Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: The Why Chromosome: Unraveling the Mystery of the Modern Menigma, Emily White

The plot: How is it possible that two members of the same species can be so different on so many levels? Whether it is God’s sense of humor, or a twisted joke of nature, it is no secret that men and women simply do not understand each other. If you have ever wondered why a guy got your number and never called, why he started acting like a jerk instead of just dumping you, or what is up with the “man crush,” The Why Chromosome: Unraveling the Mystery of the Modern Menigma is for you. This book is made up of forty questions over five categories: Meeting, Dating, Relationships, Break-Ups, and Sex. Each question is answered by a “Good Guy” and a “Bad Boy.”

Co-authors Emily White, Miles Eriksen, and Ryan Vaughn should turn their creative energies to writing sit-coms. Some of the anecdotes and descriptions in The Why Chromosome are so funny I had to catch my breath before continuing to read. And when I confronted the “menigma” in my own life with some of the most bizarre answers, he confirmed that, for the most part, they were true. Since this book focused mainly on the dating scene, many of my own questions, like “Why is the bathroom the best spot in the house for reading?” remained unanswered. In fact, very little of the book revealed previously unknown information. To sum it up; Women are more likely to find serious relationship material in the grocery store than in a bar at happy hour, men like sex, and men do most bone-headed things simply because they can. As the book wore on, the questions and explanations started to feel redundant, and the explicative-filled responses lowered the quality of the writing. I wish that the book was a bit shorter, or that it covered more than dating. But The Why Chromosome was, over all, a fun read, with moments of sheer descriptive brilliance.

Book provided by

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bank Etiquette

This has nothing to do with reading, writing, or books in any way. But I feel that it needs to be said. As some of you know, I work in a bank. I thought that there were a few ground rules about banks that everyone understood, but lately I have been proven wrong. So I want to take this opportunity to clear up a few misunderstandings.

  1. If you arrive at a bank before/after business hours, under NO CIRCUMSTANCE should you pull on the doors, bang on windows, or try to look under security blinds. If you are lucky we will ignore you. If you’re unlucky we will assume you are robbing us and take appropriate action.
  2. If you are making a large after-hours deposit for your company and you suspect the deposit bag has become stuck in the night drop, do not try to un-stick it by shoving three more bags in after it.
  3. If there are red X’s or road cones blocking a drive-thru lane, or an “out of order” sign on any equipment, you do not need to tell us it is broken.  We know, and will have the problem corrected as soon as reasonably possible.
  4. When there are obviously only three employees in the bank, and twelve customers, please do not tell us about your day, talk about the weather, or, even worse, glare at us because it is not your turn.
  5. If you know your account information and deposit and withdrawal slips are provided, please take the liberty of filling one out. It will save both of us time.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Book Review: The Falconer's Knot, Mary Hoffman

The Plot: Silvano has it all. He’s young, rich, and handsome. He’s also suspected of a murder he didn’t commit. His father sends him to a friary to seek sanctuary until the real murderer can be caught and his name cleared. But what Silvano thinks of as a boring exile quickly becomes complicated. He finds himself falling I love with Chiara, the beautiful novice from a neighboring convent. Chiara, however, will soon become a Bride of Christ, and be out of reach for mortal men. And that isn’t his only problem. Shortly after his arrival in the friary, the Brothers experience a string of murders. Naturally, they are suspicious of the newcomer who has taken sanctuary with them. Can Silvano discover the real killer before he becomes the next victim?

I love a good historical fiction, and Mary Hoffman has done her homework. The culture of medieval Italy really comes alive in The Falconer’s Knot. The historical notes in the back of the book are a nice touch for those who don’t study medieval Europe for fun. J I do wish that Hoffman spent a little more time developing the murder mystery theme. At times, it seems like the mystery fades into the background while a series of love stories take center stage. The plot does have a few interesting twists, but I figured out the whodunit early on, and spent the rest of the book waiting to find out that I was wrong. However, it was quite fun to read, and I was attached to several of the characters. And, referring back to my post about titles, the subtitle of this book is A Story of Friars, Flirtation, and Foul Play. How can you not read a title like that?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Title Troubles

Help! I am about 2/3 the way through a novel manuscript, and I have NO IDEA what to call it. It was fairly easy to name my first child, but my book? Not possible.  I know that if it is ever published there's a good chance the title will be changed anyway, but this is really bothering me. When I'm at the bookstore or library, if the title doesn't catch my attention, I don't even read the back cover, so working on my own book, "Untitled" has me a little stressed out. So tell me, what kinds of titles catch your attention? How would you come up with a title? Any tricks of the trade I don't know about?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Austenland-THE MOVIE!!!!

