Monday, August 30, 2010

Unconventional by JJ Hebert

Unconventional by JJ Hebert

Released: July 2009
Publisher: Mindstir Media
Pages: 332
Genre: Adult - Contemporary - Inspirational
Source: Won from author

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Young James Frost just knows, deep in his bones, that he's a writer. He writes far into early mornings, after his wearying hours of scrubbing toilets and sweeping floors. He loves writing that much. But it's not only the joy of words that keeps him grinding; it's his desire to retire the janitor's mop. He sees being published as the key to living an improved life.

James has another deep-seated conviction: that he's not good enough. He secretly longs to be accepted. However, the conventional others in his life seem all too willing to remind him that he's wasting his time. Then he meets and falls in love with Leigh, the one bright spot in his endless misery of self-doubt. A quiet but resolutely religious girl, she has to fight off disapproval of her own from overly critical parents, whose insults are countered by James's often-voiced admiration of her. Likewise, Leigh's faith in his talents begins to build his confidence, eventually allowing her to introduce him to a different way to help himself: relying on God.

Ultimately, James's newfound faith is sorely tested to the point of doubt when his dream to be published seems to melt into a mirage, smothered by countless rejection slips from agents and publishers. His faith is also battered by having to fight highly emotional battles and suffer fear and loss. Just when James appears hopelessly sapped by devastating events, one last door opens, and he's rocked by an epiphany.


I haven't read an 'inspirational' book in a long time. I know people tend to shy away from something labeled under that genre due to have preachy the book might be. That's not the case with Unconventional. It has a great mix of everything that happens in life.

My first reaction after reading a few pages was: Oh my, you are wordy! Then a few chapters into it I realized how easily I could relate to James and his life. He's a writer. I'm a writer. He decided to not attend a four year college unlike all of his friends. I did about the same. He works at a crappy job and dreams of one day being published. Yep, I know that story all too well.

When James meets Leigh it seems like his life is going to turn around. I really enjoyed how slowly and realistic the relationship built between the two. Leigh really helped James realize how good of a person he was even when things go a bit sticky. We all know life doesn't go the way we want it to, and for James this happens a lot. I think if I would have read this book months ago it wouldn't have had the same affect on me. If you read this book, it'll lit a fire under you butt - writer or not. What really made this story so wonderful is the simplest reminder that when you have faith not only in your beliefs, but in yourself, you can do anything.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (early edition)

There was no possible way I could wait until tomorrow to share this with you for two reasons:

1. I won't be online because I will be in FLORIDA! (No, me announcing I'm on vacation will not get old.)

2. This cover is just too gorgeous - it has to be pimped out! Plus I'm super excited about this book and adore reading Mandy's blog which is where I found it:

Ripple by Mandy Hubbard

Release Date: August 2011

Eighteen year old Lexi is cursed--by day, she's just like every other teen at Lincoln CIty High. But from dusk until dawn, she's forced to swim and sing, a modern day siren. At sixteen, her voice became a deadly lure, and Steven-- the only boy she's ever loved-- followed her straight into the story surf and drowned.

Now, Lexi spends her nights at a forgotten lake up in the mountains, where she can swim and sing in peace. She's become an ice queen, forced to keep everyone around her at arm's length in order to protect them.

That is, until Cole comes to town. Cole, with his dark good looks and prying questions. She can't seem to keep him away, and she's no longer sure she wants to. But how can she let him in when it can only end in his death?

Me wants this NOW! 


Monday, August 9, 2010

I'm leaving on a jet plane....

On Wednesday morning I will be heading to the airport ready for the vacation I've been desperately needing for the past two years. I'm going to visit a friend I haven't seen in a year or so and we're pretty  much planning on this vacation to be epic. Hitting up Sea World, Daytona, and where ever else we find ourselves.

When I get back from this epic vacation, my head will be cleared and the big portion of my novel (I only have 24K - I had way more, but then I decided to go back to my original storyline and everything changed) will be ready and willing for me to tackle it so I can meet that dumb fake deadline I gave myself - August 28th.

After that I will be back to blogging...or at least around more often to comment on everyone's blogs! On a side note, I've been using my writing blog for a while now. It's on the sidebar but I'll shout it out here as well:

amber d* writes where you'll see a similar post like this one. (Also a more unique name will happen at some point.)

Anyhoo hope you guys have a great week!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

New layout

If you've stopped by the blog in the past week or so you've probably noticed the new layout. I just wanted to do a quick shot out to the awesome Katie from Sophistikatied Reviews for making the header back when I held the header challenge. She submitted a few of them, and when I stumbled upon the background you see now, I thought it went together perfectly.

