Readers' Favorite

July 8, 2011

Friday Fun

To join in the Follow Friday fun click the image above.

Today's question:

Let's step away from besties... What is the worst book that you've ever read and actually finished?

Heart of DarknessHeart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

I had to read this for my high school senior lit class. I was confused by what was going on most of the time. I'm still not exactly sure what the book is about. My dislike for the book was impacted even more by the fact we had to write 3 one page essays in class (which was only 55 minutes long) and we hadn't even discussed the book in class. We never discussed the book in class. My essays probably sounded like I did not read the book. Most of the class just read the Cliff's Notes for the book and they all aced their essays. Not liking the book (I struggled to finish it) was further compounded by the situation making Heart of Darkness the worst book ever.

July 6, 2011

A. C. Dillon: A Work in Progress (a guest post)

Today, I have an up and coming author on my blog sharing about her new project. I first got to know A. C. Dillon through her online writing and fell in love with her writing style. I'm excited to see what she is working on next and was thrilled when she offered to write a guest post on my blog. Please give a warm welcome to A. C. Dillon.

Once upon a time, in a land north of the 49th Parallel, there was a writer. This writer, on a foolish whim, decided to take on a new challenge: writing a screenplay. For the record: Script Frenzy is a seductive siren to a writer with an itchy set of typing fingers.

The premise of the script was simple: a series of vignettes, surrounding a sad day in the life of the protagonist, Autumn Brody. Through monologues and funeral preparations, it was to be a commentary on life and death, mental illness and love. Originally, I envisioned it as a short film, although I did see potential for a full-length feature in the premise. I sat down to work with enthusiasm, Celtx loaded onto the laptop, and set off on a new adventure in creative writing.

I got about five pages into it, and abandoned all hope of ever writing a screenplay.

It wasn’t the story that thwarted me; as usual, all of my plot bunnies were in a row. It wasn’t the translation of words to images that baffled me; my writing always begins with a sudden, sped-up movie of the entire plot bursting into my skull, after which I replay it, capturing it with metaphor and mad doses of caffeine. It was the formatting itself: it was too jarring, too tedious to set it all up. I wanted to type a novella into the scripting program, and have it magically convert it to lighting cues, set scenes, and annotated dialogue.

For me, a story is about flow: I can’t write when things feel forced or unnatural as I put proverbial pen to paper. The stop-start of scripting was, for me, ruining the ability for the characters to tell me their secrets. Change Of Season 1.0 was promptly shelved, as a result.

Nearly two years later, I was smacked with a new vision… and within it, I recognized the shy redhead scampering through a forested campus. It was Autumn: younger, more fragile, but still struggling with the demons she’d revealed before in her twenty-seven year-old version. Only now, there were more problems, things far more terrifying than the death of a friend. More importantly, there was a story to weave the abandoned characters together.

The plot bunnies had gone wild, and I was now a willing slave to their proliferating offspring.

Still a WIP (with anticipated completion in Fall of 2011), Change Of Season unfolds a mystery spanning decades on the pristine campus of Casteel Preparatory Academy. Once an asylum, people whisper of a curse upon the female students, recounting young co-eds driven mad by the disturbed former residents of Casteel‘s corridors. However, the once sporadic spooky sightings are escalating. Mournful sobs drift through the walls, and phantom figures duck behind locked doors. And then, there are those messages typed into that computer…

At the epicentre of the spectral storm is Autumn Brody, locked in a personal struggle for survival and sanity as she is haunted by the past and hunted in the present. The world she is trying desperately to outrun is about to collide with the precarious new world she’s forged, shattering everything she thought to be true and putting the lives of those she loves on the line once again.

The ghosts lingering in the Ashbury Hall dormitory will not be silenced any longer. They want blood, and only Autumn can help them quench their thirst. But can she bear the weight of their demands and exact justice for them as her mind unravels, or will she become another victim of the Casteel Curse?

Secrets long buried will be revealed, with the change of season…

For updates on the novel’s progress, insights into the writing process, teasers and publication information, please visit 

Thank you A. C. Dillon for sharing. I have just one question: Can I review this book when you're finished?

