Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Spotlight: The Bone Carver by Monique Snyman - October 20 Release


Author: Monique Snyman
Published: October 20, 2020
Pages: 251



For a small New England town, Shadow Grove has an uncanny ability to attract the worst kind of trouble. Not that the residents are too concerned about the various horrors living among them.

As the leaves change color and the weather grows colder, a foul presence is making itself known by leaving peculiar gifts for the students of Ridge Crest High. At first, the presents seem harmless—and a rash of accidents seem coincidental—but when seniors Rachel Cleary and her Scottish cousin, Dougal Mackay, find a boneless body in the boiler room, things take an ominous turn.

Something vicious is on the loose in Shadow Grove, but with Orion Nebulius gone, Rachel has little hope of anyone getting out alive.




Monique Snyman’s mind is a confusing bedlam of glitter and death, where candy-coated gore is found in abundance and homicidal unicorns thrive. Sorting out the mess in her head is particularly irksome before she’s ingested a specific amount of coffee, which is equal to half the recommended intake of water for humans per day. When she’s not playing referee to her imaginary friends or trying to overdose on caffeine, she’s doing something with words—be it writing, reading, or fixing all the words.

Monique Snyman lives in Pretoria, South Africa, with her husband and an adorable Chihuahua. She’s the Bram Stoker Award® nominated author of THE NIGHT WEAVER, which is the first installment in a dark fantasy series for young adults.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Spotlight: The Magic Ingredient by Lindy Miller - October 13th Release

 


Author: Lindy Miller
Published: October 13, 2020
Pages: 285



The end of summer is approaching, but even at the height of Bar Harbor’s tourist season, Eve Silver is having a hard time keeping enough dough in the bank to sustain the family bakery. Her only hope of paying past due bills is to win the catering bid for the town’s upcoming Harvest Happening festival. Otherwise, it’ll be lights out for Mount Desserts by Christmas.

Widower Jeff Perry is moving with his twelve-year-old daughter, Candy, from Manhattan to Maine with one goal: starting over. When sparks fly between Jeff and Eve as the town readies for the annual harvest festival, Candy wishes she had a love potion to help her dad fall in love again.

Will Eve be able to save Mount Desserts—and open her heart to Jeff—by the most bewitching night of the year?

It’ll take a lot of love, a little bit of luck … and just a pinch of magic.




Lindy Miller is an author of feel-good love stories that are full of sweet moments and happily ever afters. She believes the best time to fall in love is during the holidays, preferably over a cup of warm tea or a delicious vegan pastry - two things she can't get enough of.

A free spirit, Lindy loves to travel and has a soft spot for Bar Harbor, Maine though she grew up at home in the South. She is married to her childhood sweetheart and bakes as often as she can for her husband, son, and pets - especially her golden retriever, Finn, who has a tendency to show up in her stories.

Lindy is represented by Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management and supported by Smith Publicity. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Romantic Novelist Association (RNA).

Friday, October 16, 2020

Ch-ch-ch-changes

 Hey y'all. So I've been pretty much radio silent for about two years now. I posted earlier this year about being back, maybe, and I'm glad I included the maybe since I was clearly not back in any meaningful way. Now I don't remember what all I talked about in that post, and I'm not going back to re-read it, so I may repeat myself some here, but please bear with me on that, since that post was written several months and a whole pandemic ago. 

Anyway, I'm transitioning this blog into more of a lifestyle blog for myself. The main focus will still almost certainly be books because they are still a huge part of my life, and pretty much a defining characteristic about me as a person, but I probably won't be posting many book reviews because I simply don't have all that much time to read books just for fun (and I've decided to stop reviewing books I've proofread here on the blog, although I may provide a star rating with spotlight posts. I haven't decided on that yet.) 

I would love to be able to sit here and give a brief idea of what I will end up talking about in the future, but honestly, my life is pretty much a hot mess express (and that was true even before Covid), so I think you're just going to have to be as surprised by my posts as I am. One thing that I currently intend on talking about here is my journey towards more earth friendly life choices. 

