ILYF Wrap Up

We have FINALLY reached the end of the tour. Are you exhausted? I took a break last week, so surprisingly I’m all revved for the next bit of action.

Where to start? Hmm… how about the last few stops on the tour. 🙂 Though the tour is officially over, there are still time to enter the last giveaway for a signed copy of I Loved You First.

Here’s how it works: comment on any of the following posted hosted by bloggers then return to the kickoff post and enter to win. And of course, you can always comment on the prior weeks’ posts. So the last few stops on the tour are:

My Life, One Story at a Time – Interview/Review

Okay. I guess there’s just one more stop. 🙂 Comment at My Life, One Story at a Time or any of the other stops on the tour, then enter to win.

I believe I need to choose a winner for the blog tour button portion of the giveaway. First, thank you everyone for spreading the word about the tour.

And the winner is!

Jamie K. from Bookrella

Jamie has already been notified via email.

A bit of random ramblings… cause that’s what I do. Putting together a blog tour was a difficult as it was easy. You’re not making any sense, Reena. I know… I get that way sometimes.

It surprised me at how quickly the days filled up… so quickly I expanded the tour from the original 30 days to 45 days. I Loved You First had a wonderful response in terms of individuals willing to read and participate in the tour. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to all the individuals who stepped up to the plate and volunteered their blogs for the tour.

A Bookish Affair, A Casual Reader’s Blog, Agrippina Legit, All I Ever Read, Aobibliophile, Ashley Zurc Pereira’s Blog, Black Diamonds Book Review, Book Girl Knitting, Book Junkie, Bookerella, Books R Us, Cat’s Thoughts, Elizabeth Kolodziej’s Blog, For What It’s Worth, Full Moon Bites, Fuzzy. Coffee. Books., I’m a Book SharkKim the Bookworm, -Love of Books-, Loved to Read for Fun, Magic of Reading, Mama Knows Books, Mercurial Musing, My Life, One Story at a Time, My Need to Read, My Neurotic Book AffairReviews by Molly, Romance in the Backseat, Roseanne’s Place, SugarBeat’s Books, The Book Addict, The Book Diva’s Reads, The BoOki3, The Phantom Paragrapher, What’s on the Bookshelf, Words of Wisdom… from the Scarf Princess, Words I Write Crazy

Many thanks!

Special thanks to all the readers who reviewed I Loved You First on your own… no encouragement needed. XOXOX Last but not least, thank you for all who followed the tour. It was a pleasure to read your comments. And though I didn’t respond to every comment (I was a little timid I’d mess up the discussion flow, particularly on the reviews), I did read each and every one.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I totally feel like I should have a mic and podium after that.

Be sure to check back next Friday. I should have the final two winners of the I Loved You First giveaway drawn. Happy Reading!

Working Wednesday #23

As you might recall, last week I took a break from the writing-related nonsense. 🙂 I have to say, I’m quite refreshed and feeling a bit of motivation. I even managed to get a wee bit of writing done. I’ll get to that, but first…

Your weekly reminder: We’re down to one (1) signed copies of ILYF. I’ll announce the winner of the blog tour button giveaway on October 1. So you won’t have too long to wait. Until then, try your shot at the one listed on kickoff post.

Here’s how it works: comment on any of the following posted hosted by bloggers then return to the kickoff post and enter to win. And of course, you can always comment on the prior weeks’ posts. So the new posts up for this week on the tour are:

Another short list this week, so be sure to get your comments and entries in. Just two more days left. Exciting! 🙂

Writing

  • Edit Chasing Shadows ~ I looked at this today (or maybe it was yesterday) and edited maybe a paragraph
    • Finish/edit one scene a day. Currently at 8/50
    • Get it to an editor (If I earn enough through sales to pay for one, otherwise this might be one of those works which doesn’t get published for awhile. No more dipping into family funds for my publishing ventures. After 3 releases, this business should be self-sustaining, and if not, well… it’s not going to become a money pit.)
    • Release by January 1 (hopefully – pending the funding I mentioned above)
  • Finish writing/editing Regina’s Story ~ Didn’t work on this (needs to sit before I start polishing it)
    • Write the darn scene by the end of the month Completed Working Wednesday #21
    • Take a couple of days in early October to polish it
    • Release Regina’s Story by November
  • Finish writing/editing Injustice is Served ~ Finished the story I started during WW#21.
    • 5/7 complete – Finish 1 story a month so the first drafts will be ready by November
    • Polish them in November/December
    • Release before Christmas

Reading Challenge

2011 Reading Challenge
Reena has read 18 books toward her goal of 60 books.
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How do you feel after returning from vacation? Sluggish? Full of Energy? Tell me.

