Tuesday, January 29, 2013

To my awesome followers! Thank you:)

My first glint of awareness to the world of book blogging came when I read Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Katy, as most of you know because there is much love for JLA, is a book addict/blogger/mailman stalker. Before this eye opening experience I knew of blogs, I'd read plenty of them, but they all revolved around parenting, autism, tantrums, husbands, divorce...you get the idea.

One line I loosely quote because I don't have a copy of the book on hand, "People suck...I love people!" perfectly sums up the highs and lows of blogging.

Through it all, you decided to follow me. Yay! Thank you. robgirlbooks reached a wonderful milestone this weekend, 100 GFC followers, and over 550 tweeps! I don't have a cool giveaway (not until mid-February) and I don't have any freebies (again not until mid-Feb), but here's a neato picture. hehe. Thanks for the support, the comments, the great posts I follow, read, and enjoy.

Photo by Yosep Sugiarto (http://www.sxc.hu/help/7_2)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Leap Frog [3]

Leap Frog Follow Hop
What is your favorite place to go to get good deals on books? Library sales, online shopping, used book stores, etc. Share some tips!

I'm the most frugal girl ever, and I no longer have a book budget. I'm a library girl until ... just until. So here's how I get my hands on great books to read. My library has a "suggest a purchase" page. I hit that hard because once I've made my request, the book goes straight to my account once they make the purchase. If I fall in love with it and must own it because I will read it again and again, then I add the title to my birthday and Christmas wish list. If I can't wait for that, I check out Half Price Books, or the ebook price on Amazon, sometimes-especially for new YA-the prices rock! So that's how this tightwad girly keeps her bookshelf loaded down with fantastic reads.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sidekick Saturday [2] Yummy!

This week's sidekick type is Yummy!!!

Sidekick Saturday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted 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! 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 this week's type
• Share a picture 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
• Put your link in the Linky thing and comment
Here we go with Yummy!
Oh, I think I can come up with a yummy sidekick character. Jaclyn from JC's Book Haven chose Adrian from The Vampire Academy series. Adrian, in fact, is so hot he moved on to Richelle Mead's Bloodlines series. So I totally agree with her pick. Since we're talking hotties, I'm going to stick with author Richelle Mead, but delve into her adult Succubus series. Carter is 100% virtuous (or he's damned to hell forever). He's arrogant, slovenly, evasive, and YUMMY! Oh, and a total jerk angel. If I were to cast him I'd choose...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday

This is a weekly blog meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read. Here are the general rules to Follow Friday:
1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. Follow our Featured Bloggers - This week's feature is: Sugar & Snark and Books are the Only True Magic
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!

This week's question is: What is the last book that kept you up late into the night just to finish it?

Easy by Tammara Webber took over until I finished it. This is not your typical knight in shining armor story. Lucus wasn't the reluctant hero, he was the reluctant everything else. He stole the show, mostly because Jacqueline wasn't a stand out character, but she won me over in the early pages. The most winning aspect of Easy has to be how Webber addresses sex, female friendships, and rape, nothing generic there.

What I learned from Marissa Meyer

Last year my library had the best event ever. Marissa Meyer, live and in person, read the first chapter of Cinder, shared her road to the printing press, and opened the floor to questions. Since we live in the same town, I ended up sitting next to her neighbors, or her family's neighbors, or something along those lines. The room filled quickly. Moms and their daughters. Women toting their pristine, shiny hardback books. An old white guy.

In walked Meyer with a red high heeled shoe stapler. The library coordinator gave a brief and adoring intro, then yielded the floor. And that's when my preconceived future as an author changed forever. She spoke about her education, BA in Creative Writing and Children's Literature. Yikes! Master's in Publishing. Holy smack! I have a degree in Studio Art. That's right. My nervous meter started humming.

She went on to talk about her post education work. Freelance writer and proofreader. Crap. My post education consisted of working at an abandoned warehouse painting scenes for the Nutcracker. That lasted until the flea outbreak forced my hand to quit. After that, more of the same, waitressing, failing miserably at barista-ville with Starbucks, temping. 

