Thursday, October 16, 2014

Writers' Conference time and a few mini-reviews of some rockin stories!!!

I'm headed to the Emerald City Writers' Conference. Yay!! Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I will be in book girl heaven. I've already made a mixed CD for the long drives back and forth. The boys are already grumbling about me not being home to tuck them in. I just can't feel too bad about that girl heaven people!!!

Last year I wasn't the most social girl or promotional girl either. I maybe passed out a dozen business cards. Ack! I also had to keep telling myself not to dig out my paperback in my backpack and find a quiet corner away from all the chatting. I do remember how good the food was and how much restraint it took not to get another plate of cheesecake. Oh, and one of the keynote speakers made me cry, but since I hate crying in public she made me contort my face into ridiculous expressions to keep from crying. So my plan this year is to chat, listen, promote, eat super good food, bawl my eyes out freely if the situation calls for it, and most importantly throw my business cards at as many people as possible. Okay, okay, my only real goal is to have a good time.

In the mean time, here are a few books and movies that rock the planet.

Guardians of the Galaxy! 5 STARS because this was so much freaking fun and the music is the best! The beginning is emotional, the rest is action-packed, funny, and sometimes sweet. The cast is supreme. The snark is smart and so good! I loved it. I'm going to own it when it comes out. Yep.

Divergent (the movie)! 5 STARS because I just loved it. Sci-fi/futuristic/dsytopian movies have a special place in my heart and this one did not disappoint. There weren't many surprises (even though I haven't read the book), but the story and characters compensated for that. Plus there's a sexy factor going on probably because even when you have to take a test that determines where you will spend your life, you look pretty dang good.

The Fault in our Stars (the movie)! 5 sobbing, smiling, sobbing some more STARS. Man oh man, I freaking loved this movie so much. I know I'm a terrible book girl that I like to watch the movie before reading the book, but movies, not books, offered me comfort and escape when I was a kid. It will always be that way for me, I think. This story had the most amazing characters, no villains, unless you can count cancer as a character. Maybe you can. The parents stole my heart. The love story is precious, beautiful, breathtaking, and forever.

Fanning the Flames by Victoria Dahl is such a fantastic novella and start to the Girls' Night Out series. It's sweet, sexy, and relatable. Not every empty-nester wishes her kids back home. Some are ready to let loose and this story speaks to that lying-in-wait group. Plus there are firemen. Enough said, right? 5 STARS for sure!

Daylighters (Morganville 15) by Rachel Caine is the last installment of one of my favorite series. I put this book off as long as I could and now I wish I had more pages hiding somewhere. I want more and not because Caine left us with loose threads. She did right by the fans and I am so close to starting the series all over just to enjoy it from the beginning. The gang is back with the snark and terrible life-threatening plans to save the day. The bad guys are supremely awful and deserve a manic session with the trapdoor spider that we all know and love. Who knows how the web series will be, but the book series will remain one of my top favorites. 5 STARS! Good job Caine!

Slammed by Colleen Hoover is not new to almost anyone in the blogosphere. And I am late to the party, but so what? I fell so easily into the story and even though there weren't any surprises for me I still have to get it 5 STARS because I fell in love with Layken and Will. They both chapped my hide something fierce at different times and I wanted to throw something at them, but no matter. Hoover still got me. Plus the kids were so cool! What characters.

Chained by Night by Larissa Ione is just fantastic! From the first page I fell right back into the world Ione created in Bound by Night. And never once did I feel bogged down by backstory. How did she do that? I'll have to go back and see because that's good stuff. In the set up for book 2 in Bound by Night there was a shift in the story from a great dystopian vampire story to the addition of demons. I wasn't sure at all about that. Ha! I want more of the demon now. He should at least get a novella hook up. The romance in Chained by Night was never over the top for me or too far out of the story, which happens a lot in urban fantasy. Oh, and the multiple POV's have a bit of a Nalini Singh vibe, but the style of writing is completely different. Ione is very straight to the point without too many flourishes. 5 super STARS!!

That's all I got for you. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Duel Review of Rock Chick Regret by Kristen Ashley with Bookworm Brandee

I had no idea what to think of Sadie Townsend, the woman who tossed Hector Chavez to the curb. I figured she'd be a total crazy. Turns out Sadie is crazy in a great way. Most of her life she locked her heart away in a vault of ice. To the outside world, Sadie is untouchable. Hector knows the truth, she's combustible, made of pure steel, and most of all meant for him. He can see through the layers of cold composure and high end clothes. If only Sadie had the same faith in herself. She's put on a front so long she has no idea who she is anymore. Now that her life has been torn apart in the aftermath of a vicious attack, she's on a mission to rebuild, and she does this with a colorful cast of characters from the best friends ever to the Rock Chick gang.

Rock Chick Regret will have you cheering for Sadie and swooning over Hector. I absolutely loved it! 5 STARS for sure! Bookworm Brandee and I have been buddy reading this series after a Superbowl bet went my way (go Hawks!) and she gifted me Rock Chick. As always, we chatted and chatted. So here's our little back and forth (mostly our fangirling over Hector).

(Brandee) Man, I thought Mace & Stella's story had a different feel. I've spent so much time crying over Hector & Sadie's and I'm only on chapter 4.

Okay, one thing that's standing out the most to me is Sadie. She's not the typical Rock Chick. It's very interesting that KA created a Rock Chick that's...well, she's not weak. She's actually a smart and touch chick but she seems so much more fragile. Is that a good word for her? It fits with her looking like a fairy princess, I suppose. Does she seem fragile to you? Fragile and yet she'll jump in with both feet to send her drug dealing daddy to prison. Hmm...

Hector...ay, Dios mio! Yes, I speak some Spanish and Hector Chavez is mm-mmm. (by the way, that sentiment is the same in both Spanish and English) I can't imagine the regret he feels over the actions he took. But he's so tender with Sadie. He knows he has to handle her with kid gloves and he's managing. He's a hot-headed hottie. But he's completely different from his brother. And although I like Eddie, I like Hector's brand of machismo better. I love that he's determined to bring out the 'real' Sadie - the one he seems to see even if Sadie isn't that acquainted with her.

Okay, back to Hector....

