Friday, August 22, 2014

What Can Secrets From the Past Reveal?



Grown Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson is a great read!  I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you on this novel.  It is my first novel by this author and certainly won’t be my last!

Synopsis:

In Immita Mississippi a hidden dark secret is brought to light that changes the lives of three generations of women.  We are introduced to fifteen year old Mosey, her mother Liza and her Grandmother Big.  What do these women have in common?  One day a tree in their front yard comes down, and underneath it are bones that belong to another child.  Mosey becomes curious as she embarks on a journey to discover who her parents are.   How will the results impact Mosey’s life and others?

My Thoughts:

I loved this novel out of all of the books that I had read this year! The writing style is incredible; it’s like watching a movie. The tone of the novel is both happy and sad. The characters are well written and developed. You feel bad for Mosey due to the fact of her mother’s choice.  The perception by others is that she will do the same. It is interesting how people have expectations that are not based in reality.  Even at Calvary Baptist School, she doesn’t get a break.  Once the discovery is made, and makes headlines.  The school and everyone’s attitudes towards her changes.  Liza seems to be the person you either want to hate or feel sorry for, because of her choices.  Big seemed to come across as a hypocrite for the choices and the resulting actions. Roger was a great towards Mosey. I loved how he chose to help her out in this mystery. I love how the story is told by different character’s point of view.

 Ms. Jackson did a great job with this one!

By Josephine Mattia

Rating: 5/5

Please visit Joshilyn Jackson on her Facebook page, Twitter, and Her Website

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What Is Most Precious to You?



What is most precious to you?  This question is the one that Mary Alice Monroe answers through her novel Summer Girls.  She discusses  the traits of the bottle nose dolphin and how it affects both human and animal.

Synopsis:

This summer will be different!  The summer girls will be back this summer if Mamaw has her way.  Carson the middle daughter is the first one to return home and has no problem coming back out of work and looking for a fresh start.  The best part of going to her Mamaw is that Sea Breeze her residence is on the ocean.  She lives for the water and can’t wait each morning to hit the beach.  One morning while on surfing she meets a dolphin who protects her from a shark attack.  Little does she know how special this dolphin will become.  Mamaw also invites her two other half-sisters Dora and Harper.  There is one catch they must stay for the summer.  Will the sisters follow through?  What will happen to the dolphin?

My Thoughts:

Well this is the next novel you should read this summer!  Summer Girls tells mainly Carson’s story and gives you the back story on the rest of the family.  The pages were easy to turn.  I couldn’t wait to find out more! 

When I saw Mary Alice Monroe during her tour for this novel she discussed the relevant topics.  One of the topics is how the emotions of the dolphin caring for their young.  This is illustrated by mamaw’s ultimatum and advice throughout.  I was a little surprised that the dolphin itself was included in order to tell the story.   Many facts are listed in the back of the novel about how to support the care of dolphins.  She also described therapy with the dolphins and how it helped veterans and others. 

The setting at the beach is always a plus.  The conflict was a little predictable but still a great read! 

I can’t wait for the next novel and I don’t think you should either!

Rating:

5/5
Visit Mary Alice Monroe on her Facebook page, Twitter, and her Website.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Meet Kit Brennan




Welcome Kit Brennan to Writer’s Corner today.  We are discussing her new novel Whip Smart:  Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards and writing.   Her new novel features the historical character of Lola Montez which I am familiar with from a different series.  So tell us more…

What got you into writing?
I started out as an actor, and had been working professionally for a number of years when I was asked to write a play for children, to be toured through elementary schools. It sounded like fun, so I gave it a go. At the same time, I was becoming interested in the thought of writing plays for adults, partly prompted by my desire to write some really good roles for women. So I did a Masters of Fine Arts in Playwriting and by the time I’d finished that, I realized that I’d become more interested in writing than I was in acting. I’ve worked as a playwright for almost twenty years, and my plays have been produced across Canada and internationally. I teach playwriting and storytelling at Concordia University in Montreal. I became very curious about writing fiction after I’d written a short play about Lola Montez and realized that her particular voice and her adventures were more suited to the broader canvas of a novel. So I dove in.

What is your new book about and what inspired you to write it?

Whip Smart: Lola Montez Starts a Revolution is the third novel in my Whip Smart: The Lola Montez Series. They are Victorian-era adventure novels starring a feisty heroine (based on the real historical figure Lola Montez), with lots of derring-do, romance, thrills and comedy. This one encompasses the historical Lola’s most notorious adventure: becoming the mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, gaining the title of Countess of Landsfeld, and possibly igniting the Revolution of 1848.

The inspiration for the series goes way back, and has two sparks. As a teenager, I came across the character of Lola in George MacDonald Fraser’s second Flashman book, Royal Flash. I thought she was really funny and intriguing. In that book (and the film, Flashman, with Malcolm McDowell), Lola Montez is first seen practicing in a field with a sabre. In another scene, she beds Flashy, with a hairbrush as a spanking accessory. I loved Fraser’s novels, every hilarious one of them, and later thought that it would be great fun to write a kind of ‘female Flashman’.

