This Chicks WFH Wednesday- Week #1

Hi from Nashville, Tennessee! This week Nashville and most of the US have joined the majority of Europe in instituting Social Distancing in order to try to “slow the curve” of the COVID-19 or Coronavirus. What is Social Distancing? It is working from home, staying 6 feet away from another person, minimizing your contact with society, and with washing your hands (ALL THE TIME) hopefully helping to halt the spread of the virus.

Working from home, or WFH, sounds great but in the last week I’ve definitely learned that there are more con’s than pro’s.

WFH PRO’S AND CONS

Feeling like I’m on vacation- Normally when I’m “at home” it’s because I have the day off, it’s the weekend, or occasionally I’m sick. When any of these things happen I have free reign over what I can do with my time. I might read, write on my blog, watch TV, bake, run errands, etc. 830a-530p are my work hours and with the exception of an hour for lunch I should be working.

Social interaction- I’m the Marketing Manager for Nashville Ballet, so normally I work on a team and have constant interaction as we complete projects. The only personal interaction I have right now?

Meet my new team members! Sam on the left and Nash is on the right. I love them to death, but they also think I’m on vacation.

Personal space is gone. LOL.

ALL THE SNACKS!- I’m now a week into this WFH situation and I’m doing a little better with this issue, but it took me eating a box of Ginger Snap cookies in two days to see that I needed to take control of my eating habits. Leave the cookies on the shelf and grab the apple, Deb. That’s my new mantra.

Worry- After my first couple of days freaking out over all of the news exposure and going to the store and waiting in super long lines to get my share of toilet paper, milk, and bread I decided to do my thing, wash my hands and tune it out. At least until the 4p news where I’d find out the latest virus growth rate and store closures in the US. I’ve read my share of post-apocalyptic romances and this true life scenario is scaring the bejeezus out of me. So, watching the news does not make for a very productive day.

As an aside, I have to say that this all reminds me of Rebecca Zanetti’s Scorpius Syndrome series. The further you read in the series the more alpha the heroes get but the gov’t is corrupted by this virus also. You can only hope we aren’t headed in that direction…. It’s actually a good series, but a little life-like for me right now. I’ll drop the link below in case you are interested.

Synopsis: With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynne Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynne is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury… . Mercury Striking (The Scorpius Syndrome)

I’ve mentioned a couple of the con’s and given you a good post apocalyptic book rec, but what are the pro’s?

MOM- My mom is in the top percentile at risk if she does catch the coronavirus. She’s 78 and has pretty bad asthma. Living in a multi-generational home, I was worried that I was going to have this virus attach itself to me at work and bring it home to infect my mother. I guess that could still happen because even though we are all limiting our involvement with the outside world we do occasionally venture out to the store and my husband who works in the newsroom at a local tv station still has to go into work every day. BUT we are doing what we can. We aren’t eating out, we’re not going to movies, we aren’t going to a concert, etc. Well, now you can’t do any of those things anyway, but over the last week we didn’t. I feel like my family has been proactive. That’s all you can do.

Spending even a moment more with my babies is a joy. If I’m feeling down I just reach out and get a kiss or a hug and it makes me feel better. If my dog wasn’t an 85 lb ball of energy I’d request that I take him to work once a week. He’s such a love bug.

Baking!- Maybe I can knock out a couple more of my Bouchon Bakery recipes. It would have to be something I have all of the ingredients for but I think I’ve some basics in the house.

Maybe I’ll even have time to read a book. Hmmmm. I bet I can find the time to do that one first!

I hope everyone is staying safe, keeping your distance, and washing your hands. We’ll get though this and I think come out on the other side an even better world than we are right now.

xoxo!

Deb

It’s been a long week…

Tuesday night around midnight a tornado ripped through Nashville. Starting in a popular historical neighborhood called Germantown, jumping the river into East Nashville and then staying on the ground for 60 miles through Mt. Juliet and Cookeville. Was it a blessing or a curse that it happened in the middle of the night? There was a school that had considerable damage, so I guess a blessing because if there had been kids in that school hundreds could have been injured and died. That it happened in the middle of the night meant if you had awakened to the sirens you could find your safe place, but some people were ripped out of their homes and died. 24 of them.

