Good morning! It’s Monday already!?! Wow, the weekends go by too quick. Today I am working on getting all the kinks and bugs (most of them, anyway) out of this site. It’s not easy. I’m not really good at tech stuff, but I am learning.

Another plan for today is to post my first book review! I’m a bit nervous, but I think I’m also very excited. If you are experienced with this, please give me some feedback. It will be much appreciated.

Have a great day!

It is done!

The first book review has been posted! I feel very insecure about it so be nice if you comment. Let me know what I missed, how I should make it better, etc. I’m almost finished with another book, and would like to get better at this. It was fun to write it, though, and I look forward to this next one.

Now I’m nervous. I just announced on Facebook that I have a blog. It was weird enough being on Facebook for the first time in 2 1/2 years much less to invite people to my blog. This is all new, and I’m not a person who likes to put themselves out there because I am not good with negative feedback. I know I need to get used to it, or at least risk it if I ever want to get my own in-the-works novel published.

Memories

I assume that all people who like to read have memories of certain books, certain places, certain circumstances that involve reading. I have several of those and I bet that if I sat down and really thought about it, I have way more than I think I do.

When I was a kid, my brother, David, and I would visit our grandparents in the summers. Our paternal grandparents would come down in their RV (a minihome versus a motorhome – are these supposed to be capitalized?) and pick us up and drive us back to Michigan. Once there we spent another week and a half with them (a total of 2 weeks with them) then went to our maternal grandparents’ home to spend a week and a half there. Then, our maternal grandparents would take us back to Texas in their motorhome.

Usually, our paternal grandparents took us at to the library so David and I would have something to do other than splash around in the pool and argue over who gets more of the hot fudge for our homemade Sundays. At first the books I checked out were by wonderful authors like Beverly Cleary who wrote some of my favorites like Runaway Ralph and all of the Ramona books. Another book series I loved at that age was Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald. I’m sure there were others, but those stand out the most in my mind.

Later I grew into Judy Blume. Those books changed my life. A wonderful memory I have is sitting on my Grandma’s couch (huge, rust-colored velvet couch that weighed more than my first car) and reading Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Deenie, and Forever. All three are fantastic YA books that helped me learn what it meant to be a girl and how that was different than being a boy; especially at the age of 12. I read all three books in two days. They are intimate, universal, and felt almost as if Blume had written them for me. Her books helped me through puberty.

Later, when I became an adult, I heard that Ms. Blume had written adult fiction as well. I headed to the library and checked out Wifey and Summer Sisters. Both wonderful novels. I recommend them.

Often the subject matter in Ms. Blume’s books have put people on edge; sex, masturbation, death, birth control, etc. all of which appear in some way in her YA novels. The reality is, those things exist in the YA world. When I was 12 they may not have played a huge part in my life; I might not have known what they were or how they worked or whatever, but, because I read those books, I at least had answers ready for when I had questions, or when those subjects came up I didn’t feel as awkward dealing with them. And, though I had (have) approachable, loving, non-reactionary parents, learning things from a realistic book that didn’t shy away from those subjects helped tremendously. Ah, censorship. Another subject for another blog post at another time.

I seriously could do this all day. But, I have to get back to work (tee hee), and maybe so do you.

Have a great day!

V.C. Andrews

March 27, 2019

If you haven’t read or even heard of V.C. Andrews and you are over 45 years old and a girl, where the Hell have you been!? Where were you in the 1980s when her books were all the rage? I mean the real V.C. Andrews books: The Dollanganer Series starting with Flowers in the Attic, the first book of the Audrina series, then the first two books of the Casteel series starting with Heaven. Seriously. These books were my 8th-10th grade years. I don’t know how any girl could not have read these back then. I promise I’m not being sexist here. These were not a boy kind of novel. But, if you are a boy and have read them? You are awesome!.

These books went beyond Judy Blume in subject matter. The sex scenes are quite graphic, and what’s more, in the Dollananger series there is incestuous sex between brothers and sisters and uncles and nieces. It also has sex between a teenager and an older man. But, taboo subjects aside, the books were impossible to put down. The drama is intense, the characters are well thought out and the dialogue is incredible.

Even though I did read some of them at school, I read a lot of them laying out in my backyard. These are amazing memories. Hot sun, sunscreen (actually, it was the 1980s, so it was suntan lotion – oil, really, to fry myself with), music, and those books. In fact, the song Every Breath You Take by the Police always reminds me of Flowers in the Attic. Read the book, then listen to the song. It fits. Anyway, I couldn’t put them down. Interestingly, I don’t remember anyone really talking about the subject matter in a way that made them sound wrong even though I and everyone else knew it was. As and adult, I find it interesting that these are often placed in the YA section, but, again, censorship is not my thing.

The funny thing is, when my own daughter (Hey, beautiful Liz!) was that age I would have let her read those if I knew she was reading them. While the sex scenes can be intense, I don’t consider the books pornographic. I consider the graphic scenes the same as those in Romance novels. When she was that age, though, the Twilight series was popular, along with Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. All of these are extremely benign compared with Flowers in the Attic. What got me was when people wanted to ban any of those! Maybe I was too young at the time, but I don’t remember any one mentioning banning Flowers in the Attic in the 1980s. Not even Tipper Gore. LOL.

