W.W.W. Wednesday (Nov-5)

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.  All you have to do is answer these 3 questions: 

1. What are you currently reading?

2. What did you recently finish reading?

3. What do you think you’ll read next?

I am reading “The Other Half of Me” by Emily Franklin
I am finished reading “Motor Mouth” by Janet Evanovich
I am next reading “Hades” by Alexandra Adornetto

Previous Wednesdays:  Nov-1Nov-3

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Teaser Tuesday (Nov-5)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Should Be Reading. Share the title & author, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!!!

Set Me Ablaze by Isabel Sharpe

Up close his muscle-packed T-shirt defined masculinity. But then, he could probably define masculinity in a tutu and pink ballet slippers.

“I’m sure if an ogre-woman was attacking me, you’d have taken her out, too.”

 Previous Teasers: Nov-1Nov-2Nov-3Nov-4

What Your Kids Are Reading Part 4

Last week Part 3 (WYKAR3) was about how a parent can use simple questions about books to give an indication of what is going on in their teenager’s life. Young adults are a puzzle to their parents, and even a non-answer can help parents learn about their offspring. But an actual answer can be an indication of the child testing the water for a conversation.

HOW TO DISCUSS BOOKS WITH YOUR TROUBLESOME TEEN?

As I mentioned before, a parent asking their teenager for help or advice can be a good thing. Yes, the kid might refuse to answer… but if they give a reply, a parent needs to know what they should do.

Taking the same question, “I need a new book to read, what do you suggest?”. This isn’t something that will have an immediate result, they might not answer the first few times. You shouldn’t give up, but you should probably only ask this question every couple months at the most. Otherwise, your teen will realize you are just using it as a gimmick to worm your way into their lives, rather than being truly interested in their opinions.

If your kid does, in fact, eventually give you a title you need to be sure to listen to what they say. Write it down, send yourself a reminder text, have it tattooed on your forehead, but whatever you do make sure to remember what the book is called.

And then read it.

Chances are it is just the first book that popped into their head and your teen is just using it to give you a quick answer so they can go on with their lives, but by showing them you actually listened to what they said, they may realize you will listen to them about other things. If your kid is just giving you random titles to get you to leave them alone, eventually they are going to have to start researching books to tell you.

They might do an online search for random or obscure novels, which could eventually lead them to find something of interest to them and thus starting a love of reading. If you can’t find their book suggestion, be sure to ask them where you might get it or how they found it. This might lead to them showing you how to do effective Internet searches and the start of “lessons” for you with your kid, your discovering they have a proficiency in electronics that you can encourage, or the planning of a road trip together to go buy the book.

On the other hand, they might ask their friends to give them suggestions, which will get the teenagers discussing books among themselves. At worst, the friends will raid their parents’ shelves for titles and then you will know a bit more about their friends’ families that your teen would otherwise not bother to mention. Then again, it also might cause your kids and their friends to become more interested reading novels –even inappropriate ones- than an interest in going to wild parties or trying drugs. Even if your own teenager doesn’t become a reader, it just might influence someone else’s kid to be.

Your offspring might give you a name of a book as a test, telling you something they may or may not have read themselves but feel you will not approve of. By reading that novel you will know what kind of knowledge your kid is being exposed to without trying to pick their brains and causing an argument about invasion of privacy. Even if the book is inappropriate, don’t freak out at them, as that will only cause them to feel vindicated for their attitude rather than discovering they can talk to you about various subjects without an imminent explosion.

Eventually, your kid may begin to give you book suggestions that truly matter to them. Novels that deal with issues they are also dealing with in their own lives, topics they want to learn about. If you have seen your kid reading many of the books they are now suggesting to you, see it as a way they are opening up to you and letting you into their lives little by little.

In fact, your offspring might start to take the time to think about you. They might learn that you are an individual who has thoughts and feelings and preferences, rather than just an evil pod person bent on destroying their lives. Your teenager might start looking for books they think you will like, so they can show you that they love and care about you too.

