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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Friday Five

1. This is the last week before Thanksgiving break.  Been attacking my NaNowrimo project which as of today has over 34K!

2. Finished reading BONE GAP

This is a very unique tale that is beautifully written and set in a small town where nothing is as it seems.  There's a huge twist toward the end which does make this a fantasy.

3.  Also finished reading BEHOLD THE BONES

My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Fast-paced Gothic paranormal tale that mesmerizes readers with its atmospheric spooky charm complete with swamp ghosts and a magical tree. A must read for fans of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES.

4. Now that son has finished MICE AND MEN--a tragedy and so sad--his next novel to read is ROMEO AND JULIET.

A high school teacher recommended this graphic novel adaptation.  The author gave it a diverse twist.  I love how graphic novels can make an otherwise dry classic novel more appealing to teens.

5. Currently reading  RAZOR HURST

I'm a huge fan of Larbalestier and so far really enjoying this 1920s ghost tale.  Fans of Libby Bray will love this one too!

5. Been writing at local Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and loving their Mocha Peppermint latte.  I swear their's is so much better than Starbucks which tends too be a tad bit too sweet.  No controversial cup though!

**Guilty pleasure:

I really want to see BROOKLYN a show about an Irish girl who comes to America and falls in love with an Italian guy(kind of like my own family history!)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Five

1. Been deep in NaNoWrimo trenches.  So far I've written 18K on this new project.  It really helps to work on something new to get those creative juices flowing again.

 Checking out Sylvia Plath and wondering why I never read her works.

Some quotes:

2. Been reading too.  **Of course, right?

Finished this one:

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Haunting retelling of Frankenstein with a dark, addictive twist.

3.  Just started reading this one:

This takes place in a small Louisianan town that's filled with Southern charm and hauntings.  Loving!

4. Can't wait to read:

I'm a huge fan of Hopkins.  I love the grittiness and raw emotion of her novels.

5. Ooh, got a first draft of the cover of my upcoming novel GODDESSES CAN WAIT and I'm really excited!  It blends the paranormal elements with a Parisian flare.  Can't wait to share!

**Guilty pleasure:

Well, doctor requested I do one of those sleep studies to rule out sleep apnea as part of the reason I have insomnia and worse.  This means I get to spend the night at the place and they get to put a bazillion wires on me to track my sleep patterns.  **I can see a YA novel in this.

Will grab a Coffee Bean drink afterwards.  Maybe one of their new Cookie Butter ones?

Friday, November 06, 2015

Friday Five

1.  Been busy writing my contemp YA for NaNowrimo this week.  So far it's at a little over 8K.

Love this gif that was in my NaNo thread.  Need to remember it whenever doubt whispers in my ear that I'm only a fantasy writer or worse, that I can't write anything dark as 'Good' Christian girls don't do that.

Yeah, right.

I'm ixtumea over at NaNowrimo.  So if any of you are doing NaNo this year?  Feel free to friend me!

2. I also went to the public library and checked out a lot of books by and on the American poet Sylvia Plath.

My protagonist finds that a 'forced' 12th grade English assignment on this book opens her up to someone who 'gets' the pain she feels after the shooting death of her brother.

3. Finished reading Heidi Kling's PAINT MY BODY RED:

My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: PAINT MY BODY RED has gut-wrenching tragedy shown with unflinching honesty and where salvation is set behind a Wyoming backdrop. Real, honest, and intense this is a story that will stay with you long after you turn that last page.


Intriguing premise of people in the future with a group of people that hold memories and if they 'lose' them?  They are basically blank.

YA Books Central review coming soon!

5. Listening to THE WITCH HUNTER

This one is really engaging about a girl who finds out that's she's both a witch and witch hunter.  Set in an alternative past where using magic is a crime punishable by death.

**Guilty Pleasure:

Well, I hope to grab a Starbucks Mocha Peppermint holiday drink after I get a pedi!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Five

1. Midterms week.

Did I mention how flippin' hard teaching ninth grade is?  I totally bow in awe to any HS teachers out there.  This age is TOUGH.