(Robyn) This one does have a totally different vibe. Sadie isn't immediately endearing like the rest of the girls. She's so good being cold when threatened, she goes cold at the slightest hiccup. I think Sadie is more vulnerable, at least the sweet side of her is because her sweet side is like a fledgling with no armor. 

Oh Hector. Man, that guy. I love how different he is from Eddie. They're both Alpha bossy males, but Eddie would have pushed Sadie back to her icy mountaintop forever. I think of all the males we've read about so far, Hector carries and uses his guilt differently. He didn't wallow once or push Sadie away. He's a thinker first. All the other guys were charge in and throw shit kind of men. Perfect for Sadie who is also a thinker. She's so much of a dang thinker she divided up her personalities. She's nutty!

I was trying to think of standout characters for this one, but everyone showed up and bedazzled me. Duke. Tex. Marcus! I was so happy to have some scenes with Daisy's husband. Buddy and Ralphie, they are so freaking awesome. I love them.

My goodness do I like Sadie. And for completely different reasons than I've liked any of the other Rock Chicks. I'm loving the comparison to a fairy princess, because that whole dream she had which she remembered when she walked into Hector's house? Awesome!

I was really, really happy that KA dealt with the after-affects of rape. I was kinda worrying that things would just move forward so I was relieved when bumps on the road were hit. (bad analogy?)

Hector...seriously in the running for #1 Hot Bunch. That he's so compassionate, gentle, patient with Sadie is winning me over. I know he's a hot-headed guy but he's not being pushy with Sadie at all. Oh and that tattoo??? **SWOON** 

Ralphie and Buddy make me smile. And Shirleen planning the menu for an art opening was classic! Pigs in a blanket...made with croissants because that's classier. OMG! I haven't seen the other cast members all that much and Tex *still* steals his scenes! And that they're ALL so accepting of Sadie - even though she thinks she is undeserving and doesn't belong - is heartening.

*cocks head* Oh, Hector's calling... ;)

Yep, Hector is edging out Hank. No worries. I have enough book girlfriend love for all of them. It's so neat that she looks like a fairy princess and has premeditated personality shifts, not always, but she goes into things with a plan who she's going to be. The need to discover who she is has to be one of my favorite things about her. How can you not root for her? Of course I love the Veronica Mars tie-in. I love how Buddy and Ralphie gave her so much love and helped her climb out of that terrible dark place she had to have been in. KA did a great job handling the rape storyline, I just wasn't so sure about how often Sadie said the word rape out loud. That seemed...not realistic. Then again, Sadie doesn't mince words. She's a straight shooter.

Tex always steals the show. I love his whole "VIP!" mixed in with yelling and swearing to clear the line at Fortnums. He does it with every Rock Chick. Duke, I'm telling you, he knows how to pick his freaking moments. I want him to have a chat with me and straighten me out. I felt terrible for Lee for a while, even more than Hector. What a beginning, huh? Heavy. 

I just realized one thing for sure that's different about this one, there was not competing Hot Bunch guy. Right? KA ran out I think. Say it ain't so! I love how welcoming Blanca is to Sadie. I just love it. And I love when Sadie has moments when she's not thinking how she'll react. She just does and that's Hector's Sadie that he usually messes up telling her. Have you noticed he's not a "sorry" man? He's a "this is me" guy. Sadie's the best one for him. 

Aww, she didn't endear herself to you immediately? Getting the inner monologue made me understand her actions right off so I liked her from the start. She is definitely good at being the Ice Princess...until she isn't. But you're right about the sweet side of her being like a fledgling without armor. That's a really good comparison. 

I'm in love with Hector. True. I can't think of the exact moment it happened right now - it might have been the "I'm not fucking around anymore" speech. But LOVE.HIM. He is a gentle alpha, much like Hank. The difference is that Hector says so much with his actions where Hank's good with his words. Of course, Hector has good words the point where he tells Sadie all her Sadies make up her. He just melts me into a puddle of goo.

Yes, there aren't any standout characters this time...they ALL are! I loved getting some good Marcus, too. Ralphie and Buddy made me love them. And Jack made a big impact even if he's only present a very little while. I want Duke to set you and me both straight! He does know just what to say and when to say it, doesn't he? He's awesome. I can hear his voice so clearly and even feel his hugs. They ALL make me comfy, warm, safe. I sooo get it now. I get the message that we can do anything with our friends by our sides.

*haha* Yeah, I have enough love for them all too but Hector is definitely edging out all the other Hot Bunch hotties. 

I like that you mentioned Sadie's need to discover who she is because I was thinking that this book, more than any of the others, has been a journey of personal discovery for our Rock Chick. And watching that journey is one of my most favorite things. It broke my heart to think that Sadie hadn't ever experienced some things we take for smores. Or having girlfriends to have coffee with.  

I really am pleased with how KA handled Sadie's recovery from the rape. And I didn't think anything about her use of the word. I guess because, like you said, she's a straight-shooter and doesn't mince words. Especially once she's thought about things, gotten mad, or clicked a certain Sadie into place. So while it might not be realistic for some, it seemed to fit with Sadie.

Hector is a "this is me" kinda guy and you can take him or leave him, he doesn't care. It's ironic that he doesn't say he's sorry and Sadie is constantly apologizing for things she has no control over. Yep, they're perfect for one another.

Hmm, it didn't occur to me that we hadn't had a rivalry for Sadie in this one. But you're right. And she's been with other Hot Bunch hotties... Ren sure didn't make Hector happy when he touched Sadie but he didn't make any moves. And, well, we know how that one works out. Maybe there wasn't a rivalry because of all the Rock Chicks, Sadie's the one least likely to accept any advances?? 

It made me exceptionally warm and gooey feeling that everyone so quickly accepted Sadie...but especially Hector's family. Blanca accepted her more readily that Jet, don't you think? And that one was fast too. I also love Sadie's reactions to all the hugs, kisses, and acceptance she's been given. I've giggled over her painting, sanding, etc. at Hector's house. And I! - over what she said to her dad about what living a good life was, in her opinion. True, that.

I'm finished! Let me know when you are....

I finished reading Rock Chick Regret. Holy cow I loved this one so much!!! Hector is plain awesome. His brand of alpha is the most appealing to me. He's not physically controlling. He has fits and mood swings which just make him more real. He handles Sadie with such care and patience. Sadie won me over instantly because we had the inside track, but that first scene with Indy and Shirleen and the complete freeze out, it's the first time one of the Rock Chicks didn't think the upcoming Rock Chick was badass. 