Lola herself is the other inspiration. When I starting looking into her life, I’d often find belittling comments: “she was a terrible dancer,” “she had no talent,” “she was a gold-digging slut,” etc. This made me think a lot about what it must have felt like to be a gutsy, adventurous woman in strait-laced Victorian society. I wanted to write from her point of view, as an energetic, enthusiastic and amorous young person – like any other healthy creature, be it kitten or puppy or colt – filled with confidence and a bit of swagger and the desire to use her body to its fullest. Then she trips up, gets into trouble, and begins to learn… As the years go on, she gets knocked down, and gets back up, but she doesn’t succumb to despair. Lola, as a character, keeps dusting herself off and facing the obstacles, with courage and joie de vivre. I love that. Living like that is so much harder than it looks.

What are the challenges to being a writer? And what are the benefits? Have things changed lately?

There are lots of challenges! Finding your voice is one, finding the story that is burning to be written by you and nobody else but you is another. Then there’s getting published, finding the audience, etc. I think the benefits of being a writer are largely internal. The ability to live more than one life is a big one. Not that I don’t enjoy my own – I do! But it’s exciting to put yourself in the shoes of someone else, whether real or fictional, and to walk (or dance, or ride) with them, learn how they feel about different experiences, and also to try to reveal why they might feel that way—especially if it’s very different from the way you view the world yourself. You can’t carry a grudge against a character and have them feel fully-rounded: it’s crucial that you get inside each of their skins, for at least a little while, to find out what makes them tick. Everyone has a reason or a justification for what they do. And that can be eye-opening.

In the book world lately, things have changed enormously and very quickly. For authors and readers, ebooks are exciting developments—my series will be available much longer and is more easily found. I’m still getting used to the new world of technology, social media, and so on—but I like it!

What advice can you offer to struggling writers?

A great piece of advice from American playwright Marsha Norman goes like this: Don’t write about your present, write about your past—write about something that made you angry or afraid, and that, in all the time since it happened, you haven’t been able to forget. There’s power in those strong emotions. She’s right in that if we write about something that’s happening to us in the present, we often don’t have enough perspective on it and the writing will get vague and mushy, or sentimental, or trying to conceal something (perhaps from ourselves) and therefore not truthful.

You’ve also got to be passionately interested in your idea over a long, long period of time. You have to want to spend time with these characters, day after day after day, through all the rewrites as well as the initial inspiration. They’ve got to be that fascinating to you. You need to be in love with them—the bad guys as much as the good. You can hardly wait to see them again tomorrow!

What comes first, the plot or the characters?

For me, the initial spark is almost always a character. Maybe it’s because of my initial training in the theatre as an actor. But then, of course, you have to create something gripping and exciting and consequential for them to do, so plot follows along pretty quickly. I’ve never been a fan of plays or books where the characters just observe and describe. I like action.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb

Although Lola’s affair with King Ludwig I of Bavaria has gone down in the history books as something to be laughed at because of the age difference and Lola’s ‘gold digging’ repute, in fact, in my research I found a very sweet man, and a woman who longed to be loved.

Describe your writing space

I’m really lucky because in the summertime, when I’m usually struggling my way through a first draft, I can go down to the waterfront where we have a miraculous little cabin. There’s a rickety electric line that connects me to the internet and the wide world, but otherwise, I look out over the lake, hear the loons calling, watch the cloud formations, and dream Lola’s world. From the cabin, I can be in Madrid or Paris or Munich or San Francisco—and still go home for lunch with my sweetie.

What are you passionate about these days?

It’s the summertime, so… Hummingbirds!


To buy a copy of Whip Smart:  Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards see the links below: 

Amazon

Astor and Blue

Barnes and Noble 


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Are You Ready to Score?



Four to the Score is the fourth installment in the Stephanie Plum series.  What could possibly happen this time?  Well stay tuned to find out!

Synopsis:

Stephanie’s next case is to find Maxine Nowicki.  She has been working on the case and chasing leads.  Then she runs into complication that is her cousin Joyce Barnhardt thwarting her every move.  One lead leads her to Eddie Kuntz who hires her to find Maxine as long as he can see her before Stephanie turns her in.  All she needs to do is follow the clues.  What she didn’t count on is losing her car and her apartment.  Where will she go?  How can Ranger and Morrelli help her this time?

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this one from Janet Evanovich.  I was able to listen to this one as well.  This time it was narrated by CJ Critt.  I enjoyed her telling of the story.  I thought she distinctly separated all the characters so you knew who was who. This audio version was a little longer than Three to Get Deadly.

What could possibly happen to Stephanie next?  I thought the case was interesting.  I did wonder would Stephanie get her perp?   The tension between Stephanie and Morrelli was very entertaining.  The author left you wondering if they ever would get together.  I wonder if that still might happen down the line.  We shall have to see.

The author also treats you to learning more about the Trenton New Jersey area.  I am sure that some of the areas are fictionalized for the novel.  I wonder if the author plans to take Stephanie outside of New Jersey.

A very entertaining read!

Rating:

4/5
Please visit Janet on her Facebook page, Twitter, or her Website.