For example, a while back, I found shampoo and conditioner bars at my local grocery store and bought a whole bunch of them to try out. I've now gone through all the shampoo bars and need to replenish, but it's so much easier to just buy the bottles of shampoo available at the store than it is to find quality shampoo bars online (maybe, searches on Amazon don't yield super positive results in my opinion). I recently clicked a sponsored ad for shampoo bars on Facebook though, which resulted in a lot more sponsored ads in my feed, so I spent the past half hour or so comparing prices on all the different sites. For now, I kind of intend to buy at least one product from all of them, and probably a few from most of them as scent varieties are different and I'm a big fan of getting free shipping. I've already placed orders on two different sites, so now we shall see how long it takes them to arrive and just what I think of them. While a part of me is concerned about price overall, quality of product will also be a factor for me, since I can purchase from all of these sites via PayPal (where all of my proofreading income hangs out until I find something I wanna buy online where I can pay with PayPal). 

Beyond that, once again I hope to post a bit more consistently around here, I just need to figure out how that's going to look with working a day job and moonlighting as a proofreader, all while being a wife and mother as well. Wish me luck. - Katie 



Monday, February 24, 2020

*Review* The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton


Published: 1967
Pages: 192



The Outsiders is about two weeks in the life of a 14-year-old boy. The novel tells the story of Ponyboy Curtis and his struggles with right and wrong in a society in which he believes that he is an outsider. According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.


This is a book that I'd been meaning to read for a while. I'd heard so many great things about it, and unfortunately, for me it just didn't live up to the hype. I know that one of the reasons so many people love the book is that they find it relatable, but I just didn't. 

I think a major part of the problem for me is that although I was a bit of an outcast in school, it wasn't anywhere near the level of Ponyboy and the greasers. In the whole scheme of things, my lifestyle was more in line with the Socs, even though I didn't fit in with the popular kids, but the book doesn't really show us things from the Soc perspective. But even if it did, I still don't think I'd have found the story all that relatable. 

I kept reading hoping that I'd hit a point where I'd start to relate to either the characters or at least the situations they found themselves in in some way, but I didn't. The complete disconnect for me is even making writing a review difficult. Ultimately, I just didn't get it, so for me, this book was a dud. 

I give it 2.47382 stars. - Katie 



Susan Eloise Hinton's career as an author began while she was still a student at Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Disturbed by the divisions among her schoolmates into two groups--the Greasers and the Socs--Hinton wrote The Outsiders, an honest, sometimes shocking novel told from the point of view of an orphaned 14-year-old Greaser named Ponyboy Curtis. Since her narrator was male, it was decided that Hinton use only her first initials so as not to put off boys who would not normally read books written by women. The Outsiders was published during Hinton's freshman year at the University of Tulsa, and was an immediate sensation.Today, with more than eight million copies in print, the book is the best-selling young adult novel of all time, and one of the most hauntingly powerful views into the thoughts and feelings of teenagers. The book was also made into a film, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and featuring such future stars as Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, and Tom Cruise.Once published, The Outsiders gave her a lot of publicity and fame, and also a lot of pressure. S.E. Hinton was becoming known as "The Voice of the Youth" among other titles. This kind of pressure and publicity resulted in a three year long writer's block.Her boyfriend (and now, her husband), who had gotten sick of her being depressed all the time, eventually broke this block. He made her write two pages a day if she wanted to go anywhere. This eventually led to That Was Then, This Is Now.In the years since, Ms. Hinton has married and now has a teenaged son, Nick. She continues to write, with such smash successes as That Was Then, This Is Now, Rumble Fish and Tex, almost as well known as The Outsiders. She still lives in Tulsa with her husband and son, where she enjoys writing, riding horses, and taking courses at the university.In a wonderful tribute to Hinton's distinguished 30-year writing career, the American Library Association and School Library Journal bestowed upon her their first annual Margaret A. Edwards Award, which honors authors whose "book or books, over a period of time, have been accepted by young people as an authentic voice that continues to illuminate their experiences and emotions, giving insight into their lives."