By this time, I took a few peaks at the exit. Could I afford to hear anymore? She moved on to talk about her Sailor Moon fan-fiction days. And bam, instant desperate connection. When I was a kid I loved all things Japanese anime (I know manga and anime are different media, but I made it work in my head). I might not have written any stories, but I did skip a day of school in third grade just to watch my favorite Japanese cartoon.

I'm hanging on by a thread, hoping she'll mention some fatal flaw she had to overcome. Wish granted. She brought up entering and failing literary contests. Yes! I'm hooked now. She sucks at contests. I had just submitted my novel to a few contests and I knew I'd suck at them too. In one contest there were only two entries and she came in second. I didn't do a fist pump, but in my head I did one of those girly hip dances with the thumbs.

Finally, she discussed creating Cinder. The first go around she tossed completely. Her extensive outline process took on a life of its own. The insanity that is creating something out of nothing, loving it, hating it, obsessing over it, sometimes required watching Firefly just to stick with it. She lost me at outlines.

When she opened the floor for questions, all I heard was my mom's voice in my head, "Ask her something, Robyn." The mind-verson of my mom likes to keep it simple. People asked about finding an agent. I wanted to stick my fingers in my ears. Her transition from unpublished author to published author was...quick. "So you're a little like Cinderella too," the one old guy in attendance (that I noticed) said after she told us a little about the small children's publisher she chose. The statement cut through my personal freak out. To me, it sounded bitter, and I suddenly wanted to defend Meyer even though minutes earlier I cheered about her less than successful writer moments.

Someone asked her to describe a typical day. Mornings were spent catching up online. Inspiration hit and I raised my hand. "How important is having an online community?" That very morning a popular author had mentioned her in a tweet and her sales soared.

Marketing online plays a huge role in today's book world. That's the second biggest lesson I learned from Marissa Meyer. The first? Love your fellow author. In the beginning, my mind wallowed in a game of compare and contrast. Then it searched for ways I could relate. Then all thoughts went to staring down the old guy for making her accomplishments sound so effortless, like she stepped into a magic shoe and everything fell into place. All those years of schooling, her post grad work, her days writing fan-fiction, but possibly wanting to write her own stuff, then writing her own stuff only to trash it, she earned her success.

So all you writers out there, even the ones who only secretly dream of being a writer, forget trying to fit the perfect mold. Get out there online and love your fellow author. That's what I'm doing!

Meyer will be in town again in March promoting Scarlet. Any suggestions for what I should ask when my mom's voice pops into my head next time?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Leap Frog Monday (2)

Leap Frog Follow Hop
Happy Leap Frog Monday!!
The Question:
If you could read only one book over and over again, what would it be and why?
Last week I referenced Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series, which I have read more than once. So I'll switch things up. 
My answer is

I'm not much of a fantasy reader, but the world Rhodes creates, one filled with an eons old war, a superior race, bird and snake shifters-as well as bears and wolves, anti-love at first sight, and unforgettable characters, I could re-read this 968 page book...again. Okay, I sort of stacked the deck. Shapeshifters is a bound collection of the entire four book series. But if I could only read one book over and over that has to mean we're all living in some kind of post-apocalyptic end of the world type situation, might as well choose a book with multiple stories in it.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Best Car Chase EVER! robgirlbooks' Movie Review of Jack Reacher

5 STARS for Jack Reacher. There are times when I'm solely a movie girl. So of course I had seen the preview with Tom Cruise casually climbing out of his slow moving car while sirens close in on his location. I got to see the whole scene today. Best car chase ever! Honest. Most car chases focus on speed and crazy stunts. This one incorporated two things that blew me away, humor and a game of cat and mouse. Humor in an action thriller? Yes. I laughed out loud several times. Now this isn't a funny movie at all. The opening scene is rough, especially with the tragic gun violence ablaze in so many places right now. The mystery part of the story is obvious, but not completely, like it was done for effect in order to relax you. Then bam, you're shouting in your head, "Behind you!"