I live in the city of Nashville and thankfully saw little damage. However, my husband and I have an Airbnb in East Nashville and we had guests staying in it the night it hit. Our place was in the path of the tornado but a block away it veered east and our block was skipped. Our guests were ok. I can’t even tell you the relief I felt.

I’m in a Facebook group for Airbnb’s in Nashville and this woman told her story about her home getting hit in Germantown. Their guest had to be cut out of the host Airbnb because she was framed in by bars. That guest was fine, and in fact, stayed to help clean up the area. I’m tearing up as I write this because that is only one of the many wonderful stories that I’ve heard in the aftermath of this storm. Thousands of people are donating, bringing food and water, cooking and giving out free bbq, cleaning debris, putting tarps over holes in people’s roof’s, and so much more. I’ve always loved the city of Nashville and these stories only make me love it that much more. The people here are really that special.

Here are a few photo’s from the damage from the storm. These building’s span businesses, low income property, and homes. These people’s lives have been disrupted in a huge way. There is an organization who has handled the majority of volunteers, donations, etc. If you feel like donating to help Nashville’s recovery please do!

Hands on Nashville

#Nashvillestrong

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (11/4/19)

Happy Monday everyone! I ran across this post on Book Date and liked the idea of sharing what I’m currently reading, and hopefully hearing about what you’ve picked up off your shelf. So here goes!

JUST FINISHED

First Sentence Read: “The fog came without warning, swift skeins of milk-white vapor curling across the Yorkshire countryside, ethereal init’s beauty.”

JUST STARTED

First Sentence Read: “Lady Taylor had bugs in her walls and not the kind that had jointed legs and crunchy bodies.”

I have been on a huge historical mystery jag and am trying to mix things up with the second novel in the sci-fi series by Jessie Mihalik. I hope it starts quickly because I’ve got my eye on another historical! Lol. Sometimes you just get in that mood for a certain genre, you know?

What kind of book are you in the mood to read today?

Let me know in the comments below!

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Should author’s ever take a Do-Over?

Most book bloggers started reading as children and have a huge catalog of books that are favorites, or struck a chord for a certain time in our lives. Have you ever gone back and re-read a novel that you just loved when you were younger but now you see all of it’s faults and frailties through eyes that have lived a little. Or you notice how women, ethnic people, or children may have been treated poorly even though at the time that book was written those things weren’t questioned? How does that affect what you think of that long loved book?

Recently, I read a post from another blogger who was talking about a much loved science fiction novel that she’d read over and over throughout her life but as time went on she realized, ‘wait a minute’ some of these things this author says in this novel just aren’t right! Does that mean I shouldn’t like this novel anymore? Do I overlook those things because it was acceptable at the time it was written? If I’m thinking these things does the author who wrote them cringe at their own words? Do they wish for a do-over? Is it acceptable to re-write a novel written ages ago to make it acceptable for today’s readers? I’m not talking Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, or Gone with the Wind- all books that have been re-hashed, re-printed, and gone over in schools ad nauseam. Also all books that have a few cringeworthy moments.

We live in an age where we try so hard to be politically correct. Bloggers focus on books where diverse characters are highlighted, explored, and celebrated. Would we like The Wizard of Oz more if the Lollipop Guild had been female gay rights activists and Dorothy was fighting for equal rights against the tyranny of a misogynistic Wizard? Hmm, maybe I’m onto something here!

How would readers feel if some of their favorite books were re-written? Would I still love that book? I really don’t know if I would. There’s something about an emotional connection to a book because it was read at the right time. Maybe when “that” book was written and popular it was that books moment to shine regardless of how I now feel about it 20 years later? If it was a piece of art and I was looking at the painting at age 12 and again at age 25 I wouldn’t have the same viewpoint. The same thing applies to a book. My life’s experiences no longer allow me to view it in the same way and I guess I’m ok with that.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite book that you’ve re-read and thought “well, wait, did she really just say that?”

If you read all the way through this post, thanks for listening to the thoughtful ramblings of a bookaholic.

Deb

Booklovers Con! #BLC19

The first two days at the Booklovers Con have come and gone and my good intentions to post pictures every day has fallen by the wayside because of my need for sleep. Sorry guys! However, today I’ll give you two days of pics to satisfy your book loving needs!

I’ve met some really great authors and taken a few pictures to share. The first night was the kick off party with a Jazz Fest theme, after all we are all in New Orleans! We paraded into the ballroom to a great jazz marching band.

