Writing & Publishing

Book Club: Review of Thirteen Reasons Why

I have been without internet for a few days, but we made it to Illinois! I’ll be posting more on our trip later! (Including how I ended up stuck in a cemetery on moving day and how the rabbit was free and under my seat in the truck most of the trip!)

For now, here is a book review: (Be sure to friend me on Goodreads where I post my reviews!)

Thirteen Reasons Why

by Jay Asher (Goodreads Author)

Tina Russo Kinney‘s review

Apr 30, 2017

 

Have you ever wanted to love a book but just couldn’t? I REALLY wanted to love this book. It had been brought to my attention twice in the past week, so I bought it off Amazon and had it shipped. As soon as it arrived, I started reading. By the time I finished the book, I almost hated it!

The book is about a teenage girl who has killed herself. Before committing suicide, she makes a set of tapes explaining the reasons why she killed herself, and the people leading her to commit suicide.

Let me say the book is well written. The first 2/3 of the book had me captivated. Then I found out the reason why the main character was part of the tapes.

I felt cheated.

The main character did nothing wrong. The reason he was on the tapes was quite cliche. At this point I considered putting the book down, but I was quite vested. I read to the end, but was extremely disappointed. I think I held out to hear the last reason amd hoped it would make it all worth the read. I was even more let down by the last reason why!

As someone who has a mental illness, I understand first hand the feeling of wanting to be dead. I understand the thoughts of suicide. None of the reasons given by Hannah Baker deemed ending her life. The girl really needed some perspective. The character also needed more reason to struggle with suicidal ideologies. I know high school can be rough, but none of the stories warranted the feeling one needs to die to escape their pain.

The back of the book included the first chapter of the next book by Asher. At first I was excited to read the sample chapter. By the time I finished this book, I did not bother to read the start of the next one. I had been too let down.

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Life

The Love of a (Great) Grandmother

I love my grandmother like you wouldn’t believe! She’s a strong, hard working, caring person, and I just love her to death. I apparently was a complete shit-head to her growing up because she thought a box of musical “equipment” as we shall call it, for my children, was necessary.

Let’s back up.

Over Christmas break we stayed at my dad’s house for a few days. He has a player piano, the type you put the music in and it plays itself. My father probably knows three songs he can actually play, but the music coming out of the piano is impressive because it plays off the player music you put in.

Talia thinks this is cool as all hell. My dad likes to put her up on the piano bench with him and pretend to play. At 2 am on Christmas Eve, when Talia could not sleep for whatever reason, she decided to start playing the piano at my dad’s. My mother (who is divorced from my father) and grandmother think this is hysterical. Meanwhile, my father and his girlfriend think giving Talia a drum for Christmas is also cool….

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I’m not really sure what I did to deserve this ย but I must have been a miserable teenager and didn’t know it because that drum was filled with other musical instruments as well.

Anyway, last week my grandmother is out with my mother and she sees a keyboard. Apparently she thought Talia needed said keyboard, based on her 2 am escapade at my dad’s house.

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Talia LOVES this thing (apparently Tremor thinks it’s cool, too, as you see in the picture.)

Now look at this picture of my grandmother with Talia and Liam. See how innocent this little, old, Italian grandma looks? Don’t be fooled my friends….

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Not toย leave anyone out, my grandmother got something for Liam as well. Here’s where life fell apart last night.

Having to work in the morning (yes, I’ve gone back to work, but that is a whole other post), I was less than happy when Liam decided to wake up in the middle of the night and Bill just would not wake up. I climb over Bill and spend a great deal of time trying to get Liam back to sleep. The toy my grandmother bought him is in the crib with him, so I turn it on. It lights up on the “screen” but it also projects an image onto the ceiling for him to stare at. Liam LOVES this. I set the music mode to jungle sounds, and he drifts off to sleep. Success….or so I think.

I leave the timer on 20 minutes thinking it just shuts off like a normal child’s toy. Oh no my friends…..the toy goes off, and then 20 minutes later it comes back on! The picture is back on my ceiling, and the thing is now playing baby freaking show-tunes. Bill is between us, so after I’m startled awake, I now have to climb over a sleeping Marine to get to my kid…and the toy.

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I don’t even have to get the image going the right way for you to see how annoying this is for me.

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Here is the image of Liam’s “friends” on the ceiling. You can see how scary they are, right?

There are at least a dozen buttons and switches on this thing and none of them seem to want to shut the whole thing down. Liam is now awake, and we are back to square one….only now Bill is awake and wants to know why the baby is playing Nintendo. I inform him he’s not helping, the baby is not in-fact playing Nintendo, and Bill rolls over so I can be between them. Once I get the thing shut off, Liam doesn’t want to go back to sleep until I get that stupid image of those smug looking cartoons back on the ceiling. ARGH! Dogs are also now awake and wanting to know what is happening, so they all start rotating on and off the bed.

This whole thing carries on for well over an hour. By the time everyone is asleep and happy, my alarm clock goes off. I honestly thought about calling my grandmother at one point, and just giving Liam the phone to scream into. I don’t want her to miss out on all the excitement since she started this whole thing in the first place. (I’m totally kidding, though she has a cell phone now and can’t work it. It would be a wasted call.)

