Monday, December 29, 2014

Rock Chick Chat Time!!! Rock Chick Revolution by Kristen Ashley! So good people!!

It's time for another Rock Chick Chat with Bookworm Brandee. We're diehard Rock Chick fans. Okay, we've also nominated ourselves honorary Rock Chicks on account of our pure love for the series. This time we're bringing you our fangirling over Rock Chick Revolution, the story of Ally and Ren. Also my favorite in the series. Book after book, Ally remained a mystery. We knew she was bad ass, hot, dangerous, and loyal to her girls. Ren on the other hand always seemed refined, powerful, hot, and dangerous. See where they overlap? These two are dynamite together. They say it like it is without trying to hurt the other but sometimes end up doing exactly that. Ren is connected to the world of crime. Ally bleeds blue, at least if you go by the family BBQ's and count how many cops she's related to. In Rock Chick Revolution, we discover who Ally really is, her dreams, and her fight to make them real. It's so good! So here's my chat with Brandee. Oh, did I mention I give this one 5 STARS? Yeah.

(Rob) Rock Chick mania! How is it that Ren is so different from the other Hot Bunch guys and still right in line with them? Ally is plain crazy, but not like Indy. Indy is just wild. Ally always seems to be in search of something. Her own HEA, her purpose in life, scumbags worthy of a knee to the nuts? All of those I think. I like how street Ally and Ren are when they bicker with each other. Not an ounce of composure when they tussle. I remember when she got pissed that Indy was in so much danger and instead of letting the police handle chasing the bad guys when they sped away she put the car in gear and went after them with angry gusto. Everyone was pissed at her, but she was going to get justice for her BFF. 

What do you think of the beginning, all that back story? I almost never like that, but Kristen Ashely gives us the goods so good. I want more of their history. 

Okay, gotta go to work and not act like a zombie. Rock Chick is a sleep thief! Every single book!

(Brandee) It was a bad day...because I had to work and all I wanted to do was read Ren & Ally!! Robyn, I may be a little bit in love with Ren. Yes, he is different than the other Hot Bunch guys and  yet still sooo much the same. Ally is crazy but I have to say I love her brand of crazy. She is definitely looking for something...but that she'd do anything to help someone she loves and never goes back on a promise...that's the good stuff. I am really enjoying getting to really know Ally...and Ren. Their bickering is righteous, as Ally would say. Her explanations of fights and talks with Ren crack me up.

You're absolutely right about KA giving the goods so good. I want more of their history too. I have to admit to crying when a certain scene is repeated...both because of the original scene and Ally's perspective of it. It has been rather interesting to learn what all Ally's been up to while all the other Rock Chicks were getting their HEA, huh? I thought it was telling when Ally said she and Indy knew each other's secrets...well, Indy knew *most* of hers. Why do you think she kept everything with Ren on the down-low? 

So much has happened and I'm only at 22%! I'm off to read...

I hope you had a zombie-free day! *ha* Really, I hope it was a great day! My day went by very quickly because we were so busy. I'm exhausted! *hahaha* I'm looking forward to a day of vegging and reading tomorrow. 

There always seemed to be another world Ally lived in while the other Rock Chick's got their HEA, I just wasn't sure what. I thought it was pretty amazing in the first Rock Chick when she was the one to find Rosie. She beat all the boys. I think she has good reasons for keeping her secrets, but I sort of think she also didn't want to ever be jealous of her girls and the only way to do that was to safeguard a few things. Or I could be over thinking it. 

So you're in love with Ren, huh? That fight with Luke over Ava in the parking lot was so dang awesome (a few books ago) and I remember Ava jumping to his aid, but doing it in a bossy hot chick way. I've been waiting for their story and I am just loving how different this one is mapped out. She isn't fighting her feelings. He isn't pulling out the handcuffs, yet. He's bossy in bed, but way into talking things through. It's just so dang good! 

(still Brandee) I'm at the 28 percent mark and I really have to get some sleep, so that means, I'll be up late again! Happy reading tomorrow!