There were authors stationed around the room and I bee-lined towards Christine Feehan to say hi and take her pic.

Christine Feehan!

I’ll admit that I didn’t want to stand in line for food but there were food trucks galore and the band was fab. My sister and I ducked out to eat at a little Vietnamese place we spotted down the street. Yum!

Thursday was chock full of events. A Harlequin author signing and Indie author soirée were fun! Although the lines…not so much. Lol.

Julia London! (On the right)
Rebecca Zanetti!
Ooohhh my feet!

I really learned a lot from a workshop for bloggers and publishers and will endeavor to meet some new goals!

The evening wrapped up with a pretty amazing Fairy gala with a full dinner. The costumes and decorations were pretty spectacular!

Packaging paper turned into a magnificent dress!

Gorgeous centerpieces!

My sister and I were VIP’s ( we won it in a lottery) and got to sit for dinner at a table with an author. I sat with the wonderful fantasy author C. L. Wilson and she sat with Amanda McIntyre. It was a great hour spent getting to know these authors.

At the end of the day I had a pretty good book haul! Not as much in the past and definitely a smaller amount of swag, but you know what? The experience has been so much better and more intimate!

This is only day 1’s book haul!

I’ll try to get out one more post possibly Sunday from the airport! We are packing in the fun at the BLC19!

Deb

Happy Easter from The Reading Chick!

Spring is here, the flowers are blooming and even though today was 50° and I am wearing a sweater you can tell by the smiles on everyone’s faces that winter is over. Unless you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, then Winter is Coming. I couldn’t resist, sorry!

For those of us who celebrate this time of year for religious reasons, may you have a blessed holiday!

For those of us who are looking forward to seeing what kind of candy is in our Easter baskets… what number from the graphic below is your favorite Easter candy? Feel free to share your favorite from your own country if these aren’t familiar!

I am a Cadbury mini eggs gal myself!

May your Easter basket be filled with the blessings of your season, and chocolate! Happy Easter from the Reading Chick!

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Happy International Women’s Day!

I am always on the lookout for articles on this month’s best of list in genre’s I love to read, aren’t you? It’s hard to not click the link to see if I’ve read any of the books on the list or to discover a book that hadn’t been on my radar but looks too irresistible to overlook.

I’ve liked the Bookish page on Facebook and will admit to getting lost in their articles, must read lists and book giveaways. Did you know Friday March 8th was International Women’s Day? A day to celebrate women, a group I am proud to be one of, and I didn’t even know about it! I think women should always be celebrated but I guess I’m biased. Bookish created this very cool, empowered graphic to honor literary bookish women. I wanted to share it with all of my fellow book bloggers.

I may be a few days late, but as I said above, women should be celebrated every day! Happy International Women’s Day!

Deb

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

Happy Monday everyone! I ran across this post on Book Date and liked the idea of sharing what I’m currently reading.

Even though we have a week of life in front of us, that life hopefully includes picking up a book. I know I will!

Just Finished:

Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell

Last Sentence Read: “This is one moment I want to keep entirely to myself.”

Just Starting:

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

First sentence: “Nobody taught me this when I first started as a bartender, but luckily, I was a quick learner: When a group of men are walking in, you should work out which one is the alpha.”

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: January ’19 Wrap Up!

I know, it’s already almost mid February and I’m a little late with my wrap up post. 2018 finished with me sick as a dog and 2019 began with that same damn cold. So, after finally being healthy for a few weeks I’m just getting back into my regular posting. Thank goodness for scheduling a few out in advance! So, here I am ready to talk about what happened on my blog in January. First Up!

Great January Reads!

Ache for You (Slow Burn #3) by J. T. Geissinger

‘This is a very sexy slow burn novel. Kimber and Matteo’s chemistry is off the charts but because they are adversaries it’s set on a slow simmer through most of the book. I’ll admit that I love slow burn stories and love the engagement of the characters leading up to the big moment usually more than that big sex scene. Although in this book, that also was pretty great. ‘

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

‘I love YA action novels and Song of the Current hit the right note for me. It did start off a little slow but that was to be expected as the characters and world building needed explanation. As soon as she pushed off down the river and opened that crate the story took off and the adventure began. ‘

Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan

‘I love a fast moving plot and Ignite the Stars was quick, emotional, and fun. It’s hard to believe this was Maura Milan’s debut novel. It seemed like every character had their own hidden battle they were fighting. I’ll admit that Brinn was probably my favorite character, but Ia was a close second. They were both underdogs, and I do like to root for the underdog. ‘

What Doesn’t Kill Her by Christina Dodd

‘What Doesn’t Kill Her was even better than Dead Girl Running, and I loved that novel! There was some great dialog between Rae and Kellen that provided comic relief to what would’ve been a non stop action novel. Those moments of warmth between mother and daughter allowed the reader to build a deeper connection with Kellen, and I cared even more when she and Max reunited as a couple. ‘

Blogger to Blogger Series

We met a couple of great book bloggers on my Blogger to Blogger series last month. If you didn’t have a chance to hear how they answered my 10 questions please click the link below.

Julie @ A Little Book Problem

Zoe @ Zooloo’s Book Diary

This Chicks Sunday Commentary

Even though I was under the weather for the first couple of weeks of January, I did try to rebound with a couple of posts on my Sunday series.

I think I missed the mark with the first as I was trying to get my fellow bloggers to tell me what question they were dying to ask J. K. Rowling. I only got a couple of responses. Maybe not that interesting? Who knows! If you want to take another shot at it, please click on the link below.

If We Could Ask J, K. Rowling One Question…

My other post was a little more interesting and talked about YA trends and how even when they are hated, I kind of still like them… Feel free to read and still join in the discussion!

YA Trends (and tropes!) Let me Count Thy Ways…

Eliminating my TBR

Who are we kidding, eliminate it? Nah! However, there are a few book that I’m hoping to read in February. Let me tell you about a couple!

Circle of the Moon (Soulwood #4) by Faith Hunter

Synopsis: Nell can draw magic from the land around her, and lately she’s been using it to help the Psy-Law Enforcement Division, which solves paranormal crimes. Joining the team at PsyLED has allowed her to learn more about her powers and the world she always shunned–and to find true friends.
 
Head agent Rick LaFleur shifts into a panther when the moon calls him, but this time, something has gone wrong. Rick calls Nell from a riverbank–he’s naked, with no memory of how he came to be there, and there’s a dead black cat, sacrificed in a witch circle and killed by black magic, lying next to him. 
 
Then more animals turn up dead, and team rushes to investigate. A blood-witch is out to kill. But when it seems as if their leader is involved in the crime, the bonds that hold the team together could shatter at any moment.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill.

But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral…for all the wrong reasons.

Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn’t just want to make it—she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.  

Insightful, unflinching, and full of heart, On the Come Up is an ode to hip hop from one of the most influential literary voices of a generation. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; and about how, especially for young black people, freedom of speech isn’t always free.

Oh gosh, there are so many more!

What books are you looking forward to reading this month?

Until next Sunday!

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: How I Love YA Trends (and tropes!)..Let me Count Thy Ways

Book Bloggers are an opinionated lot. When we find a trend in fiction that we love we talk about it to death until one day that love turns into dissatisfaction, the tide turns, and we start talking about how much we hate that trope. I guess that’s human nature but well, I hate it. Just because the newness has worn off doesn’t mean we should get rid of it. There are still many things to love!

THE LOVE TRIANGLE-

I’m not sure why this trope has become unpopular? There is nothing better than the exploration of a character seen through two people’s eyes. One of my favorite examples of this is….

This series is a favorite for so many people, yet it started out as a love triangle. Through Tamlin’s eyes we saw Feyre’s weaknesses and her fight to overcome them. Through Rhys’ eyes we saw her strength. Yes, Tamlin didn’t treat her very well, but without that plot point would we like Rhys as much as we do? Would we like them together? In fact, wouldn’t it be interesting if Tamlin overcame his ways and fought to recapture Feyre’s love? I’d almost like to see a return of the love triangle. It might bring a spark back into this now overwrought love story.

THE FAIRYTALE RE-TELLING

I’ll be the first to say that I am overwhelmed by the number of fairy-tale re-telling novels that were re-leased over the last couple of years. Some were not so good, but when one is written well, the fairy-tale re-telling is so much fun! I read quite a few last year but these two stood out because they were different.

