Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Books I've Read: Alex, Approximately

I picked this one up because the blurb told me the main character is a fan of classic movies and as a longtime movie lover myself, I thought it would be a fun read.

I was right.

There is nothing very deep or profound about this book, but I enjoyed it anyway.  Bailey is an engaging main character, even if some of her actions and motivations are a little screwy.  But who isn't at least a little bit screwy?

I loved the wacky museum Bailey and Porter worked in.  It's the kind of place I'd love to work in too, full of eccentric memorabilia and nonsensical tableaus.

But basically, this is a pretty straightforward romance novel, and one I read as quickly and eagerly as any romance novel.  I enjoyed getting to know Bailey and Porter and their very different, but equally eccentric families.

This isn't a book that will change your life, but for a fun Sunday afternoon read, it works!

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

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Weekly Goals 19-6-17

Once again my goal is to get my butt in chair and do some work.  I had a phone call with the subject of the ghostwriting project last week, so I now have some material to work with for a couple more chapters.  So the goal is to write these two chapters this week, because next week I'm going to Auckland for work (so won't get any writing done) and to spend a weekend with the subject to work through those chapters and do more interviews.

Unfortunately I feel like I'm getting a cold, but I'm hoping I can fight that off and still get this work done.  I have far too much to do in my day job this week to be sick, not to mention my own work.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Celebrate the Cover Reveal 16-6-17

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

So what am I celebrating this week?

Cover reveal!

My publisher sent me the cover artwork for the new edition of An Unstill Life.  

Isn't it pretty?  I don't have an actual release date yet, but I expect it will be in July, so watch this space for details…

And what is An Unstill Life about?  Why thanks for asking!

Things at home are rough for fifteen-year-old Livvie Quinn. Jules, her beloved older sister is sick again after being cancer free for almost ten years. Her mom becomes more frantic and unapproachable every day. School isn’t much better. Just when she needs them most, her closest friends get boyfriends and have little time for Livvie – except to set her up on a series of disastrous blind dates.

Livvie seeks refuge in the art room and finds Bianca, the school ‘freak’. Free-spirited and confident, Bianca is everything Livvie isn’t. Shaken by her mom’s desperation, her sister’s deteriorating condition, and abandoned by her friends, Livvie finds comfort and an attraction she never felt before with Bianca.

When their relationship is discovered, Livvie and Bianca become victims of persecution and bullying. School authorities won’t help and even forbid the pair to attend the Winter Formal as a couple. If Livvie defies them and goes, she risks expulsion and further ridicule from her classmates. At home, her mother’s behavior escalates to new levels of crazy and Jules is begging for help to end the pain once and for all.

While searching for the strength to make her life her own, Livvie must decide how far she’s willing to go for the people she loves.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Books I've Loved: The Hate U Give

This book has been talked about a lot this year, and now that I've read it, I know why.  It's terrifically important.  Everyone should read it.

The book deals with the shooting of a black boy by a white policeman in a crappy neighborhood.  Obviously this is a hot-button issue and one that has resulted in entire suburbs and towns torn apart by riots.

Starr, he protagonist in The Hate U Give comes from one of the poor suburbs.  Her dad is an ex-gang member who has been in prison.  He's out of that now, and he and her mother are determined their kids will have better opportunities.  So Starr and her siblings go to private school in a different suburb where they are among the only white people.

So Starr feels slightly removed from her neighborhood and the friends she had there as a child.  But not so removed that it isn't incredibly painful to see her best friend from childhood gunned down in front of her.

In the aftermath, Starr has to make some big decisions.  If she speaks out, she puts herself and her family at risk.  But if she doesn't, Khalil will go down in history as a drug dealer and thug, someone who deserved to die.

As she struggles to do the right thing for the people she cares about, Starr discovers the power of her own voice, strength to fight for the things she believes in and a way to reconcile the two worlds she's lived uncomfortably between.

Often violent and heartbreaking, this book is frighteningly real.  I live in a country where the police aren't even armed most of the time, so the fact a young kid can be gunned down so casually terrifies me.  Yet it happens every day, to kids who have done nothing wrong, by people who are so terrified of their own neighborhoods they shoot first and question why later.

I recommend this to everyone.  It is relevant, important and should be compulsory reading.  It might make you uncomfortable, but so it should.  Discomfort is the way to provoke change.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Weekly Goals 12-6-17

Once again, my goal this week is just to get back into the habit of working.  I did a couple of days last week, but not every day…  I really need to be sitting down at least 4 or 5 nights a week to get work done.

Some how though, I'm just not that inspired.  Not to mention, my day job has been stupidly busy again and by the time I get home most nights, I'm so tired I don't really have the energy to do anything more.

But that isn't an excuse.  I've always been busy at work and I've always found the energy to write. I just have to find inspiration and a story I'm passionate to work on, and then I'll be gagging to get to my computer each day.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 9-6-17

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

So what am I celebrating this week?

It's the weekend!  Somehow those short weeks after a public holiday always seem the toughest.  I guess it's trying to pack 5 days' work into 4.

We're having a housewarming party tomorrow which should be fun.  I don't think many people are coming, but whoever shows up, it will be nice to see them.  I just need to figure out what finger foods to make…

What are you celebrating this week?