Sunday, January 25, 2015

Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Goodreads says:

"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

I have read Fangirl and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.  So I wanted to give Attachments a chance.

Attachments has been waiting patiently on my Nook collecting digital dust (if there is such a thing).  Attachments takes place during the 1990's in 1999-2000.  Wow in 1999 I was a sophomore in high school nursing a crush.

Anyway, back to the book...

This was around the time when people were all nervous about what would on New Year's Eve.  We are introduced to 28 year old Lincoln who is an internet security officer at The Courier.  In other words it is his job to monitor employee's emails and Internet activity.

At first glance, this sounds creepy to sit and read other people's email.  However, it is Lincoln's job to send warnings when something in their email triggers the filter.  This sounds different from reading other people's profiles on social media.  This statements is up for debate.  I am pretty sure of it.

So what is so great about reading other people's email?  Lincoln gets pulled in by Beth and Jennifer's emails.  I will admit that Jennifer and Beth's online conversations are quite funny. Lincoln develops a crush on Beth and he can't bring himself to send the ladies warnings about their use of company email.

But there is another layer to this story. Lincoln is 28, hates his job, and he still lives at home with his mom.  I think that some ladies would find this to be a problem or would label him a mama's boy.

Lincoln's mom smothers and feeds him all the time.  And she is very protective of him.  Lincoln's friends seem to be moving on with their lives but Lincoln.  Even his Dungeon and Dragons friends are starting their own families.

Yeah, I know Lincoln, I know the feeling.  In some ways, I can relate to Lincoln because my friends and associates are moving on-have careers, starting families, and so far.  And I have been feeling left behind.

The most interesting thing was how Lincoln decides to find an apartment and move out.  He gradually moves out of mom's house because he doesn't know how to tell her.

The email thing reminds me of  that movie You Got Mail.

Attachments reminds me of a romantic comedy is it was an actual movie.  It turned out to be a pretty good novel.  So I will give it 4 out of 5 stars.

4 out of 5 Stars
Personal digital copy purchased from Amazon

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book Review: I Heart Band by Michelle Schusterman

Goodreads says:

Holly Mead’s first day of seventh grade isn’t going as planned. Her brother ruins her carefully chosen outfit, she’s almost late, and her new band director has some surprisingly strict rules. Worst of all, it seems like her best friend, Julia, has replaced her with Natasha, the pretty, smart, new French horn player! Holly is determined to get first chair, but Natasha is turning out to be some pretty stiff competition—and not just in band. Band might be a competition, but friendship isn’t—and Holly needs to figure it out before she loses Julia for good.

I normally don't read middle grade fiction and I haven't read it since middle school which was 20 years ago.  However, the main reason why I purchased and wanted to read I HEART BAND was because Michelle Schusterman use to be a contributing writer at, the online magazine I use to write for.. Since she is a former member of the Suite community, I wanted to show her my support.

I don't consider myself a band geek because I only lasted one year.  I played the clarinet and I was horrible. I couldn't play, I couldn't read the music, and my brother who was two at the time made fun of me.  In some ways I could relate to the characters.  I don't know how I even passed the class.  I was given A's or B's for effort I suppose.

Apparently I have forgotten about all of the drama that middle schoolers carry.

Holly is unhappy when her best friend Julia returns to school with Natasha-her new friend in which she met at camp over the summer.  Holly doesn't like Natasha and she shows every chance she gets. The saddest and most immature thing that Holly does is empty spit from her french horn valve on Natasha's shoes.  Rally Holly? Really?

Here's a spoiler alert: the girls work through issues and become friends.

To be honest, I wasn't to crazy about the book; maybe because the characters are so young.  Also, I probably won't read and or shell out cash for the rest of the series.  However, I will give Michelle Schusterman a BIG thumbs up for the authenticity of the story (e.g. what it's like to be in band, etc.) Also, she does a good job of capturing the world of middle school.

It's hard for me to brutally honest at times.  I am always looking for positive things to say about books.  With that said I will give I HEART BAND 3 out of 5 stars.

3 out of 5 stars
Personal digital copy purchased from Barnes N Noble

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy Pub Day!!!

Happy pub day!!! So it's official. Taking on the Writing World: The Ups and Downs of the Writing Life is officially out today.