I'm taking a time out to say he's breaking me, Robyn. I'm so mad at Ren right now. Really? Does he not consider his family if not job something that would put he and Ally at risk? And how could he not believe in her? Does he really not??

Okay, I'm going back in. More in the morning.

I'm sorry my email 'time out' didn't link onto this string. I sent it from my phone. :/ Anyway, I did find a nice stopping place - one where I was in love with Ren again. :) I'm sooo tired and I just can't put it down. It's one of my favorites in the series too.

I like how you said Ally always seemed to live in her own world - she's different than all the other Rock Chicks. I really like that KA gave her a book that is different than all the others. She is different. She doesn't fight her feelings - not exactly anyway. And Ren is one hot-headed Italian American hottie ;) but he's not your typical Hot Bunch guy. He's Ren. And she's Ally. *sigh* What did you think of his comment about her being the backbone?

Their first date? Classic! Especially the end of it - both at the restaurant and at home. ;) 

What are your feelings about Hank and Lee being so against Ally's chosen profession? Gotta say I wasn't real thrilled with Ren's initial feelings and then...he made me all melty right along with Ally.

What did you think about the family dinner that was ambushed? And how Ren handled things? And how Mal handled things with Ren?

We haven't seen a lot of Amalea yet, but I adore Ren's mom already!

Okay, I'm off to read until I can no longer hold my eyes open...

I'm tired and I haven't had nearly enough time with Ren & Ally today! *pouts* 

Tomorrow won't be much better as I'm attending a birthday celebration 'down the hill'. Hopefully I can squeeze in some time with this Rock Chick, Rock Chick, Rock Chick! *squee*

We gotta talk does  he always know what to say and when to say it??

I have a Rock Chick hangover. This installment is my top favorite along with the first one. Not as funny as Indy's book, but so much more emotional and something else, not sure what. 

Duke, man, Duke is the most huggable character in the entire series. Just thinking of him I get emotional. During one of his heavy scenes I was at the library waiting in a room with 3 best selling authors who were about to do a mystery writers panel. They were chatting about movie rights, not kidding, and I was trying not to bawl my eyes out! I realize maybe this was an opportunity to chat up authors, but the whole morning into afternoon I had been running around and it was my first opportunity to sit and relax. And it wasn't a Kristen Ashley talk. Nope. 

Ally is so laid back, she's my idol. She's the pretty girl version of Duke. She's also the perfect mix of Lee, Hank, and Indy. And Ren? He's top dog right now. I will have to re-read all the books and see if he's still the champ of all the Alphas in this series. I freaking love him! 

Oh my goodness, Dawn! How awesome was every single scene with Dawn and Ally. Okay, gotta go. Football Sunday! More RC chatting later. 

I had an epiphany about one thing that made Ally different from the other Rock Chicks...she's not as soft. She talks like Hot Bunch guy, right? She can be soft and mushy but her strength, inner and outer comes from a different place than the other girls'. She is BADASS! In a Hot Bunch guy badass kinda way. I guess she is the perfect mix of Lee, Hank, & Indy. And yeah, kinda the female version of Duke.

God, I loved this book. It was amazing in how perfectly it wrapped up everything. I'm so completely satisfied with how things are for all my Rock Chick friends. Ally and Ren's book left me with *that feeling* Ally kept talking about.

The Darius thing - I just didn't know how Ally was gonna straighten out his shit. But she did. Of course, it took a Rock Chick ride to do it, but she did it. And it made me warm with that feeling. :)

I was kinda pissed at Lee for all his big brother protectiveness. Although I wasn't surprised. I was kinda surprised Hank caved. Those two boys and their love for their sister also made me warm with that feeling. 

Omigosh, Dawn. Hell yeah, I loved all her scenes...particularly when she got put in her place. *haha*

Ren...*sigh* yeah, he's definitely top alpha for me as well. Funny enough, I can't tell you why. Maybe it's just the way that he and Ally fit? He can be bossy - but usually just in bed, where it doesn't bother Ally. (and wouldn't bother me either...just sayin') But maybe it's really because with the other Hot Bunch guys, they give their women what they need but they do so by beating them over the head with it until the Rock Chick capitulates. Ren...he just gave Ally what she needed in his own quiet beating over the head required. (although I wanted to beat her over the head in the beginning) What do you think it is that makes Ren top alpha?

