Month

June 2016

Kevin C. reads… #carolinareads

 

9e4258e02ac3e6601ba4f337863cdf25What’s the first book you remember reading?
Danny the Dinosaur. What 6 year old boy wouldn’t want to play hide-and-seek with a brontosaurus?What’s the most recent book you have read or what are you reading right now?
Winter of the World  by Ken Follett

Why did you choose that book?
I feel that historical fiction novels give me a better understanding and appreciation of real events. Ken Follett provides so much rich detail to his books, so I’ll read anything he writes. Plus it’s a book about WWII…’nuff said.

If you could meet one book character or one author, who would you like it to be?

  1. Author: Roald Dahl. He had a fascinating life—he managed a rubber plantation in Dar-es-Salaam in his twenties, was a Fighter Ace in the RAF in WWII, and went on to craft some of the most imaginative children stories (some pretty interesting adult short stories too…think of O. Henri).
  2. Character: Danny’s dad from Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. As a 10-year-old kid, I appreciated the close yet mature and independent relationship he had with his son and he inspired me to be like him with my son.

You can only choose five books for your bookshelf. What are they?

  1. Fall of Giants, Ken Follett (I never understood The Great War until reading this book!)
  2. The Hunt for Red October, Tom Clancy (I’ll read any book about the navy…this one being especially clever)
  3. The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde (Oscar Wilde was like the Victorian Mel Brooks)
  4. The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien (Get lost in this journey of the imagination)
  5. The Foundation Series, Isaac Asimov (I learned so much about sociology and religion in this precursor to Star Wars)

Kevin is Managing Partner and Head of Client Delivery at Kingsmen Software. He can typically be found reading Clipboard or old Bloom County cartoons .


Join the movement!

I want to promote reading. I know there are so many out there who have read a book and thought, this is something others need to know about. Reading encourages a lifelong passion for learning. #carolinareads is a movement that will give readers a chance to share what they are reading. There is a five question interview (see below). I will share it on my website and give you a chance to not only promote your love of reading, but also to promote yourself as you can include a website in your two sentence biography. Don’t live in the Carolinas? Well, do you know someone who does (hint: the person who created this form) you can still participate. Submit the form and I’ll let you know the date of your spotlight. Spread the word! Join the movement. Please email a picture if you would like it to be include

Why I read

Rita G. reads… #carolinareads

2015-prof_picWhat’s the first book you remember reading? Curious George Goes to the Hospital – I was 6 and just had my appendix removed. My first chapter books were the Nancy Drew series.

What’s the most recent book you have read or what are you reading right now? I am reading 3 books off and on (not really in the reading mood lately)… for fun … sit! stay! speak! byAnnie England Noblin, … for personal growth The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene` Brown, and for business The One Thing by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan
Why did you choose that book(s)? The fiction was a gift from Neal so it’s something light, I love Brene` Brown and have several of her books that I plan on reading, and The One Thing was recommended and lent to me by a business associate.If you could meet one book character or one author, who would you like it to be? Harry Dresden from Dresden series by Jim Butcher. I have read all 16 books in the series. Love it!

You can only choose five books for your bookshelf. What are they? Duma Key by Stephen King, The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene` Brown, The Stand by Stephen King, The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

Rita K Garnto LMBT, FMT, RRT – Teaching women how to make themselves a priority with simple self-care.
http://simpleselfcare.net


Join the movement

I want to promote reading. I know there are so many out there who have read a book and thought, this is something others need to know about. Reading encourages a lifelong passion for learning. #carolinareads is a movement that will give readers a chance to share what they are reading. There is a five question interview (see below). I will share it on my website and give you a chance to not only promote your love of reading, but also to promote yourself as you can include a website in your two sentence biography. Don’t live in the Carolinas? Well, do you know someone who does (hint: the person who created this form) you can still participate. Submit the form and I’ll let you know the date of your spotlight. Spread the word! Join the movement. Please email a picture if you would like it to be included.