I cracked up at how much Sadie loved fixing up Hector's house. When she had paint all over her, I could see this woman who showed the world a perfect Sadie and then she got to be a kid. Her dad is sure a complex character, that's for sure. You know what would be kind of fun, the old guys getting stuck on some winter retreat, cops and sort of and not sort of bad guys and they all have to solve some mystery together. Cliche maybe, but how fun would it be to see Duke and Tex there too? That's another fanfic I vote for us writing. 

I couldn't get over Jerry...that he felt so entitled to Sadie that he'd do whatever he felt like in order to get what he felt was his due. Ugh! What a creep! And Marcus got to be a good guy again! Yay!!

That scene between Sadie and her dad was fan-freaking-tastic! I was so proud of Sadie...the real Sadie for standing up to him and asking for what she deserved...her dad.

That last 'talk' Hector and Sadie had - I was so thrilled that she held her ground and told him, just as he'd told her, how it was going to be. I love the real Sadie.

The epilogue...loved that. Hector's explanation of Ally and Ren was great. And that Christmas morning scene...god I love Hector. And Sadie sure does too! 

Can I say that I think it's kinda amusing (like I'm fighting a grin) that we just might end up being in love with the same Hot Bunch hottie?!? Hector is firmly in first place in my heart.

Sorry I've slacked on our RC chat! Jerry was something that's for sure. Of course I hated him from the start, but still, he racked up more hate points as the story went on. There was still kidnapping in this one, but totally different than the other ones. Sadie was so badass and not because she kicked ass, but because like Hector always says, she has an iron will. Oh, Hector. Of course we'd fall for the same Hot Bunch Hottie. Luke has the weird mustache thing. Seriously, that drives me crazy and not in a good way. Eddie does all that physical pushing around. Lee was made for one girl. But Hector, oh man. He pushes the right buttons. Christmas day rocked. 

I can't wait to read Ren and Ally's story, but then again, procrastinating sounds like a great plan. I'm not ready to close out the series. We do have a good consolation plan...writing a bit of fanfic, but still! It's been such a fun ride, Brandee!!

Hey, no worries! 

Yeah I loved how Hector kept repeating 'will of iron'. He totally makes me swoon. And of course we'd both fall for the same Hot Bunch hottie. 

I am not minding the idea of procrastinating on Ally and Ren's story. I hate for this ride to be over. But you're right, we do have some fun on tap. And lots more KA to read. ;) Ooh, and the fanfic...that's intimidating. *haha*

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

When life's kicking your butt, how about a theme song? [10] #ACLFest

Jennifer @ Donnie Darko Girl inspired this month's theme song challenge because the girl absolutely loves the Austin City Limits Music Festival. So check out the list and go nuts! The second I saw OutKast I thought of Hey Ya! because Will used to ask me to replay the song over and over. It was so dang fun to sing along with him (when he let me). 

I'm hoping October is a bit more easy going than the last few months. I'm sort of overwhelmed at the moment with just about everything. The mom gig is plain tough right now. On the bright side, the story ideas keep hitting me and I thought maybe I should venture into some short fiction just to feed the beast. I hope to dive back into the blogging waters soon. I miss you all! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

YA heartache and healing: Review of Girl Nevermore by R.A. Desilets

Girl Nevermore by 
YA Contemporary
(author gifted me ARC for honest review)
Last week, Cooper Mesa was a quiet, studious bookworm.

This week, she feels unworthy of love or forgiveness.

When Cooper's twin sister, Kayla, tries to end her own life, Cooper blames herself. If only she had paid more attention...

Desperate to understand her sister's decision, Cooper starts down a dark path, discovering her own inner turmoil. Losing herself is easy, but finding a reason to live is becoming impossible.
(Goodreads blurb)

Cooper Mesa is your typical teenage book girl. For her, life will truly begin once she's free of high school and her mother. She loses herself in stories until her twin sister looks at her in English class and confesses something so terrible, so painful and shocking, Cooper can only sit and watch as life seeps out of her sister one breath at a time.

Girl Nevermore takes us on the emotional roller coaster of loving someone who tried to commit suicide. It's not pretty. Cooper has moments of such grief, I want to hug her. Other times she's so dang selfish I want to shake her silly. That's what suicide does to the loved ones left behind even if the person failed in the attempt, it makes you crazy. It makes you question your role in it. It makes you hate and love at the same time until you're dizzy and in need of the biggest tantrum. I just saw an interview with the late Joan Rivers talking about her husband's suicide, it went something like this, I was so livid, I wanted to kill him! That's it right there. So just imagine a twin sister left alone to this emotional storm because her mother is a clueless asshole. The mom is not a bad person, just a total selfish jerk. I'm sure there are moms like her, but I could not make sense of her actions when it came to Cooper.

My favorite part of the story has to be Logan. Yes, there's a burgeoning romance, which grew from a long time friendship. I'm crazy about him!

Girl Nevermore spoke to me. I'm the opposite of Cooper. She dove straight into her grief. I'm more of a runner and freeze-girl. I freeze out my feelings. I freeze my relationship with the person who at any moment could choose to quit all over again. That was the hardest part of the story. I was worried the whole time Cooper would get herself so twisted up in her head that she'd go the route of her sister. I also kept waiting for news that her sister tried again. So not a relaxing read in any way, but powerful and emotional, and even sweet and lovely.

You can check out author R.A. Desilets on Goodreads and her website. And don't forget to check out Girl Nevermore.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sidekick Showcase [54] Best Friend

Sidekick Showcase is a monthly bookish meme, hosted here by Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven. There are many secondary characters that are as great as the primaries. In some cases, the sidekicks actually steal the show and you like them better than the heroine or hero. Maybe they didn't have enough page time for how great they were. Anyone can play along! I will post my Sidekicks on the first Saturday of the month, then whichever day during the month that you would like to post yours, you can put your link in on my page. Just do the following:

• Choose a sidekick *or someone other than the hero or heroine* that you would like to put in the spotlight that fits in the week's topic
• Share a picture (if you can) and information about the character
• Give the title and author of a book the character can be found in
• Please don't include too many spoilers when describing why the character is such a great sidekick
• The day of your post, click the 'Sidekicks' link in my header and enter the link for your post. Here, you can also see anyone else that posted during the month to visit their Sidekick Showcase's as well.