Oh, and by the way, getting Duke's background...yeah, that explained so much. This whole group is who they are because of all the strong male and female role models they grew up with. It didn't matter if their dad wasn't in the picture or their mom died when they were young, there were all these other strong adults to step in, fill that role, and love 'em strong. That is family. They were all a family. (I'm getting the feeling the heat behind my eyes *sniff*)

I have a book hangover for sure. But the bright side is we can follow Mace & Stella to LA. :)

I got a little book depressed after I finished this one. The last Rock Chick. It was so good and fresh, nothing felt like a rewind of the other stories and there isn't another one to plan for next month! I know we get to follow Mace and Stella, but I want more Ally and Ren dammit! Okay, so that's my four day long rant that's been going on in my head. I can get back to our chat.

Ally was so much like the boys, she talked and thought like them. She wore the pretty underthings, but the girl was a kid sister raised by a tough  mom with a crazy best friend and two Alpha brothers. She's an alpha chick, that's what she is. Which is why I loved so much how she was with Ren. She never took on a fight with him just to win. If it meant something to him, she was good with it, but if it meant the world to her, she stayed true to herself. She didn't sell Ren or herself short. I know I was frustrated with both of them at different times, but I'm still wearing my rose colored glasses when I think back on it all. I can't remember what pissed me off! 

Ren's alpha-ness is a puzzle. He has some old fashioned ideas buried deep down in his upbringing that rears its head every now and then, but usually he's this equal opportunity male, give and take, share and communicate. Ally loves all his taking (goodness!), but not so much his communicating. 

The series did wrap up nicely, so I can feel free to re-read it whenever I want. We have to hit the Colorado Man series soon so I don't fall into another book depression. That's a real thing, you know. It's been so neat doing these buddy reads with you Brandee! Great books and awesome chats! Best football bet ever!

I'm with you on the book depression...definitely a hangover after finishing Ren & Ally. It's sad to think there isn't more Rock Chick for us. I know I'll re-read this series because it was *that* awesome. And yeah, we can follow Mace & Stella...but I'm still replaying scenes from Ren & Ally. And it's a week later?!? I was thinking about that scene where Tush is know the one. Damn, Ren is so freaking hot!

Ally - yeah, I think I most admire her and aspire to be like her. I love that she's just as much one of the guys as she is a Rock Chick. And I thought of you every time she was gonna cry - since neither of you like doing that shit. :) I really think they are my favorite couple because I adore how they are with one another. You're right about Ally never selling herself short with Ren. But he didn't either. They both took into account whether or not something was important to the other and never dug in their heels just because. I think, maybe in a way, they were the most mature. Does that make sense? 

And I've said it for every one of these books but I'm amazed at how fresh KA keeps things in every single installment. This one though, it takes the cake. *sigh*

YES! We will start the Colorado Man series next month so we can avoid book depression. There are so many KA books to choose from. AND we have books to buddy read from our two other football bets. :) I do agree though...this was the best football bet EVER. I'm thrilled to have lost because in the end, we both won! :)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

What a playlist for the year!!!

I wasn't ready for 2014. Each month took me by surprise, but a great soundtrack carried me through. I danced and sang and faced the world to a great beat ignoring my boys telling me to stop dancing and singing. Here's to another year of theme songs. If you have a theme you want to suggest, drop me a line, comment, tweet...I'm here and listening.

Here's the 2014 playlist on youtube. Rock on people! 