TBT First Grave on the Right

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TBT- I love anything that involves Throwback Thursday. I enjoy looking at old pictures on Facebook or seeing old movie clips. It’s fun remembering the past. I once read this quote from someone “I can never die because I will never be able to read every book out there.” How true that is. For every new author I discover, I find two more who have been around for awhile that I just somehow missed. I don’t mean the people I read in school, Twain, Dickens, Faulkner, etc, I’m talking about newer authors. So TBT around this blog will be to flashback to older books, at least five years old,  that I either just discovered or read in the past, but liked enough to think about today.

This week’s book is First Grave on the Right written byDarynda Jones. I found her book on a library display of new books back in 2011. Urban Fantasy was still a very new genre for me. Of course, I read Anne Rice and even Stephen King, but that was about it.

Charlie Davidson is a PI who also happens to be the Grim Reaper. She meets and falls in love with a Hot Steamy Dreamboat who just happens to be Lucifer’s son. Talk about the perfect set up for conflict!

I finished this book in about two days. I liked it that much. I remember moving my schedule around so I could read more. Charlie’s snarkiness is the best part of this book. She is so much like me and my friends, especially when we all get-together and just hang out sans kids. I’ve read every book in this series and they just keep getting better. As Charlie helps her father, a police officer, solve crimes she struggles with her own personal demons. Even though this is fantasy, I can relate to Charlie. I may not deal with the same issues she does, but I still see myself in her shoes. Jones does a good job ending each of the books, but leaving just a little dangling to make me want to read the next one. The next one, The Curse of the Tenth Grave comes out later this summer. So if you hurry you can catch up on reading all of them.

This is an absolute must read.


Dear Life & Fortune Smiles

 

20160612_162250I wouldn’t normally review two books at once, but I got to get both of these back to the library.

I am in love with short stories. A friend recommended Alice Munro and a librarian recommended Adam Johnson.

Alice Munro’s collection of short stories Dear Life was a great way for me to escape during a tough week. I found a little bit of myself in each of the fourteen stories. The stories shared a common thread of women facing the truth of who they were and who they wanted to be. The writer did a great job grabbing me and keeping me interested throughout each of the stories. Yet she created an ending opened for interpretation. My favorite story is actually the first one “To Reach Japan.”. When I read these stories back to back, they did seem to blend into one a little too much, but when I read one, walked away, and came back to read another one it was easier to see them as individual stories.

I really liked Fortune Smiles  by Adam Johnson. Each story is unique and really creative. I found myself trying to figure out how his mind put these ideas together. The first story, “Nirvana” was a story, unlike anything I have ever read. I’m glad I read them in order because it set the tone for the rest of the stories. There are only seven stories so for me it seemed like a quick read. He really has a talent for storytelling. It’s hard to decide if “Hurricanes Anonymous” or “George Orwell was a Friend of Mine”.

Kitty Tweddle and the Wishing Well- H.J. Blenkinship

28550896I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for a review.

Kitty Tweddle was born a witch, but her powers were bound until her 12th birthday. She visits her grandparents for the summer. The closer she gets to her birthday, the more magic reveals itself to her. She meets three talking cats, learns all about bad wish pennies, and what makes a gargoyle a gargoyle. She has to join with all her new friends when the Boogyman tried to break free from fairyland and take over this world. I enjoyed this book. The story is fun and exciting. The author does a great job creating a complete world for the reader. Kitty has a great adventure and learns just as much about herself as she does all her new magic powers. Can’t wait to read more. This is a great book for upper and middle grades.

Even though this book is for middle grades, and I normally only read adult books, I found myself wanting to get to the end of this story because I had to know what was going to happen next. Kitty is a great girl who faces her fears and doesn’t shy away from adventures. Just yesterday my girls and I had a conversation about how books, song, TV shows and movies make girls appear to be helpless. Kitty is a protagonist I want my girls to know.

