WWW Wednesday – What I’m Reading…

WWW WednesdayWWW- Wednesday – What I’m Reading…

My ‘What I’m Reading List’ list is short and sweet this week. Maybe not that sweet, because I only give Empire of Storms 3.5 stars and include my criticisms of what should have been a kick-ass read. 🙁

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions about what you’re reading in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:

  1. WHANT I’M READING

  2. WHAT I FINISHED READING

  3. WHAT WILL I READ NEXT

What I’m Reading…

eligibleI had a stack of magazines to read after Empire of Storms, so I took my time deciding on my next book to read.. A visit to the library helped, especially when I saw this sitting on the shelf. A modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice? Perfect! And I’m already in love with Mr. Bennett’s character!

Blurb –

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

My first impression is pretty favourable!!

What I’ve Read…

empire-of-stormsBlurb –

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

My Goodreads review:

It started great, maybe because I was so excited to get into the world of Sarah Maas again. And she can write a good world! I’m giving this a 3.5 because while I did enjoy it, I have some criticisms.
1) There are A LOT of hook-ups and sexy bits for a YA book. I, myself, am not opposed, but I’m hesitating passing this on to my fourteen year old. Mothers, if you share books with your daughters, be warned.
2)Too much Rowan. No, I do not love him and Aelin – or ship him, if that’s how I’m supposed to say it. I liked Chaol. And he’s not in it, which upsets me as well.
3) Not enough Lysandra. Because she is cool! Loved her transformation in the last book, but she’s been dropped in this one, other than all the nifty animals she can change into. But Maas has continued on with the Manon transformation, giving her a more important role, which is good. I like the witch
4)It was long. I don’t think it needed to be that long. There’s a lot of descriptions of fire, of sexy bits, of Rowan’s ‘Aelin is everything to me’. In my opinion, all of those could have done with some editing. And the ending. Didn’t love the ending.

5) But what really disappointed me – I like Celaena better than Aelin. She loses her spark when she’s Aelin, which is ironic because she’s all about the fire as the queen!
This sounds like I’m being too critical of the book, and maybe I am, because I did enjoy it. But since I loved the last book, as well as the latest in her new series, A Court of Mist and Fury, I was expected to be WOWED! I was only wowed. But I’m still eagerly anticipating the next one

What I’ll Read Next…

One of these is up next

 

couple-next-door the-hive

 

The Writing Process – What I Learned Last Week

girl-writing-on-floorWhat I Learned Last Week

A writer’s Google search history is best deleted as often as possible. We look up some scary s*&t!

I’m working on a sequel  and  a prequel to The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd. Both are chick lit/spy adventures so I get to come up with some cool scenarios for my peeps to get tangled up in, as well as find out lots of information that the normal person wouldn’t really have a need for.

Here’s What I Searched For Last Week

  • How to Knock someone out – Of course I found out the best way to punch someone but what I really wanted was something a little more discrete. I learned that if you press hard on the carotid artery in the neck, it stops the flow of blood to the brain, rending a person unconscious in 6-8 seconds. Please don’t try this at home,vulcan because it can also lead to death!  I also learned the Vulcan nerve pinch technique, made famous (for you non-geeks!) by Dr. Spock on Star Trek. Interesting fact: Did you know if you use the middle of your head to head butt another person, you might crack your head? Apparently it’s best to go a bit on the side!
  • Mapping the brain and storing information – This quickly got a little too sci-fi for me, but it will be possible to store your memories in the future. And my NIIA (National Intelligence and Information Agency has already come up with a way to do it!
  • Ropes and Pulleys – This quickly led to a few R-rated uses for ropes, which I’ll leave out of these books!!
  • Spy Accessories – Interesting and Annoying Fact – Did you know there is something called the InfidelityTest? It lets you test for semen in 5 different areas. That all fine if you think you’re wife is having an affair, but what if you suspect your husband if having an affair with another woman? (not that I am!!) Where’s the test for that?!?

And that’s only the research I came up with the Charlotte sequel/prequel! Wait until I start working on the new Dragon book!!

If you’re a writer, what’s the most interesting fact you came up with last week? And if you’re a reader, what’s the most off-the-wall thing you learned from a book?

 

 

WWW Wednesday – What I’m Reading

WWW WednesdayWWW Wednesday…What I’m Reading

Two New Favourites!