My mom though thinks it's funny and reminds me karma has come back.  My teen years weren't the best and I had some serious 'tude.

But I can't even imagine what it would have been like if there were cells back in the later 70s/early 80s.

Now that 14 year old has his own cell?  He's texting all the time.  This is me when I 'interrupt him while texting a friend he just saw like a half of an hour or so:

Though to be fair when I was a teen?  It was calling friends and staying on the phone FOREVER.  At least with a cell you don't have to battle that long extension cord.  Remember those?

2. Been reading lots!


This one at first had my attention with a girl who gets a heart transplant and the one 'new' guy that has her experience intense feelings that she has to be with him.  Then there were more than a few 'issues' that I had a hard time with and the ending was almost anti-climatic for me.  But that's just my opinion.

3.  FIFTEEN by Jen Estes

This one has an intriguing plot of a girl that can astral project by dreamwalking into her future and changing it.  The voice is very engaging and I found I couldn't put this story down!

4.  PAINT MY BODY RED by Heidi Kling

What can I say?  I love Kling's writing and so far this contemporary tale of a girl with a secret being sent back to her dad's ranch in Wyoming is very gripping.  There's also some sensitive issues addressed such as suicide that really make this a must read of 2015!

YA Books Central review coming soon!

Plus, I'll be hosting Heidi on Twitter next Wednesday at 8pm EST!

4. ARIEL by Sylvia Plath

Revisiting this poet for my NaNo project.  My protagonist is seventeen-year-old Angelina 'Angie' who life is shattered after the brutal murder of her brother.  Her way of coping with the pain and loss is reading Plath's work that speaks to her.  She also writes her own poetry.


Reading this classic along with son.  Tragedy set in the depression with themes that still can apply today.

**Guilty Pleasure:

Told self that I can have one chocolate bar for Halloween and nothing else.  This time of year is really hard for me.  Once I start eating chocolate?  I can't stop.  Got to watch it as I have to do another round of blood work this next month.

This is me after binging on Halloween candy!  Ugh!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Grand Canyon Trip

Just got back from Grand Canyon trip!

Decided to go during off season and since son is homeschooled?  We can do it!

Booked trip through AAA which does a great job with taking care of all the details like train tickets, hotel reservations, and extra bonuses.

First off, it was a whole 30 degrees cooler in Williams, Arizona.  I wore a long sleeve shirt, shorts, and tennis shoes.  Cracked me up when I checked in, the reception desk lady told me, "You need to wear something warmer as it's 30 degrees outside!"

Another huge plus of the trip was I was able to verify some research I did on the desert area.

In my revision my protagonist lives in a cult-like community in the desert outside of Arizona/Utah.  It was nice to see that I did nail the terrain.  We went from desert bush to a forest within 3 hours.

Then we went on a train ride for 2 and a half hours to arrive at the Grand Canyon.

Beautiful and so surreal.

There's native Juniper bush, Ponderosa Pines, and quaking aspen.  I saw wild agave plants, barrel cactus, pickly pear, mariposa lilies, and yellow desert senna.

One huge oopie moment happened when I left our room and walked up to the main lounge.  There were a number of mule deer out eating vegetation including a couple babies.  Well, I turned around and ran almost into a huge mule deer!  It says that the deer can be aggressive but this one just fanned it's ears, stared at me while continuing to eat.

Photo courtesy of

Also encountered elk which are HUGE!!!  It says in the tour book that they weigh 325-1000 pounds are are 6-8 feet!  One stood by waiting for us as the tour bus went around a corner.  

Photo courtesy of

Son took lots of photos and seemed to enjoy himself:

Me on rail overlooking the Grand Canyon.  Waiting of free bus to take us up the trail.  Did LOTS of walking!

And finally a huge view of the canyon:

**Some reflections on trip:

1. Bring comfortable shoes as you'll do tons of walking/hiking

2. Don't feed the animals!

I had a squirrel try to sneak up on me.  When I pulled away, I swear he gave me the stink eye.  There were posters everywhere talking about how these so-called 'cute' rodents bite and have fleas which carry the plague.