My suggestion if you are going to read Flowers in the Attic is to NOT see any of the movies made about it; especially the one in 1987. It was ridiculous.

And if you want to read any V.C. Andrews make sure they are the series’ mentioned above. Anything written after 1986 was(is) written by a ghost writer. Ms. Andrews died of breast cancer in 1986. Coincidentally, unknowingly, and interestingly, that is when I stopped reading those books. Huh.

Also, if you haven’t already, check out the book reviews I’ve done so far. Please leave feedback if you would so I can know how I’m doing.

Thanks and have a great day!

Another Monday

The weekend went way too fast. It always seems to. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much reading done except the paper. But, I’ll be back to it today. Right now I am re-reading The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. It is classified under YA, but well worth the read if you like dark novels, monsters, and gore. If you are skeptical, wait until after I post a review to decide. I read it many years ago, but since my 14 year old son is reading it now, I thought I’d read it again for discussion with him and to make a review of a YA to see if any of you are interested. This time I’m taking actual notes so maybe my reviews will get better. If you haven’t already, please check out my other reviews and give me constructive feedback. I’d love to get better at it. If you can’t get to them for whatever reason, please let me know. I need to know if the other pages work for you or not.

Back to it. Have a terrific day!

Interesting Week

April 5, 2019

This week has been interesting, a little stressful, but what week isn’t. It all started out fine. Monday was not bad as far as Mondays go. Then after school I was in a car accident. I want to say it was a minor accident since no one got hurt and the other guy didn’t have as much damage as I, but it ended up with me getting a new-to-me car. The accident was part my and part his fault. I only have liability on my 2009 Chevy Impala, so his car will be paid for (Oh, I forgot to mention that due to both of our mistakes, I ended up rear-ending him, thus, my fault in the eyes of the insurance companies and the law, apparently) and my car would be out of my pocket. My pockets aren’t that deep. My car had already been totaled by the insurance company 2 1/2 years ago due to extensive hail damage (Titleist golf ball anyone?), so it was already a mess. Plus, recently I have been putting money into her for things like a new starter which cost over $600. The transmission was starting to slip a bit and shocks were starting to creak. When my husband and I assessed the damage to the Impala from the accident, it would cost over $5,000 to fix just that, not to mention the stuff down the pike. Ok. So another car it is. Phew. Monday.

Tuesday I had an appointment for the second half of my root canal. Long story as to why it takes three sessions for this one. But, that started my morning off great – had to take that day off for that. As a teacher it’s not anywhere near easy to take a day off. More on that another time. Anyway, while I was still numb after the dentist, I went across the street from my house where there are about 5 car dealerships to look at a few cars in my price range that I was interested in. The first one was a no-go. Nice 2002 Ford Thunderbird, black convertible. But, 2 seater with NO trunk. My son will be getting this car when he starts to drive. He plays a bass clarinet and a tenor saxophone. He needs room. So, second choice was a 2008 Cadillac DTS. Oh, yeah. 4.6L, V8 engine. $8,900. Yep, I got her. She had 2 previous owners; one was a dealership because she was a lease car, the other was a private owner. Clean as a whistle, leather seats, hot/cold/massage seats, Bose stereo, sun roof, quad exhaust. She is very nice. Name? Beatrice. Barely fits in the garage. Pearl colored. Tan interior. Sigh. I love her. But I must admit, I miss my Impala, Phantasma. She was amazing. But now she’ll get donated so someone else can love her, too. I was the only owner. Bought her with 27 miles on her with my ex-husband in 2009, but kept her in the divorce. Paid her off in 2014, I think. She was a great car.

On Wednesday I was observed by the curriculum coach for my department. Not really an evaluation, but it can still be stressful having some one else in the room who is an adult. It went fantastic, of course. I might not like my job, but I am good at it.

Thursday went smoothly. So far Friday is good too.

Tomorrow, Saturday, I am getting a tattoo. I’m nervous and excited at the same time. It will be my first. I am told that it probably won’t be my last since most people who get tattoos get more than one. We’ll see. I am going with my daughter who already has one and is getting another one (see? The rule, not the exception). I am getting runes that represent my husband’s, my, my daughter’s, and my son’s names vertically on the outside of my calf. Again, I am nervous. I’m afraid it will hurt. I actually have a high pain tolerance, but I am not one to test that at any given time. Wish me luck!

Have a great rest of your Friday and a fantastic weekend!

Happy Thursday!