Jack isn't superhuman. He gets hit, beat up, snuck up on, shot at (a bunch). He's smarter than most people. He's a better fighter than most people. He has almost nothing to lose. Great combination in a character. The lawyer is played by Rosamund Pike who has a wonderful understated quality, yet she's powerful on screen. She is the perfect counter to Tom Cruise.

The bad guys hit the mark too. We get to see the whole spectrum of thugs. The comically stupid criminals, the money guys who do anything to pad their pockets, then the truly scary guys who aren't true-blue sociopaths, they are genuine evil. And one of them, Jai Courtney, talk about beautiful devil. He's spectacular, and he'll be in the upcoming Die Hard saga. Yay!

I loved this movie. It was part Dirty Harry, part Gene Hackman in The French Connection, part Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. What? How did I make the last connection? Implied violence that's how. Some things are worse than showing us splattering blood all over the place. Sometimes simply describing a horror can have me covering my eyes begging the screen not to show what I think they are about to show. There was a scene like that in Jack Reacher and I commend them for pushing me to act like a complete girl in the movie theater.

Note: If you want a marathon of movies (based on books) with compelling heroes and terrifying calm evil guys, I recommend Tell No One and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the original film version. Also, Jack Reacher is based on One Shot: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sidekick Saturday [1]

This is my first Sidekick Saturday. Jaclyn from JC's Book Haven selected Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter as her pick for awesome sidekicks. I have to agree, but here's my vote.

Henry Standing Bear from Craig Johnson's Longmire series.

It's also a TV series on A&E, and Henry's character is played by Lou Diamond Phillips. Now Phillips isn't anything like the book version of the flirty Indian (he calls himself Indian in the book, not Native American-he'd give me an amused smile if I used the politically correct term, so I'm sticking to his character). Henry is Sheriff Walt Longmire's best friend. In the book they are old, vibrant, funny guys. I love them both. They're younger on the show. Henry charms every woman who crosses his path. He smiles and they drop their...they smile back. He tells Walt like it is, but in some crazy Zen confusing way that is so peaceful, yet at the same time you realize you were just told you're fat and old and need to start dating again before your parts fall off due to lack of use. The friendship in both the book and show is that old man kind where they don't know everything about each other, in fact sometimes they feel like they know squat about each other, but no matter what, they are right there to take a bullet, to follow you through nightmares, to bring you beer when you can't leave the house. I love Henry Standing Bear and even though the book version is drastically different from the show, I'm a big fan of Lou Diamond Phillips.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

DYI Editing? robgirlbooks' Review of "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers"

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
by Renni Browne & Dave King
288 pages
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks 4/13/2004
Hunted this copy down and found it at Half Price Books
3.5 Stars

This is the most definitive how-to book on editing I have come across. Most guides dance around absolutes. Don't do this if you can help it. Well, I can't help it! Self-Editing for Fiction Writers tells you straight up, Never do that. Just don't.

You start off with the infamous show and tell lecture and end with a thorough discussion on finding your voice. They earn 5 stars for the easy access layout of the book, for their great writing, and for integrating comics. They maintain the 5 star rating with their nifty exercises at the end of each chapter and corresponding answers in the appendix. This helpful tool made me feel like a legitimate student of editing. And they receive top billing for offering a valuable acronym, R.U.E-resist the urge to explain, which becomes the overriding theme of the book.

Here's where they drop all the way down to three and a half stars. The lessons, tips, and often flat out rules become cookie-cutterish. One of the beauties of the emergence of indie books is the unique quality of storytelling. 

Another reason their rating fell involves what I feel is outdated concepts, attributes for example. The authors have definitive nevers in this area. Never try to be clever with an attribute, stick to he said, she said. None of this he chuckled, she purred, he growled, she snarled. Current YA books knock this rule into oblivion and the readers seem to like the added emotion in the attributes despite the fact that Browne and King insist writers are dragging readers out of the story to show off their cleverness.