Topic ideas for September:
Best Friend, Fun, Ball of Energy, Humorous

There are so many stories with best friends I've adopted as my book best friends. Pick any of the quartet from Morganville, or Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy, or Jinx from The Hollows, but I've listed all of them before in my sidekick posts (more than once). So I'm going with Cookie Kowalski from Darynda Jones' Charlie Davidson series. Cookie is Charlie's receptionist, best friend, neighbor, partner in snark. I love Cookie. She's a single mom in her thirties with the most obvious crush on a guy who has a balance of hero moments and total asshat moments. Actress Melissa McCarthy would be the perfect Cookie.

“Make it quick," I said when I picked up.
"Okay. Two men from the FBI are here." Cookie said. Quickly.
Crap. "Men in black are at the office?"
"Well, yes, but they're actually in more of a navy."
Crapola. I so don't have time for men. In any color. "Okay, two questions. Do they look mad, and are they hot?"
After a long, long, pause, Cookie said, "One, not really. Two, no comment at this time. And three, you're on speakerphone."
After another long, long pause, I said, "Okie dokie then. Be there in a jiff.”
Darynda Jones, Second Grave on the Left

I asked my own sidekicks who'd they choose. My sister's pick is Molly from Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock series. Molly is a powerful witch with even more powerful witchy kids. She has every reason to steer clear of Jane, but those two will do anything for each other.

My mom is going with Henry Pitts from Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone detective series. I love Henry. He's a retired commercial baker who spends his golden years baking, creating crossword puzzles, and offering Kinsey a safe refuge from her isolating, dangerous world of detective work. He's plain cool.

How about you all? Any best friend sidekicks you can't live without in a story or wish were your best friends?

Monday, September 1, 2014

When life's kicking your butt, how about a theme song? [9] Oldies baby!

September! The end of summer, the first glimmers of fall, and most of all, my birthday month! Yay! Okay, that's all fake enthusiasm. I'm not sure how I feel about this birthday, but if I had to guess, I think a panic attack is forthcoming. All the more reason for awesome music, and to make fun of myself a bit, how about tapping into Oldies! Yes, 80's count. Rock on people!
rob's pick!
Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses
Shann's pick!
I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow

Mom's pick!
(I can't get no) Satisfaction by Rolling Stones!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Duel Review of Rock Chick Reckoning with Bookworm Brandee! We freaking love this series!

5 STARS!! The 6th Rock Chick book gives us the story of brooding hero Mace and bona fide rocker chick Stella, PLUS dual POV's. Man, I love this series. Stella is all about her band, always has been, always will be if you ask anyone. She has the best dog and a heart that just won't mend all the way after what happened with said brooding hero. These two have history, pain, they're terrible at the whole relationship thing, but they can't shake each other. Then bring in a big bad guy bent on taking down the Hot Brigade and everything they love, and you get drama, yelling, angry kisses, cuffs, hot everything, oh and some violence. Man, I love this series! So here's my chat with Brandee, because we have this thing, she lost our Superbowl bet and bought me the first Rock Chick book and we read it together and chatted via email about it. Oh, by the way, my computer is still down. I've pushed my son off his to post this review. What else is a book girl to do?

(Robyn) Thank goodness for Rock Chick! Have I told you besides the life saving aspect of the buddy reads, I feel lucky to get to do this with you.

(Brandee) I'm having trouble swallowing for the lump in my throat. Mace...Robyn he may just know Luke and Hank out. This man - I can't even say right now what it is about him. But he has me melting all over the place. And I'm loving the changing of POVs...are you? I like getting Mace's POV a lot. And I adore Stella. ADORE.HER! Yes, thank goodness for Rock Chick. I'm lucky too, girlie! Meeting you was serendipitous! Rock Chick is the bonus!! ;) And I'm sooo glad we have more KA to move on to.

Okay, I'll email more thoughts on Mace & Stella in the morning. I have the need...the need to read! ;) <-- like my spin on a movie quote?!? I'm a dork...I know! ;)

I laughed at the movie quote, plus you picked the best movie to quote!! I can quote Top Gun until you want to hit me with something. I am LOVING the dual POVs! The first change up I stopped three paragraphs in and started over. "What, can't be. Really? I love you Kristen Ashley!" Mace is a total sweet spot hottie. First off, he messed up with Stella. That makes him not quite the underdog, but something...he has to prove himself to Stella. And I love her too! I love how much she cared/cares about Mace. And I just know you are all about Juno! What an opener, right? So good. 

Okay, I have to put the oldest to bed so I can stay up too late reading. No movie quote for me because I'm lame. 

On to Mace...and Stella. Wow! I so enjoy that KA gave us story arcs over the entirety of the series. (well, thus far) Not only do we get the Rock Chick/Hot Bunch madness, and whatever issues each Rock Chick is carrying around at the moment said madness begins, but we also have the arc of bad Sid. Bad, crazy Sid.

The action in this one has been different - no bar brawls (yet) - and that's one thing that gives it a different feel. I love KA for giving us all the different POVs so we're getting a chance to catch up with the other couples in a more intimate (not that kind of intimate ;) way. The feel in this one is also different because Mace did fuck up with Stella - he admitted it - and he does have to win her back. But she has to work at it too. AND that Mace's life/past is affecting Stella is different too. A life/past she doesn't know too much about. I was with Eric in that I couldn't believe Mace & Stella had been so into each other and not known so many things about the other.

I LOVE Floyd!! Stella has a father-figure in him and that's good because she needs a parent to tell her to get her shit together. I'm also so impressed with the fact that KA can introduce new characters in each book, expanding an already fantastic cast, seamlessly. Getting The Gypsies, Eric, Mace's dad, even the dude that owns the Palladium added in makes the overall story so robust.