So what do you think? Like the new layout?

Also a friend of mine just launched a new site called Mascara Envy that you should go check out!


Friday, August 6, 2010

Winter Longing by Tricia Mills

Winter Longing by Tricia Mills

Released: August 2010
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 256
Source: Around the World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

A plane crash in Alaska takes
Winter’s first love away forever . . .

When Winter's boyfriend is killed in a plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness, she's robbed of the future she'd only just allowed herself to believe might be hers. Winter and Spencer had been destined for one another. And after his death, Spencer's presence continues to haunt her.

But when her next-door neighbor becomes an unlikely friend, Winter begins to accept all that she can't change. Can she open herself to a new future . . . and a possible new love?


Winter Longing is what I would describe as a quiet emotional story that you suddenly just find yourself slipping into without even realizing it. Right from the get go you know that Spencer is going to die. The back of the book tells you that. One thing that stood out to me more in this story was how someone who was gone from the beginning still had such an impact throughout the story.

I'm glad the author decided to never really put Spencer there while he was alive. You only learn about him through memories and a tiny paragraph before each chapter. For me, this made me understand why Winter was going through such a hard time without him. The more you learn about the two, the more heart breaking it is to know that they'll never be together. I don't just mean that in the love sense, but the two have been best friends for most of their life. It made the sense of loss much more powerful.

Tricia Mills did a great job of covering a girl who is slowly slipping into depression. Everyone takes death in a different way, and Winter cannot understand how everyone around her can simply move on with their lives while she still can't. Then she meets Jesse. He's not the character who just steps into the room and suddenly everything is going to be peachy again.  His character takes time to step up, but is played out so well, you can't help but love him.

This was a great story about loss, healing, love, and second chances. It's almost a great reminder that we should never take anyone in our lives for granted because you never know when they might be gone. You're definitely going to want to pick this book up.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rock This! Thursday: Let's talk music covers.

Today we're going to do something a bit different and just discuss music. Covers to be exact. Once upon a time I hated covers. Sure there were a couple songs out there I enjoyed, but for the most part I just couldn't stand listening to them. Now a days I'll give any band or singer a try especially when it comes to Seether (the love of my life).

Sometimes though I'll stumble across a cover that reminds me of why I disliked them for so long. I got a text earlier this week from my best friend Shell telling me Brett Michaels did a cover of Sublime's What I Got. I immediately had to hear it.

I've never been a huge Brett Michaels fan, but the dude has a giood voice so I was willing to give him a try even though Shell told me it wasn't that good. I went to Youtube with an open mind and came out with bleeding ears. From the intro to the guitar to the "mother-truckin' riot" - it's just bad. If you haven't heard it for yourself yet, click here to give it a spin.

I thought about doing a post of other covers that make my ears bleed, but I decided one bad cover was enough for the week so instead I'm sharing five random favorites of mine.

1. Seether covering Amy Whinehouse's Rehab

- Seether can do no wrong in my eyes. I love how they are always covering the most random songs.

2. The Grateful Dead covering Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away

- I've literally been listening to the Dead since I was in the womb. I adore Buddy Holly so this cover just does it for me.

3. Audra Mae covering Bob Dylan's Forever Young

- This song is absolutely beautiful. I first heard it at the end of Sons of Anarchy and have been in love with it ever since.

4. Social Distortion covering Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire

- Cash is the man. There's not doubt about it, but this fast paced spin makes me jump around and sing at the top of my lungs.

5. Framing Hanley covering Lil Wayne's Lollipop

I'm not a big rap fan. I was a semi rap fan in high school, but my main love has always been for rock. I actually heard this cover before I heard the original song. It's just awesome.

So how about you? Is there a cover that makes your ears bleed or a cover that you are head over heels with?


Sunday, August 1, 2010

July's Top Commenter Winner!

Congrats Trisha! You won one book of your choice (under $15) from the Book Depository! I sent you an email - please get back to me by Tuesday night. 

ANNOUNCEMENT: After thinking about this contest a bit more I decided to change things a bit. Since it's a MONTHLY contest I've decided that only comments during the current month we are in will count. I'll be keeping track of all comments myself in a spreadsheet. I know with the widget you can see where you're at in comments, but if everyone wants I can make the spreadsheet public. Also don't forget some posts will have extra points in them! Thanks again for participating guys and gals!