Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Books I've Loved: Perfect Escape

I read this one in a single sitting.  I seriously could not put it down.  Something about the relationship between these two siblings felt so perfect and so real I just had to keep reading to see how it played out.  And the secondary characters are heartbreaking too.

It's unusual in YA books for parents to be anything but props or voices of authority, but the parents in this book felt real.  They were mad, sure, but they also had a sense of helplessness about them, like they knew they didn't actually have any power to change the situation.  I like that vulnerability, that understanding that your kid is their own person and that you can't exert your will over them.

Because this book is told from Kendra's perspective, it wasn't as immersive an experience as OCD Love Story, but it was easy to see how difficult living with this disorder can be.  While Kendra is frustrated with Grayson for not being able to be normal, Grayson's frustration at his own disorder is palpable.  He doesn't want to be the center of attention in the family, but his anxiety has made him that way.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb….

Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art -- until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation. 

Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all -- with enough distance, maybe she'll be able to figure everything out. But eventually, Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past. 

With undeniable grace and humor, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown explores OCD, the pressure for perfection, and the emotional highs and lows of a complex sibling relationship.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Weekly Goals 29-6-15

It's my last reasonably quiet week for a while so I want to make the most of it and get a whole lot of work done on my WIP.  I aim to hit the 30K mark by Thursday.  I've signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo too, so hopefully that will put some spurs on me too.  I'd like to be nearing the end of the book by the end of July.  Hopefully by the 24th when the Film Festival starts.  I'm not counting on it though, because the kids are off school for two weeks from Friday, and I have at least one, if not two, trips to Auckland in the next few weeks.

I've been completely hopeless at exercising because I've been so busy and it's cold and dark by the time I get home and the last thing I want to do is go to the gym.  I have to work on that because I feel myself getting more unfit by the day.  It's not a good feeling.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 26-6-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

It's been a much quieter week at work and I've managed to get through lots of the little things I've been putting off.  An with being home all week, I've managed to write most nights, making it past the 25K mark in my WIP.  I hope to get a bit more done over the weekend so I can make it to the 30K mark next week.

The kids stayed with my parents tonight so my partner and I got a date night. We went to my Friday night work drinks, then out to dinner and to see Love and Mercy at the movies.  It's been so long since we had a date night!  Too long

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Books I've Loved: Teeth

I love Hannah Moskowitz.  Her books always strike a chord in me for some reason.  And this one is no exception. Somehow even the bonkers premise works for me.  And it's pretty bonkers.  You see, one of the main characters is part fish.  Yet somehow, it makes perfect sense in the world of the book because everything about Rudy's life is kind of nuts.

Everything revolves around his sick brother and the only thing that can keep him alive is the fish available only on this one remote island.  Isolated and without much supervision, it's no wonder Rudy is desperate enough for a friend that he'll reach out to the strange kid in the ocean.

But as the story unfolds, why Teeth is there, and what he's been through becomes more apparent.

This is a book I read in a single sitting.  It had me mesmerized from the first page and when I was done, I just sat there for a long time, wondering what the hell I'd just read.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb…

A gritty, romantic modern fairy tale from the author of Break and Gone, Gone, Gone.

Be careful what you believe in.

Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.

Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Weekly Goals 22-6-15

I'm home all week this week (and next), so it's time to get some serious writing done.  I'm heading toward the crucial half-way mark in my book, and I feel like maybe the pace is off a little.  Not enough has happened yet.  I've been leaving little notes for myself so when I go back to revise, I'll remember  what I think I need to add in each chapter.  Until I have a chance to read the whole lot through, I won't know if I'm right about the pacing.  So for now, I just keep writing forward and hope I hit my plot points where I want to hit them.

I have a lot of things going on at work, so it's going to be a busy week (as usual), not to mention it's almost the end of term for the kids, so we have all those things like parent-teacher interviews to squeeze in as well.  Not to mention figuring out what we're going to do with the kids for two weeks…

What are your goals this week?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 19-6-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

I've hit the 20K mark on my book.  I don't know that any of the words I've written are any good, but I should be around about a third of the way through.  Part of me wonders if I haven't pushed things forward enough yet (I'm not even 24 hours into the story's timeline), but I'll push on and fix things up in revision, once I've added all the other elements I need to add in.  I'm feeling pretty happy with the way I'm managing to weave in the characters' pasts without resorting to flashbacks.  And I think I have quite distinct voices for each of my two protagonists.  I guess we'll see when I finally let my CPs see it.

My boss is back from overseas and by Tuesday next week my entire team at work will be back together for the first time in over two months.  It will be nice to have everyone there again because it's been a little quiet the last few weeks with so many people gone.

It's my youngest son's birthday on Sunday and he's having a party at Laser Force.  So my weekend is all about birthday cakes and presents.

What are yu celebrating this week?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Books I've Loved: Drowning Instinct

This book took my breath away.  It's dark, creepy, realistic and tragic all at the same time.  In other books where a kid falls for a teacher, I often wonder how they could be so stupid.  In this story, I never felt that way.  Everything that happens unfolds in a horribly, awful, but perfectly understandable way.

It's told as a police interview so right from the start you know something awful has happened and that Jenna, the MC is involved.  As the story unfolds, your sympathies switch from one character to another so quickly it's unsettling.  But it's that uncertainty and mistrust of everyone that keeps you turning the pages.

This is a book that will stay with you long after you've closed its covers.  It will cling to you like a film of dust to your skin and you'll find yourself thinking about it at odd moments of the day, wondering if maybe you missed something here, or misunderstood something there.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb:

There are stories where the girl gets her prince, and they live happily ever after. (This is not one of those stories.)

Jenna Lord’s first sixteen years were not exactly a fairytale. Her father is a controlling psycho and her mother is a drunk. She used to count on her older brother—until he shipped off to Afghanistan. And then, of course, there was the time she almost died in a fire.

There are stories where the monster gets the girl, and we all shed tears for his innocent victim. (This is not one of those stories either.)

Mitch Anderson is many things: A dedicated teacher and coach. A caring husband. A man with a certain... magnetism.

And there are stories where it’s hard to be sure who’s a prince and who’s a monster, who is a victim and who should live happily ever after. (These are the most interesting stories of all.)

Drowning Instinct is a novel of pain, deception, desperation, and love against the odds—and the rules.