Tag Archives: books

To Infinity and Beyond (Texas)

This past week we had a wonderful panel discussion (Women of Mystery) at the Barnes & Noble on West Gray.

I wanted to share this interview with everyone. My neighbor is too fascinating not to know better. Learn about this dauntless spaceman with the following link to my other blog, EastMontroseCool.com. My blog isn’t very colorful today. So if you go here: To Infinity and Beyond  you’ll see another photo.

Then, know that you are all in my thoughts as I traipse across Texas these next two weeks. I’m going to the Texas Book Festival this weekend. It is such a huge deal and I’m so happy to be going. I’m there to not just promote my books but to promote The Houston Writer’s Guild. If you haven’t checked out this organization, please do: houstonwritersguild.org. And while your at it, sign up for the November 8 workshop with prize-winning author Sarah Cortez. She will be speaking about “How to Finish Your Novel” among other things. There will be an acquiring editor there to take pitches. And what an attractive thing to think that all this comes with LUNCH! LOL!

Next weekend I’m off to Midland, TX to speak at the library there. I will take pictures this time.

My brother and I hope to visit my aunt in the San Antonio area this next week. I haven’t seen her since she dropped everything she had going in her life to help out my mother when my dad went into the hospital with Pancreatic cancer in 2007. My father’s death led to tremendous and earth-shifting changes in my life because my mother was almost an invalid at the time. My aunt stayed with her and helped her get stronger both physically and mentally. My aunt was always a selfless person. Now she is up in age. We just found out she is on hospice, and we feel the need to go see this lovely and loving woman.

That’s my week. How is yours shaping up?

A Circle of Five, The Pha-Yul Trilogy by Jan Raymond: A Book Review

Circle of FiveFive students are sent to detention for various reasons. When an electric storm erupts there is a disturbance but they wake the next day with very little remembrance of it but a shared confused. That’s not all they share now. What really happened is that Ryan, Cassie, Sam, Sebastian, and Maya are infused with special power.

I don’t want to spill any spoilers but i do want to emphasize that the author very skillfully transitions the plot from the “every day” high school drama played between these five to an “out-of-this-world” story-line that will keep the reader turning pages.

There are two teachers at the school who noticed the change in these five students. One of them, Mr. Harris, helps the five get control of their very special new powers. I won’t comment on the other teacher, because again, I’m not giving anything away.

The story centers on the five students, their relationship between each other and their growing understanding of a much bigger world than their small town school. And by bigger, I mean outside of the norm where time-travel is believable. There is nothing unusual about their school and their society, with drugs and booze available they must scale their desire to be like everyone else because their destiny is larger than what they know is apparent. Despite their differences and their “normal” dramas about class schedules and girlfriends and boyfriends, they must learn to get along and to help each other out, especially when one of them goes missing.

One central drama centers around the wealth or lack of wealth between the five and how this creates tension, there is also racial tension, the tension created when one of the five lies about another, and the tension between the children and their parents. All very believable and because I used to teach high school, very realistic.

This may be a YA novel but it could be a middle-grade. I recommend for ages 9 to 16.

A Girl’s Homeschool assignment: Book Reviews

Home school assignment: brutally honest reviews of books

Hannah Roberts was given a choice of assignments one of which was to choose books to write reviews for. Here is what she posted on the Internet:hannAH photo - Copy

YA Authors! If you want the brutally honest opinion of a 14-year-old girl of your new book, send me an ecopy and I will post a review, post a video of my review of your book and share it on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. It’s a home school thing but this is an assignment I think I will really enjoy! Contact me at mobookreviews@gmail.com

So I asked her if she would do a review of my book. You all know that if you don’t ask you can’t expect anything. A rejection is a reflection of your courage.

Here is my review from Hannah.

The Dry

I love stories where the heroes are my age and are fighting for what is good. I love stories with magic and magical creatures, other worlds and mystery! So when I started reading The Dry, I was really excited because it has all of that!

Elliot is a 12-year-old who goes out into the world to search for his father. When he meets Lefty, Eliot discovers another world where dragons live, just under the surface of the world. But there is more to this new world than meets the eye. Water is disappearing and so are several children!

Elliot is determined to find out why it is happening. He learns of his own powers over animals of this world and must find a way to use it to help him solve the mystery of the disappearing water, the disappearing children and the mystery of the dry!

Will he be able to find his father? Or the kids? Nope, I’m not going to tell you! You have to read it yourself! I loved Lefty’s attitude because she was strong and wasn’t willing to give up when things got hard. It was very fun to read! Posted by Hannah Roberts at 3:05 PM


Thank you, Hannah!

The Montgomery County Book Festival

Nora bought all of her friends and family books at the festival.
Nora bought all of her friends and family books at the festival.

It was refreshing to be involved with a group of enthusiastic and happy authors yesterday at the Montgomery County Book Festival at the Lone Star College. The best thing of all was that there were a lot of kids who were very interested in books, and in authors.

My fellow Houston Writer’s Guild members were delighted to find that we attracted a lot of teens to our table. Many of them bought our books. How lovely to see such enthusiasm from the kids and their parents.

Bad Decisions That I Paid Good Money For

English: Used paper is collected for paper rec...
English: Used paper is collected for paper recycling in Ponte a Serraglio near Bagni di Lucca, Italy Deutsch: Altpapier auf einem Recyclinghof in Ponte a Serraglio bei Bagni di Lucca, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like you I buy books that seem to be something I will enjoy. Unlike you I sometimes buy a book because I like the cover. On more than one occasion I have regretted that decision.

Case in point, the other day I picked up a book at the library sale and it had a cool picture of a woman with a knife walking toward a distant castle – Looked like a great mystery. Nothing from the inside flap told me I was mistaken. I was mistaken. It was a book about demons. One too many mentions of pentagrams and potions had me tossing the book at the recycle bin by page seven. The book would better serve as a recycled paper box.

Book coverNext on this incredible list of silly buying decisions is a book I bought (paid full price) because the cover was pretty. I love the color aqua. Better still aqua when it has a shimmer effect like in the peacock’s tail feathers, or like the sheen of oil on the water. I hate to see oil on the water but that is how I would now describe this book’s cover-color. Another reason I bought it – the author wrote a fantastic first book (The Time Traveler’s Wife). This was her second book. A third reason I bought the book is the description on the cover flap was intriguing. A ghost story. I sometimes like ghost stories – especially if the story is from the ghost’s point of view – like in the movie “The Others“. Well, the story in Her Fearful Symmetry isn’t awful, just awfully written. Audrey Niffenegger tells more than she shows whenever there is any mention of ‘feeling’. For example “She felt tired.” It would have been just as easy to show me what “tired” looked like instead of just being lazy about it and telling me she was tired. Blah! I did get as far as the end of the book because the story wasn’t horrible, there were some good unanswered questions about the ghost, etc. The end result was satisfactory but not wonderful. The read through was a slog though. (Is that telling enough?)

I buy books from authors I love. I love P.D. James. I love Jane Austin. So put the two together and you have a book by mystery writer P.D. James called Death Comes to Pemberly. Sounds wonderful. It wasn’t. I tried to love it. Couldn’t. The writing feels forced and stilted. I know she was trying for a voice that sounded like someone writing like Jane Austin. P.D. James is usually one of the easiest author’s to read and enjoy. I’ve read every book she’s written and have loved them all until this one. I hope she writes more mysteries with the wonderful Commander Adam Dalgliesh to solve them and that she writes no more historical mysteries with an attempt to sound historical.