I have emailed the author a little and she sounds like an awesome lady. She has agreed to an interview. I’ll be getting that done soon and share even more about this lady with ya’ll soon.

http://www.hjblenkinsop.com/
NonAffliate links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Renate M. reads… #carolinareads

What’s the first book you remember reading? – “Come to the Circus” by Enid Blyton
What’s the most renatejpgrecent book you have read or what are you reading right now? – “The Infatuations” by Javier Marias
Why did you choose that book? – It was mentioned on a list of good stories to read on a TV station.
If you could meet one book character or one author, who would you like it to be? I would like to meet the author James Paterson
You can only choose five books for your bookshelf. What are they? To Kill a Mocking Bird, A Christmas Carol, Circle of Friends, 14th Deadly Sins, Gray Mountain.Renate A Moore, Published Author, Entrepreneur, Human & Animal Rights Leader. 
LadyRen’s Nook, LLC. Website: www.ladyrensnook.com


Join the Movement

I want to promote reading. I know there are so many out there who have read a book and thought, this is something others need to know about. Reading encourages a lifelong passion for learning. #carolinareads is a movement that will give readers a chance to share what they are reading. There is a five question interview (see below). I will share it on my website and give you a chance to not only promote your love of reading, but also to promote yourself as you can include a website in your two sentence biography. Don’t live in the Carolinas? Well, do you know someone who does (hint: the person who created this form) you can still participate. Submit the form and I’ll let you know the date of your spotlight. Spread the word! Join the movement. Please email a picture if you would lik

 

Let’s Chat with Whitney L. Grady

whitneyauthorshotI met Whitney at North Carolina Book ‘Em. Her enthusiasm was contagious. Her passion for not only writing but also teaching makes this former educator very happy. I enjoyed reading her book, I am Currency, and I have the rest of the series in my reading queue for the summer.

As a former teacher myself, I saw so many teaching points/topics in this book. Did you write it with that in mind? Have you tried teaching some of this in your own class? 
Absolutely! As a former middle school English teacher, I wanted to write books that could be cross-curricular (there are so many lessons that could come from the novels and could span different subjects such as science, English, history, etc.). I have taken a break from the classroom while I have been focusing on writing so I haven’t taught them yet, but I have worked with classroom teachers on curriculum for the books are there are curriculum guides on my website.

How did the idea for this book develop? 
The I Am Currency series was born from one single tag line (one that came to me in the middle of the night that I scribbled down on the paper beside my bed to save for the morning): Knowledge is power…but what if it were currency?
I immediately knew I wanted the main character, Nevel, to have a sort of realistic superpower. This is how he got his photographic memory. I also knew I wanted adventure and a lot of action… and so the story was born in a chase across the Australian Outback.

You mention many classic books throughout the story. Why did you choose the books you chose? 
I make many references to classic literature in the books in the hopes that readers will consider reading those works (If the classics are in Nevel’s library, perhaps that could bump them up a few notches on the cool list?! I know it may be a stretch, but certainly worth the try!) I was an English major and I just have a soft spot for the classics (which you may find me re-reading at any time).

How long did it take from idea to publication? What is the biggest lesson you have learned in this process? 
I would say about 18 months. It’s a long process. It can be a “hurry up and wait process”. It is so exciting when you get that first book contract and you want to tell the world…but if you do, you have to tell the world to wait about a year and a half before they will see it. The biggest lesson I have learned is that you can never do too much editing/proofing (It will drive you bonkers if you catch a typo after publication).

What ideas do you have for your next series? 
I have been working on a middle-grade novel with a female character as the lead. It is totally different but has been a fun distraction when I needed to take a break from IAC.

How do you balance writing with the other demands in your life? 
Remember the old I Love Lucy episode when she is working in the chocolate factory and the belt goes faster and faster and she ends up in a chaotic mess? Often, this would be the best example of my attempt at balancing it all. J  Like most moms, some days I am organized and have everything working like clockwork…other days, it’s a chaotic mess!

In one of the posts on your blog, you talk about being a free-range kid. How do those experiences influence what and how you write? 
I grew up in rural Virginia where we spent summers barefoot with grass stains on our knees. It was ideal. My mother was a wonderful gardener and had a children’s garden for us. Every plant in that garden did something; the lamb’s ears felt like stuffed animals, the snapdragons turned into puppets, the balloon leaves filled with air, and the other plants were full of scents and tastes that were unforgettable. We were truly free-range kids who roamed and played and discovered the world around us and I am positive it played a huge role in my story-telling. If I have writer’s block these days, a day with my own kids out in nature is usually the perfect cure.