Oh and Stella's description of Evergreen and The Little Bear was so spot on. The fight scene in front of The Little Bear was so 'real' - I could see it all happening in my mind with her accurate description of the wood sidewalk and railing and twisty mountain road. :) We are sooo hanging out there next year when you're here! ;)

I don't know how far you are - I've been up since 5 reading! *ha* But...after Brody's interesting diatribe on all the 'links' he found on Mace's dad, I admired the calm that came over Mace. We don't know what's going on in his head (yet) but he's just so cool, calm and collected about it. What do you think about the info reveal about Mace's dad??

Stella was pissing me off - I don't understand - yet - why she is the way she is with the exception of what Mace did to her. And wow, I was fist-pumping over her speech to Mace when that all came out. But anyway, she was pissing me off. Like Shirleen said, is it really so hard to just give in to a Hot Bunch guy?? And then after Stella met with Mace's dad? What did you think about that? That jackass! And what Stella did to Mace after that? Shee-it!!

Oh, I just had a thought...dare I say, an epiphany? Stella and Mace's problems all stem from a lack of communication, no? As we've seen so far, Stella communicates through her music. So maybe she was always communicating - maybe not all the stuff (read: family history) that needed to be said - but her feelings anyway. And maybe Mace just wasn't listening??

Sorry this is mostly me rambling over my thoughts...what are you thinking???

Oh, oh, oh...and yes, I adore Juno. :) It's great that she's so accepting of Mace in her home...just like he belongs there. ;)

You know I can't wait to hit The Little Bear with you! And I'm with Shirleen too, what's so bad about a Hot Bunch guy being into you? Grrh. But I know we both love each Rock Chick enough to care about whatever is keeping her from accepting fate. You are so right about how amazing Kristen Ashley is at creating characters. Look at Smithie, grumpy strip club owner and I get giddy every time he appears because he's so much fun! 

This one has a totally different vibe. There's a lot more relationship tension with Mace messing up. Stella messing up. Outside factors/assholes (Mace's dad) messing them up. Mace is also such a different Hot Bunch guy. He's an Alpha for sure, but he doesn't have the smooth control of the other alphas. He loses his temper and makes mistakes with Stella. She does the same thing back. This is the least composed couple of all time! And I love it. 

Stella's "meet" with Mace's dad was so messed up. I hate him. He's a bad guy and I don't see me ever warming up to him, but KA has a way of softening the edges of her bad guys so she can play mind games with us. Look at Darius and Hector. Mmm, Hector and whatever rich woman who threw him to the side. I want to see Hector's slashed insides before all the mending.

I haven't laughed as much or cried as much, but I'm still just as addicted to the read. I want Mace and Stella to work it out and I don't want anyone hurt. I don't want KA to rip out my heart with someone dying either! 

What do you think about the songs this time around now that we have a Rock Chick who actually plays music?

Oh, oh!!

What did you think of the scene at Fortnum's between the Rock Chicks? If you're not there yet, you'll know it when you get there...

And how much did you love the scene between Roxie and Hank??? *swoon* Again, if you're not there yet, you'll know it when you get there...

I freaking loved the scene at Fortnum's because all that bickering was so much fun. They are not the troop from Strawberry Shortcake (John makes me read the books over and over). They call each other out. I just loved Ally throwing a fit! That was so good! I loved Tod throwing a fit too. And Daisy in the beginning with the donuts. She was so put out and she's hard to ruffle unless you make her car explode.

Swoon is the word for anything Hank-related. That was just right for the two of them. 

I loved watching Ally have her fit, too. Yep, it's gonna be so much fun seeing her fall. And seeing her friends tell her 'I told you so.' And Daisy getting flustered over getting to serve breakfast was hilarious. Yep, you don't take away a Southern woman's right to serve a big Southern breakfast! *haha*

Yeah, Hank still makes me swoon, too. *sigh*

I was so pissed at Mace when he whistled for Juno to say goodbye to the dog at the end of that insanely frustrating break up. I was so confused if they were even broken up, and then he said the thing about coming back to get his bags and I wanted to call him a ... rhymes with wussy. AND then he rubs the dog down for his final farewell! Oh man. I know Stella was devastated, and I might have been crying because break ups make me angry and teary, but watching it all from the cheap seats was so frustrating. I totally get Ally flipping out!

I was pissed too. That was a slap in the face plus a gut kick. And you're right, he absolutely was wussin' out. And it was frustrating. I was mad at Mace but I was mad at Stella too. Ugh. I don't know which one I was maddest at. They both screwed up. I was definitely crying at this moment. 

I finished the book! Let me know if you have/when you have. I stopped midway through the epilogue because what the heck! I like a glimpse into the future at the end of a series, not when there are 2 more books. I've decided to return to it after the last book, which I guess will be Ally's book. 

Smithie is awesome! I love the scene where he comes in and scares a certain someone into dropping their agenda. That was righteous, as Ally would say. And Duke works his way further and further into my heart with each book. Geez, what he did for Stella... She thinks she has 'shitty bad luck' but she's managed to gather quite a few men (Duke and Floyd in particular) that are much, much better fathers to her than her biological one. And Tex...he STILL steals the scene whenever he's present. Talk about grumpy. I LOVE him!!

This one does has a different vibe with all the messing up both Mace and Stella do. I like how you said they're the least 'composed' couple so far. That's so true. That scene where Mace is feeling badly for not controlling it - I smiled at Stella throwing his words back at him..."you said you needed to learn to handle me with care. Well, I need to learn the same thing." That was some awesome. These two both have some pretty big demons and maybe Mace didn't officially declare a war on Stella's like she did his, but they're both doing a fine job battling each other's demons. 

Nope, I'm never gonna like Preston Mason either. No way. No how. Not gonna happen. ;) 

Hector...yeah, I'm warming to him alright. *ha* He's funny. I could tell he was feeling it for Stella but he's not like the other Hot Bunch guys. He may have been saying something with his eyes and body language but he never moved in on Stella. I'm quite looking forward to meeting the woman who would toss him. Crazy woman, I say!

I haven't laughed or cried as much with this one either. Although I have kept a lump in my throat. :) KA is simply amazing. I've said it before but I'm always impressed how she can give a different vibe, a different feel with each book. Oh, and she did a tremendous job of keeping all the characters true in this one. With the switch in POV, I was impressed with how she kept their voice the same. <--not the right word, but you understand, right?