The Wrath & The Dawn is a re-telling of Scheherazade’s One Thousand and One Nights. The prince marries and kills his princess every night until he marries Scheherazade and she keeps him up all night telling a story with a cliff hanger that keeps him coming back. The Wrath and the Dawn’s Shazi marries the prince for revenge, but falls in love. It’s full of intrigue, romance, and Renee Ahdieh’s beautiful prose.

Hunted is a re-telling of probably the most re-told story, Beauty and the Beast. What makes Meagan Spooner’s rendition different is that she mixes Russian folklore into the main story of Beauty and the Beast. It is beautifully told and Yeva is a strong heroine. Interestingly enough, both Yeva and Shazi from the Wrath and the Dawn, survive by telling stories, so maybe there is a touch of Scheherazade in Yeva as well!

Not to speak ill of fairy-tale re-tellings, but I have read plenty that did NOT hit the mark. But as with all novels, they are subjective and I’ve read plenty of reviews for those books I didn’t really care for where those readers were overjoyed with the outcome. That’s the beauty of reading, isn’t it?

THE HISTORICAL RE-TELLING

My discovery of this trend is pretty new and so far I am loving it. Admittedly, I know enough about history to think, ‘hmmm, this sounds familiar’ and then look it up. Wikipedia has become my best friend! I have just read two YA novels back to back that followed this trope that were done really well. My reviews are scheduled to post soon, but here’s a brief note on both.

The Dead Queen’s Club is the story of King Henry the VIII and his six wives, in a high school contemporary setting. Henry is a charismatic young man, popular, and has a steady stream of girlfriends. Two of whom are dead. Cleves, our protagonist, is his best friend and also one of his exes, who is determined to figure out who was responsible for his girlfriends deaths. Her voice is snarky and there are plenty of past and present cultural and historical references. It was a roller coaster ride and I really enjoyed my emotion sickness.

Set in Elizabethan England our heroine is a Catholic whose father was killed for his faith. Wanting revenge, she joins a treasonous plot to kill the queen. Little does she know, that play (written by Shakespeare -‘Twelfth Night’) was a plot to capture the assasin’s. I loved the historical references, the treasonous plot, and of course, Shakespeare.

HEROINE WITH POWERS THAT SAVE THE WORLD

Admittedly, this trope is usually found in YA fantasy novels, although I’d love to see a contemporary heroine have super powers and save the world. That could be a great twist! Admittedly, I have a soft spot for fantasy novels, and LOVE to root for the underdog. So, while many of you hate to love our heroine’s that save the world, if done well I find myself believing and rooting for them almost EVERY time. I’m a softy, I know! Here are a couple that struck the right chord.

Our heroine Britta is a Channeler and has developing magical powers. Through this two book series (well, there is a third but it’s unrelated to these main characters) we see Britta go from fearful of being discovered a Channeler, to solving the mystery of what happened to her father, finding her best friend and crush and absolving him of the crime, to saving the king. She doesn’t save the world, but through her actions she brings Channelers out in to the open, ending their persecution in her country. Oh! I should mention that these two books also use the Love triangle trope. It’s kind of minor, but does add some tension into Britta and Cohen’s relationship that was probably needed. That sub-plot would’ve been as dull as dishwater otherwise!

There are any number of other YA novels that use this trope, and actually combines the Love Triangle and Heroine with Super Powers tropes to success. The other one that jumps out at me is the following…

Yes, the Red Queen. Every book blogger who has read this series has an opinion. BUT, this first novel was very well done. A political thriller that pits those with common “red” blood against the elite, those with “silver” blood. Our heroine, red blooded Mare (God, I hate that name!), has the powers of a silver blood. She becomes the face of an uprising, the fixation of an evil King, and the lover of a fallen hero. This series has it’s ups and downs, but as a whole, Victoria Aveyard writes a spirited political thriller with a heroine that always sacrifices herself for the greater good. I haven’t yet read the last novel because King’s Cage kind of pissed me off, but it is overall a good series. Oh and I love Maven. You gotta love an evil Prince/King.

There are so many other YA trends and tropes that we book bloggers just love to love and love to hate. It depends on our mood, how many we’ve read in a row, and as always if the character and plot draw us in. In my opinion we shouldn’t be too quick to write off a book just because the trope has been overdone. There are still some GREAT books out there that we don’t want to miss, right?

What’s your favorite or most hated YA Trend or Trope? Or are you like me and secretly like them all? Let me know in the comments!

Until next Sunday!

Deb