Waiting on Wednesday (Feb-4)

 ”Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine,
that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

 

I have been in love with the Cynster novels for years, and have a large collection of the books. I was ever so pleased to discover  there is now an offshoot of this series based on an even younger generation of Cynsters, and sisters as well.

Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie Laurens

The first novel in this trilogy actually came out in the summer, but I’d not even heard of it until just before Christmas. I am lucky that the library has it, but I’m on a rather long list of all those who also want to read it!

 Previous Waiting: Feb-1Feb-2Feb-3

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Teaser Tuesday (Feb-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!!!

The Nanny Bombshell by Michelle Celmer

“If you try to kiss me, you will be wearing the family jewels for earrings.”

“She was always happy… and it was infectious. You could not be in the same room and not feel like smiling.” 

 Previous Teasers: Jan-5Feb-2Feb-3

Book Review: Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry

It has been just over one month since the debut of Blue Sky Days! I had promised the author I would review her novel, but then I realized it would be practically impossible to do so. I was one of the editors for her book, I saw this go through various stages as a manuscript before it ever became the ebook it is today, however would I manage an unbiased review?

So I am saying this upfront that this analysis of Blue Sky Days may not be completely impartial and will probably be more about the difference from when I first saw this book-to-be to the book-that-is.

Synopsis: Emma Ward is a nineteen-year-old girl with no direction. She has spent her whole life doing what her mother wants that Emma now has no idea what she wants for herself. On a journey to find a life of her own, Emma goes to visit her quirky Aunt Daisy and ends up meeting Nicholas. Emma falls crazy in love and finds happiness in the small town, but when Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer Emma learns what it is to be strong.

Author: Marie Landry is a small town girl with big dreams of becoming an author. Not wanting to wait to get her stories to the public, Marie is self-publishing her debut novel Blue Sky Days.

Writing Style: Marie has a tendency to use a repetitive sentence-structure, yet she is consistent with it and seems to take on a modus operandi aspect. She also strictly adheres to using the word “said” for every characters’ speech, but in doing so it prevents the necessity of thinking up a variety of creative ways to say the same exact thing and it works.

Editor’s Note: The first draft I saw was pretty good, but comparing it to the final draft that passed through my hands is like the difference between an A-class major motion film and a B-rated flick. The end product just took on a je ne sais quoi aura that gave the novel real “it” factor that was missing in its earlier entities.

Plot: This story-line is rather two-fold in that it has intertwining and equally important tales to tell. The first is Emma’s quest for a discovery of self; bildungsroman in that it is about the heroine growing up. The second is the love story between Emma and Nicholas -very “meet cute” boy sees girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl have an obstacle to overcome.

Location: The novel starts in a suburb near Toronto, but moves northward to Riverview where Emma’s Aunt Daisy lives. This small town is a throw-back to the fifties and has not only a slower pace, but a friendlier vibe than the big city.

Character: Let me put it this way, Nicholas will give any storybook hero a run for their money. He is like the dream boyfriend that every girl wishes for, and every parent will approve of as the love of their daughter’s life. He is kind, loving, brave, supportive, chivalric, and just plain ol’ swoon-worthy.

Point of View: This novel is told in first-person though the eyes and mind of Emma Ward. Emma’s written voice seems to be a cross between telling what happened as though it were in the past and telling it as it happens like its occurring in the present making for an interesting way of “talking” to the reader.

Character Development: Emma flat-out states from the beginning that she is a boring and studious person, though we never really see that. The Emma that the reader is introduced to is one that is struggling to find her way into life.  As the novel progresses Emma goes through different experiences that bring a change in her, it is gradual and believable as the reader is experiencing it alongside Emma.

Romance: Emma and Nicholas have the kind of relationship I’d always wanted myself; the improbable love-at-first-sight-instant-meeting-of-souls phenomenon that steadily grows into an enduring and lasting forever type of love which only happens when two people truly know each other. It is the end result you get when you take Romeo and Juliet combined with The Notebook.

Theme: If there is a moral to this story, it has to be either “Never give up” or “Love concurs all”.

DiY: Emma gets an interest in photography when she picks up an old camera and starts playing around with it, only to find out she has a talent for the art. Rummage around your own home to find a camera and go try to capture the same photos that Emma takes or whatever else catches your eye.