And the music....oh the freaking music!! I love having a Rock Chick who is actually a musician. And how she uses her music to communicate her feelings is fabulous! I mean, we also listen to music to suit our moods, right? Stella does too - and she plays it that was as well. I've gone around singing LOTS of Journey. ;) And I think I can hear her voice too. Man, I hope there's a really good band playing at The Little Bear when you're here next year. :) Are you liking the music? I love every single one of the bands/songs that Stella has played. And it's adorable that she believes she and Mace are meant to be together because they listen to the same music. ;)

Did you melt over the keys? That was a swoon-worthy moment when Mace came home. *sigh* 

I'm thrilled both Mace & Stella are putting everything out there. It says a lot about the depth of feelings they have for one another. Stella talks about seeing Mace's walls in his eyes...but he's not the only one who has  protective walls. 

Omigosh! Did you love the scene where Stella has had it with being walked all over? The things she said to George (he's a douche, and I hate that word) and to Preston. I was fist pumping and cheering her on! That was fan-freakin-tastic! By the way, Stella's parents could win 'Worst Parents Ever' but Mace's dad​ would give them a run for their money.

I'm right there with you about Duke. Every book he roots himself deeper and deeper into my heart. Normally I don't enjoy stories where the main couple can't get it together and we have to watch all the drama of them breaking up, making up, and breaking up again, but I fell in love with Mace and Stella so when they pissed me off (equally), I just kept rooting for them to get over themselves. For me this installment is the relationship story. The others had a good mix of mystery, action, and humor, but this one was all about two people who would live the rest of their lives as closed off entities without each other. I loved it when Floyd told her how it was and it took her some time to see the truth for herself and then the mission she went on! You're right, I think Mace had his own mission because he started asking her questions and then he told her he would be there when she called her A-hole mother. What a piece of work! And Preston. When they had that first chat, I was furious. I hate to be called stupid. It seriously pisses me off. I took it personally when he called her that. 

Was there a standout side character for you in this installment? I loved Ally's fit and Hector's presence, but Duke won the show and Tex was just so awesome being Tex. 

Did you read the epilogue? I'm curious what you thought of it. I stopped because it was messing with my vision of the series. Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry series did epilogues that took the reader years into the future even though the next story would happen right after the previous story. I liked that, but KA's made me feel like the series was over, which depressed me. I didn't want a sum up about all the couples. No! I want another mafia mix up and car bomb and kidnapping...uh, you know what I mean. 

Two more, Brandee. And the football season is going to start here pretty soon. We'll have to make another wager or two.

I loved Rock Chick Reckoning. I had to give it 5 stars because I couldn't stop reading it. Seriously, I would put it down for the night after counting how many hours of sleep I could still get only to pick it right back up with a shrug that was so full of it. I knew I'd be a very hostile zombie the next day and I still kept on reading. At the same time, I had a couple issues with this one. I didn't get the whole Sid angle. He was a shadowy figure the entire novel. Couldn't he personally come out of hiding and kidnap someone? That would have made his actions more personal. I've become a bit of a danger addict when it comes to the Rock Chicks. Do you find yourself looking forward to everything going wrong and the Hot Bunch being handed their asses? My other issue was of course the epilogue. Even though I'm a major epilogue girl, can an author give us too much of a good thing? Even with these two itty bitty things, I just freaking adored the story because Mace and Stella were equally terrible at relationships. Oh my goodness, I know you were frustrated with both of them. Did you go back and forth scolding them, or were you able to lay the blame on them equally. Me? I was a tennis match of blame and scoldings. 

What do you want to see most in the last 2 stories? I still want to see a striptease tutorial for the Rock Chicks and I love your earlier request for a Hot Bunch showdown. I wouldn't mind a Hot Bunch guy getting kidnapped and the girls having to charge to his rescue. That would rock the planet. 

That's all I got for now...Hank is still the one. Mace is the shit though. I love that he's an emotional bees' nest. Roxie is still my girl, but Stella's ability to go on a tirade at a moment's notice is a girl after my own heart.

Rock Chick is definitely worth being a hostile zombie! ;)

I agree with you about Sid but I also think that his actions are realistic considering the type person he is. (Like I know so much about was a criminal's behavior would be ;) I'm totally a danger addict thanks to Rock Chick. So I thought the ending kicked ass! Oh, and I still didn't change my mind about Preston. Nope. He did a good deed but it didn't redeem him in my eyes.

I finished the epilogue because...well, I just couldn't help myself. I thought it was interesting placement, myself. It was a little spoilery in my opinion. I discussed this with Sky and she told me there may be a reason for the epilogue that will be revealed in the next two books. Smartie pants! Anyway, I liked it but...

I alternated my scoldings as well. But you know, despite them being equally bad at the relationship thing, I still believe Stella was always talking to Mace through her music. And they'd both made it their mission to heal the other. 

That concert at the wedding...ROCKED! I was crying over Stella singing Still the One to Lee and Indy. It was the perfect song even if it is mushy. And I also noticed - before it was pointed out - that the set list was a happy one. :)

Hmm, what I want to see most in the last 2...let me sleep on that one. I do agree that something happening to one of the Hot Bunch and the girls saving him would be awesome. Tex, of course, had to save himself! We're still doing the tutorial and the showdown, right??? ;)

I was thinking about Eric. We didn't talk about him. I felt kinda bad for him. I know Stella was his job but he really did fall for her. I'd like to see him get a HEA. (I'm a sap, I know)

Oh, you know what'd be cool to see? Shirleen get herself a HOT one! That would make me smile.

You know, I've been giving some serious thought to the Hot Bunch. And I'm thinking Hank, Luke, and Mace all take #1 for me. And all for different reasons. Hank - he really does just make me swoon. So I'm going to withhold stating who my Hot Bunch guy is until we've finished the series. Because I thought Luke knocked Hank out, but I don't know. And then Mace...I think he was so realistic in how he handled Stella and his life in general considering what he'd been through. I adored that he remembered how his mom could heal...... Anyway, I am reserving my final say on the guys until the end. 

But Ava's still my Rock Chick, for sure. There are things about them all that I admire or relate to but she's most like me.

What did you think of Jane, the invisible? I thought that was an interesting thing to toss in. And I gotta be honest, I never thought of her. She is invisible. :/

I'm actually a little in love with Eric. Yep. What a guy! He's an honorary Hot Bunch for sure. I cracked up about you talking to Sky about it and her little talk with you. I think KA just got a little epilogue happy and got carried away. I still love her. 

