Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Books I've Read: Here, There, Everywhere

This was an easy, quick read, but felt like it was meant for an audience younger than YA in many ways. I didn't dislike it at all, but there was something about it that felt off to me and I couldn't give myself over to the story as completely as I really wanted to.

The main character is Zeus (short for Jesus), the only Mexiwegian in the new small town he's moved to.  It's summer and he's tasked with looking after his little brother and doing food delivery for his mother who has just opened at cafe in the town.  Zeus is pretty sure everything about the town sucks until he delivers a salad to the nursing home and meets Rose.

Pretty soon he and Rose are dating and Zeus is making other friends around town, mainly due to his deliveries and his mother's amazing brownies.  Everything seems perfect until Zeus discovers that Rose isn't any happier in the small town than he was when he arrived.  She's counting the hours until she finds out if she gets the scholarship that will allow her to go to New York to study music at the end of the summer.

With the romance feeling like it unfolds way too quickly, to a rather superfluous subplot involving theft at the rest home, this is a book that just doesn't quite gel the way it should.  Some of the best characters are the supporting ones - rest home residents, the other kids in the band Zeus joins - which serves only to make Rose and Zeus appear more bland.  Rose especially.  She's one of those female characters who just seems to good to be true.

There are things I definitely enjoyed about this book, but it certainly wouldn't be one I'd be telling everyone I meet they have to read.  But certainly not a bad way to fill in a Sunday afternoon,

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

Zeus would rather be anywhere than here—Buffalo Falls—the tiny town his family moved to at the end of the school year. Having left all his friends back in Chicago and with nothing to look forward to except helping out at his mother’s cafĂ© and biking around town with his weird little brother, Zeus is pretty sure this is destined to be the worst summer of his life.

But then he meets Rose—funny, beautiful, smart, and an incredible musician.

Zeus can hardly believe that someone like her exists, let alone seems interested in being with him. However, while Zeus is counting down the minutes until he can see her next, Rose is counting down the days until she finds out whether she will be able to leave their small town to pursue her dreams. As the afternoons spent going on local adventures pass into nights discussing their deepest hopes, Zeus knows that he doesn’t have long to convince Rose that what they have is more than a summer fling…if only he’s brave enough to seize the chance.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Weekly Goals 19-2-18

I finished the revision of SHOOK yesterday, so now I have the whole book in Sam's POV.  I kind of figured out how to do it as I went along, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to make some tweaks and changes in the early part of the book (and probably the later parts too).

So this week I'm going to take a break from it so I can come back with some fresher eyes later.  I have another story sitting on my hard drive I want to take another look at, so I will drag that out and give it a read to see if it might be salvageable...

What are your goals this week?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Spotlight on The Crossed Fire by Kim Baccellia

I'm excited to be able to share this new book by Kim Baccellia with you today. But first, take a look at the first book in the series to remind you (or introduce you if you haven't read it before) to the characters and world of the Crossed Series.

Crossed Out (Book 1 Crossed Series) by Kim Baccellia Published May 17th, 2010 Genre: YA/Paranormal/Fantasy

Following the light can’t be that hard, right? So why don’t the dead just do it and leave Stephanie Stewart alone? However nothing is ever as simple as it should be, as Stephanie learns when her hidden ‘gift’ becomes more than a nuisance, quickly turning into a liability. If she can’t learn to trust someone with her secret, the world as she knows it will go to hell. Literally. But if she doesn’t choose wisely, she might just end up learning firsthand how hard it is to follow that light. Because she’s next on the list to be crossed out.      


Crossed Fire (Book 2 Crossed Series)by Kim Baccellia
Published December 18th, 2017
Genre: YA/Paranormal/Fantasy

Stephanie Stewart is a typical sixteen-year-old girl—she loves hanging out with her friends, going to concerts, and sipping mocha lattes. Yup. Just your average teenager . . . Except for one difference—she can see and talk to the dead. In fact, Stephanie helps dead girls who who’ve been murdered or killed, cross over. Just as Stephanie is getting used to her unique “gift”, her mom stumbles into some dangerous witchcraft that backfires and triggers similar abilities in Stephanie’s best friend Cura, and nemesis Hillary. Stephanie already has enough trouble trying to maintain a “normal” life between school and her cute boyfriend Dylan, who happens to have a supernatural talent all his own. But now she has to help her friend Cura and her “frenemy” Hillary cope with their new-found powers as well as cross over two murdered cheerleaders and battle an evil demon who wants to use Stephanie’s supernatural strengths as a free pass to The Other Side. And she needs to do it all while still getting her term papers in on time. She’s definitely going to need an extra-large mocha latte for this.