Note to Reader: Make sure you have snacks on hand when you read this book, because it can and will make you hungry with all the delicious-sounding food that is mentioned throughout.

Quote: “When I close my eyes and try to picture myself in a few years, it’s just blank.”

The Verdict: Blue Sky Days is a wonderful novel that is a privilege to read. It is commercial enough to have been company-published, but intensely personal in the way self-published books can be.  If you like romance and chick lit, young adult, or Lurlene McDaniel novels, then you will like this one.

 Previous BSD posts: TeaserW0WMarie Landry Interview

Writerly Questions with Marie Landry

Just over a year ago an old classmate of mine asked if I would be willing to take a look at the novel she was planning to self-publish. I was just finishing up my last few months in my publishing program and thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to see how I liked being an editor. A few months later Marie Landry published her book Blue Sky Days. Now Marie is once again sitting back down with me to talk about the process.

How would you summarize your book in one sentence? Blue Sky Days is a story about life, love, friendship, family, strength, and courage.

How long did it take you to write this book? When I originally wrote it in 2004, it took me a month. When I rewrote it in 2011, it took me about another month to add 50,000 words, and several months to revise and edit.

How many drafts do you go through? Countless, it seems. I think there were four or five for Blue Sky Days. Maybe more. I didn’t think I’d ever finish!

When do you write best, in the morning, afternoon, or at night? I’m a night owl, so it used to be that I did most of my writing late at night, but now that I work from home, I write most of the day. I think I still get more accomplished late at night when there are less distractions.

Where is your favorite place to write? My desk in my bedroom/office. I have everything I need there.

What do you drink or eat while you write? I usually have a cup of coffee and/or a glass of water with me while I’m writing. I don’t usually eat while I’m writing, because I’m so busy typing that the food would just sit there!

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind? It’s very rare that I listen to music while I’m writing. I’m a musical person, so I find it too distracting, because I want to sing or dance along. If I’m really in the zone, I can have music on very quietly in the background, or if I’m going for a certain mood in the story, I’ll turn the music on, and it’s almost always U2.

What do you wear when you write? Anything comfortable. Pajamas, yoga pants and tshirts, that sort of thing. I’m almost always barefoot, because I hate wearing socks. I sit for very long periods of time at the computer, so I need to be comfortable.

How do you plot? Chapter by chapter or an overall synopsis? Do you use detailed outlines? I usually get an idea, grab a notebook and pen, or get on my computer and write down all the ideas that come into my head. Sometimes it’s the basic outline for the book from beginning to end, and other times it’s just the beginning and a few little bits and pieces, along with some possible dialogue, and character traits. I don’t think I’ve ever gone chapter by chapter, because once I get going the characters usually take over anyway!

How do you decide which narrative point of view to write from? It’s not usually a conscious decision, it just happens. I’ll sit down to write, and it’s either ‘I’ or ‘She’, and I go with it. I think I prefer third person, because it’s easier to show things from other people’s perspectives, and with first person, other people’s thoughts and feelings are speculation. It really just depends on the story.

How do you choose your characters’ names? That’s always one of the hardest parts for me, and it usually comes after the drafting. With my current project, I had ten pages of notes written, and it was days later that I finally decided on character names. I usually just sit down and run through a mental list of my favorite names, or sometimes if I have a favorite character from a movie or TV show at that moment, I might go with that. I also have a baby name book that I bought when I was about ten, and sometimes I’ll go through that for ideas.

Who is the first person that gets to read your manuscript? My mum, always. She’s my biggest fan and supporter, and having been a teacher, she’s also a spelling, grammar, and punctuation fanatic, so she’s a terrific proofreader.

How do you organize your library/book collection? There’s really no rhyme or reason to it. I have books grouped on small shelves all over my apartment, and I usually put them together based on my favorites. My Harry Potter books are with my Narnia books. I have classics on one shelf, and childhood favorites on another. Newer books are usually grouped with favorites first, then the ones I haven’t read in the order I want to read them.

Did you always want to be a writer? Yes, always. For as long as I can remember, it’s all I ever wanted to do.

If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be? Harry Potter. JK Rowling is an absolute genius in my opinion. I have a wild imagination, but it’s nothing compared to hers.