July 5, 2011

The Next Frontier: Across the Universe

Across the UniverseAcross the Universe by Beth Revis
audio book; Narrators: Lauren Ambrose & Carlos Santos
Published January 2011 by Razorbill
ISBN 9781101484425
Listened July 2011

Wow! I listened to this in 2 days. It was so good. Much better than I expected. I kind of want to listen to it again (and I still have 12 days before it's due back at the library, so I might). I don't know why I didn't try it earlier. The title kept popping up everywhere (blogs, goodreads, etc), but for some reason I thought it was about something else. Maybe there is another book or movie with this title (or similar title) that I was confusing it with. 

I was looking for audio books at the digital library and I particularly wanted an MP3 so it could play on my phone. There are not many MP3 files at my library, but I saw this one and after reading the description and discovering it was YA, I added it to my list. Of course, it became available the week I'm on vacation and along with the other 2 audio books on my waiting list. It actually came a couple days after my other audio book, which I had started. But once I listened to the beginning of Across the Universe on the way home from my parents' house I couldn't stop. I almost didn't want to go to bed, but I knew I would fall asleep and miss something.

I was a little worried that it would be a bit too science fictiony for me. But outside of a few made up words and some technological advances (which weren't that more advance than what we have in real life) there really wasn't much science fiction to it. When the book started, it reminded me of Animal Farm by George Orwell. Not that there were animals running the space ship, but in its political overtones. Across the Universe explores the question of obtaining peace, but at what cost? I wonder if the author set out to address socio-political issues or if she was just setting up a backdrop for the romance and mystery. Maybe I will contact the author and ask her (maybe I can get her to write a guest post; that would be cool).

Across the Universe made me think, but not in that preachy, in your face, way. But more in the way of how a way of life might sound good on paper, but in reality there are many problems. There is a bit of mystery in this book that even I didn't figure out until the end. Things are wrapped up pretty nicely, but you are left with questions of What now? Will things work out? I didn't notice that my listing had it labeled as Book 1, until I went to move it to the read shelf. I'm so glad that a sequel is planned (for 2012). Hmm. I wonder if I can get an advance copy?

I recommend this book to everyone. I think it appeals on a wider range than just to sci-fi or romance lovers. If you have a kid that didn't want to read Animal Farm, see if they will read Across the Universe as I think they will get a similar take home message.

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July 4, 2011

What I'm reading

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme by Book Journey. It is a time to share what are reading each week. 

Vaccine-nation: Poisoning the Population, One Shot at a TimeI'm still reading Vaccine-Nation by Andreas Moritz. I only have about 100 pages left so maybe a couple more weekends in the pool and I will have it finished. The goal is to finish it by the end of summer.

Tribulation Point: Sometimes Just Making It Through Another Day Isn't Always EasyI'm also still reading Tribulation Point by Ricci Lane. It is interesting and I'm enjoying it. I just haven't had much time for reading. Too busy having fun on my vacation. I should finish it sometime this week.

Usually I'm waiting for my audio books, but the one week that I'm not at work all 3 of my books come available. I've started 2 and hopefully will get through them all before the 14 day lending period.

Across the UniverseAcross the Universe by Beth Revis

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming. From

The Undomestic GoddessThe Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership.

Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer–and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope–and finds love–is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.

But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back? From
On my Nook:

ConvergenceConvergence by J. D. Watts
In modern times, mankind believes they know all that there is to know about the world around them. Arrogant in their ignorance, they travel through life completely unaware of the other beings in their midst, the Children of Creation. Celestial Angels and Fallen walk amongst them unseen, while the third beings of creation, the Guardians, live along side them, protecting them from attacks of the Fallen.

Daniella Rossi is a nineteen year old college student who sees the world quite differently than those around her. From infancy, she was aware of the beings that walked among her kind who were not like them, as well as her own personal Guardian who watched over her. Dani always knew she was different, but she never dreamed the full scope of her importance.

Follow Dani as her life takes an unexpected turn when a new Guardian is assigned to replace her lifelong companion and friend. Much older, more experienced, and socially awkward, Nathaniel must learn to adjust himself to fit into Dani’s world in order to guard her without drawing unwanted attention. While the Fallen are determined to capture Dani, she and Nathaniel find themselves developing a bond that goes far beyond that of Guardian and charge. Facing the strains of a brewing war and forbidden affections, will they be ready for the coming battle? Will Dani be able to handle the truth of her existence and destiny?

It looks like a good reading week for me. What are you reading this week? Happy Independence Day!