Memorial Day 2013

Let us not forget the price it costs for us to be free. Some have paid the ultimate price so we can be free. Keep those brave men & women and their families & friends in our prayers.

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“Not Me” … very powerful This YouTube video always gets to me; I heard the song when it first came out and it brought me to tears. Watch all the way through.

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Book Review ~ “Dead Ever After” by Charlaine Harris

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Title ~ “Dead Ever After”

Author ~ Charlaine Harris

Series~ Sookie Stackhouse

Book # ~13 (Final in Series)

Format ~Hardcover

Rating ~2 1/2 Stars

 

Short Recap ~ There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart…

Sookie Stackhouse finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.

Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.

But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough… (recap courtesy of goodreads.com)

First off, let me say I LOATHE giving bad reviews, and 2 ½ stars was being kind in my mind. I prefer to give 4 and 5 stars and tell you to rush out and read a novel or at least put it on your TBR list and try to get to it soon, in this case, take your time and wait; borrow a copy (don’t put the money out for it if you don’t have too).

 

This was the last novel in the Sookie Stackhouse series, so I knew it was winding down; the last few books have given that sorta vibe and indicated a few things, yet, I felt like I was let down by ‘Dead Ever After’. I really, truly did want to love this novel and find ‘closure’ as much as possible with it, yet, it felt like there was something missing.

 

You won’t find any spoilers in this review as much as I am tempted; I want to let each reader have their own experience. Normally, I don’t read or skim other book reviews before I read a book, in this case, I did, about 2 dozen of them actually, and I was mostly 1 star and 2 star reviews; those friend friends and from others who like me, have followed the series from the beginning and who wanted the series to end on a high note.

 

Throughout the series, you have seen Sookie grow; from a telepath who had trouble controlling what she ‘heard’ and from having no experience in the ‘love’ department to a woman on her own who knows her self worth and with more experience and confidence. The man she ends up with, I did see coming, like I said, and this book is almost a copout as you saw a lot of what happens coming.

 

The disjoined chapters, made me feel like Ms Harris had several post it notes on her computer and she decided to get in as many as she could and put this one here and that one there. Some of the sections within the chapters were disconcerting and I had to reread them in order to understand them.

 

A few things are wrapped up and a few characters get their ‘happily ever after’ as much as they can, so that’s a plus. Returning characters from past novels make guest appearances, and help to wind the series down.

 

Things in Louisiana will definitely never be the same.

BLOG HOP ~ “Gilded Destiny: A Vesper Novella” ~ Interview with Nola Sarina

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Today’s Author interview is part of a blog hop for Nola, all the hop info is below our interview. Nola has a similar sense of humour to myself and she likes ‘not typical’ questions so we are perfect for each other in that regard; I was given a chance to review Nola’s novel “gilded Destiny: A Vesper Novella” a few weeks ago (my review is the blog entry dated April XX), and Nola and I have shared a few wonder exchanges since she gave me the opportunity to review her novel and she invited me to join this blog hop to promote her newest novella. Please enjoy our candid interview and don’t forget to check out the blog hop info as well as enter to for a wonderful prize.

 

 

1. Please tell me about, “Gilded Destiny: A Vesper Novella”. What or who inspired you to write it? What gave you the idea for the series??

Gilded Destiny is the story of a woman whose memory returns when she falls in love with the monster who took it from her. The series was inspired by my desire to craft new, darker creatures of the night to prey on the human race with a global importance that few humans were witness too. I love challenging myself to fall in love with a bad guy, so the Vespers are characters who are vicious, yet not as nasty as they could be, and just redeeming enough that I can love them (and hope the readers do, too!).

 

2. Who are some of your favorite authors and books? Did they influence or inspire your writing style and give you ideas?

I love Jacqueline Carey, Karen Chance, A. Meredith Walters. I won’t say they give me ideas, because the characters in my books are things I’ve dreamed up, people I’ve spent a lot of time with in my head, daydreaming, etc. But they definitely have taught me about structuring characters’ internal battles (A. Meredith Walters), balancing elaborate plot elements (Karen Chance) and pacing action with relationship tensions (Jacqueline Carey).

 

3. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?