Oh, 2 out of 3 smiling in a picture with the boys and me is a win. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

When You Can't Walk Away

Years ago on a river rafting trip, I was standing next to a raging ice box dressed in a wet suit arguing, yes arguing, with a good friend of mine. I was an art student then and completely submerged in the world of creating art. Everything I experienced traveled an imagined canvas wonderland. People who knew me, knew this. For whatever reason I blurted out, "If I went blind I'd quit art." This sent my friend Myron into a total fit. "You can't quit art!" "If I'm blind, I'm totally quitting. Of course I am." "No, you can still paint." "How? No, I'll quit." We went back and forth. He argued with all his heart that an artist is an artist and you can't walk away from that no matter what. I argued that I wouldn't be able to see shit. Our other good friend Christine tried so hard to play a part in the argument, but she was too busy laughing her ass off. Remember, we were wearing wet suits. Everyone else on the trip was getting excited to climb into boats and we were fighting over my hypothetical blindness.

I think there are some things you can't quit no matter what. As much as I loved painting and drawing, I walked away. I'll return one day, but I don't hurt all the way through because I'm not working a new composition and daydreaming about colors. Okay, so I still do both of those things in my head, but creating stories, that I don't want to play any hypothetical games with. I make no money at this gig. I'm terrible at managing . . . every freaking thing, But I'll figure it out. I have to because I have to. That's what Myron thought painting was to me. And now I see he was right.

For December and on, I'm reading and writing (and holiday treat eating). I'm thinking of you all that are close to my heart and wishing I had more time in the day. I miss chatting and visiting blogs. And I'll be back to do those things. I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season. If you need me, I'm still here. Drop an email.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

When life's kicking your butt, how about a theme song? [12] Christmas favorites!

I wish everyone a wonderful December. This year I jumped back into the workforce after being a stay at home mom for over a decade. I also published two books, Shadow Town and Soul Twister. I was on track for more book releases and writing projects. Then my mom gig, that wonderful, exhausting, lucky job took over completely. I actually stopped thinking of myself as an author. Craziness! Recently a very sweet, yet mothering coworker told me she wanted so much for me, to find a nice doctor (not kidding), get a degree, and find a better job. "But I have a degree and I really like my job," I replied in a total whine and cracked up immediately. I imagined the future she wished for me and a single fear shot through me. There was no room for my writing dream in her pretty picture. So I remembered I'm a writer and I'm back at it. Promise. 

Baby It's Cold Outside by the Glee Cast! I just love this song!!

Sleigh Ride by The Carpenters! Classic and fun!

Christmas Wrapping by the Glee Cast

John Denver & The Muppets sing Christmas is Coming!
This Christmas by Nat King Cole always makes me so dang happy!

My mom initially chose a song by The Brothers Cazimero, but I couldn't find it on YouTube. Man. She went traditional after that, but you can't go wrong with Barbara.

My sister picked John Denver & the Muppets singing The Peace Carol. She's a total sap because she got all teary-eyed when I played the song.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

12th Man girl on her wobble board

12th Man RainbowSo I'm new to this whole loving football thing. I started out sitting in my big chair with my laptop clicking away and checking the game every time my mom and sister told me to look at the replays. Today the computer sat downstairs while I stood on my wobble board (those balance boards you always trip over if you have one in your home) for the whole game. I shouted and cheered...along the lines of "Get em'! Negative yards! Intercept! and of course my staple because I'm a mom "Have fun guys!" I jumped up and down, twisted back and forth like some oldies tune was playing, and stood on one foot in total kick ass Zen mode. I was voted loudest in the house and when we won, and boy did the Seahawks win, I jumped on my mom and sister who were sitting on the couch, I mean crowd surfing jumped. How the hell do people sit and watch a game? It's impossible.

Go Hawks!

"By SeahawkScreamer (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons"

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Birthday goodness!

The first time I caught a glimpse of my youngest was at the 20 week ultrasound appointment when I was pregnant with him. "...a boy..." Who cared what the tech said other than that. The bump was real in that moment, but within minutes of her tinkering with measurements, I caught something in her face she quickly hid, but too late. Bad news. I know bad news. A person can be down the block and have bad news and I know it. His kidneys, both of them, were enlarged. "But he needs at least one good kidney," I said to her like she could change things and take back the worried look or the scary news. We watched and waited because that's all you can do when it comes to kidney issues (I learned that over the next 20 weeks and a year). 