No matter what your kid suggests, even if you think you will hate it, try to read it anyways. At least your teenager will know you are making an attempt, and you also discover interest in a genre you would never have considered on your own. Once you read that book be sure to show a willingness to discuss the book with them, even if you just say one sentence about it at the dinner table.

If you couldn’t get past the second chapter, say so and tell them why. Don’t hesitate to make a fool of yourself by saying a book freaked you out or made you uncomfortable. They might laugh at you, but you could always ask them to suggest a different type of book. This will require them to give a little more consideration about their next answer.

Hopefully then your kid will realize they can talk to you, and you might begin to have discussions about what you are both reading.  By being willing to share an interest with them, they will feel more confident in being themselves and not feel the need to be secretive. Then, you might be surprised: your little rebel just might open up to you and have a conversation about other things that matter to them, too.

WYKAR1WYKAR2WYKAR3WYKAR4

 

Book Review: Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

Synopsis: While Chloe Parker thought she just became a contestant on an immersion documentary with a trivia contest, she was actually signing on for a Jane Austen-style reality dating show. How could a thirty-nine-year-old divorced woman with a daughter and a failing business become a debutante American heiress? The other seven contestants were all younger and much more likely to be chosen by Mr Wrightman, the show’s “Darcy”, thus winning the prize money and the man, but Chloe has something to prove…

Author: Karen Doornebos was an award-winning copywriter who lived in London, but this member of the North American Jane Austin Society eventually switched to tea and Chicago to write her first novel.

Cover: The front cover is split into three sections; the bottom is a faded depiction of an estate home, the central is the title information with some scrollwork, and the top is the bottom hem of a dress and the soles of a pair of shoes resting on the grass. Though I still cannot figure out why there is a woman lying on the lawn, the art is oddly eye catching.

Pages: Though the novel is not overly long at just over 300 pages, this is not a book that can be read in one sitting. And while the pages do not have that uncut feel to them, the outside edge is oddly more feathery than the usual laser cut –possibly attempting to give them a suggestion of being a hand-cut book like those mentioned within.

Hook: It is time-travel without the disbelief, and a pretty good look at how it would be should a modern female have been planted into a twisted version of a Jane Austen novel.

Setting: Placed in the English countryside, and mimicking the regency era fairly closely. There are no electronics, running water, or even deodorant. What there is consists of bedpans with rags, needlework, and horse-drawn carriages.

Pacing: While the 1800s had a much hectic pace than the 21st century, Chloe always managed to get into some form of hijinx that could make even the tedium of the 19th century become amusing.

Romance: It may seem unlikely that a woman would fall in love with brothers, and that they in turn might both feel some affection back, but when you are stranded at a house party –consisting of eight women, two men, and a bunch of servants- it vastly limits your choices.  Not to mention, there is a large sum of money at stake that depends on attaining the ever-elusive and most coveted proposal. Somehow, this book makes it work though a bit more believable in some relationships than in others.

Personal Thoughts: While not quite the expected fairy-tale, or rather Jane Austin-esque, ending that is expected of a romance, it is still very hopeful and thus redeeming the finish. I did not quite like how the finale was unfolding, but the very last page actually makes a sequel more possible than the anticipated close would have.

Quote: “It’s not about the manners. It’s about the man… Or maybe it’s about the money”

The Verdict: It is quirky and fun; a great read that depicts the brutal reality of living in the regency era along side the beautiful gowns and swoon-worthy gallantry. I do hope there will be a continuation of Chloe’s misadventures in England.

How would you do if you were living in the year 1812? Could you survive or would you rather stick to cars and cell phones? 

 Previous Reviews: A Scottish Ferry TaleArrangedClickLost Duke of Wyndham,  Rushed to the Alter

Teaser Tuesday (Nov-4)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Should Be Reading. Share the title & author, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!!!

definitely not mr darcy by karen doornebos

I was never very good at thresholds –being carried over them or otherwise.

 I suppose it follows that if one has never fainted before, one never will. When a lady doesn’t faint, as you clearly haven’t, I recommend a brief rest in her boudoir.

 He tipped his hat and, gentleman that he was, made no comment about her so obviously ogling him from her perch. 

