotionally?

Go ahead and post your thoughts.

Shadow on the Sun by Audioslave:

Once upon a time
I was of the mind
To lay your burden down
And leave you where you stood
And you believed I could
You'd seen it done before
I could read your thoughts
Tell you what you saw
And never say a word
Now all that is gone
Over with and done - never to return

(chorus 1)
I can tell you why
People die alone
I can tell you I'm
A shadow on the sun
Staring at the loss
Looking for a cause
And never really sure
Nothing but a hole
To live without a soul
And nothing to be learned

(chorus 2)
I can tell you why
People go insane
I can show you how
You could do the same
I can tell you why
The end will never come
I can tell you I'm
A shadow on the sun

Shapes of every size
Move behind my eyes
Doors inside my head
Bolted from within
Every drop of flame
Lights a candle in
Memory of the one
Who lives inside my skin


Here's a pic of Chris, too. Tell me he's not a hottie!?!?

Monday, June 22, 2009

No, I didn't melt in the Florida heat.

But I could have.....

Sorry to be lax in posting. I'll have a great Waiting on Wednesday for you in a couple of days. (Sorry to miss last week. Out of town.)

More later!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

What I'm Reading: Under the Rose by Diana Peterfreund
What I'm Working On: Slayer. Always Slayer.

Waiting On: RAMPANT by Diana Peterfreund
August 25th 2009 by HarperTeen, 416 pages


Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns...

The sparkly, innocent creatures of lore are a myth. Real unicorns are venmous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. And they can only be killed by virgin descendants of Alexander the Great.

Fortunately, unicorns have been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.

Or not.

Astrid Llewelyn has always scoffed at her eccentric monther's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend in the woods — thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to prom — Astrid learns that unicorns are real and dangerous, and she has a family legacy to uphold. Her mother packs her off to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.

However, at the cloisters, all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to — perhaps most dangerously of all — her growing attraction to a handsome art student... and a relationship that could jeopardize everything.

I love Diana Peterfreund's voice and that's reason enough.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I'm going to be in and out alot in the coming weeks. I'm committed to getting a post up once a week -- at least, but for June and July, it might be sparse.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

What I’m Reading: Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult and Secret Society Girl: An Ivy League Novel by Diana Peterfreund

What I’m Working On: Another draft of Slayer. Seriously – I have to finish this book soon. Or else.

Waiting On Wednesday: THE DEVIL’S COMPANY by David Liss
July 7th 2009 by Ballantine Books

From the acclaimed author of The Whiskey Rebels and A Conspiracy of Paper comes a superb new historical thriller set in the splendor and squalor of eighteenth-century London. In Benjamin Weaver, David Liss has created one of fiction’s most enthralling characters.
The year is 1722. Thief-taker, ex-boxer, “ruffian for hire,” and master of disguise, Weaver finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, pitted against Jerome Cobb, a wealthy and mysterious schemer who needs Weaver’s strength and guile for his own dark purposes.
Weaver is blackmailed into stealing documents from England’s most heavily guarded estate, the headquarters of the ruthless British East India Company, but the theft of corporate secrets is only the first move in a daring conspiracy within the 18th century’s most powerful corporation. To save his friends and family from Cobb’s reach, Weaver must infiltrate the Company, navigate its warring factions, and uncover a secret plot of corporate rivals, foreign spies and government operatives. With millions of pounds and the security of the nation in the balance, Weaver will find himself in a labyrinth of hidden agendas, daring enemies and unexpected allies.
With the explosive action and scrupulous period research that are David Liss’s trademarks, The Devil’s Company depicts the birth of the modern corporation, and is the most impressive achievement yet from an author who continues to set ever higher standards for historical suspense.

Well, first and foremost because I won an ARC from I’m excited to get to read and write a review for this book. It’s not my normal fair. Neither (I thought) was THE HELP, which I also won from Goodreads and which I voraciously devoured and which I’m certain might be my “book of the year”. I love finding new authors and new types of stories to love. This one looks, oh so promising.