Thursday, August 27, 2009

Booking Through Thursday - August 27

What’s the lightest, most “fluff” kind of book you’ve read recently?

The lightest, fluffiest book I've read recently is Vision in White by Nora Roberts. It was just a sweet love story. It wasn't complex and it wasn't anything you would have to think about too much. Probably why I liked it! It was a fun read.

I'm looking forward to reading some more fluff soon!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

After by Amy Efaw

After, by Amy Efaw, is the story of Devon and what happens to her in the days after she gives birth in her bathroom and throws the baby in a dumpster. Before you turn away in disgust, consider that Devon is fifteen years old and has convinced herself that she wasn't pregnant. She's also a great student, star soccer player, and all around good girl. Does she belong in the juvenile court system, where she can have a clean record and the potential for a productive life after her sentence? She's being charged with attempted murder, was it premeditated or a reaction to a situation beyond her understanding?

My first reaction to Devon was anger. I was angry that she would do that to her baby. Eventually I realized that she never gave any thought to it being a baby. Certainly not her baby. I was angry that she was so lost in her own world that she couldn't grasp what was happening to her. I wanted to yell at her and tell her to listen! Pay attention! I couldn't relate to someone so distant, while faced with something so serious.

The beauty in this book is that as Devon begins to realize what happened to her and what she did, we - the readers - begin to realize why Devon reacted the way she did. We are given the information we want as Devon takes responsibility and remembers what happened. Her awakening out of denial is what makes us understand the why and how.

This is a book written for young adults and it is certainly appropriate for teens. The hard reality is that this happens all the time. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone. My only disappointment is that the Safe Haven program wasn't mentioned in the actual body of the story. It's a program that saves lives.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An Interview with Robert Rave

I had a chance to ask Robert Rave, the author of Spin, a few questions this week. I'm honored that he took the time out to answer them! Thank you Mr. Rave!

1. The character of Jennie is just awful. Did you work for anyone like her or did you combine the bad qualities from several different co-workers into one horrible person?

I like to think of Jennie as deliciously evil. No, I didn't work for anyone like Jennie fortunately. However, I've certainly met a lot of characters when I lived in New York. Additionally, I heard countless horrible boss stories. I combined all of the stories and people I met and created Jennie.

2. When you moved to New York, were you new to the big city like Taylor, or was it an easy transition?

It was a fairly easy transition. I had lived in New York as a junior in college and I interned at "Good Morning America." However, the first time I came to New York to interview for that internship my mom flew here with me. It was our first time to the city and my parents weren't just going to send me from my small town to NYC. So for every interview I went on for internships, my mom either went to the coffee shop next door or sat in the lobby.

3. What made you want to write a novel? Was the desire to write always in you or is it a new thing?

I've always written shorts stories even while I was a publicist. Writing is something that I need to do. It's not a matter of want. I loved the characters that I had created in my mind for SPIN and I wanted to take them on an adventure.

4. As an aspiring writer, I'm interested in how authors handle the
writing process. Do you make detailed outlines or just let it flow?

I make an outline. For me that's the toughest part of the writing. My outlines are usually about five to eight pages in length.. I do the broad strokes of plot and the characters. It's my map for the book. After that's complete, I begin writing with the outline next to my computer, but I'm not rigid with the chapters. I let things flow--for me that's where the fun happens and I can really enjoy writing.

5. What is your favorite part of the writing process? I love the writing and hate the editing. What are your thoughts?

I love the writing. I don't mind the editing too much. I have such a great editor at St. Martin's Press that it's been a pretty painless process, and my attitude is that if it makes the work better I'm up for it. I'm constantly learning thanks to my editor.

Teaser Tuesdays - August 25

Today's teaser comes from After by Amy Efaw. It's a book about a teenage girl who dumps her baby in a dumpster. It's a difficult topic but an important one.

From page 130

Devon cannot answer questions about people she's never seen, never learned anything about. Her mom is the only relative Devon's ever known.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Musing Mondays - August 24

Do you prefer to read stand-alone books, or books in series? Do you stick with a series the whole way through or stop after the first installment? Are there any particular series you enjoy?(question courtesy of Elena)

I like reading books that are part of a series. I enjoy re-visiting old friends. It's always hard for me to part with some characters so I like it when I can hang out with them again. . . and again. . . and again.

I've been spreading the books out lately. In the past I would have bought the whole set and read them in a row. Now I like to take breaks and read other things. This keeps me wanting more and It doesn't allow me to be desperate to buy the book when it first comes out in. I can usually wait for the paperback and save some money.

The series that I am in the midst of are the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris (up to book 3), the Women's Murder Club by James Patterson (up to book 4), and the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich (up to book 6). I've got a few others to start too but I'm not quite there yet.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Spin by Robert Rave

I wasn't sure what to think when I started reading Spin, by Robert Rave. I knew it was about the public relations industry which is not a field I know anything about. I was excited to start reading it and for good reason as it was something very different from other books I've been reading lately. I would just like to throw this out there. . . What the heck happened at the end??? I get it but I don't like it! (Note to author: Can you please write another chapter please?)

The book focuses on Taylor, a Midwestern boy who loves the idea of celebrity and everything that goes with it. He moves to New York City to work for a publicist. He's doing small time work, and is acclimating to the city, making new friends, and striving for more. He basically falls into a job with a high powered publicist, Jennie, who isn't exactly the greatest boss in the world. She is a drug addicted, alcoholic witch. She's awful in every way.