Novel Review: Heroes ’til Curfew by Susan Bischoff

I’ve been looking forward to Heroes ‘Til Curfew by Susan Bischoff since I finished Hush Money (see review here). When Ms. Bischoff signed on with an agent, I was sure it’d be forever before this book saw the light of day. Lucky for us, Ms. Bischoff decided to stick with the indie route and put Heroes ‘Til Curfew on the market now rather than later. 🙂 So the blurb from her website:

All Joss wants is to be left alone—with Dylan. But as more Talents are imprisoned by the government, everyone’s looking for a leader. Some look to Joss, some to Marco whose new criminal plan threatens Joss’s family and friends. Joss wants to stand up to Marco, but Dylan’s protective instincts are putting him in harm’s way. Can Joss find a way to embrace both the boy and her hero within?

a longer version…

In the world of the Talents, kids with supernatural powers are condemned to government research facilities from which they do not return. For a Talent, the most important thing is keeping the secret…

–Six weeks ago, Dylan Maxwell slugged it out with his best friend. Over a girl.

But Marco had it coming. After all, it looked like he was going to use his supernatural strength to kill Joss Marshall. That should have been the end of it, but Marco’s got bigger plans for crime in Fairview than Dylan ever understood. This time he’s going after the town’s merchants with a crime wave that threatens Joss’s family’s business and all the Talents’ secrets.

–Six weeks ago, Joss Marshall was alone.

Now there’s Dylan. It’s not always comfortable being just friends with the guy she’s had a crush on forever. And the more she learns about the boy with the easy smile, who always seems to know what to say, the more she learns how much they have in common. He’s so much more than she understood, and so much more than she could stand to lose.

That was then, this is now.

And now, everything changes.

Where as Hush Money was a suburban fantasy, Heroes’ til Curfew was more of a paranormal romance. An interesting change, which I didn’t expect, but at at the same time, didn’t surprise me, considering the ending of Hush Money.

Heroes ‘Til Curfew started off a bit slower than Hush Money. For a while, I was afraid it’d lack the fast paced action I loved in Hush Money. Reading Hush Money was like sprinting a marathon — all go, go, go! Heroes ‘Til Curfew, on the other hand, started off walking, then picked up to an easy jog with a couple of burst of energy which led to a wee bit of running. For the most part, the pacing was more typical of what I’d expect in a novel, so definitely not a bad thing.

So paranormal romance I say? The romance started off sweet… rather innocent. Cute, I’d say… then it turned intense and hot. At times, it was like being in an adult novel. Good thing? Bad thing? I don’t know. It’s easy to pretend that teenagers don’t have similar feelings as adults… simply because we want them to be sweet and innocent. However, if you’ve spent time in high schools, as I have, you’re likely to come across some hot make-out sessions. Excuse me, young lady, but I believe your need to pull your skirt down and get off his lap.

In this sequel, sex seemed to play a huge role in the plot… not that the characters were having sex, but rather sexual issues weren’t skirted and sex seemed to influence many of the actions (heroes and villains alike). One thing I did notice was Ms. Bischoff truly tried to address the issues of rape in this work. I read quite a bit of criticism on the subject in Hush Money. This time around, I got the impression she wanted to clear up any misconceptions.

Overall, I think Ms. Bischoff made a bold move to go as heavy as she did with the sexual undertone in a young adult novel. Then again, we see it on TV all the time… adults (20-30) playing high school students to get around the rules dealing with minors and sex. Though parents might be a little leery to let their kids read it, I think the story would go over well with high schoolers.

Would I let my daughters read it? If I were a parent who didn’t talk to my kids about sex, I’d say no. But since I do talk to my kids, I don’t see a problem with this work. Quite a few kids start dating in high school. They’re going to experience sexual feelings (emotionally and physically). Beating around the bush isn’t going to change that. Heroes ‘Til Curfew addresses some of those feelings without getting too physical (heavy petting and kissing only). Of course, being the parent I am, I’d end up talking to my daughters once they finished reading it.

The characters: I have to say, this was the cast of thousands. I honestly couldn’t keep up with most of them or their talents. I think it’d be real cool if Ms. Bischoff had an index of the characters and what they could do on her website. That would have been highly helpful while reading. For now, I’ll stick with the big players.