3. They don't sell bottled water.  There are numerous places to refill your bottles around the area.

4. Loved the desert tea samples so much I bought a bag of the stuff!  It has fruit solids (orange, apple, lemon, tangerine,and lime and is herbal.

5. It's worth standing in line at the Grand Canyon lounge food court for the breakfast omelets which are made the way you like them.

6. Make sure to have loose dollar bills to tip for extra services including requesting singer to play a song.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Five

1. Cybils'  nominations closed yesterday.  So guess what I'll be doing now until January 1st?

Yes, read some awesome nominated books!  This is me at this time of the year.  I swear being a part of the Cybils feels like Christmas has come early this year!

Here's the link to the nominated 2015 books:

2. Been outlining my NaNo project.  Here's a clue on what to expect.  Hint, it will be controversial but I feel the time is right to write this.

3. Finished reading this anthology in like two days.  How do you spell perfection?

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Powerful, inspiring, and haunting, this anthology of shorts by The Merry Sisters of Fates is sure to resonate with readers and authors. A very satisfying follow-up to THE CURIOSITIES, these shorts won't disappoint.


Just starting this one.  It's about a kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas.  I've been wanting to read this one for a while now!

5. Totally addicted to the TV series EMPIRE:

Cookie has to be the best character around! 

Loved her reaction after being called 'grandma' by her ex:

Tell me a grandma that got an ass like this.” —Cookie  #Empire 

After visiting her ex in prison:

It's basically a diverse soap opera centered around the hip hop empire of Lucious and his three sons.  Great dialogue and just omg moments throughout.

Total guilty pleasure!

**Guilty pleasure:

Reading some nominated Cybils books.  I might grab a Starbucks Fall drink too.  We'll see.  I really need to start packing or getting real Fall clothing ready for trip to the Grand Canyon next week.  Can't wait to actually go somewhere where I can wear a swear and my boots.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Some suggestions for the Cybils' YA Speculative Fiction category

1. I'm really excited to be a part of the Cybils again this year.  I love this part of the process when readers get to nominate their favorite books.  I thought I'd share some other YAs that are great reads but have been overlooked so far.

Here's my list of ten books that I loved:

1. THE ANATOMY OF CURIOUSITY by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff

I'm a huge fan of all of these YA authors.  What makes this book special and 'different' is it's a collection of short stories that tackle a theme in the writing process.  Maggie Stiefvater goes over characterization in her haunting short, 'Ladylike'.  I love how she shares her process of writing with readers.

2. FAIREST by Marissa Meyer

I loved the backstory of the evil queen Levana.  Meyer does a great job showing this villain's vulerabilities and her huge wound.

3. SANCTUARY by Jennifer McKissack

Love how McKissack creates a Gothic mood with a character who comes back to a house of her youth only to find ghosts with secrets.

4. 13 DAYS OF MIDNIGHT by Leo Hunt

This is a creepy tale where a boy finds his inheritance is packed with ghostly secrets.

5. TRAIL OF THE DEAD by Joseph Bruhac

The sequel to the amazing post-apocalyptic diverse tale KILLER OF ENEMIES.

6.  INK AND BONE by Rachel Caine

Fascinating new series with an alternative history where the Library of Alexandria still exists and the few brave enough to stand up to the controlling power that means to silence them. 


This fast-paced paranormal has just enough horror elements without going over the top. Intriguing characters set in a haunted asylum filled with secrets. The final confrontation had me guessing right to the very end. Readers who love a good horror tale, won't be disappointed.

8. THE CURSE OF ASH AND IRON by Christine Norris

Steampunk retelling of Cinderella

9.  THE ARK by Laura Liddell Nolen

Futuristic action packed tale with a street smart survivor who uses her wits to make amends with her past even with betrayals on every counter.

10. THE WINNER'S CRIME by Marie Rutkoski

**Adding another one:

THIS SHATTERED WORLD by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner: