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Monday Musings

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday. It’s so hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner, as are Hanukkah and Kwanzaa! This is the time of year we all make time to spend with our families. I know it’s the one time a year I see some of my relatives. I wish I’d be able to see my aunt, uncle, and cousins more often, but unfortunately we are all very busy.

If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, you’ll agree that this seems like a big old excuse. And it is. Everyone is always busy, so why is it that we are able to make time once a year? Why not twice a year? Or better yet, four times a year?

As I got to thinking about this, the more I could tie this idea to writing. We make time to do things–like laundry–when we don’t make time for other important things, like writing. THIS has been me. The last month I haven’t made time to write. So, this year I’m giving myself a gift. The gift of NO MORE EXCUSES. I will write every day, whether it’s 100 words or 1000 words. I will also make it a point to keep in contact with my family. If we can’t see each other, I will send a card or note (or email) just to check in.

Now, how about you my dear reader. Are you ready to join me in making this pact of NO MORE EXCUSES?

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Five Minute Friday: AFTER THE END by Amy Plum

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Scott Westerfeld, Andye from Reading Teen,  Erica Cameron, unknown attendee, and Amy Plum

After meeting Amy Plum during her signing and the Rooftop Blogger/Author Party at BEA 2014, I was even more into reading her latest book: AFTER THE END. She is such a wonderful lady! I’m only on page 50, but so far I’m loving her new dystopian.

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She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They’ve survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she’s trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

Five Minute Friday: ROOMS by Lauren Oliver

Okay. This ARC has a story to go with it. This past year at BEA, ROOMS was one of the most highly anticipated ARC drops. Now if you’ve ever been at BEA, people get a little crazy over ARCs. This year, everyone was pretty calm. We knew exactly where and when Lauren’s new title would be. So what did we good bloggers do? We lined up at the publisher’s booth and waited. Seems reasonable. Right?

Nope.

We were asked to leave.

You heard me correctly. Our line was forced to disband because we were in the way. After being yelled at twice, I walked away. And then came back to join in the ABSOLUTE CRAZINESS that ensued next. Yup. Had we been allowed to stay put earlier, there would not have been an issue. Then when it came time to move through the booth and pick up a copy, we had to choose between ROOMS and THE MINIATURIST. It was a very difficult choice, but in the end my CP and I each took a different book thinking we’d share them.

So, you might ask…was it worth all the drama to get my hands on this book?

So far, so good. I’m currently on page 30 and I’m like that I’m reading an adult book. It’s a nice change of pace.

 

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Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

 

BEA Spotlight and Review: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

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Heartbeat

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: January 28th 2014 by Harlequin Teen
original title
Heartbeat
ISBN
0373210965 (ISBN13: 9780373210961)
Life. Death. And…Love?

Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.

But Emma can’t tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.

Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn’t have interested Old Emma. But New Emma-the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia-New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge.

Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death-and maybe, for love?

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What did I think?

I am going to try very hard to properly express just how deeply and profoundly Heartbeat affected me. Let’s begin with Emma. It’s difficult enough to lose a parent, let alone both of them within a very short time frame. But Emma isn’t really able to deal with the loss of her mother, because she’s being kept alive with machines. This decision was made by her stepfather, so the baby growing inside her mother has a chance at being born. Emma isn’t sure where she belongs in her new life, one with neither biological parent. The only thing she has to connect her to the past is her best friend Olivia.

Why are girls like Emma always drawn to bad boys like Caleb? Because they are usually fun and take their minds off of their issues. That wasn’t true in this story. Caleb is the only one who understands what Emma feels. He is an emotional support in a way that no one else can be.

Caleb and Emma’s relationship hurt my heart. Between them, there was a need and a hunger for a connection that was undeniable.

I can’t and won’t give away the ending, but it was perfect. I laughed and cried while reading Heartbeat. Elizabeth Scott totally gets what it’s like to be lost and find your way back. This is probably the best contemporary book I’ve read this year and I can’t wait for others to get their hands on Heartbeat in January!

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