Of course we're still doing our fanfic at the end of the series. How else can we pay homage to the series and feed the hungry book girl beast inside us? I love your idea for Shirleen. Did you ever watch Waiting to Exhale? Total chick flick. I'm thinking Gregory Hines for Shirleen. I think Hector and Ren are going to knock us on our butts. I mean, Hector was undercover. That's intense. And Ren is a bad guy! 

Man, I wish we knew these people! I want to be in line waiting for my fancy coffee as Tex yells at the dumb guy in front of me.

I knew it was her because none of the guys gossip in this series. They're too busy chasing Rock Chicks. And May is too smart to be tricked into sharing every single detail. The gay boys would not put up with someone betraying their confidence. They would call an emergency meeting at Indy's to plot revenge. Plus, Jane is a closet romance writer. I loved the spirit behind all the info sharing. And it was so cool that she had favorite couples for the day. I did think for a minute it was the bitch secretary that moved over to Ren's business.

Okay folks, that's all for Rock Chick Reckoning. Any adult contemporary romance (with suspense, heat, and humor) fans out there? What's your favorite? 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Computer Hiatus!

My computer is down for the count. Sadness. So this is a forced timeout from the blogsphere. I will be able to check my email daily. If any of you all want/need to reach out, I'm still here. And on the off chance you're a reviewer and want to read and review one of my books, definitely email me and I'll be happy to gift a copy on over to you. I have a duel review post of Rock Chick Redemption with the lovely Bookworm Brandee coming next week, so I plan to steal my son's computer for that....That's all I got. I was going to post a picture that somehow expressed a weird mix of insane frustration at all things Microsoft and surprising giddiness at returning to actual writing with pen and paper. But the insane frustration won out and so you all got nothing. Sorry. Have a great week!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Baseball, romance, and some much needed therapy!! COYER ARC Review of Perfectly Ernest by E.J. Wesley!

(author provided ARC for honest review)

5 STARS for Perfectly Ernest by E.J. Wesley. Have you ever made such a big mistake you can never take it back, you can never make up for what you did? Ernie's entire life is about to change. He's on the verge of pitching a perfect game that will take his college team to the championships. Maybe some players experience nerves, but not Ernie. He wishes for nerves, instead he drowns in nothingness, in resolve and surrender.

One moment, one choice and he's off the team, he's adrift in a world he never prepared for, the non-baseball playing collegiate world where his mind is calling the shots and doing a piss poor job of it. With the help of an oddball counseling group and a burgeoning romance, it's impossible to do anything but cheer for Ernie to find his way because the guy is plain cool.

I loved Finding Ernest. It's a sports book done right because E.J. gives us baseball inside and out. We feel the stitches on the ball. We feel the calm before the storm as Ernie pitches. I like that no one fully has their shit together (except maybe the groundskeeper). We know something is going on with Ernie. His thoughts are taking him down paths that make the reader want to intervene in the worst way. How I wanted to jump into that game and shake him free. Anyone who has ever messed up in a big way will feel for him. My favorite thing has to be that he's a good guy. Really, I wish I knew him in school, the post-mistake version of him. He loves poetry even though sometimes poetry is not the best thing to read to lift your spirits. He's kind and thoughtful. He'd never think of himself in that light, but it's true. Or maybe my favorite thing about the story is romance that is almost precious for him that it takes him by surprise. I can't forget the misfit self-diagnosing counseling group. The issues and conditions the members have are not half-assed. E.J. gives us a taste of the flip side of normal and he does a wonderful job.

If you're a fan of sports stories, of New Adult, romance, finding your way type stories, coming back from the dark journeys, any of those things, or you just want a story about a cool guy who messes up and has no idea what to do next, I highly recommend Perfectly Ernest.

So here's a cool thing, Amazon has finally given Indie authors a share of the pre-order pie. You can pre-order Perfectly Ernest and the neat thing is that it's only 99 cents through Sept 1st!!! E.J.'s website has a wonderful page all about this awesome book.

(I told E.J. how much I loved the book and asked if he had any good stuff to share on my post, so here are a few treats!)