About the Author:

Kim Baccellia has always been a sucker for the paranormal. She blames it on her families’ love for such things as having picnics at cemeteries, visiting psychics, and reading her mother’s copies of the daily horoscope. In middle school, Kim wrote a horoscope column for the school newspaper. It was a huge hit!

A member of RWA, Kim is currently putting the finishing touches on a YA multicultural thriller. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son. Her website: http://www.kim-baccellia.com
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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things 16-2-18

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

What am I celebrating this week?

I've made great progress with my revision, and now have only six chapters left to go.  I hope to get through these over the weekend so I can let the MS rest for a week or so before going back in to make sure the changes I made actually make sense.

Looking forward to the weekend, although it looks like a busy one.  I'm doing a run on Sunday morning (which I haven't trained for, so is likely to be a fast walk instead).  I don't really care where I place, just as long as I do better than last year!

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Books I've Read: Thicker Than Water

Based on the author's real-life experience with a brother addicted to prescription drugs, there is a painful authenticity to this book, yet it didn't entirely work for me.

Set in two time periods, the A story takes place in a treatment facility where CeCe has been incarcerated since calling the cops to say her brother was dead and that she killed him.

The B story shows how she got to that place, and is the more interesting of the two stories.

CeCe's brother was a star athlete, but an injury took him off the field and a shady doctor more than willing to write prescriptions for a price soon had him hooked onn painkillers.  With the family farm barely hanging on by a thread, and a ready market for anything that can bring oblivion, CeCe soon finds herself stealing her brother's pills to make some extra cash.  The bi-product being that he can't take so many and might be able to kick the habit.

But nothing works out as planned, and as demand for Cyrus's pills gets greater, CeCe finds herself dragged into a world she wanted no part of.  And when tragedy strikes, Cece can't help but blame herself.

The past sections of the book are compelling and brutally honest reading.  It is easy to see how CeCe was tempted into this life, and even easier to see how quickly she became trapped in it.  The insidious nature of drug abuse and its effects are made brutally clear, and while as a reader you are willing CeCe to pull herself away, the tragic events feel almost inevitable as they unfold.

What didn't work for me was the treatment facility and the relationship CeCe forms with another patient there.  It didn't ring true, and felt like it was thrown in there because there has to be romance in all YA books (there doesn't, okay?) and romance is the only way the character will end up with a happy ending.

Sometimes there doesn't need to be any romance.  This book would have been perfectly fine without this particular character and relationship and I would have enjoyed it way more if it had focused on CeCe's relationship with her family instead of on this implausible romance.

But overall, it's well worth a read.

Here's the blurb to help you decide for yourself...

Cecelia Price killed her brother. At least, that’s what the police and the district attorney are saying. And although Cecelia is now locked up and forced into treatment, she knows the real story is much more complicated.

Cyrus wasn’t always the drug-addled monster he’d become. He was a successful athlete, but when an injury forced him off the soccer field and onto pain medication, his life became a blur of anger, addiction, and violence. All CeCe could do was stand by and watch, until she realized one effective way to take away her brother’s drugs while earning the money she needed for college: selling the pills.

Soon, CeCe becomes part drug dealer, part honor student. But even when all she wants is to make things right, she learns that sometimes the best intentions lead to the worst possible outcome.

Thicker than Water is an unforgettable dark, harrowing look into the disturbing truth of drug addiction and the desperate love of a sister watching her brother deteriorate before her eyes.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Weekly Goals 12-2-18

After a good weekend of writing, I'm now 29 chapters into my revision of Shook, leaving me about 12 to go.

So my goal this week is to get through those 12 chapters, or at least very close to it.

Once I have finished, I know I'm going to need to do another pass through to make sure all the changes I've made are consistent and that everything still makes sense.  I think I will also need to do some work on internal dialogue and characterization.  I feel like I'm losing some of who Amy is by having her only viewed through Sam's eyes in this new draft, so I may have to give her a few key pieces of dialogue or action to show who she is more clearly.

But I will probably leave the project alone for a couple of weeks to give me new perspective on it.  So I will need to think about what else I want to do while I let Shook marinate.  I had an idea about a new story over the weekend, but it's still too fresh and unformed to start writing.  I need to let it marinate a little longer first.

Besides, there are way too many half-finished and almost-finished projects hanging around my hard-drive.  I need to get these cleared away (finished or permanently trunked) before I start anything new.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things 9-2-18

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

What am I celebrating this week?

I've done far more revising on my book than I anticipated and am now at the half-way mark already.  At this rate, I'll be finished by the end of February instead of the end of March!  But I'm not going to plan on that.  Who knows what curly ones life may throw my way...

My super-shy, scaredy cat has really come out of her shell.  She even slept on the end of our bed the other night, while we were in it!  And last night, she came and cuddled on the couch with me.  Whatever trauma she suffered in the three months before we got the kittens, she seems to have recovered now.

What are you celebrating this week?