Saturday, February 1, 2020

I'm Back! (Maybe)

At the beginning of the year last year, I made a post where I resolved to become more active in the book blogging community, basically trying to do a better job of seeking out and interacting with other book bloggers on their pages. It was a really thoughtful resolution. Then I basically disappeared, for pretty much the whole year. I have a handful of posts from last year, and most of them were drafted before the year actually started. A part of me knew that making a resolution about blogging was a bad idea (because who ever actually sticks to their resolutions, amiright?), but the optimist in me swore that it'd be fine because it was book related and I love books.

Now I really want to get back into my blogging, but I want to make some changes around here. While this blog will always have a primary book focus (again, I love books), I'm going to add some lifestyle posts so you can get to know the parts of me that aren't obsessed with books. We're going to act like I'm a well-rounded character and not a one-dimensional book nerd for a change. And that starts now.

Part of the reason I was radio silent in the last quarter of 2019 is I started a day job (and that is how I will always refer to it because I'm not giving my stalker any ammunition against me when she's already threatened retribution for imagined slights). It's in fast food, so nothing glamorous, but it allows me to contribute to the household finances more than I was working as just a proofreader (which I'm also still doing). After about two months on the job, I began training to become a manager, and not long after that, I was promoted to assistant manager. And I recently found out that where I'm going to go from here is a major topic of discussion between my GM and the owners (who own more than one store in the area), so it seems to me that I may be promoted to GM sooner rather than later, although potentially in a different store. It's all happened rather fast considering that I have no prior management experience and didn't work outside the home for eight years.

Another change that has happened because of the new job is that I've started wearing makeup again, not because I'm required to for work, but because I feel good about myself again and want to. In fact, I recently realized that the real reason I didn't wear makeup for years wasn't because I just didn't care what others think of me like I'd thought, but because I didn't really feel good about myself. I know this because I still don't really care what others think of me, but I want to wear makeup anyway, for me. I don't know what the "it" products are in this area though, so I'm currently subscribed to BoxyCharm and Ipsy so I can test out some new products and find things to use. I will be talking about some of those things around here too. One day I may even get up the nerve to go into Ulta and ask for some help and/or advice, but that day is not today.

A final change I intend to make around here is that I will no longer be reviewing the books that I proofread here. I will still spotlight them and give a star rating, but I won't be writing in depth reviews. It became quite clear last year that I don't always have the time to write those reviews right after finishing a book, and since most of my authors write series, I can't always keep exact events in specific books straight, so my reviews were becoming rather vague anyway to avoid any possible spoilers.

So that's where we're at. I'm hoping to be around here more regularly this year, and with a wider range of topics for discussion. I hope you'll stay with me for the ride. - Katie

Monday, June 17, 2019

*Review* Something I'm Good At by Caroline Andrus


Genre: YA Romance
Published: June 18, 2019
Pages: 240



Summer was the girl who had it all: good grades, a spot on the high school volleyball team, and a best friend since elementary school. Then she was diagnosed with lupus...and her best friend betrayed her. Now she’s cutting ties, because nobody should have to deal with someone as broken as her.

Kane is the guy who never gives up. When he puts his mind to something, he gets it done—no matter how many broken bones it takes. So when a chance encounter at the urgent care throws him in the path of Summer, the girl he’s secretly had a crush on for years, he’s determined to win her heart.

Despite her vow to keep people away, Summer finds herself falling for Kane’s charm. Will the boy who never gives up be able to win—and keep—the heart of the girl who is afraid to let people in?



Kane is charming. But I'm not a princess, and my disease isn't a dragon some prince can slay.

"I'm usually covered in blood and dirt. Do you really think I care about tears and snot?"


I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This book had some serious A Walk to Remember (the movie) vibes for me. A girl who's basically swearing off love because of an illness, Summer's just isn't terminal. I honestly felt like Summer was being a bit dramatic, but in retrospect I think I was probably just a different type of teenage girl than Summer. Also, I'm not super-familiar with exactly how lupus affects someone's life, and I guess I can sort of understand how being diagnosed as a teenager could make it seem like your life is over. But I still ultimately couldn't really relate to her swearing off love because of it. That particular pair of Summer's shoes just didn't quite fit my feet. I had no problem wearing the rest of her shoes throughout the story though. 

