Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Magic of Spellbound

Spellbound, by Cara Lynn Shultz, magically transported me off the airplane I was riding earlier this week and into the world of Emma, a high school girl with a tragic past. Emma's trying to leave a tragic past behind her when she falls in love with her soulmate. Unfortunately, an ancient curse has other plans for Emma.

The teens in this book are believable. The mean girl is evil in all the right ways, but there's a glimmer of reality there too. The little cousin, the dangerous boy, the school witch and the concerned aunt all connect with Emma in ways that flow into a beautiful story.

The story is held together by a crest on a necklace that Emma was given by her dead brother shortly before he died. The crest marks her as a soul mate in a love triangle that's one thousand years old. Emma battles high school rumors, near death experiences and her own fear to claim the love she's waited for all her life.

There are still a few mysteries yet to solve in the end, which left me excited about the next book in the series. Don't miss your chance to read this one now!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Girls Without Pants

I loved the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares. I loved it because I could relate to each of the four girls in some fundamental way. I could relate to Tibby for the way she dressed and her creative streak. I could relate to Carmen for her stubborn streak and her dad in another state. Lena's dark features and need to follow the rules and Bridget's wild side connected with pieces of me.

The last I saw this old friends they were in college and life was good. I waved them good-bye as they strode confidently forward into happy lives together.

Or, so I thought.

Sisterhood Everlasting is a bitter sweet reunion. The first couple of chapters were a bit slow. I was glad to greet my friends again, but something was just a little too predictable about where they ended up.

Or, so I thought.

Soon I recognized new pieces of myself in this nearly thirty year-old women. New, much more complicated grown-up problems surround the girls this time. Magic comes slow and at tremendous cost. By the end of the book I was sobbing, for the sweetness of hope, for the profound reality of loss, for the sisterhood and for myself.

If you're a Sisterhood fan, you won't be sorry you stepped back into the story, but you will be deeply touched by the story that unfolds.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back to School

We watched the Zach Ephron movie 17 Again this weekend. Four times. The first time I thought it was cute. The second time I thought it was romantic. The third time I started getting annoyed that the girlfriend (spoiler alert) chose to tell him her news right before the big game. The fourth time I started to imagine what I would do if I were back in high school again. When the kids begged to watch it a fifth time, I put my foot down.

I don't think I'd want to go back. Then again, I go back every time I sit down to write my YA novels and I love every minute of it. I guess I like the idea of going back under my own steam. I get to make up the rules.

If I had the chance to back and do it all over again, I really wouldn't change one single thing. I say that with the clarity of a person who believes that RIGHT NOW is the best time in my life. High school was really hard for me. But, if I changed anything about those years, I'd never be who I am today.

Still, if I was 17 again today I'd probably be at the fair tonight. (It's fair week in my home town and everyone goes, or at least they used to.) I might be laughing with my friends about some inside joke no one else could possibly understand, especially someone as old as 35. (I'm ancient now, you know?) Maybe I'd eat an entire basket of curly fries and not worry about gaining weight since I'd run it all off the next day anyway. There could possibly be a romantic moment on the top of the ferris wheel. Then I'd have to go home and do eight hours of homework.

Yeah, there were good times. I still say today is better.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

How many of these books have you read?

John and I are both book lovers and we have a cascading stack of books in nearly every nook of our house. There don't seem to be enough bookshelves to house them all, despite the fact that we keep buying and building more shelves. More truthfully, I help buy them and then John builds them. Even the addition of the Kindle has done nothing to stem the tide of books.

Today, I attempted to straighten one of our shelves and wondered about the eclectic mix of books it held. I wondered if anyone had read the whole slew of them other than me. Then, of course, I wondered what it meant about me that I had read them all and then haphazardly shelved them together.

How many of these books have you read?

1. The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
2. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien
3. My Life and Hard Times, James Thurber
3. Love in the Time of Chloria, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Little House on the Prairie, Laura Wilder
5. Dead Until Dark, Charlaine Harris
6. Three to Get Deadly, Janet Evanovich
7. Are You There God It's Me Margaret, Judy Blume
8. The Missing Persons League, Frank Bonham
9. Twilight, Stephanie Meyer
10. The Men Who Stare at Goats, Jon Ronson
11. Babyhood, Paul Reiser
12. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

These are just my books on this particular shelf. I've skipped over John's because they aren't my books to share.