For anyone who doesn't already know this, I'm a huge fan of all things Jane Austen. She's pretty much my hero. A few years ago I ran across a great little book called Austenland by Shannon Hale. (I highly recommend all her stuff, she's hilarious) Its about a resort in England for fanatics like me to live out their English fantasies. Well, if you haven't guessed from the title, they're now making it into a movie!!! (Dances around happily) My husband desperately tries to limit the amount of chick flicks in our home, but this one is definitely going on the shelf!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Best Anthology EVER!

I may be slightly biased about this (I'm in it!!) but I don't think so.  UnConventional will be unlike any other fantasy collection you've read. check out the details here

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Book Review: Efrain's Secret

The Plot: Seventeen-year-old Efrain may have grown up in the poorest part of New York City, but he has his heart set on attending Harvard. He’s on track to be the valedictorian of his class, and willing to study like crazy to bring up his SAT score. But none of this seems to matter when he looks at the cost of tuition, not to mention books or room and board. Efrain’s mother works herself to death just to keep food on the table for him and his sister. And his loser father has a new family to support now. So Efrain lets is friend talk him into slinging. He has always fought against the stereotype of becoming just another teenage drug dealer, but now he sees it as his chance at a better life. Honor student by day, drug dealer by night, Sofia Quintero’s Efrain’s Secret depicts one boy’s desperate struggle for a better life.

Efrain’s Secret started out a little slow for me, but by the end I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I loved the way the book was formatted, and the vocab. words as chapter titles was a nice touch. The dialogue seemed slightly forced, but most of the characters were believable and easy to connect with.  Oddly enough, the character I had the most difficulty understanding was Efrain. It was never really clear to me why he was so set on an Ivy League school. I understand his drive to get out, but there are several colleges far from New York that don’t come with an Ivy League price tag. The book focuses on how smart Efrain is, but he made some really dumb choices. But I do appreciate that this is not a fairy-tale story where everything works out despite the bad choices made by the main character. The ending is full of possibilities, but everyone still has to pay for their choices.

Book provided by

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book Review: Linger, Maggie Steifvater

The Plot: Sam, free of his curse, is struggling to fit into a "normal" life. With little hope that Beck will have another summer, he takes over responsibility for the pack. Unfortunately, the newest members are a bit more than he planned on. And to top it off, Grace's parents have decided that he is not good enough for their daughter.

             Cole: The newest member of the pack, Cole chose this life to escape from his old life. When spring comes, he wants nothing more than to return to his fur pelt. But he can't outrun his past, or the darkness within him. Then he meets Isabel, the one person possibly more damaged than himself.

             Isabel: Trapped by the guilt of her brother's death, and surrounded by a family that doesn't notice her, Isabel wants nonthing more than to escape. But something inside her refuses to let her throw her life away. So she turns to the wolves. Her friendship with Sam and Grace help, but she still feels empty. Until she meets Cole. He doesn't want her help. So maybe just for the challenge, she won't give up.

            Grace: Life was perfect for Grace. Then her parents decided to be part of her life, by forbidding her to see Sam. And she needs him now more than ever.  A sickness is growing inside her that is somehow tied to the wolves. The doctors can't find the problem, but if she doesn't figure it out soon, she will die

I was not disappointed by Linger. The characters and relationships, especially between Grace and her parents, felt more real to me than they were in Shiver. It still bothers me that all of the main characters have terrible relationships with their parents.  I know I was blessed to have parents I have always (even as a teenager) liked. But I wish there was at least one good parental figure. Surprisingly, Isabel was my favorite character this time.  I felt like her personality came out much better than in Shiver. Cole, I just didn't get. Maybe I'll understand him better in the third book. As with the first book, the ending is what really made the book. Unfortunately, Forever isn't out yet, so we just have to wait to find out what happens in Mercy Falls.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

To Make You Smile

So, I was scanning the Spencer Hill Press announcement page and found this. Check out the last date. Someone is having too much fun over there.