September is here and my reading has slowed since there are no beaches or docks in which to sit and enjoy. But there will always be books to read. This week, I have two new favourites on the list! And possibly a third!!

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions about what you’re reading in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:

  1. WHANT I’M READING

  2. WHAT I FINISHED READING

  3. WHAT WILL I READ NEXT

What I’m Reading…

empire-of-stormsI was very excited to get this. Not going to comment yet, just want to go back and keep reading!

 

What I’ve Read…

secret kept

Blurb – It all began with a simple seaside vacation, a brother and sister recapturing their childhood. Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanie’s birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island, where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach. It had been too long, Antoine thought, since they’d returned to the island–over thirty years, since their mother died and the family holidays ceased. But the island’s haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories; it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last island summer. When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car.

Recovering from the accident in a nearby hospital, Mélanie tries to recall what caused her to crash. Antoine encounters an unexpected ally: sexy, streetwise Angèle, a mortician who will teach him new meanings for the words life, love and death. Suddenly, however, the past comes swinging back at both siblings, burdened with a dark truth about their mother, Clarisse.

Trapped in the wake of a shocking family secret shrouded by taboo, Antoine must confront his past and also his troubled relationships with his own children. How well does he really know his mother, his children, even himself? Suddenly fragile on all fronts as a son, a husband, a brother and a father, Antoine Rey will learn the truth about his family and himself the hard way.

I have copies of 2 other Tatiana de Rosnay’s books, on my TBR pile but have never read them so it seems ironic that my introduction to her stories is because a friend lent me her library book!

I’m glad she insisted I read it. Sarah’s Key will be moving to the top of my list now!

ready player one

Blurb – In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

This is so good!!!  I tried to explain the plot but I can’t even come close. I do have 2 good friends – both gamers – who I told must read this book! If you like sci-fi with tons of 80s references coming out of the wazoo, video games, and a sweet love story, this is the book for you! Again – so good! One of my new favourite books. Can’t wait for the movie!

 

it ends with usBlurb – Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.


Colleen Hoover has been one of my favourite authors since I first discovered her, but It Ends With Us has a place on my list of favourite books of 2016. Deeply personal, heartbreaking at times – I don’t want to give details because it would spoil the experience. But – so good!!!

three sistersBlurb – When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure. With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined—with Margaret’s younger sister Mary—to a sisterhood unique in all the world. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland, and France.

United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. Katherine commands an army against Margaret and kills her husband James IV of Scotland. But Margaret’s boy becomes heir to the Tudor throne when Katherine loses her son. Mary steals the widowed Margaret’s proposed husband, but when Mary is widowed it is her secret marriage for love that is the envy of the others. As they experience betrayals, dangers, loss, and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.

This one – not so good.

I admit I’m disappointed by this latest Philippa Gregory story. I had the impression it tells the tale of Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots, Queen Katherine and Mary, Queen of France, but primarily Margaret’s story. I don’t know much about Margaret who was married off to the King of Scotland and her fight to reclaim the country for her son after James’ death but after reading this, I have no interest to know more. Margaret is portrayed as a selfish, spoiled, envious shrew who is more concerned with reclaiming her vast wardrobe than her son’s inheritance. I’ve never called a character stupid so many times.It’s very frustrating when a character is so very blinded by the love/desire of a good man, especially to the point where it destroys lives and even a country.

I have most of Gregory’s books and have enjoyed them. But she seems to have been phoning it in ever since The White Princess. The Tudor family gives a wealth of characters and story ideas but someone should suggest to the best-selling author about the difference in showing and telling in her writing.

Truly-Madly-Guilty-by-Liane-MoriartyBlurb – Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.

This started slow but about halfway through, I found I couldn’t put it down. The characters were wonderfully flawed but I was rooting for them to have a happy ending. I’ve been told some of Moriarty’s earlier books aren’t as engrossing as Big, Little Lies and My Husband’s Secret so maybe I’ll stick with reading every new book she comes out with!

What have you been reading lately? And do you have any new favourites?

 

The Writing Process – Why I love my Critique Partners

Why I Love My Critique Partners

Why I love my critique partners

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do I love them? My critique partners make me a better writer.

For those of the non-writers, critique partners are readers who will critique and evaluation your writing. I’ve only worked with other writers, creating a reciprocal relationship – I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. But as everyone knows, putting something you love out there for others to judge is really difficult.

crit-partners-3

But totally worth it.