What are the unique challenges with writing YA Lit? 
I taught middle school for many years so it is not difficult for me to write for young adults. Plus, I think I am still a young adult at heart. The challenge is always authenticity. In any writing I do, I want to give the reader a real and true experience –nothing false or contrived.

What is the last book you read and why did you choose that? 
I try not to read in my genre when I am in the writing mode so as not to influence my writing. The last book I read was The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman and I loved it and was completely absorbed in it; read it in two days. Great story, impressive first novel.

If you could only have five books on your bookshelf, which five would they be?
Oh, you don’t know how hard this is for me to answer! I have shelves and shelves and love them all, hence the library in the mind theme in my novels… If I had to choose, they would have to be: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, One of my antique books with a collection of classic poetry – Fireside PoetsThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Where’d You Go Bernadette- Maria Semple

bernadetteSo yes, I have noticed that it’s already February and New Year’s has come and gone. I’ve always been one to take the meandering route, but I get to the finish eventually, as long as I keep going. I have read more books on goal setting and productivity than I care to admit. What I discovered is none of them really worked for me. I like to stop and smell the roses so to speak. I don’t need a strict schedule or even a concrete to-do list. Those things make me crazy. I have thought a lot about my life as a whole and not just small pieces summed up by goals and resolutions. Not many people would be able to understand my line of thinking these days, but it is working for me. I’m actually getting things done and I am more relaxed than I have been in awhile. I believe this is going to be a great year.

Last month, I asked my friends and family to suggest books I should read. I need to break out of my comfort zone and learn even more about the world of writing. My friend Sheri suggested reading this book;

 

At first, I found it confusing. The story is told switching back between narrative, dialog, and email. Once I accepted the format and focused on the story, I enjoyed it. As a writer, I focus hard on the idea of “show not tell”. It fascinates me how different authors are able to do this. This format lends itself perfectly for this. Bernadette has a crazy life, but I related to her. The ending, is a little weak, though. I just felt like it wasn’t completely developed and almost contrary to the main character.

I would rate this a 3.5 out of 5. It is worth the read, but I’m glad I checked it out from the library.

I am opened to more suggestions. If you have a book you think I should read, please let me know in the comments or on my Facebook page. I am opened to all genres.

Heather C. reads… #carolinareads

cleevley-074-edit300What’s the first book you remember reading?
Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now! by Dr. Seuss.What’s the most recent book you have read or what are you reading right now?
I just finished Solar Lottery by Philip K. Dick.Why did you choose that book?
I’m reading everything by PKD that I can get my hands on. While classified as Sci-Fi, his books always point out truisms about human beings that assert themselves no matter what bizarre situation they face. His underlying commentary about humanity and our potential response to a myriad of alien existences is simple and stunning.If you could meet one book character or one author, who would you like it to be?
I’d like to have met Ayn Rand or John Galt.

You can only choose five books for your bookshelf. What are they?
T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets
Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle
Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland
Vivienne Shalom’s The Color of Things
The Bible

Heather Cleevely is Head of Marketing for Kingsmen Software, a custom software development company. She lives in Davidson, NC with her husband Bill, Stepson Matthew and 21 year old cat, Munkey.


Join the Movement
I want to promote reading. I know there are so many out there who have read a book and thought, this is something others need to know about. Reading encourages a lifelong passion for learning. #carolinareads is a movement that will give readers a chance to share what they are reading. There is a five question interview (see below). I will share it on my website and give you a chance to not only promote your love of reading but also to promote yourself as you can include a website in your two sentence biography. Don’t live in the Carolinas? Well, do you know someone who does (hint: the person who created this form) you can still participate. Submit the form and I’ll let you know the date of your spotlight. Spread the word! Join the movement. Please email a picture if you would like it to be included.