I think the toughest criticisms always come from my personal fears. Putting your imaginary friends on paper is really exposing in a lot of ways, and I never find a story “complete” or “good enough.” Other authors, friends, family, readers, and my agent have been so supportive of my writing, I’ve never felt criticized by any of them in anything other than a productive way, and they often offer suggestions that dramatically improve a story. I’m so grateful for the support I’ve received, because without it, I don’t think I’d ever be totally sure of myself LOL.

The biggest compliment, so far, has come from readers who connected with the story on a deep, emotional level. Readers who felt the torment of Calli and Nycholas in Gilded Destiny, readers who experienced their love close to the heart.

While I really try not to base my choices in my next books on what is suggested to me, since it comes from all sides and I would never make any decisions if I tried to comply with all suggestions, it does influence the overall tone of a story. When a reader/author/reviewer gives a particular critique, I look carefully at it, try to see where it came from, and determine whether or not I need to apply changes in the present or future. Sometimes, I disregard the suggestions. Sometimes, they’re 100% correct and I take it to heart.

 

4. This or That – Chocolate or Vanilla?? Iced Coffee or Ice Tea?? TV or Movies??

Chocolate, coffee, movies.

 

5. When you sit down to write, are you at a computer or do you do it, the ‘old fashioned’ way with pen and paper? Do you prefer one way or another?

I write on the computer, but not until a story has really meshed in my head for a long time. I’m totally guilty of running 8 different concept changes of the beginning of a book by my husband before I sit down and solidify it in Microsoft Word.

 

6. What do you do in your down time? Do you pick up something from your ‘to be read’ stack?

I try. Down time as an author isn’t that common of a thing for me, because I quite like to fantasize about what my characters might do next, in my down time. So down time often becomes writing or plotting time.

 

7. If your protagonist was a real person, what would they think about you? Would they want to hang out with you?

Calli would think I’m pretty freaking cool, but offer suggestions for improvement on my tattoo choices. Nycholas wouldn’t glance at me twice, because he’s all eyes for Calli.

Or maybe he’d eat me. Hm, yeah, probably that. *Gulp* “Puny author.”

 

8. Do you always want to be a writer?? What drew you to writing?

I did always want to be a writer, but I took a good deal of time away from it, concerned I wasn’t “good enough” to make it in this industry. I later learned this process is so organic… in five years, I’ll see fifty thousand ways to improve my writing that I don’t understand today. But a few years ago some characters in my head grabbed my heart, and I couldn’t walk away. Writing has always been a part of me, from telling stories to my stuffed animals as a kid to writing for newsletters as a teen. Eventually, it just evolved.
9. What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?

My favorite part is the supportive community, the amazing readers, fellow authors, bloggers, and agents in this world who help each other out at every turn. But my least favorite would probably be the less-supportive folks, the competitive nature of some individuals who don’t take the time to pay things forward or acknowledge when they’ve received a good deed. I believe in the helpfulness of the industry, and the goodness of people, and the value of every step on the journey that we all take side-by-side.

That, and the fact that sitting in a chair all day long writing and editing has done NOTHING GOOD for the shape of my ass. *shrug*

 

10. When you walk into a book store, where do you head first?

I first look for a New Adult section. New Adult is SO important to the reader community, since I think YA has gone WAY too far in maturity, sexual content, casual drug use, etc. Some sexual content in YA, sure, I get it that teens do it, but I’m offended when the first chapter of a YA includes blatant or public oral sex, etc. That stuff needs to be classified for the New Adults – 18-30, is who I think the genre appeals to. I also think that stage of life between YA and Adult is so important… the time of life when you make decisions that really matter with a mindset of setting up your future, rather than living in the moment. The way a New Adult considers consequences of action is different than the way a teenager does, and the category needs to take off and be in every bookstore, everywhere, to give these 18-30’s the fiction they crave, and the characters with whom they need to identify.

 

11. Did you get to quit your ‘day job’ and become an author, or do you have a ‘day job’ and writing is something you do for fun?

My day job is as a mom, and writing (and all the components of networking, editing, assisting other authors, being a part of the community, etc) take up at least 6 hours of each day. I’m lucky that my kids are at a good age to understand that even though I’m home, I’m still “working” – and I love what I do, so hopefully I’m not TOO crabby while I do it.