A week after he was born he had his first invasive test. Not fun. I paced in the background as the techs tried to get him to pee. They looked at me like I was telling him to hold it and be a stinker. And then he let loose. He tagged both techs and an extra person (whatever he was there for), the equipment, and the ceiling. Despite my worry and all the other stuff a mom feels when her one week old is strapped down for a damn test, I laughed until I cried. That is my John. And it's his birthday. He's so neato.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sidekick Showcase [55] National Homeless Youth Awareness Month

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 November are Soldier (November 10 is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps), Children (National Homeless Youth Awareness Month) or bearded folk (No Shave November).

My sidekick pick this month is Julie from the world of Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews. We first meet Julie in Magic Burns. She's a tough street kid you could accuse of being broken, but the girl never quits. Despite the total crapfest that is her life, she lights up ever scene because she is just that kind of person. I guess she's like Kate, just not beat down in the same way. I'm not sure what would have happened to Kate if she hadn't met Julie, but my guess is that Kate would have continued on the path of no attachments. She would have run from love or even the chance of love. She would have died somewhere around book 3 and then we wouldn't be biting our nails for book 8! Go Julie!

If I were to cast Julie, I'd choose Shailene Woodley (think her angsty role in The Descendants). 
Shailene Woodley - Flickr - nick step
"By Nick Step (Shailene Woodley) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons"

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Simple Pleasures

A while back I decided to write a sports book. I love sports movies. I love YA contemporary romances. And I freaking love basketball. My five year old had just joined his first basketball team. It was inspiring (and adorable).  

Obviously I needed to get into the head of my main character...meaning I had to get back to shooting hoops, something I hadn't done in over a decade. So I escaped every chance I could get and shot around. Forty-five minutes here, an hour there, and man, sore bloody fingers everywhere. I became obsessed. 

Then one day with the sun setting and the outdoor hidden away court getting dark, I tried a hook shot. I do not shoot hook shots because I sort of suck. And it dawned on me. I didn't give a shit about writing this story, not really. I didn't even have a name for my main character. I stood frozen with the ball locked in place with my feet and a scene running over and over in my head. My dad visiting from Colorado passing the ball back and forth with my son in the garage because it was raining outside. "The leukemia makes me tired," he said as he bent down to pick up the ball. Shit. 

My dad wasn't going to teach John how to play when John reached his high school years the way he taught me. Those nights on the court with my dad built a relationship I'd never had with him. We talked and laughed. One time I cussed, but we were playing 2 on 2 so it was okay. I wasn't good enough of a player to teach John. That's all I could think before I shut it down, before I gave myself the lie that a paranormal romance writer who loved the world of weird was suddenly going to go straight up contemporary. 

I shot around here and there, but it broke my heart a little each time. Then the boys were back in school. I was back at work. Life distanced me from the lie that drove me and the truth that stopped me, and the ball sat in the trunk of my car.

Yesterday after growling at my flat ball, I walked across the street and asked my neighbor if he had a pump. He did. It was the very best feeling to dribble that ball again. I smiled and shot. Maybe I bounced a little I was that happy. And then I tried a terrible hook shot and laughed. It was good stuff. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pick me ups for your Friday!!

If you need a boost just in case it being Friday isn't enough (crazy talk!), here are a few pick me ups!
Say It, Just Say It by The Mowgli's 
I first heard this song at the end of the movie Blended with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore (fun movie). It's a dance with both arms while bouncing around and smiling kind of song.

Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt is an awesome ride! The preview and that song make it out be so dark and desperate. But it's funny too! The first time I laughed I replayed the scene because I thought I was possibly just loopy. Nope. Not loopy (people who know me don't even). And the relationship between Cruise and Blunt is a slow build. In his previous sci-fi movie Oblivion, Cruise scored with 2 different chicks even though the world had ended and the human population was close to nil (uh, I still liked it). If you want a fun, action packed movie, with tons of shit that blows up, and a dose of dark humor, jump in!