Lastly, and this is purely my reaction to reading the book, Browne and King put me into one of the worst reading slumps ever! I couldn't stop looking at all the rules my favorite authors were breaking. I understand writing and editing require two different hats, but reading is like breathing for many, and certainly for writers.

With all of that, the good and bad, this is a great guide. I had to go a little Zen with it, absorbing, learning, applying, and then unlearning. My vote is this is a valuable tool for any new fiction writer.

Liebster Award Nomination!

Thanks to So Many Books So Little Time, I get to share with you all a little bit about me...via this little Q&A. As part of the process, I also nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers and give them a set of 11 questions.

1. What is your favorite childhood memory?
I have so many wonderful memories, so I'll go with a category of favorites. I grew up on Guam. On stormy days (and there were plenty), my mom would make homemade spaghetti sauce and garlic bread. I loved coming in from a cold day (80 is cold over there), and being hit with a wave of "spaghetti night!"
2. Do you gravitate toward certain characters in books?
Oh certainly. I have a type, or several. I love comeback kids. I love being taken on a journey of self-discovery and healing. I'm also a big sucker for a fresh start story since that's me right now...starting over.
3. What is your favorite genre?
Man, you keep making me choose. YA. Okay, I made a decision. Yes, YA...and paranormal romance.

4. Why did you start blogging?
Last year I went to a reading and Q&A by author Marissa Meyer. She mentioned she spent her mornings on her computer chatting with her fans. So before I self-published Soul Walker, I took her actions to heart and created a blog. I wanted a platform to get to know people in the book world, the wonderful readers, bloggers, and writers.
5. When did you start blogging?
Late November 2012.

6. When was the last time you read a good book? What was it called?
I'm often reading a good book because if I'm not enjoying it, I return it to the library. But I recently finished a string of fantastic reads. I started with Easy, then hit Poison Princess, and topped the  marathon off with Pushing the Limits. I hit a slump after that, but I'm rebounding with Bitter Blood (which I'm currently enjoying).

7. List a book that you liked in the comments?
I'll probably list more than one.

8. What was/is your best subject in school?
Math, but not at your level. Jeez.

9. Who's your favorite character in any book?
Another decision! Okay, here goes my three-way-tie. Kinsey Millhone (Sue Grafton's alphabet mystery series)...Mercy Thompson (Patricia Briggs' Mercy series)...Rose Hathaway (Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series-though I'm referring to the Rose in books 1-4)

10. Least favorite book?
This might chap a few hides, so I'll just spit it out. I hated Catching Fire and Mocking Jay. I wish I never read them. When I hear anything about those two books I growl. Oh, I mentioned above that I quit a book if I don't like it, but I kept hoping that the stories would get back on track.

11. Least favorite author?
I guess I have to finish putting the last nail in my coffin with public opinion. I'm not terribly forgiving. So I will not venture Suzanne Collin's way again. I just don't trust her to stay loyal to the creation of her characters. Enough of that. I'll end with saying I very much loved Hunger Games (book and movie).

Now that you're good and marinated in all that is Robyn Jones, let me drown you with more insight.
11 facts about myself:
1. I have two sons, Will and John.
2. The first book I ever wrote will never see the light of day due to the prophetic, crappy fact that the breakup scene at the beginning of the story became my own breakup scene only four months later!
3. I eat all the chocolate surrounding a Kit Kat bar before peeling each individual wafer. (This was not the reason for my breakup)
4. I've been a Tom Cruise fan since Legend.
5. I don't cry when I'm supposed to, and then cry at nothing later.
6. I'm a lefty.
7. I have mild dyslexia. If I try to draw you and I'm not extremely focused, I'll draw the mirror image of you.
8. I was born and raised on Guam.
9. I've been to Australia twice.
10. The first time I ever saw snow (which was my third year of college) I stomped my foot and said, "This doesn't look anything like the cartoon snow!" I was terribly let down.

