Friday, March 30, 2012

Hunger Games

So, tonight I'm going to do something I've never done before. I'm going to watch a movie based on a book in my  TBR pile. The Hunger Games series has been on my list for quite a while. But I've discovered since becoming a mom that I have a bajillion more titles on that list than I have spare hours to actually read them. Several ladies I know are having a "Mommy's night out" tonight, and guess which movie we're seeing? So now I'm torn between being excited over my first girls' night out in YEARS and feeling horrible about being one of those people. But I don't feel bad enough to not go. So, for those of you who've read the book and watched the movie, tell me: should I go ahead and read it?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Different Kind of Book

This is not a religious blog, and I don't usually recommend religious literature here, but I think everyone should read this book. The name is really the only summary it needs. If you're looking for ways to apply what you read in the bible to your daily life, Practical Christianity is for you. It is a very short, straight-forward read that will hopefully make you and think. Currently, it is only available through Amazon as an e-book. To download it, click here. It will be the best 5 bucks you spend this week. To learn more about Troy, visit his blog, Enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: The Lost Songs, Caroline B Cooney

 The day Lutie Painter takes the city bus north instead of the school bus west, cutting class for the first time ever, her aunt and uncle have no idea what she is up to. They cannot prevent her from riding into danger.
     That same morning, Lutie's pastor, Miss Veola, whispers as always, "This is the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
     A block from Miss Veola and up a hill in Chalk, Train Greene, thin and hungry, burns with anger. He has a decision to make, and he's running out of time.
     A few miles away, among finer houses, Kelvin Hartley yawns and gets ready for another day at school, where he is a friend to all and makes an effort at nothing.
     And Doria Bell, who recently moved to the South from Connecticut, walks to the bus stop, hoping the high school kids who live nearby will say hello.
     All of these lives intertwine and—in surprising ways—become connected to Lutie's ancestors, who are buried in the cemetery in Chalk. Who would have dreamed that the long-dead Mabel Painter, who passed down the Laundry List songs to her great-great-granddaughter Lutie, had passed along a piece of American history that speaks to so many who feel lost and need hope. Big changes are in store for all, and things will never be the same.
     In this luminous novel, Caroline B. Cooney delves deeply into a Southern community. Cooney reveals the comfort, inspiration, and hope its members draw from the power of faith, the glory of music, and the meaning of family.  Goodreads 

The Lost Songs isn’t at all what I expected from Caroline B Cooney. It doesn’t have a dark mystery, defy-the-odds romance, or shocking plot twists. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. It is very well written, and a touching story. I loved that the story is written from so many different perspectives, yet it isn’t at all confusing. It just flows naturally. The way that the same songs touch so many different people in different ways is a great testament to the power of music. (Spoken like the band-nerd I am) The scenes are beautifully written, and I had a tear come to my eye more than once.

My only complaint is that I did not connect with the main characters very well. Lutie frustrated me most of the time, mainly because our personalities just clash. I spent several chapters wanting to shake some sense into Doria, but she grew on me in the end. Oddly enough, I felt the strongest connection to Train, the aspiring gangster, which is about as far from me as humanly possible. His character scared and disturbed me, but he felt very real.

I recommend this book to anyone with a love of music, Cooney fan or otherwise. It is a short read, and well worth the time.

4/5 stars.

YA notes: Mild gang violence

Book provided by

Friday, March 23, 2012

And the Winners are...

Christina K (Elemental)
Ricki M (SWAG Pack)

Congrats and thanks for entering!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lucky Leprechauns

Welcome blog hoppers! My name is Keshia, and I am a stay-at-home mommy/book editor/aspiring fantasy writer. But mainly, I'm addicted to books. I read a little bit of everything, but my favorite is YA fantasy. On my blog I review what I'm reading, talk about my journey to becoming a famous author, and brag about the awesome new titles from Spencer Hill Press.

Okay, on to the good stuff. I have an advanced copy of Elemental, the debut novel of the lovely Emily White that I would love to find a good home for, courtesy of Spencer Hill Press. As a second prize I will also be giving away a small SHP SWAG pack of recent and upcoming titles, including  UnCONventional, the short story anthology that just happens to have my short-story debut. (Yes, of course I'll autograph it, you don't need to beg)

To enter the contest you must be a follower of this blog. You can gain one entry for telling me one random fact about yourself in the comments below. You get an additional entry if you become my fan on Goodreads. The contest closes at 12:01 AM, March 23.