I'm late to the party, but The Mysteries of Laura is so good! Debra Messing rocks as a working mom in a tough job with a new ex-"man child" husband, two kids, and a badge. Check it out because the writing is fresh along with the snark.

And finally a book because.
This looks like your typical paranormal/urban fantasy/sci-fi romance. Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews is not so much a romance as a kick ass book with a kick ass girl who kicks ass. A bit much? There's humor, family bickering/bantering, a shitty hot guy, magic, a messed up caste system, a hot guy who throws around fire so much he always ends up shirtless (don't blame him, it's his magic's fault), and to top it off, you'll fall into a mystery that only builds as the story moves along.

You all have a great weekend!! Any pick me ups you can share? Cats falling off furniture vids? Those really get me.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

When life's kicking your butt, how about a theme song? [11] Foreign language time!

Did November sneak up on anyone else? The year is almost over and I haven't been the most productive author girl. But the kids are good and I'm loving my job and it's fall! So it's all good. I've been wanting to do a foreign language song theme for a while now and here it is! I'm cheating and doing a runner up just so I can have two songs. hehe
I fell in love with Via Con Me by Paolo Conte from the French Kiss soundtrack.

And I just had to include "I Love You for Sentimental Reasons" by Karl Zero from the X-Files episode titled "Improbable" guest starring Burt Reynolds. It's one of my favorites!

How about you all? Are there any songs you love that you try to sing along to even though you have no clue what the words are?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I think middle school/puberty/7th grade homework is going to kill me.

Field with mother and young rhino - - 1007185Ever wonder how you made it out of middle school alive? My 7th grade days were not pretty, not with the cussing, bad hair phase, and determination to dismiss any and all authority. I had two best friends. One had fresh ketchup stains on her uniform shirt by the morning bell every day. The other was a living angel. Seriously a beautiful person. I had a certain rapport with the teachers. They didn't like me and I didn't like them. They actually got together and agreed to fail me if I ever turned in another paper written in cursive. Well, fine, my print was pretty terrible too. And I had an arch nemesis. She insulted me every day and I flipped her off (in my head). But I made it. Now that I'm a mom, I wonder how my mother survived my middle school years.

See where this is going? My oldest is in 7th grade. He is no longer the smiley sweet little guy who gave me pats on the back. Now he tells me, "Fine, I'll follow your lame-o rules!" He's actually very unpleasant, swears like a sailor, and can't stand anyone telling him what to do! What is that about? And school? Forget about cooperation to get him through that particular chore. Let's take his science class. 
"Will, do you have science H/W for tomorrow?" 
"Check." He checks after telling me he's tired of people bossing him around. 
"Yep." Since he doesn't have a textbook (budget cuts), I ask him what we're supposed to do. "Well Mom, you require five things to complete the task." 
"First, you need a rubber band." 
"Wait, I need five things?" 
"Yes, first you need a rubber band. Second you need wax paper." 
"Third you need a block of wood." 
"Wood? What?" 
"Fourth you need a force scale." 
"No, that's not even a real thing." 
"Fifth, you need a meter stick." Well, shit.

"Darrin Antrobus [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons"

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Feeling giddy anyone? Check out this song.

Crushing on anyone new or looking to crush on the one you've been with forever? Fall into this song (I like you by Ben Rector) and get giddy. It's a little bit of magic I tell you!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I'm a terrible football girl

Blitz-nfl-mascotSome of you know I'm a total sports movie girl, but my mom and sister have been on a year long push to suck me into the world of the Seahawks and everything else football. I used to hang out on my computer during the games and now I growl if they change the channel to watch one of their shows before a game is over. That is not right. I'm not even sure what's happening here, but it's possible I love football. I love it when there's a loose ball and the guys just keep jumping on top of the pile. It's even more fun when the refs have to toss the players off the pile. I'm starting to have favorite players on other teams too. That has to be a bad non-football girl sign. Like Cam Newton. Wow. A few weeks ago Jon Ryan faked the other team out and instead of kicking the ball (punting?), he ran it in for a first down. I jumped to my feet, "That's just like in the movies!"

"By Doublezero at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons"

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?