Perfectly Ernest Excerpt – E.J. Wesley
Neyle tottered over to a far corner of the room and snatched a jar of jellybeans from a shelf. He moved to our circle and chose a spot between Abbey and Baker. After handing the jar to Abbey, he unfolded his seat. He grunted as he straddled the makeshift chair and let his hands rest on the curved top of the cane. He waited as Luther powered down his machine, smiled as Sing checked her watch for the thirtieth time, arched his eyebrows as Baker picked his nose, and furrowed his brow at the way Abbey grimaced over the candy jar like someone had asked to her hold dirty underwear.
He never made eye contact with me.
“I’ll take those back, Abbey dear. Alright, y’all know the drill.”
I considered raising my hand to inform him I had no clue what the drill was—and that I was alive and not a ghost in the room. But he continued before I got the chance.
“Progress report, I’ll start. The good: My physical therapist says I’m making real strides. The bad: I still can’t write with a pen, and my darn right foot doesn’t always do what my left-brain tells it. Laura says she can sympathize with my left-brain, because I don’t always do what she tells me, either.”
He chuckled and grabbed a handful of jellybeans before passing the jar to Baker. Neyle had a slight droop to his mouth that was hard to see under the bushy mustache. Stroke maybe?
Baker tossed back several beans. “Good: Totally made it to all my classes but two last week.” There was a chorus of surprised murmurs. “Bad: I only remember going to Algebra, man.”
Groans rained down. Baker shrugged and snatched another handful of candy. He shoved the jar into my hands. I immediately attempted to hand them over to Luther, but he simply regarded me with wide-eyed incredulity—like I’d used the Holy Water at a Catholic mass to wash my armpits or something.
I watched Neyle. My gut tightened. Did he expect me to participate in confessional on my first night?
He smiled.
“I really don’t know why I’m here—”
Neyle held his hand up. “Maybe start with your name.”
“Right,” I mumbled. “My name is Ernie. I’m a sophomore. I play … I played baseball here at South State.”
I tried to pass the candy off once more. Luther shook his head, so I grabbed a few out of the jar and tried again. He still wouldn’t take the damn thing.
Neyle coughed. “Nice to meet you, Ernie. How about your week? Anything good or bad to report?”
“For real?” I hoped to find some kind of support but only got a toothy grin from Abbey and a frustrated eye roll from Sing for my effort.
“Okay, guess I’ll go bad first since there’s been a lot to choose from lately. I managed to royally piss off my new English teacher. Good…” I scratched at my chin, which was beginning to stubble over for the night. Surely I’d had something worthwhile happen. “They had corn chip chili pies in the cafeteria on Monday?”
“Those are awesome, bro.” Baker leaned forward. “You put that nacho cheese on them?”
Abbey made a dramatic gagging sound. In spite of my annoyed mood, I couldn’t hold back a smile.
I popped a jellybean into my mouth, then handed the jar to Luther and was almost giddy when he took it. I thought I caught the hint of a wink from Neyle.
He relaxed on his seat. “Lex, what was up with you?”
“Bad: Dad is still an asshole. Good: I didn’t actually have to talk to him this week. Next.”
Luther placed the jar near Sing and fished out a handful of candy.
“Whoa, hold up.” Neyle leaned forward. “You didn’t have your mid-week check in with the Sergeant?”
Luther shook his head, making his glasses wobble. “Nah, he and Mom went to Vegas to meet up with some of his Army buddies.”
“That’s progress at least. You must feel like a free man,” Neyle said and laughed.
“Not really. He had Mom inform me that re-charging my meal card would have to wait until he got back, so he could go over my purchases from last month. Apparently, I went a little heavy on the snack bar. Guess he’s decided to starve me out for insubordination.”
“No way,” Baker said.
Sing flinched.
Abbey quit fiddling with her nails.
Would his dad really let him go hungry to teach him a lesson?
Not for the first time in my life, I reminded myself that not having a dad around could actually be a bonus. Especially if he was a shitty dad.
“Do you have enough money to eat until then?” Neyle asked.
“Yeah, I’m cool. I’ve got rations stashed in my dorm for such an emergency. Plus, Mom’ll send me some cash if she can sneak out to a mailbox.”
Neyle’s gaze stayed locked on Luther. “Sing?”
She had arranged six jellybeans into two symmetrical rows in front of her on a piece of seamlessly folded tissue paper. Each candy was a different color—white, green, yellow, black, red, and blue. Judging by how she composed the room earlier before sitting down, she seemed like a girl who had a reason for the order in which she did everything. I couldn’t fathom the meaning of this, though.
“Good: I stopped by the housing office and asked for a roommate request form.”
Neyle grinned. “That’s great, Sing. We’ve talked about you getting a roomy for a couple of semesters now. You know, Laura and I probably wouldn’t be married if it weren’t for Hyena Brown, my old college roommate. He’d eat anything, and we often had to because we were so poor. If I could survive a year with Hyena, I knew Laura’s cooking wouldn’t kill me, either. Don’t tell her I said that. ”
Sing smiled.
“Bet you didn’t even take an application, did you?” Luther asked.
Sing turned on him, teeth bared like a prim-but-very-wild, animal.
“Of course I didn’t. The student secretary bimbo behind the desk was eating cheesy chips and put her gross hands all over it. I asked for an application, not a passport to her personal island of disease and filth.”
Luther laughed.
Neyle crossed his arms over his chest. “You didn’t say that to her, did you?”
Sing fiddled with her candy, not making eye contact with anyone. “That’s actually my bad thing for the week. They threatened to call campus security if I didn’t leave. So I told them I’d gladly go with security—or anyone—with table manners beyond that of the common house rat.”
Neyle sighed. “Well, I can print one up for you I suppose. That leaves you, Abbey.”
She sifted through the candy jar and selected a single, pink bean. She took a tiny nibble and set the other half of the piece on the floor in front of her with a satisfied, and gorgeous, smile.
“Give me a break.” Luther moaned.
She narrowed her eyes. “It’s called portion control.”
“It’s called neurosis, aka why we’re freaking here,” Luther replied.
If a look could gouge eyes out, Luther would’ve been left with an extra set of nostrils in his head. Abbey’s fury didn’t last long, however.
“Good: Becca wanted me to go on this new diet with her, where you eat nothing but green juices for a month.” She stuck her chest out and smoothed her hair. “I said no.”
“Doesn’t take a genius to know you can’t survive off liquids,” Luther said. “I’m not sure that’s a win.”
“Not true, bro,” Baker said, his voice taking on the quality of a wise surfer guru. “I once bet my brother’s friend he couldn’t survive a month living on those diet meal replacement shakes. Gained like twenty-five pounds.”
“Your bad thing?” Neyle asked. An edge of impatience in his voice told me he was trying desperately to usher us beyond the introductory round at this point.
“So, I was at the mall last weekend, and I tried on this ultra-cute top. It had this amazing scalloped lace on the sleeves and a deep neckline. Which I totally adore, because I think my collarbones are my best feature and—”
Neyle cleared his throat, again.
Abbey’s eyes widened.  “Anyway, they only had an extra-small in the mint color I liked. I tried it on and it made my arms look all bulgy. I mean totally like cookie dough covered in plastic wrap. But I bought it anyway.”
“You got the shirt even though you didn’t look good in it?” Sing asked. “Sounds like a good thing coming from University Barbie.”
Had to admit, I was slightly impressed this girl got something that she felt was less than flattering on her.
Abbey stared at the ceiling and crossed her lean arms.  “I figured I could squeeze into it if I made good food choices during the week. So I decided to skip food on Tuesday and Thursday. The top is really cute, though…”
The silence got uncomfortable, quick, and I felt bad for her.
“You skipped a meal on a couple of days. Seems okay to me,” I said.
I scanned the group, not understanding why no one was backing me up. She didn’t need to beat herself up over what I was sure every girl did on occasion. When Neyle retrieved a packet of travel tissues from his shirt pocket as a tear worked its way down Abbey’s cheek, I knew.
I’d misunderstood. She literally didn’t eat anything two full days because she thought a shirt looked funny on her. The true burden of what we were doing settled over me in that moment. These weren’t quirky people. These were sick people. They needed medicine—be it a figurative ointment for the soul or a very real pill for the body—or their disease was going to kill them. And I was one of them.