My inability to relate to Summer's approach to love just made Kane's part of the story that much better for me though. I could not wait for them to hook up and for Summer to realize that her lupus diagnosis wasn't a spinsterhood sentence. I have slight mixed feelings about Kane's persistence (No means no, dude!), but overall I feel like his approach was acceptable. I definitely got the impression that in another story, he would have accepted only ever being friends if that's all Summer was down for. Like Summer mentioned, he was pretty much the only person she knew who would let things drop when it was obvious she didn't want to talk about them. 

Overall this was a light and sweet teenage romance. It's exactly the type of romance I'd want my daughter to read because Kane is the type of guy I'd want her to date. I'd definitely recommend this if you're looking for a lighthearted read this summer. 4.38976 stars. - Katie 



Caroline Andrus was born and raised in the St. Paul suburbs where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and Henry McCoy—her cat, who thinks he's a wild cougar.

When she's not working her two part time jobs and her full time publishing job, she divides her time between writing, Facebook, designing, and managing her household. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, rocking out to the radio, and tabletop board games.

She is passionate about both reading and writing teen fiction, and is pretty sure she will forever be eighteen at heart.

Website: www.CarolineAndrus.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CarolineAndrusAuthor
Twitter: @andruscaroline

Sunday, April 28, 2019

GoT: What I Want to See - Brienne

As I sit anxiously awaiting this week's episode of Game of Thrones (The Battle of Winterfell), I'm spending a lot of time thinking about what I want to see happen, especially for Ser Brienne of Tarth. Since I'm pretty sure she's on the chopping block in this upcoming episode (did you see how happy she was when Ser Jaime knighted her?!), I need to get these hopes out to the world now before they are rendered completely irrelevant.

I've seen a lot of talk since last week's episode (S8:E2) where people talk about how they're pretty sure that Brienne is in love with Jaime, but I just don't see that. I think Brienne respects Jaime as a soldier, much like she had such great respect for Renley Baratheon because of how he treated her and what he did for her at her birthday party when she was younger. Remember, everyone thought she was so devoted to Renley because she was in love with him, but she told Jaime she knew he was gay. Instead, she was devoted because when all the other boys at her party made a joke out of treating her kindly, Renley was truly kind. And let's face it, when all is said and done, Jaime Lannister is every asshole that made a joke out of Brienne. But before he lost his hand defending her, he was a damn good knight, and that's something, along with his defense of her honor, that she can respect deeply.

But maybe I'm wrong and she really does love Jaime. I hope not though, because I'm pretty sure that relationship would turn toxic real quick. For one thing, now that Jaime has lost a hand, Brienne is easily the better knight, and while Jaime can be okay with that at the moment, do you really think he wouldn't start to resent Brienne in a romantic relationship? She's even the reason he lost his hand in the first place. And when he starts to resent her prowess, he'd just chime in, "You're only a knight because I knighted you and it's your fault I lost a hand." About the only thing Jaime would really bring to that table is the ability to make pretty babies. So for anyone currently shipping Jaime and Brienne, I hope you don't get your wish.

I know I'm not alone in shipping Brienne and Tormund, and I still desperately want Brienne to recognize what she could have in Tormund. Tormund is a man who has been enamored with her from the second he saw her for being exactly who she is. He loves her size, he loves her strength, and he's astounded that she wasn't already a knight. He was the first one to suggest that she should be and mean it. Brienne deserves a man who will love her for being who she is, and Tormund does that. I even imagine he'd brag about her being a better fighter than he is; it would be a source of pride for him.

But I understand why Brienne would be hesitant, and even why she would seem repelled by his actions. For one thing, as a wildling, his etiquette by nobility standards is sorely lacking. But more importantly, it's not a whole lot different from the assholes at her party. They made her believe they were truly interested in her just to make a joke out of her, and I'm willing to bet that's not the first or last time that happened. So Tormund acting interested in her would naturally be a turnoff at this point in her life. It's safer not to trust him and get her hopes up. I just want her to realize that he's being genuine, and that maybe, just maybe, she could be really happy with him.

So what do you think? Are you team Jaime or team Tormund? Or are you team "she's dying anyway so it doesn't matter anymore"? - Katie