Thankfully there was a counterbalance in the mail today. I was able to sign both kids up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. As if we need another reason to love Dolly, she has a program for children through age 5 to receive an age appropriate book every month, free of charge. When Talia was born, our zip code did not qualify, but just before Liam came, our zip code was included, so I signed them both up! Talia has received a few books, and Liam got his first one today! Talia came running and sat down as soon as I started reading!

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As you can see, he thought this was pretty cool! We’ve read it a few times, and I’m sure we will be reading it a lot more before the next book comes. He also got a lot of great books for Christmas, so he won’t be tired of any one book anytime soon!

I’m off to try and get some sleep to make up for the escapades last night. Right now I have the toy in the crib, with the directions close by! The moral of the story…be nice to your parents and grandparents because payback comes in the form of musical instruments and

Life · Writing & Publishing

Why You’re Not Getting A Christmas Gift From Me!

It was another crazy week at our house, but what else is new? That said, you won’t be hearing much from me this weekend. I have a literary agent asking for the first 50 pages of Literary Crazy. (EEEEK!) I will be spending my weekend working on polishing this and taking care of Diesel….which brings me to “Why you’re not getting a Christmas gift from me….”

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This is Diesel. He is a chocolate Labrador and will be 18 next month. YES! 18 years old! That’s OLD for a dog, especially a large breed like a Lab.

While Diesel will be fine in a few weeks, the cast on his arm came in at the tune of $978.00.

Diesel and Baker, our mutt, have been fighting for Alpha Dog position since Bill and I merged our packs. Ultimately Diesel won (not without a few stitches and one drain to the face for Baker) but as Diesel gets older, we think Baker senses Diesel getting weaker and wants to now finally move up to numero uno.

I don’t know what provoked the fight. I was inside while all the dogs were out in the HUGE yard (they had plenty of room to not bother each other). I heard the fight and ran out side to find Baker had Diesel pinned to the ground. In the dark, I had to step in-between two fighting dogs and pull Baker off Diesel. Of course Bill wasn’t home, but after I called for about the tenth time, he answered and came home to take Diesel to the Emergency Vet. I’m pretty sure we will be paying rent on our file soon enough.

Bill and I aren’t into making Christmas commercial anyway, not to mention we are trying to buy a house…oh, and did I mention Diesel’s vet bill was almost one grand???

So if there was any doubt about getting a gift from me this holiday season, you can rest assured I’m only shopping for the kids this year!

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Do you have any plans? While I’ll be working on Literary Crazy all weekend, I am still on track for Monday Book Club. (It’s a short book this week!) Let’s meet back here on Monday!

Writing & Publishing

Book Club: The Girl on the Train

BOOK CLUB IS BACK!

I finally feel as though I have my $hi+ together enough to return to book club. Liam is still sleeping decently and Talia naps well, giving me time to read and write. I’m also a bit more organized since we found everyone a routine. Also, I am finally back to not needing to nap each day either. Thank goodness! That was getting old!

While we were in Illinois last week, I picked up the book “The Girl on the Train.” I had heard great things about the movie, and the book nerd in me wanted to know about the book. I’m happy to report, the book did not disappoint!

Rachel Watson rides the train each day past her old house and the home of the mysterious new neighbors down the street. Distraught over her divorce from Tom, she spends her days drinking away her sorrows on the train and focusing on the couple at house number 23 (she used to live at 15). The couple she watches each morning seem to have it all. Rachel has imaginary names and lives for them, and wishes she had what they had, until the train stops for less than a minute and she sees something that will change her life forever!

I’m not normally a reader of thrillers, but I may start exploring this genre more! I could not put this book down. The characters are well developed and the plot is character driven. I found myself not wanting to put the book aside until I had more answers. With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday, I still managed to read the book in 4 days because I HAD to know the truth. The author, Paula Hawkins managed to take a clip of less than a minute in the lifetime of a bystander on the train and turn it into a fabulous read.

There were two things I found frustrating with the book. One is stupidly silly. The author is from England and there were several words in the book I had no idea of the translation. For example, the off-license is a liquor store (packy, package store, ABC store, etc.) Thankfully the context around most words I did not know made it easy to figure out.

The second thing I found a bit irritating was the timeline. The book is told from the point of view of three characters and the timeline jumps around. You MUST pay attention to the date at the start of every chapter. Each person is telling the story from a different place in time, and it sometimes goes back several months from what you just read.

In the end, I highly recommend this book and give it the full 5 out of 5 stars. I was really excited when my niece said she had picked up the book over the weekend and was already drawn into the story.

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Because the book has been such a best seller, I imagine Ms. Hawkins will be writing another thriller. I won’t wait until it’s in mass market paperback, or a movie, to read it! I may see the movie out of curiosity, but the book was so good, I hate to ruin it!

What have you been reading? Share in the comments!

Military Spouse Life

Monday Book Club (On Tues)

This week we are talking about Dawn by Elie Wiesel. A few weeks ago I read Night and LOVED it. I have to say, I did not feel the same passion with this book as I did Night.