April, 18, 2019

Happy Thursday! Or Friday’s Eve! Or Friday Junior! Normally I’m not quite this excited about a Thursday, but Liam (my son) and I have tomorrow off for Good Friday. The last day off (other than weekends) until the last day of school, which is May 24. That seems far away and real close at the same time. Anyway, I’m happy that this a mock Friday. Tomorrow Liam and I are having a “Treat Yo’self Day” (If you’re a fan of Parks and Rec you’ll know what we mean. If not, why not? Great show!) He needs some summer clothes, I need some sandals, we’ll both need lunch, a trip to the game store, a trip to the book store . . ! The best part is spending time with my son all day. We haven’t done that in a long while. Luckily, both my kids are great companions. I loved spending time two weeks ago with my girl, Liz, while we had lunch, visited, and got tattoos. This weekend, no tattoos, but closeness with my son. It’s funny. When both kids were younger, people would tell me that I would miss the days when they were small and depended more on me. I always thought those people were crazy. I was sure that they were wrong. Little kids are not my thing. I mean, I loved my own, but I was sure that as they got older I would appreciate them even more. I would have a better time being around them. We would be able to connect and become closer as they got older. And, damn, if I wasn’t RIGHT!!!! Ha! Again, I loved my kids when they were small; I loved every age they’ve been so far. However, the older they get the cooler they get, the funnier they get, the more we get along. And, the more I miss them when I don’t see them. And soon enough, I won’t be able to see them very often at all.

So, I’m happy for the day off tomorrow for spending time with my son, and more time to read. Not that I don’t read at work, but there are less distractions at home.

Have a terrific day!

It’s Been a Bit

May 1, 2019

It’s been bit since I’ve blogged, I know. I’m terrible at keeping up with journaling, therefor, I knew I’d be terrible at keeping up with this, too. But, since the whole purpose of this blog is book reviews and such, I have posted a few of those. The most recent is today. But, rest assured, I am reading constantly, even at work, as usual.

Work is winding down. Only 23 more days until Summer Break (yep, capitalized)! This is the last week before 2 weeks of testing (End of Course Exams and Advanced Placement Exams), then one week, then done! Here in this part of Texas, schools get out May 24. Exciting!

My plans for this summer involve me mostly finishing a novel I’ve been working on (not consistently) for 10 years or so. The rest of it will be me reading, gardening, and spending time with my teenage son who will be starting High School next year!

The day will come (August 1) when I will have to go back to work. Gotta pay bills. But for the next 23 days, I am taking down my classroom, trying to find places to store things in my garage, taking home plants that are struggling and hoping to make them well again, and just trying to not stress over anything.

This weekend I had to stop reading a book. It will go back to the library this weekend. No matter what I do, I can’t get into it. It just does not keep my interest. I was told once that I don’t have to finish every book I start. Why waste time on something that isn’t very good? I try, I really do, and I will read a book that is bad on occasion (read my lasted book review), but if I can’t make it past the first chapter without wanting to put it down to clean my toilets, it’s probably not the book for me.

Back to work I go! Ha! It was hard to type that with a straight face. In actuality, it’s back to reading while at work. Sigh. The end of the year is great.

Have a terrific day!

Time Goes By . . .

May 10, 2019 – Friday

The school year is getting even closer to being finished and I must say I can’t freaking wait! Reading and writing will be the bulk of my summer with a little bit of self-improvement thrown in. And, of course, sleep!

I have decided to go back and re-read all the James Rollins, Dan Brown, and Steve Berry books I’ve already read, then move on to their newer stuff I am behind on. One of the reasons I want to do this is since my own novel is in the same genre as those authors’ books, it kinda helps with my writing style. I plan on making spots just for them to review their books. But, of course I’ll throw in a romance or two just for funsies.

I just finished James Rollins’s first stand-alone novel, Subterranean. It’s a second reading but I read it so many years ago it was fun re-reading it again. Off I go now to review it.

Have a great weekend!

It’s been almost a year!

April 6, 2020

Hmmm. I don’t know where to start to catch up so I’ll just chat about what’s going on now. COVID-19. That should be enough said, but I think I’ll add a bit to it.

School has been officially closed in most states since the middle of March, meaning for us here in Texas, Spring Break has been extended, but with schoolwork added in. Right now it’s until May 6, but realistically, it’ll probably be for the rest of the school year. Also, most of the country has been under stay-at-home orders or shelter-in-place, or whatever the governor of that state is calling it. Some states (9) have NOT done this, but since this is a book blog, I won’t go into what I think of that. Neither will I go into other politics or lack of leadership at this time.

I will, however, talk about as many of the books that I can that I have read since May of last year. And with being home a lot recently, I have read more than I usually do on average at this time of the year. I am still working, we are doing so remotely through the use of Google Classroom, but I do have a little bit more time than I usually do in the Spring.

So, if you have extra time on your hands (if you don’t because you are one of the essential workers who is still on the front lines of this thing, I can’t thank you enough! And let me know if you need anything, and I hope you stay well!), would like to hear my opinion about some good and maybe not so good books, stick around. I can’t update in one day, but I will do my best over the next several days.

And maybe you’ll hear about a book that would interest you, and, hopefully, you’ll tell me about books that might interest me.

I’m always goodstorychasing for a good read!

Ha! See what I did there?

Now on to the reviews . . .

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