These days I work with 2 awesome women authors, Lisa and Nita. We do everything on-line; they live nowhere near me. I’ve never even met them!

But I know how they write.

We share chapters, give comments and encouragement. We tell each other what works and what needs to be changed. They know my characters almost as well as I do. We’re each others’ cheerleaders and support staff. It’s a good deal.

I’ve just finished revising the first five chapters in my new book, The Best Worst First Date. It’s a sequel of sorts to The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd – another chick-lit/spy thriller with Charlotte and her spy family as a part of it, but a new character, Tenley Scott as the protagonist. It’s fun to write and extremely helpful to have Nita and Lisa looking over the chapters as I go along. They pick up on things I miss – like how Tenley can sound too much like Charlotte and why would Tenley give up her name (and her daughter’s) to the bad guy. Things I might have picked up on, but maybe not until I was neck-deep in final edits and revisions.

Writing is very solitary and writers are notorious introverts. I can go weeks without discussing my latest WIP with anyone. Knowing Lisa and Nita are there for me to bounce ideas off as well rein me in when plots get too out of hand is very reassuring, not to mention comforting. Having them close enough to meet would be wonderful, but on-line works well too. I wanted to write this post to give a brief glimpse into the writing process but also as a shout-out to my partners. Both are wonderful writers and I will be throwing my full support to them when it comes time to promote their books. I’m so glad we found each other!!

crit-partners-2

 

If you’re a writer, do you work with critique partners? What’s your experience?

The Most Favourite Time of the Year

BACK TO SCHOOL!

I love my kids. I really do. But there’s nothing like the first day back to school.

backto school

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to routines and regular bedtimes. Although I’m not sure what that is anymore with two teenagers. They may be nervous about new schools and teachers but all I can think about it 6 kid-free hours which I don’t have to be peppered with questions about what we’re doing, what time are we doing it, should my super hero have pink hair and can we go to the drugstore to look at makeup.

I’m going into the writing cave today and I’m not coming out until I hear the school bell ring. And we live close enough that I can really hear it!!

Happy First Day Back to School!!!

Meet Red – my latest source of inspiration

IMG_4575This is Red

I’ve been sharing my quiet mornings with Red the squirrel for the last four weeks. Our relationship was contentious at the beginning. He would chatter to me, clearly unhappy that I had invaded his territory of the back deck. Now, he’s still a bully to the other squirrels and chipmunk, chasing them away whenever they venture close, but he’s accepted me. I’m sure the crusts of my toast helped!!

I’ve had countless people ask me about what my inspiration for writing is. Where do I come up with the ideas, the stories, the characters. For me, ideas come from everywhere and my little squirrel is a perfect example. I set a goal for myself to get a first draft of my second Dragon book finished this month. (I failed miserably – the book is coming but not until later this fall.) But I did come up with a new character- Jezualah (JayZ for short). He’s a talking squirrel who provides help for the kids during their adventure in Dragon Land. (I’m still working on coming up with the perfect name for the new world they visit). The sequel to The Dragon Under the Mountain will be more fantasy, with more powers and world building, and a talking squirrel will fit right in.

Why No WWW Wednesday Today?

For two reasons – one, I’m profoundly disappointed by the book I just finished and don’t feel like writing about it yet. Maybe next week I’ll feel that it deserves a mention.

And two – it’s nearing the end of the summer and like the kids preparing to go back to school, I’m readying myself for a fall full of writing goals and deadlines. I’ll be revising my marketing plan (or lack of one), learning about Instagram and other networks to get myself and my books out there. More blog posts, and more about me and my writing rather than just me and my reading.

I’m ready to jump back into things. I’ve been working steadily this summer and I have a few good chapters of The Best Worst First Date to show for it, but writing with a cottage/house full of kids, not to mention friends and family is quite different than being alone in my writing cave all day.

IMG_4668But that’s not until next week. Right now, I’m enjoying my second tea of the day and watching the waves crash onto the beach. I’m also waiting for Red to come back and finish his crusts.

 

Wavy, Windy Day

DSC_0469DSC_0439 DSC_0521It was wild wind that greeted on the shores of Georgian Bay yesterday morning. The sound of the waves crashing against the shore is one of my favourite things at the cottage and Sunday was no exception. The whitecap were the largest I’ve ever seen here and as soon as I could, I took the kids and the boogie boards down to the water to try our version of surfing on the waves!

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