 

12.  Where do you go to write? Any particular place give you inspiration?

I write wherever I can get comfortable. Inspiration comes from anywhere – a riverside, a barren landscape, the shower, a dream, a song. The mood of a character sweeps me into a scene and I just immerse myself into their moment, and try my best to translate that in the story.

 

13. What is your favorite junk food vice?

I’m not too bad with junk food, but I’m a coffeeholic. I actually said this week, “I’m not drinking enough coffee. I’d better up it this week.” Like it’s a freaking vitamin or something. But it could be worse, that’s for sure.

 

14. Is their any movie you have seen that was based on a novel, which you think lived up to the novel?? What made it live up to the novel?

My opinion about movies made from novels is that each is an artistic interpretation of that particular story, done on a different canvas. I don’t compare them for accuracy of storytelling, or whether the actor meets my mental expectation of a character’s appearance or demeanor. A movie is a completely different artistic medium, like new arrangements of an old song, or a photograph translated into a painting, and I appreciate the screenwriter/director/producer/actor and all their individual expressions of that art.

 

15.  If you could step into the shoes of your protagonist for one day, would you? What would you like to experience or see during that day?

If I were Calli for a day, I would probably do exactly what she did: wear pants that are easy for Nycholas to take off. 🙂

 

16.Did you have any teacher(s) in high school or college that encouraged you to write? Did you take their advice?

My teachers were always encouraging, but (I’m totally not trying to be arrogant here) I was kind of ahead of the class in all things writing/English related. It wasn’t until I wrote as an adult and began to get involved in the community of editors/agents/experienced authors that I really was given specific direction for improvement until after high school. College is something I have not yet done in my life, and for now, my kids take priority over pursuing higher education.

 

17. What type of ice cream could I find you eating on a hot summer day?

Something with giant, orgasmic chunks of cherries.

 

18.If we snuck a peek in your purse right now, what would we find?

Can you find my purse? I would really appreciate it if you can. I’ve been carrying a wallet stuffed with cards and receipts for a year now. I know my purse probably has some tampons and, like, my Costco card or something, but it’s likely in my closet, I’m not sure… hmm…

 

19. What do you like on your pizza?? Thin Crust or Thick?

I like just about anything. Veggies, meat, gobs of cheese. Thin crust, unless it’s Pizza Hut, and then the way they smother it with grease is just… YUM. 

 

20. When you read for pleasure, what is your choice?? eReader or Paperback or Hardcover? Any particular reason??

I read New Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, and hot Romance. I read any format I can get my hands on, but my time for reading lately has been far less than I’d like.

 

21. This or That – Christmas or Your Birthday?? Chocolate or Flowers?? Cell Phone or No Phone?? Quality or Quantity??

My birthday is New Years Eve, so it kinda blends with Christmas. Chocolate in my hand, flowers in the ground. I’m glued to my cell phone and tablet, and quality over quantity.

 

22. What do your friends and family think of your writing? Have they been supportive?

I am AMAZED by the support and encouragement I get from my family and friends. It must be SO annoying to be friends with an author. I mean, I LOVE my author friends, but for non-authors, how sick they must get of me yapping about people that aren’t the room! I’m lucky, really lucky, that everyone has been so awesome, encouraging, and helpful every step of the way. ❤

 

23. In 4 words, describe yourself.

Loving, imaginative, goofy, dedicated.

 

24.  Is their anything else you would like to share or say to the blog hoppers and followers today??

Just an enormous thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can hardly believe I’m actually doing this, putting out a book for others to read… I wouldn’t be here without the support of readers, authors, friends, family, my agent and bloggers, and I’m so honored I could squeee. So I think I will. *SQUEEEE!*

 

http://thebookenthusiast.net/gilded-destiny-by-nola-sarina-blog-tour-schedule/

 

Gilded Banner Final

Time Off

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Sorry I was absent for so long 😦 We have had company on a regular basis and throw in sick boys and a busy husband, so I was not on my laptop except to do bills or to do stuff for my sister’s baby shower. I will be doing better next week, I have about 6 or 7 book reviews, a few author interviews in the works and a book series review coming soon. Please bare with me as I get back into the swing of things. Tomorrow morning, I have an author interview as part of a blog hop, so take a peak.

Have a wonderful weekend, I will be back early next week and things will be back to normal.

~Steph