After you enter, be sure to hop on over to I'd So Rather Be Reading. Good Luck!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review: In the King's Arms, Sonia Taitz

Lily Taub is the brilliant, beautiful and headstrong American daughter of Holocaust survivors. Seeking relief from their traumatized world, Lily escapes to Oxford University, where she meets Julian Aiken, the black sheep of an aristocratic English family. When Lily is invited to the family’s ancestral home over Christmas vacation, her deepening romance with young Julian is crossed by a shocking accident that affects them all. Julian must face the harsh disapproval of his anti-Semitic family, who consider Lily a destructive force, not only in Julian’s life, but to their own sense of order. In the King's Arms is a lyrical, literary novel about the healing possibility of love. Goodreads

I really wanted to love this book. Sonia Taitz’s writing style is so lyrical and flowing that it is easy to get swept away in the imagery. But In The King’s Arms claims to be a novel. In my opinion it was much more like a drawn out poem. An entire semester flies by in barely a chapter, the main characters are desperately in love and locking lips within two pages, and I couldn’t help but feel that I’d missed something.
While Taitz spends a great deal of time describing sights and smells, she glazes over the lovers’ late night conversations with a simple “they sat whispering together.” To which I wanted to shout “what are they whispering ABOUT?”
I didn’t really connect with any of the characters, simply because I wasn’t given enough time to get to know them. There are a few random memories from Lily’s childhood scattered throughout the book, but they seldom connected with the main story and left me confused.
In the King’s Arms does have some bright spots. It does a beautiful job of highlighting how easy it is to allow fear and prejudice create terrible misunderstandings. And that prejudice is often a two-way street, requiring both parties to work towards a solution.
Rating 2.5 stars

YA notes: Some strong language, sexual refrences

Book provided by BookDivas

Monday, March 12, 2012


In what may later be viewed as a temporary lack of sanity, I have quit my "day job" so I can focus on editing and following my dream of being a famous author. But mainly, I think I'm going to enjoy a summer of playing in the dirt with my baby. Yippee!!!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

No News... And Other News

First of all, I’d like to welcome all of my new “stalkers.” *waves*

Secondly, does anyone know how far away June is? It’s a long time. I submitted a couple of short stories for an awesome anthology, but the deadline isn’t until the end of June. Needless to say, I haven’t heard whether or not my stories made the cut. I mean, they have until June, why would they make a decision now? But that hasn’t stopped me from obsessively checking my email, hoping to hear something. At least I haven’t received a flat “your writing sucks” rejection yet. At this stage, no news is good news, right? Someone please tell me I’m right.

And finally, I’m going to be participating in my very first blog-hop giveaway starting March 17th. I can’t tell you what it is yet, but I’m giving away something super special, so mark your calendars! 

Monday, March 5, 2012

In Case You Care: My Teenage Heartthrobs

When I write a story about a gorgeous guy, there is a very good chance that in my mind he looks a lot like one of these:

Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Randy from Home Improvement)
Rider Strong (Shawn from Boy Meets World)
Will Friedle (Eric from Boy Meets World)
Matthew Lawrence (Jack from Boy Meets World)
Joey Lawrence (Joey from Blossom)
Jaleel White (As Stefan, not Urkel from Family Matters)
Scott Stapp (Lead vocalist of Creed)

So apparently I had a thing for good hair and sexy voices. And the first person to guess my favorite show gets bonus points!!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Review: Midnight in Austenland, Shannon Hale

When Charlotte Kinder treats herself to a two-week vacation at Austenland, she happily leaves behind her ex-husband and his delightful new wife, her ever-grateful children, and all the rest of her real life in America. She dons a bonnet and stays at a country manor house that provides an immersive Austen experience, complete with gentleman actors who cater to the guests' Austen fantasies.

Everyone at Pembrook Park is playing a role, but increasingly, Charlotte isn't sure where roles end and reality begins. And as the parlor games turn a little bit menacing, she finds she needs more than a good corset to keep herself safe. Is the brooding Mr. Mallery as sinister as he seems? What is Miss Gardenside's mysterious ailment? Was that an actual dead body in the secret attic room? And-perhaps of the most lasting importance-could the stirrings in Charlotte's heart be a sign of real-life love?

The follow-up to reader favorite Austenland provides the same perfectly plotted pleasures, with a feisty new heroine, plenty of fresh and frightening twists, and the possibility of a romance that might just go beyond the proper bounds of Austen's world. How could it not turn out right in the end? Goodreads

Can I just say that Shannon Hale is a genius? Midnight in Austenland has found a place on my “favorite books” shelf. Okay, I’ll quit gushing now.

            I will admit that I was a bit concerned about starting this one. I mean, how can one top Austenland? Apparently, by throwing in a murder mystery.

            I love Charlotte as a heroine. A thirty-something divorcee, and not a lifelong Austen fanatic, she isn’t at all what I expected. But that’s what makes it so fun. A few characters from Austenland make an appearance, or are alluded to, but this is not a sequel.  It is an entirely different story with the same backdrop.

            There isn’t a lot I can say about this book without giving away pieces of the plot. But it is sheer Austen awesomeness. There is danger, romance, intrigue, and depth. I love that many different Jane Austen novels were referenced in Midnight. And yes, I’m a big enough dork to search them out, and now I need to re-read some of my old favorites.

   Hale’s writing style keeps almost the whole story light and fun, despite the serious pain that several of the main players experience. If there was ever a great book about healing, starting over, and second chances, this is it. Oh, and Inner Thoughts. I love Inner Thoughts. (And you’ll have to read it to understand)

5/5 stars!

YA notes: Not really directed to a teen audience, but there is nothing in it to make parents squirm. J