Santa Fe High School Shooting

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After a school shooting in Dixon, Illinois was prevented on Wednesday by a school resource officer who shot the 19-year-old gunman before he could harm anyone, another mass shooting has taken place this morning at Santa Fe High School in Texas. 

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Reports are still coming in, but right now local news affiliates are reporting there are at least eight fatalities. I honestly can’t say much else except to say as usual my thoughts and prayers are with the students, faculty, and first responders. (God, I am sick to death of saying this!)

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Oh, and in case you’re wondering, this is the twenty-second school shooting of 2018. On average, that’s one school shooting per week. Kind of leaves you speechless, doesn’t it?

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Blog Absence Again

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Hi guys. I know I’ve been missing from many of your blogs the last few days and I wanted to say how sorry I am. Seasonal allergies have aggravated my migraines and I’m kind of getting my butt kicked at the moment.

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So, I’ve been putting up some brief posts, and hopefully in the next few days I can start catching up with everyone. As usual, thanks for bearing with me. You all are the best and as a thank you I’m leaving you with this music video that always makes me smile.

 

Watch Me, by Jody Gehrman ~ 2.0 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Griffin for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now

320 Pages

Synopsis: Kate Youngblood is disappearing. Muddling through her late 30s as a creative writing professor at Blackwood College, she’s dangerously close to never being noticed again. The follow-up novel to her successful debut tanked. Her husband left her for a woman ten years younger. She’s always been bright, beautiful, independent and a little wild, but now her glow is starting to vanish. She’s heading into an age where her eyes are less blue, her charm worn out, and soon no one will ever truly look at her, want to know her, again.

Except one.

Sam Grist is Kate’s most promising student. An unflinching writer with razor-sharp clarity who gravitates towards dark themes and twisted plots, his raw talent is something Kate wants to nurture into literary success. But he’s not there solely to be the best writer. He’s been watching her. Wanting her. Working his way to her for years.

As Sam slowly makes his way into Kate’s life, they enter a deadly web of dangerous lies and forbidden desire. But how far will his fixation go? And how far will she allow it?

Watch Me is billed as a creepy psychological suspense story, but for me it came up short mainly because I found the two main characters for the most part empty and shallow. The chapters alternate between Kate and Sam so you get an excellent perspective of what’s going on in both of their heads. Unfortunately Kate had such a flat personality and made so many decisions that just didn’t make sense to me, that I just never connected to her. And Sam was an even bigger disappointment. I usually love it when I see a psychologically disturbed character’s first person perspective, but while Sam was definitely creepy, I wanted more darkness, more mayhem, more fireworks. I also think the plot definitely would have benefited from more revelations about his backstory, particularly in regards to his relationship to his mother.

In the end, I felt that although Watch Me had lots of potential, it didn’t quite live up to the exciting premise. The characters and plot were rather ho-hum and the ending left several plot holes unfilled. I have to be honest though and say that if you look on Goodreads it’s receiving mainly 4-5 star reviews. Perhaps this is a case of “It’s me, not you.”

R.I.P. Margot Kidder 1948 – 2018

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With any group of people in life, sad things happen, and crazy things, and happy things. When you’re in the public eye, it’s just amplified, that’s all.

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I guess I came to terms with my demons. Or else I’d be in big trouble, wouldn’t I? Horrifying as it was to crack up in the public eye, it made me look at myself and fix it. 

 

The Precious Dreadful, by Steven Parlato ~ 3.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now 

352 Pages

Synopsis: Teddi Adler is just trying to figure out her life. 

When she joins SUMMERTEENS, a library writing group, she’s only looking to keep herself busy, not go digging around in her subconscious. But as she writes, disturbing memories of her childhood friend Corey bubble to the surface, and Teddi begins to question everything: her friendship with her BFF Willa, how much her mom really knows, and even her own memories. Teddi feels she’s losing her group on reality—-as evidenced by that mysterious ghost-girl who emerges from the park pool one night, the one who won’t leave Teddi alone. To top it all off, she finds herself juggling two guys with potential, a quirky boy named Joy and her handsome barista crush Aidan, who has some issues of his own. 

As the summer unfolds, Teddi is determined to get to the bottom of everything—-her feelings, the mysterious ghost-girl, and the memories of Corey that refuse to be ignored.

I have to give The Precious Dreadful kudos for being so highly original. It also had many other good qualities. I liked Teddi and completely emphasized with her desperate attempts to solve a mystery going back to her childhood. I also loved her BFF Willa who loyally stuck by her even when Teddi turned on her. I wasn’t fond of the romance between Teddi and Aidan however. Their relationship was verbally/emotionally abusive from the beginning, and even though Teddi would stand up for herself, she’d still go back to him. I don’t have an issue with abusive relationships in YA fiction as long as there’s a lesson imparted. But that’s not the case here. Aidan is never called out on his unacceptable behavior and that spoiled what otherwise would have been a 4-5 star read for me. At the end of the book something happens that I surmise was supposed to make the reader feel more sympathetic toward him, but it just didn’t work for me.

The plot itself is quite eerie and kept me guessing through much of the book. The more I read, the bigger feeling of dread swept over me as I wondered what poor Teddi was going to uncover in the end. I started this about mid-afternoon and couldn’t stop reading until I finished around 11:00 at night.

Except for the romance, I really enjoyed The Precious Dreadful and it’s intriguing mystery. I loved Steven Parlato’s writing style and the way the story flowed so smoothly. I also thought he did a fairly convincing job portraying a 15-going-on-16-year-old girl. The story has just a touch of the paranormal and is compelling and will keep readers wondering. Despite my issues with the romance, I think this would still make a worthy book discussion choice as readers could debate over what Teddi should have done in response to Aidan’s behavior. 

Rating When You Didn’t Read It…

This is one of those bizarre stories that will have you thinking “Wait. What?” Mischenko has started an excellent discussion on whether it’s fair to rate an author’s books 1 star without having read them, instead basing it solely on the author’s behavior. What do you think?

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Here I am thinking about rating books without reading them. I’m beating the dead horse here, but with all the #cockygate drama, we’re seeing it all over again. Scrolling through Goodreads last night I consistently came across 1-star reviews or 5-star reviews for this author’s books and most from people who never read the books. They either feel this author is right for what she’s doing with trademarking the word ‘cocky’ and want to try to stop her ratings from dropping, or they totally hate the idea and they’re lashing out at her by bashing her books and leaving 1-star reviews.

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I remember when this happened with The Black Witch over racist characters last year and it began on Twitter. People read a review using the words ‘this author is racist’ and they retaliated by leaving 1-star ratings on the book. Not long after, it happened again with an author…

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