To celebrate, until January 31, 2014 I am offering 10% at Smashwords.  If you purchase the book from Smashwords, you can get 10% off  by entering code: JR27F.   How can you support the cause? Here's how?
  1. Like me on Facebook 
  2. Follow me on Twitter @lbyrdwrites
  3. Follow me on Google+
  4. Follow me on Goodreads.
  5. Add it to your Goodreads to read list.  
Reviews and comments are always welcomed.  Happy reading!!!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Looking Ahead for 2015

So it is a new year which means a new start.  This is when people make new year resolutions.  I don't make resolutions because they are usually forgotten.  

Last night, I signed up for the 2015 Reading Challenge on Goodreads.  I set a goal to read 75 books.  That's a lot.  For last year's challenge, I set out to read 50. I didn't think that I would complete the challenge but I did thanks to some short ebooks and audiobooks.  I still have some books from last summer that I haven't read yet.  I am looking forward to new books by Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti.

I am also looking forward to Monday because that's when Taking on the Writing World will be for sale on Smashwords.  Ten people have already downloaded samples.  Ten is not a big number but it is more than the downloads I received for the other books within the first few weeks.  I even purchased my own book on Amazon.  At first, it was strange but I am glad that I did because I found some typos-some serious typos.  Also there were things that looked odd after the conversion.  So I fixed the typos and resubmitted it.  (I was the only person who purchased it on Amazon so far, so I don't feel as embarrassed).

There are goals that I have set for myself.  The biggest thing is getting healthier and taking better care of myself.  Last year, I lost 20 pounds after going on a strict diet.  I realized that I don't need junk food or soda the way I think I do.  Although I am back to eating normally, I grab an apple or orange for a snack instead of a fist full of cookies or a big bowl of ice cream.  Also, I am drinking more water.  I have discovered that I can't drink soda like I use to because my feet will swell up.  So here and there I will have a soda, sweets, and chips to get it out my system.  If I have a craving I might as well get it over with, but not over do it.  My goal is to drop 20-30 more pounds.  I would like to get down to 140lbs.  I haven't seen that since high school. 

There are other things that need to happen this year.  For instance, I really need to find a day job and get my own place.  I have applied for a job training program out of state.  In the meanwhile, I could really use more freelance work and writing gigs.  I don't want to do content mills anymore because you work your butt just to get a few dollars.  Five years ago, I use to sign up for those sites in a heart beat, but now I think twice.  I don't think reputable publications respect these type of sites. 

I don't like to get too personal on the blog.  However, as a 30 something I feel like something is missing.  In other words, lately I have been having the feeling left behind feeling.  When I look at my Facebook news feed I watch as my "friends" post pictures of their mates and children.  Others have started great careers.  And what about me?  I am a struggling writer who still lives at home.  I am looked at as lazy, full of excuses, and don't want to do anything.  I have put in over a thousand resumes.  Since I left the health center back in August, I have sent in a number of resumes and applications.  No one has called.  No interview offers.  However, I have received a few rejection emails-sorry we have chosen another candidate. The same old same. Some will think that I am looking for a pity party. That's not the case, but you are entitled to your own opinion.  I have even considered the self employment route.  I was told that I would have to write a business plan.  I have written 21 pages so far and it took me three months to write that much, and I haven't gotten to the numbers (balance sheets, income statements, how much money I need etc.)  The person who is suppose to be helping with this has went MIA.  So now what?  Should I go back to school?  Should I find another person who will help me start a business?  I have considered learning how to make jewelery and start an Etsy shop.  Another thing I considered is tackling  a novel again.   I know that big money and readership won't roll in overnight.

With all of that said, here's to a new year.  


Thursday, January 1, 2015

99 Cent Sale!!!

Are you looking for new reading material for your eReader?  I am offering my ebooks over at Smashwords for 99 Cents.  Until January 31, 2015, you can download Big Brother Little Sister: A Short Story and The Stories We Tell When Drinking Coffee for 99 cents!

Also on January 5, 2015 my latest ebook, Taking on the Writing World: The Ups and Downs of the Writing Life will be available for full download on Smashwords.  Can't wait until Monday?  You can purchase an copy on Amazon

Happy Reading!!!