Now for my nominations and their 11 questions:
Bookdictive Reviews
Broad-Minded Books
Confessions of a Book Lover
Falling Through the Pages
Dear, Restless Reader
Fae Books
Girl in the Woods Reviews
I Have Lived A Thousand Lives
Exploring Young Minds
The Armchair Librarian

I would have loved to nominate PRUF Reads, JC's Book Haven, and Busy Moms Book Reviews, but they wrote reviews for my book and that felt like iffy ground to tread on.

11 questions for my nominees:
1. What is your favorite fictional place? Could be a funky bedroom, another planet, another time gets tricky.
2. What inspires you most?
3. Who is your favorite female character on TV or in movies?
4. What is your favorite movie-based-on-a-book?
5. If you had a chance to chat up an author, who would be your pick?
6. How much time do you spend blogging...thinking about it, clicking away, world building on your site?
7. What is your favorite book series beginning to end?
8. What book series ended too soon for you?
9. What book would you most love to see on the big or little screen?
10. What's the right order, books, blogs, girls/boys (romantically), family, pets, kids? Exclude what doesn't pertain to your life.
11. What character would you like to kick into a-whole-nother stratosphere?

 Directions for the nominees:
-Copy and paste the award onto your blog.
-Come up with 11 questions, 11 nominees with less than 200 followers, and 11 facts about yourself.
-Answer my 11 questions.
-Leave a comment on your nominee's blog page telling them about the award.
-Thank your nominator

Monday, January 14, 2013

Leap Frog Follow Hop!

Leap Frog Follow Hop

So this is my very first hop!
The Question:
If you could be best friends with any character from any book who would it be and why?
My answer would be Warren from Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series. He's a hottie gay cowboy werewolf with heart! I think that explains it all.

I can't get into my book!

I'm in a reading slump! I finished Pushing the Limits after a run of fantastic YA reads. I thought it was time to traipse around in the land of grownups with one of my favorite characters. Kinsey Millhone from the Sue Grafton private detective alphabet series is cranky, emotional, and smart. Also she likes to be alone, I mean, she relishes in it. At the same, time she hungers for human connections. I hit I is for Innocent ready to dive back into her world of ordinary criminals with ordinary and terrible crimes. I hit a wall. I couldn't get my mind to focus. So I took a break.

I tackled Warm Bodies. Now, I am not a zombie fan. Sure I've seen too many of the Night of the Living Dead movies...and Resident Evil + sequels...and 28 Days Later (which shouldn't count because they weren't technically zombies)...and Dawn of the Dead (which shouldn't count because the ending pissed me off for-I'm still pissed!)...and one of my favorites movies happens to be Shaun of the Dead. But I maintain I'm not into zombies. Okay, there have been a few walking dead books in there too. Back to Warm Bodies. Yikes! I'm not ready to delve inside the mind of an introspective, soulful dead guy. So I took a break.

I pulled out Beautiful Disaster from my library stack. Why not go with a messed up, bad boy love story? I know why, because I only just regained my blind optimism toward the opposite sex. And I just got back into watching romantic comedies. Better not mess with progress. So I took a break.

I dusted off Bitter Blood, which had been shelved due to the first chapter making me growl. Never a good sign. But I'm a loyal fan of the Morganville vamp series, and I read something happens between Myrnin and Claire. Yes, I have found my pick. Let's hope it douses my slump.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Autism and...Vampires?

A while back I wrote a tiny blip of a story about a kid superhero. His power? Through his autism he had the ability to reach inside people, all kinds of people, and change them. See, I'd witnessed this power first hand with my oldest boy. The moment he was diagnosed, I knew all I had to do was get him in front of the right people and they would trip over themselves to help him. I never did anything with the story itself, mostly because it made me cry every time I read it. But it spawned this idea, what is autism really? Through all the challenges, the isolation, the God-seeking prayers, isn't there something magical about the way their minds work?

