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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Writing & Publishing

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

I was off today, so with Bill on Spring Break, we took advantage of family time.

A few weeks ago, The Cat in the Hat came to visit our local Barnes & Noble. Here was Talia’s reaction (notice she was excited as long as he was at a distance!):

Then because my sweet friend Caroline was working and knew it was Talia’s birthday that weekend, she had them sing to her!

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The Cat gave her a cupcake, which she quickly took!

When we got close, she hung onto me for dear life (while I balanced Liam in the carrier!):

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Today the Cat wasn’t there for story time, but we did read Green Eggs and Ham. Talia loved it. She also enjoyed pinning the tail on Horton, and coloring after!

Do you have kids? What did you do for Dr. Seuss’ Birthday? What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book? I think mine has to be “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

The children are now in bed, so I’m off to work on my book proposal on the Old City Jail. Be sure to look back at the post from earlier this week for photographs!

 

Life

It Sounded Like A Good Idea…

Lots of things SOUND like a great idea, but then I get myself into whatever it is, and realize it wasn’t such a great idea after all. Prime example = getting my tubes tied sounded brilliant. The reality? Well, I’ll get to the horror of that in a moment.

Let us start at the beginning. In the beginning, lots of women walked around claiming to love being pregnant. They carried on about it being the best time of their life, their friends exclaimed how they were “glowing,” life was wonderful, and they were so sure they would be sad to see their bump go.

THIS IS A LIE.

I hated being pregnant. I got sick, I was always tired, I felt like a beached whale, and I was generally miserable the entire time.

Nothing about me glowed.

Nothing about me loved waddling around at high speeds, trying to get shit done during my short bursts of energy.

Nothing about me wanted the bump forcing me into perpetual yoga pants to stay  a bump.

I.WAS.MISERABLE.

I could go out on a limb and guess Bill was miserable too, but he as already affirmed this on more than one occasion….and to many people.

I digress. Here is a picture of the end product of the last pregnancy. Totally worth it! (Photograph by Selena Stoney – Newborn Photographer)

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When we were sure we were done having our own children (something I was never so sure of as I was when I was in labor both times) Bill and I decided we needed a more permanent method of birth control.

While I acknowledge our VA hospital here is one of the best available, I still don’t feel totally comfortable with a VA doctor near my husbands junk…with a knife.

So I said I would take the bullet (see what I did there? you know, since he’s the Marine…..anyway).

Thursday morning we packed up both kids and headed to the surgery center. I was fully prepared to go in, get my tubes tied, go home, and in a few hours resume my life.

WRONG!

I could not understand why they were making such a big deal about not driving, working, signing important papers, picking up the children, etc etc, until I was waking up from anesthesia. The only way I can describe the pain is it felt like a sumo wrestler had ripped out my girl parts and was jumping on them. At one point the nurse asked me about my pain on the pain scale of one to ten. (I’m dying and she wants me to think of a number between one and ten….seriously???!!!!)

I couldn’t really give her a number because I couldn’t think straight with the pain and the anesthesia, so I told her I had given birth naturally to both my kids and did not need medication, but now I needed ALL the medication. She then gave me some cocktail and I was out like a light again.

I don’t really know how I made it through childbirth without any medication, but a simple 30 minute procedure caused me to need more than one type of pain medication and to have to take some at home.

Bill called my boss and told him I was not going to work my day job on Friday. He was MORE than understanding. I guess he saw me trying to be a badass and already figured I would be out. I did however go to my night job. I supposed I technically went to work the next day, but I did have ample time to rest. Bill was awesome and took care of kids and everything else at home. I did a whole lot of sleeping (and not as much reading as I thought I would with all that time off).

So here we are on Sunday evening. I have so much I wanted to read tonight, and even more I wanted to write, but at 8:07, I’m turning in so I can work tomorrow. If the pain keeps me up tonight, I can think about what a great idea I thought this whole thing would be, and how wrong I really was. In the long run, having your tubes tied is better for someone with endometriosis (which I have had) and I won’t have to remember to take a pill every day, but dang…that shit hurts!

Please remind me of this next time I have another “brilliant” idea….

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  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 to 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

Writing & Publishing

Book Club: A Man Called Ove

Have you ever read a book only to spend days after you finish, feeling sad because you miss the characters? This is how I feel about the book A Man Called Ove. While most of the book will make you laugh, the end made me cry my eyes out and left me feeling sad because it was over!

An older gentleman named Ove has worked his entire life, following the rules, taking care of the house and car, as well as caring for his wife. An absolute stickler for the rules, Ove feels as though the world has gone mad for doing things such as driving in residential areas and leaving bicycles in unattended under signs stating not to leave bikes. After suffering several losses, Ove decides things would be better if he just ended his life. The majority of the book is spent on Ove trying to kill himself, though his plan is always foiled. The man is clearly the neighborhood grump, but within the first few pages, you can’t help but love Ove!

Despite trying numerous times to end his life, Ove finds himself needed by some unlikely people and one ragged cat. Once you meet Ove, it will become clear he is the only man in Sweden (the setting of the story and home to the author, Fredrik Backman) who can back up a U-Haul. This leads to the overly happy new family next door depending on Ove, only to find out he needs them just as much.

This book was not at all what I expected from the cover, but I found lovable characters I will miss! I can’t wait to see what else this author has written and anticipate more great character driven stories.

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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!

Life · Writing & Publishing

I’m Still Here!

Wow! It’s been a minute since I updated the blog…. So sorry!

It’s been a crazy month….and I’m exhausted. We are finally in the last trimester of pregnancy and I just have no energy. I HAVE to take a nap each day….which is making me look long and hard at my caffeine consumption from before getting pregnant. I really need to not drink so much caffeine when little Liam is out and it’s safe again.

So here’s the update!

 

Talia got to go on the ice for the first time:

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And took off as soon as she could the second go around…

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So when she turned 18 months, Daddy got her gloves and a stick:

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She’s obsessed!

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She loves being at the arena and was so excited to see Daddy play his first game.

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She loves swim class……yes, they finally took care of the kid who made himself sick so he didn’t have to get in the pool…

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She’s also enjoying her friend Wyatt being in town for summer vacation with his dad and step-mom!

When I’m not busy with Talia, I am working on my vegan sugar scrub business. It’s soap and sugar scrubs for the skin, made from sugar and essential oils (and other vegan products). I’m having a lot of fun with it. You can visit the new website here!

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I also was supposed to start school today. Even though I spent all of last Monday at the school making sure everything was in order, only to get to class today and get dropped. I’m furious and have been waiting all day to hear it’s been fixed. It was their error, so they should fix it, but I’m already worried about falling behind in math and now I’m missing class time.

Because I’ve been sick and really exhausted, I haven’t been reading much. I will hopefully get back to that soon. My mom got my novel back to me and the edits are all made. I’m working on sending out my query to agents! Hopefully one requests the full manuscript and then sends an offer of representation! It’s a bit more complicated than that, but I’m hopeful!

Phew, that’s a lot! What’s new with you?