 Previous Teasers:

What Your Kids Are Reading Part 3

In part 2 of my series (WYKAR2) I mentioned a way to make time for your kids –if only to discuss books- and how that could impact their lives for the better. But if you have older children who are asserting their independence a different route may become necessary.

HOW CAN YOU USE BOOKS TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR TEENAGER?

I was considered a rebellious teen. And before you think I snuck out of the house to drink, do drugs, or mess around with boys, you can think again. My doting parent freaked out if I wanted to wear skirts above the knee, date boys, go out with friends for karaoke or dancing, and reading the Harlequin novels.

Because my every action was met with lectures and yelling and grounding and more rules I found absurd, I did not feel like I could talk to my parents about anything and didn’t bother trying. I found myself with no one to turn to for reasonable and responsible conversation, and that could have turned out rather badly… but thankfully I buried myself in books, and learned a lot more that way than my close-minded parents could have taught me.

Other teens like me could feel it impossible to discuss things with their parents, or find themselves too embarrassed to voice their concerns face-to-face, or they just may think it “uncool” to talk to their parental units. What you need to do is find a way you and your offspring are comfortable with to keep an ongoing dialogue. Plenty of kids have an obsession with the Internet, so you could use that and consider writing emails to each other or even suggest that they start their own book blog! Just be open to whatever they have to say and be willing to discuss it reasonably.

If your kids are starting to distance themselves from you don’t pester them, but leave their special time (see WYKAR2) free for when they are ready to come to you. Just let them know you truly are always available when they need you, and keep the airways open by asking the right questions.

If your kid doesn’t respond or gets mad when you ask things about them, like “how was school?” or “how did soccer practice/debate club go today?” or “how were things at your job?” it is time to try something new. Try finding a way that they can help you so they still feel a part of your life without feeling like you are invading their privacy.

“I need a new book to read, what do you suggest?” is a pretty decent question to ask and can tell you a lot about what is going on in your child’s life.

If your kid refuses to answer:
(a) They are still mad at you for the fight you had recently.
(b) They have interests outside of books, and can’t believe you’re ignorant of that.
(c) They don’t have a favourite book because have trouble reading.

If the answer is Option A you and your kid have obviously left something unresolved and a discussion about that is needed. Yes, teens are far more likely to think their parents are being unreasonable, but teenagers need to know the why behind your decision, and not just a “because I said so”. If you do, your kid will feel you’re being hypocritical for various reasons. First, because they have to explain their actions to you but you don’t feel like you need to explain yours to them. And if you’ve ever pulled out the “would you jump off a bridge if they asked you?” in regards to peer pressure, well, what about parental pressure? You’re essentially asking them to do something they think is crazy because you haven’t taken the time to explain it with them.

Option B means you need to take the time to discover your child’s likes and dislikes, so they know you care enough to learn about their preferences. That way you can give them the encouragement and support they need, rather than making your kid feel like you are trying to force them into being someone they are not. Also, try to find a way to share that interest with them in a non-invasive way. If they like athletic activities you could attend their games, competitions, or recitals. If they are into cinematography, let them hold monthly “screenings” in your living room for their friends and family. If they want to be an author, take them to book fairs and author signings.

Or with Option C, you can subtly take the time to discover if a reading impairment is the reason they dislike books, are slower then their peers in class, why they are getting failing grades. A lot of literacy issues go unnoticed because no one takes the time to find out why youngsters do or act the way they are. Then, if your kid has a difficulty you can find them the help they need to overcome it and support them through it all.

NEXT WEEK: How to Discuss Books with Your Troublesome Teen (WYKAR4)

WYKAR1WYKAR2WYKAR3WYKAR4

Books In My Mailbox (Nov-4)


This meme is hosted by The Story Siren.

Being a big fan of Jane Austin, be it the books or the movies, when I saw this novel at the library I couldn’t resist picking it up:

definitely not mr darcy by karen doornebos

This novel seems to be the cross between a Jane Austin tale and a reality dating show; eight women are completing to win the proposal of Mr Wrightman, a British Lord, while pretending to live in 1812. Let the hilarity commence…

 Previous IMM: Nov-1Nov-2, Nov-3