If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you ask? I know a lot of other people might say Austen or Dickens or Shakespeare, but I’ve always wanted to talk to Nora Roberts and JK Rowling. I admire their writing so much, I’d just love to sit down with them and pick their brains. I have so many questions I’d want to ask, I don’t even know where I’d begin.

If you could be any character from any book, who would you be? It’s a toss-up between Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, and Hermione from Harry Potter. I love Anne because she led this fairly simple life, but she had such a vivid imagination, she was able to live a life that seemed anything but ordinary. Plus, I love Prince Edward Island, and I was always in love with Gilbert. As for Hermione, I’d love to go to Hogwarts, be as smart as she is, and have her magical powers. Plus, again, I always loved Ron.

What is the best gift someone could give a writer? Time alone with no distractions!

What is the best advice someone could give a writer? Follow your dreams and never, ever give up. If you want it bad enough, don’t let anyone or anything stop you.

What’s your favourite city in the world? Locally, I’d have to say Kingston or Toronto, Ontario. There’s so much to see and do, and they’re both so rich with history. Internationally, I’d say Paris. I only spent three days there when I was 17, but I’d give anything to go back and redo everything I did, plus all the things I didn’t get to do.

If you would like to check out her blog tour, go here.

 Previous BSD posts: Teaser, W0W

Waiting on Wednesday (Feb-3)

 ”Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine,
that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week is devoted to the wonderful debut author Marie Landry who self-published her first book called Blue Sky Days. Sadly she has no other novel ready to be published yet, but she is currently working on another! Marie won’t share the details of her new story with all of us fans yet, but has said she is about half-way finished the first draft.  Apparently the characters have minds of their own, but she hopes to give us a peak later in the process… so stay tuned on her blog!

 Previous Waiting: Dec-4Jan-3Feb-1

Tuesday Teasers (Feb-3 )

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!!!

Blue Sky Days by Marie Landy

I felt like a pathetic shell of lost hopes and unfulfilled dreams. 

Life is like a swirl of colour.

 Previous Teasers: Jan-2Jan-3Jan-4, Jan-5

Book Review: Absolutely Positively by Heather Webber

Synopsis: Cupid has blessed all members of the Valentine family with the ability to see auras that help in matchmaking endeavours; Lucy however was struck by lightning and her ability changed from seeing auras to seeing missing items.  Combining her new ability with her family’s tradition/business, Lucy has set up a “Lost Loves” division with her boyfriend Sean, PI, to help find people’s old sweethearts… trouble is, one of those lost loves is also accused of murder.

Plot: The novel is a combination of three subplots where Lucy trying to find out what happened to Mac the missing man, locate Tristan the ex-con, and figure out who the mysterious “Lone Ranger” is.  Even with all the twists and turns and hints, the storyline is easy to follow.

Character: The homeless man is actually a very important piece of the novel. He may wear grubby clothes and speak only in rhyme, but he is always present when the “Lone Ranger” tosses cash in the courtyard and shops at the same consignment store that Mac has been known to frequent.

Romance: The relationship between Lucy and Sean already exists, but Lucy is still struggling with her fear that Sean will leave her. While the paranormal aspect of their coupledom is not very realistic –her seeing their future and him feeling her emotions- their effort to work through the obstacles of maintaining a relationship like anyone else is something everyone has to deal with.

Character Development: Lucy has a power she isn’t quite sure how to use, but by the end discovers a person who may be able to help. But the major change in Lucy is starting to move on from her fear that Sean will leave her, as all other loved ones of the Valentine’s have. Now she is beginning to deal with her worry that Sean’s heart problem will cause him to leave her in a different way.

Note to Reader: This is the third book in a series and, while still a novel that can stand alone, it would be so much easier to follow the family dynamics had the first two books been read previously.

Quote: He kissed me. A soul-searching, heart-pounding, all-out-curl-a-girl’s-toes kind of kiss.

The Verdict: An all around cute book. It has a dash of the paranormal, a bit of romantic comedy, and a touch of mystery. I just wish I knew there were two previous books in this series, and that the fourth was already out!

 Previous Reviews: Heaven ScentDiamond MineSheer DelightArrangedMatched