Josh was quite different this time around. She’d grown into her role as leader and advocate. No more hiding in the shadows, waiting for others to get out of the mess they got themselves into. She was a true player. The cautious side was still there — don’t get caught — but she wasn’t afraid to step forward. In Heroes ‘Til Curfew, her flaw was the inability to trust. Would she learn to let others help her?

Dylan… hmmm. He had quite a bit more of a point of view in this work. However, it still seemed mostly Josh’s story. His presence (other than being Josh’s love interest) seemed more to prove his worth to Josh. To show he was more than breakable glass. In truth, that really wasn’t his problem, but rather Josh’s perception of him (her problem). Again, her inability to trust others interfered with her relationships.

And the villain! Marco returns. We actually got an opportunity to spend some time in his head, and I loved it. At one time, I actually thought I understood him, thought he had some redeemable qualities, and he was just misunderstood due to his circumstances. I really rooted for him to have a pivotal moment and come around. Well, I’m not going to ruin the ending… you can read the story to see if he turned good or not.

The only thing I really didn’t like and think slowed the story down was the characters spent way too much time thinking. I’m not sure if it was intentional. Sometimes I thought it was, as side characters would note the contemplative silences. Hey, are you listening to me? Or characters would mentally yell at themselves to stop thinking so much. Personally, I would have preferred a bit of brevity in the internal dialogue area.

All in all, Hereos ’til Curfew was an excellent sequel to Hush Money.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles, Smashwords, and The Book Depository

By the way… am I the only one who thinks of Kick-Ass when reading the Talent Chronicles?

Tell me! Is that not Joss and her dad, or what?

Sunday Showcase #18

I got a newsletter from Netgalley featuring some non-fiction Christian works. I bit. 🙂

Pastor and author Martin Thielen has compiled a list of ten things Christians need to believe—and ten things they don’t—to “qualify” as Christians. This lively and engaging book will be a help to seekers as well as a comfort to believers who may find themselves questioning some of the assumptions they grew up with.

Many people in the twenty-first century hunger for an expression of Christian faith that is different from the judgmental and narrow-minded caricatures they see on television or in the news. With an accessible style that’s grounded in solid biblical scholarship, Thielen shows how Christians don’t need to believe that sinners will be “left behind” to burn in hell or that it’s heresy to believe in evolution. And while we must always take the Bible seriously, we don’t always have to take it literally. At the same time, Christians do need to believe in Jesus—his life, his teachings, his death and resurrection, and his vision for the world. Thielen articulates centrist, mainline Christianity in a way that’s fresh and easy to understand and offers authentic Christian insights that speak to our deepest needs.

This is an ideal book for individual, group, or congregational study. A free leader’s guide that shows how the book can be used in these various settings is available at wjkbooks.com.

Why I picked it up: Mostly curiosity. What does the author have to say for the bare minimum Christians? Hmm… we shall find out, won’t we?

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Fea offers an even-handed primer on whether America was founded to be a Christian nation, as many evangelicals assert, or a secular state, as others contend. He approaches the title’s question from a historical perspective, helping readers see past the emotional rhetoric of today to the recorded facts of our past. Readers on both sides of the issues will appreciate that this book occupies a middle ground, noting the good points and the less-nuanced arguments of both sides and leading us always back to the primary sources that our shared American history comprises.

Why I picked it up: I hear so many people say America was founded on Christianity. I’ll be honest. I don’t believe it. Sure, many of those who signed the Constitution and such might have been Christian, but my understanding is many were not. Basically, I want to read what this author has to say about the issue.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

N. T. Wright has undertaken a tremendous task: to provide guides to all the books of the New Testament, and to include in them his own translation of the entire text. Each short passage is followed by a highly readable discussion, with background information, useful explanations and suggestions, and thoughts as to how the text can be relevant to our lives today. A glossary is included at the back of the book. The series is suitable for group study, personal study, or daily devotions.

Why I picked it up: Research mostly. I’ve been considering a post-apocalytic like book based on Revelations. I’m hoping this work will make some connections for me. We’ll see. 🙂

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

I read very little non-fiction books. Some aspects of Christianity really pique my interest. I’m what one would call an information whore on that topic. I like to examine what other people believe… see how it matches up with what’s actually in the bible. I guess it’s rather morbid… maybe even judgmental. <sigh> It’s a flaw.

What about you? When you get into non-fiction, what topic absorbs your interest?