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Attachments | Rainbow Rowell

“Every woman wants a man who'll fall in love with her soul as well as her body.”
Genre: Contemporary/Romance. Number of Pages: 323. Perspective: First/Third Alternating. Location: Nebraska.
Let’s go back to an office building right before the new millennium. Internet security was blooming. Beth and Jennifer’s stories are told through work emails. Lincoln, the new internet security officer, reads company emails to check for threats and inappropriate content. But he doesn’t expect to find love reading the women’s conversations.For a complete summary, you can go here. I've been reading a lot of thriller, horror, suspense, and down-right depressing books lately. This one was a nice change of pace. However, this is my least favorite Rainbow Rowell book. I felt so much more connected to the characters in her other books. 
I picked up this book because I am writing a novel using letters. So I wanted to see how some other authors have formatted that. When you compose most of a book in writte…
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Speak | Laurie Halse Anderson

“You have to know what you stand for, not just what you stand against.”

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary. Number of Pages: 208. Perspective: First. Location: Syracuse, New York.
Melinda is outcasted from her friends and classmates after calling the cops and busting a party before the start of high school. But she called the cops because she was assaulted. Now she holds in her secret in the aftermath.For a complete summary, you can go here. This was an extremely powerful book. I am impressed by any book that is still relevant almost twenty years later. It has aged very well. With that said, I am also saddened that these #MeToo stories are still too common. [And ya’ll thought this movement was something new].
I can understand why this is a five-star book for many people. It was pretty-dang-close for me. But since I read this and The Way I Used to Be back-to-back, I have to compare the two. I thought The Way I Used to Be did a better job at character development. There were also some parts of Sp…

The Way I Used to Be | Amber Smith

“I don't know who I am right now. But I know who I'm not. And I like that.”
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary. Number of Pages: 367. Perspective: First.
The book starts with a freshman, Eden, getting raped by her brother’s best friend. We see her change over the course of her four years in high school in the aftermath of the assault.  We see how her friendships and relationships are impacted. For a complete summary, you can go here.
This is without a doubt the best book I have read in a long time. I gave it my Best Book Award, but I would give it more than that if I could. I stayed up until 3 am finishing this one through tears. The very first page starts with the raw account of the sexual assault. I had to stop and reread the first page three days in a row before I could move on. It was the most powerful, spine-chilling first page I have ever read. 
I know this book was inspired by Speak. It was similar, but I think it stepped it up a few more notches for the older teen crowd. Speak

The Blue Girl | Charles De Lint

“Don't forget - no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.”


Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy. Number of Pages: 368. Perspective: First Alternating. Location: Newford.
Imogene, the tough punk, and Maxine, the sheltered nerd, are an unlikely pair. But their friendship strengthens as they deal with bullies, the resident high school ghost, Imogene’s imaginary friend, unruly faeries, and a dark presence attracted to Imogene’s light. For a complete summary, you can go here. These are not the cute Tinkerbell type faeries. These are dark and dangerous faeries. The kind that have gone sour from abandonment. I always pictured De Lint’s faeries looking like  Brian Froud’s illustrations [that is a different review for a different day.] I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read this book. The first time I read it, I was in middle school. It was the book that transitioned me from middle grade to young adult books. So my love for this book m…

Six Stages of the Creative Writing Process

This is a guest post by Angela Panayotopulos.  1. It begins with an idea.You heard something. You saw something. You kissed someone. You moved somewhere. You had your heart broken. A loved one died. A friend betrayed you. A bomb went off. You had a baby. The idea appears in front of you like a ghost or an angel that has suddenly slipped through the veil between worlds and looks you in the eye—and then the veil drops again, and you either keep what you saw or you neglect the memory until it fades. Do you choose to keep it? Probably. Because, duh, COOLEST IDEA EVER. 
2. It continues with a decision.  You’ve seen what you saw, you’ve felt what you felt, and this is something that anyone could see or anyone could feel. Ideas are as plentiful as stepping stones, and we stumble across them daily; it takes a special stone or a special frame of mind to stoop down and pick up that pebble. So the next question is: what do you do about it? 
3. It ensues in a fight.  Ideas are wrestlers. Half of the ba…

And Then There Were None | Agatha Christie

“But no artist, I now realize, can be satisfied with art alone. There is a natural craving for recognition.”
Genre: Mystery. Number of Pages: 264. Perspective: Third. Location: Devon, England.
Ten strangers were gathered on a remote island. After a mysterious recording blames each person for a different unsolved murder, the ten start dying, one-by-one. As the only people on the island, they have to figure out which of the ten is the true murderer. For a complete summary, you can go here. Do you like… reading books… with lots of… ellipses…? If so, you will dive right into this book. It took me at least fifty pages to get into the story enough to ignore all of the ellipses and colons in dialogue. 
While reading this book, I had to remind myself that this was one of the original mystery books. Many recent mystery and thriller writers adapted elements of Agatha Christie’s books. At the time, I’m sure her story structures were unique. With that in mind, it was a creative approach to make every ch…

Bird Box | Josh Malerman

“In a world where you can’t open your eyes, isn’t a blindfold all you could ever hope for?”
Genre: Horror. Number of Pages: 262. Perspective: Third. Location: Michigan.
Something horrifying is out there. If you see it, you’ll go mad. To stay safe, keep your eyes shut. For a complete summary, you can go here.
This was the perfect spooky horror story for October. This is the first book that has ever raised my heart rate like a scary movie does. I found myself reading faster in the intense scenes. It reminded me of the movie The Quiet Place, but it is sight, rather than sound.
From a writer’s perspective, creating a story told without the use of vision is pretty brave. Malerman did an amazing job describing the other senses. I think most writers rely on character’s sight too much. It was a bold creative choice that could have easily flopped.
The only reason why I didn’t give this story five stars is because I thought the character development lacked. There was only one character other than the m…

Above the Line | Urban Meyer

“Giving up on somebody takes nothing. Helping them change takes a tremendous amount of time, energy, discipline, and love. In the end, it's worth it.”


Genre: Sports Non-fiction. Number of Pages: 272. Perspective: First. Location: Columbus, Ohio.
This is a sports memoir and leadership seminar combo by The Ohio State Buckeyes head coach, Urban Meyer.For a complete summary, you can go here. Oh, Urban, I love you and the Buckeyes, but this book was not good. My husband and I listened to the audiobook together on our last road trip (Disclaimer: I hate audiobooks, and it’s even worse when the author is not the narrator). My husband enjoyed the book because of all the behind-the-scenes Buckeye football info. He also played football in high school, so he could relate to the fraternity mindset of football. But he admitted that most info was already public knowledge, especially the recap of the National Championship season. 
For me--the casual football fan and proud Buckeye--this was redundant an…

Fair Haven | Red Lagoe

“Don't let the crap that happens to you in life keep you from living. Live with a fire in your heart and a fire under your ass and fight like mad.”
Genre: Horror/Post-Apocalyptic. Number of Pages: 228. Perspective: Third Alternating. Location: New England.
When humans are infected with a rabies-like virus, the world becomes a dangerous place. Melody teams up with her sexy neighbor to find her missing husband, amidst ravenous creatures. For a complete summary, you can go here. At this surface, this may seem like another zombie book, but it is so much more than that. I definitely got The Walking Dead vibes from this because it was more about the character development and relationships than the zombies (but there is some butt-kicking action too). Lagoe said she pictured the main male lead as Joe Manganiello. Oh, yeah. I can see it. Definitely a sexy guy to fight alongside. 
I loved the tension. The author and I have talked in the past about characters in toxic relationships. She did a great…