I enjoyed this book for the most part. Parts of it are very funny and witty. The author does an excellent job of defining his characters. I found myself very angry with Taylor for falling into some bad habits with his boss. He does things for her that I can't imagine ever doing for a job. I hated that he got caught up in some of it because it just didn't fit with the image I had in my head.

It's a good book, you should pick it up. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fish out of water story. The difference in this book is that the fish acclimates to his new world. This is definitely a book for adults as there is heavy drug usage and sex references.

Read my interview with Robert Rave here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Booking Through Thursday - August 20

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

That's a tough one. . . I've liked so many!

South of Broad was a fabulous book in my opinion, it affected me emotionally and not many books do that. I also really loved The Late Lamented Molly Marx, it was unique and different. The Host is another that I really enjoyed.

I would say that those three books top my list for 2009 so far. They are three very different books and have stayed with me. I personally think that a book that I continue to think about for months and even years later, is a book that I can put on my list of favorites.

Teaser Tuesday . . . On a Thursday

Today's teaser comes from Spin by Robert Rave. Spin is about a young publicist working in New York for a really awful boss. It's an interesting, depressing, and yet entertaining insight into the lives of publicists.

From Page 90

"No, I just worry about you. You're new to the city and I know how easy it is to get sucked in. It's an easy place to lose your footing," she said with a voice of experience.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Musing Monday - August 17

How do you react to movies made of your favourite books (or even not-so-favourite books)? Do you look forward to seeing them, or avoid them? Do you like to have read the book before seeing the movie?

I enjoy it when one of my favorite books become a movie. In fact, I am more apt to see a movie if I've read the book. I generally know what to expect and I like trying to compare and contrast the book vs. the movie. I even like watching movies based on books I don't care for. Most recently I watched Julie and Julia. I wasn't thrilled with the book but I adored the movie.

I generally like to read the book first. If I don't, I rarely have the patience for the book. There have been a few exceptions but in general the book should come first.

Friday, August 14, 2009

South of Broad by Pat Conroy

South of Broad exhausted me. It really did. I couldn't get images from the book out of my bed. I didn't dream about it but thinking about this book kept me from sleeping.

I'm familiar with the name Pat Conroy and obviously have heard of his other work but I had never read any of his books. I want to make that clear, as I've read some mixed reviews, where South of Broad was compared to his other writing. This was my first foray into the world of Pat Conroy and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The book focuses on Leo, the narrator, who meets nine new friends on one day in June when he is eighteen. These nine people change his life. They form a friendship that takes them through the next two decades and beyond. It's the kind of friendship I've always wanted to have.

The first hundred pages or so were a little difficult for me. I had a hard time getting into the dialogue, possibly because I'm not familiar with the South Carolina accent. I'm sure there's a lovely cadence that makes it all work, but I struggled at first. The characters didn't say what I wanted them to say! Leo was too witty and clever. At some point it all came together and the story picked up. Stick around for the last hundred pages where everything comes together into one climax after another. Just when I thought it was over. . . It wasn't. There is a huge revelation at the end and it just gutted me.

If you like sweeping family sagas, you'll enjoy this book. These friends do become family, through their bonds, and through marriages. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Booking Through Thursday - August 13

I somehow missed Booking Through Thursday last week, so I'm going to catch up by answering both last week's question and this week. So. . . let's go back in time to last week:

What’s the most serious book you’ve read recently?

I think the most serious book I've read recently was Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant. Wow. That was a serious book. The book is about a nun in a sequestered convent in the 15th century. The story revolves around her relationship with a novice who doesn't want to be there. It was a very good book but it wasn't a lot of fun.

And now for this week. . .

What’s the worst book you’ve read recently?

Ugh. I read a book a few months ago that was so bad I never even reviewed it. Every time I started to write a review I felt like I was a horrible person talking bad about someone. The book is called The Gettysburg Ghost by Philip Rogone. It was written by a friend of a friend of a friend and it's very bad. It read like a first draft. I think the story has potential but it is in desperate need of editing. A lot of editing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Late Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow

I really loved this book. I want to throw that out there first. I'm really excited to be able to share this book with some friends. I think it is unique and thought provoking.

Molly Marx is dead. That's not a spoiler, it's laid out from the first page. How she died is unknown. At first glance, I assumed that the book would be about solving her death. Was she murdered? Was it an accident? Suicide? We really don't know until near the end. The beauty is, that wasn't the point of the story. It's not a mystery novel. The how and why is there in the background but it isn't the reason to keep reading.

Not too many main characters are dead from the start. The story is told through Molly's eyes as she spends her time in the "duration" following her family and friends around. She is able to listen to their thoughts and while she can't interfere or communicate, her presence is occasionally felt. She watches as her family deals with her death. They grieve in different ways. She watches her husband and tries to decide if he genuinely misses her or if it's an act. She checks in on her young daughter wishing she were physically present in her life.

I found the author's idea of the "duration" to be very interesting. I don't want to give things away but I was intrigued by it, even though it doesn't fit with my personal beliefs. I love the idea that people with different beliefs can still "hang" together in the afterlife.

I highly recommend this book. . . to almost anyone!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - August 4

Today's teaser comes from South of Broad by Pat Conroy. I'm only about 100 pages in but so far so good!

From page 279:

"What do you have against orphans?" Niles asks his wife. Now the room seems to be spinning out of control, a molecular planet freed from its own minimalist laws of gravity.