I went in search of this magical thing. I watched the way strangers reacted to Will, the way teachers lit up talking about him, the way little kids loved playing with a true-forever child, lastly I saw the way moms herded their children away from what they deemed the bogeyman, the big bad developmental disorder that rivaled all other disorders. So right there I had all the ingredients of the unsuspecting hero. Just so you know, the herding moms became the villains, what can I say, I'm a little bitter about their prejudice.

When I had all the pieces knitted together, I jumped into the choppy, terrifying, and exhilarating waters of fiction-paranormal romance to be exact, because how fun is that? The end result? Soul Walker and the three subsequent installments in the Touched Girl Series.

How has your life experience affected the way you see the world or the wondrous things you've created? I shared mine. Tell me your story.

Monday, January 7, 2013

JC's Book Haven gave Soul Walker 4 STARS!

"I started reading two books at the same time and this one just took over the minute I picked it up. I greatly enjoyed getting to know Anna and all of her quirks...The story is different and not one even similar to something I have read before. The main character is too set apart from anyone I have come across previously. Jones' voice is soothing and I came away from the book glad I had delved into Anna's head..."

Go check out JC's Book Haven for the full review, and stay to read up on other authors making their way through this crazy world that is the book biz.

Also, hop on over to PRUF Reads for my 4.5 Star review by texxie.

"...While Soul Walker is a paranormal read, a YA romance, there is a new twist on the heroine. Outside of the paranormal reasons for this and that, her gifts, her strengths, Anna is autistic. The fact that Anna is autistic, created a richness that blended so well, adding charm to a teen heroine in a genre where most are rendered fragile, needy and in desperate search of thee boy to 'complete them'..."

I'm a fan of Soul Walker's Anna Pierce, sure I wrote her, but she's been a part of my life for a while now, so in that writer-crazed head of mine, we're friends. And I get to share her story with you guys.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Owning your scars: robgirlbooks' Review of Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits

Written by Katie McGarry
416 pages
Published by Harlequin Teen 7/31/2012
(Borrowed from the library)

Echo Emerson and Noah Hutchins, once opposites in the social climbing world that is high school, share more in common than they would freely admit. They both spend their lives hiding away. Echo hides in her clothes and lost memories of a terrible incident that left her body scarred. Noah hides from a devastating loss that can only be addressed with punk behavior, one night stands, and an excessive amount of pot. Like many YA contemporary romances their lives collide, but not from some twist of fate. Fate already kicked their butts. No, therapy is their binding force. Pushing the Limits takes you through the lives of two people who want to be on the other side of okay, but have to face healing first.

I love this book. You get to go back and forth between Echo and Noah, and never once did the author lose sight of their individual voices. It's easy to compare this style to the Perfect Chemistry series, first person, switching POV's, teen love and angst. But on a personal level, this story reached deep inside and propelled me through the pages like a wild fire through brush. Echo's scars she worked so hard to hide from the world and herself I understood so well. Going from bouncing through your life one day and turning away from your unrecognizable body the next changes you down to your bones. No matter what healing happens, you will never be the girl you were before. Her fight to be the old Echo was painful for me to read. Mostly because I couldn't relate to that part of her story. Her need to be friends with awful people made me cringe more than once.

Noah's plight was different. He honored his visible scars, gave them top honors almost. His emotional wounds however, those he drowned with an I don't give a crap attitude. Oh, he gave a crap, which only meant more smoking pot, more girls in the back of his car, more barely passing tests.

Insert brilliant, all-knowing therapist here. Noah and Echo have great chemistry. Their back and forth flowed off the pages. Author Katie McGarry pulled tears and joy out of me. What more could I ask? Noah Hutchins is one of my favorite heroes now. I loved falling in love with the characters. McGarry is following up Pushing the Limits with Dare You To coming in May 2013. You get Beth's story in book 2. I already requested the library to purchase the book. Of course I did.

(Note: if you're squeamish about swearing-Yikes, if you don't like your protagonists a bit on the wimpy side, I'm not sure how much you'll appreciate Echo-I loved her because us sliced and diced girls have to stick together, finally, if prefer your YA to be on the PG-rated side of things, maybe this is too teen angsty/sexy/druggy for you)