While Night was narrative non-fiction, Dawn was complete fiction. The main character, Elisha, is a Holocaust survivor tasked with killing a British officer at Dawn. While in the book Night, the main character was faced with the possibility of being killed, the follow up story takes the opposite side. Throughout the novel (which is rather short and probably has the word count of a novella) the main character is struggling with the task of having to be the executor.

The story is well told and the conflict is clear, I just did not enjoy this work as much as I did his original. Because it is well written and his author voice clearly defined, I would still give this book 4/5 stars. I had rated Night as 5/5 because I could not put it down. Maybe it speaks to writing about things we live through, versus the mind of a creative person. I’m not sure. I still would recommend reading this after you read Night.

I wanted to write a note about Book Club. As I enter my third trimester of pregnancy, please do not hold it against me if I do not post a book review each week. I would love to continue finishing a book a week, but sometimes it is just not possible! I do want to encourage you to keep reading and share with us in the comments about the book(s) you are working on! I will continue to post regularly on the blog (as well as my Children’s Blog: Little BookWorm Blog. I am balancing pregnancy (which makes me incredibly tired) and my own writing, which has made me push reading to the side a bit….just for now!

Military Spouse Life

My Child The Rock Star Fish

It’s official, Talia can no longer go out without her sunglasses….she’s famous!

Sort of!

With all the pets we have, we should really have our own parking space at our veterinarians office. I LOVE our vet. He and his daughter take the absolute best care of our zoo.

We stopped in the other morning to pick some items up and The Citadel mascot, a bull dog named “Boo” was there for a checkup because she is pregnant with some pups. The local paper was there taking pictures, and Talia got in on the fun. Yesterday, we saw the article on the front page of the local newspaper!

Of course, the timing could not be funnier. I JUST got finished a four month fight with The Post and Courier and now my kid is in the paper. The P&C has an insert they toss in everyone’s driveway every Tuesday morning in a plastic bag (because of the perpetual rain in Charleston.) We do not read this insert. It’s not an actual paper. It is essentially garbage. I guess the idea is they want to entice you to subscribe to the paper. About 4 months ago I started calling each week and asking them to stop. If everyone who did not read the silly insert did this, we would cut down on the waste in our area. I’m not a super tree-huger or anything, I just don’t like paper being wasted, not to mention the plastic bags. Every Tuesday they threw it in our drive, and every Tuesday I called. Then I started emailing. Then I started calling supervisors. FINALLY, this past Tuesday, no paper. By Saturday, Talia was IN the paper! Anyway!

Here is the link!

Here is Talia going out of the house in style…

So to celebrate, we had lunch at Olive Garden….because, bread sticks…

Daddy is serious about Talia’s coloring skills. Also, big shout out to my goofball cousin, Joey, whom Talia calls “Uncle Joey.” He was drinking a martini the other night and did not give Talia the olives. So, in pure Talia style, she took the extra bowl of olives the server brought her, and then proceeded to put the ones she was not going to eat, in daddy’s drink. I guess she thinks olives go in drinks now. Thanks, Joey…..

Today we were invited to a pool party at my friend Missy’s house. Missy and I took Talia to meet Trisha Yearwood and her sister when the Garth and Trisha concert came to town. Sadly, I did not get to go to the concert. I was so so busy with the bakery, we had to give away our tickets (it was Valentine’s weekend….we were slammed!)

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Missy and her hubby have an in-ground pool, and Talia firmly believes she is a fish….

Also, it is worth mentioning, we gained a new family “foster” this weekend. I say foster because I’m still fighting to not keep it.

Last night our next door neighbors called Bill at about 9:30. They wanted to know if one of our cats got out because they had a “cinnamon colored” cat over at their house. All three of ours were accounted for, but because they are older, Bill offered to take a few pictures to post on the Facebook page for our neighborhood. I told him to not dare come back with a cat. He kept the promise he made to leave the cat there as he ran out the door. When he came back, he revealed a picture of a kitten only weeks old and NOT cinnamon colored.

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The kitten could not be any cuter, but I was instantly sure it was a stray. It’s only a few weeks old…maybe 8?

I was relieved Bill had not brought the cat home….but sure enough, at 11:00 pm, the damn phone rang again. I didn’t even have to ask…I knew it was Ted next door. He told Bill his cat was trying to kill the kitten and asked us to come get it. Bill tore out the door, carrier in hand, and brought back the cat.

One of the things I LOVE about my husband is his caring heart…..that caring heart however has already brought home too many pets. It’s been here 24 hours now. No one on the Facebook page is claiming the cat and Bill went and named it. He’s calling it “Puck” like a hockey puck, because he’s all over the place! He also let Talia play with it. I have a feeling I am going to lose the battle of the Puck….

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Despite all the activity around our house, I’ve managed to get a LOT of writing done on my novel for Camp NaNoWriMo. Tomorrow (Monday the 4th) I will talk a bit more about it during Book Club. I will review the book I read over the week and talk about the passing of Elie Wiesel. Be sure to sign up to get notifications in your email box each time I post!

For my American friends celebrating this weekend, please have a SAFE and fun weekend!