Monday, August 23, 2021

#boutofbooks 32 wrap-up and #bookreview Chasing the Taillights by Kate Larkindale @Vampyr14

Bout of Books

5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner


I found this book to be very enjoyable and packed with emotion. The ending is absolutely beautiful, full of peace and hope. There's a richness in the characters that makes them feel real. Lucy is a teenager, her brother Tony is a young man in college-- the book switches between their point of views with Tony being odd chapters and Lucy even ones. It's interesting within its genre because of what Lucy experiences. Also, while there are LGBTQIA+ books with characters who know themselves, this one has a character who is discovering his preferences and his feelings about them. ("Questioning.") I bought this book on sale at Amazon. I know this author from Operation Awesome. My review is honest with unbiased opinions. I recommend this book to fans of YA and New Adult who are looking for a clean read. (There is drinking and minor drug references, but intimate scenes are "fade to black.") Also a good read if you've been through a loss, are questioning your attraction preferences, love music, or love high-diving. 

I don't read a lot of drama books, but I was drawn in by the "back cover" description of Tony's character. As far as I can tell by Google, Sartre's Suitcase is a fictional band (mentioned in the story-- other bands mentioned are real, and many of the CDs are ones I've listened to also). 

Excerpts I especially enjoyed:
It's music to wrap yourself in during your most vulnerable moments. 

It's a permanent void I can only hope will grow smaller and less painful. (The paragraph is about grief. It's a strong truth and wonderfully well-written.)

There's also a moment in Chapter Nineteen with Tony assuming a doctor to be a he, and Lucy correcting him that the doctor is a she -- that part made me laugh.

The end of chapter four made me cry. I've lost too many people in the last 24 months. So this book, where these two young people are experiencing such grief, it really grabbed those emotions I've been experiencing lately. And chapter nine, gees Kate, I think your book should be bundled with a box of tissues!

I read the whole book because I had a feeling about what Lucy wasn't remembering, and I was mostly right. I would read something from this author again. (Two of her books are on my wishlist, in fact.) 

Tony has dark blue eyes like his father, dark hair like his mother, and is tall. Lucy has blonde hair like her dad, dark coffee-bean eyes like her mother, skim milk skin, and is very thin "all bones." Kim, Lucy's best friend at the start of the book, is Korean. 

Some ways to describe this book are tragedy, realistic fiction, tear-jerker, fast-paced, inspirational, meaningful, and excellent characters.  The title is used in a paragraph (page 26 in my Kindle). It felt well-edited to me. The best setting in the book is the beach. Tony's goals start with his future as a professional diver and getting a degree in medicine, goals that are about him, but evolve to goals about being closer to his sister and Jake, goals that are about his relationships. Lucy's goals revolve around music, and the obstacles in her path reflect that in ways that aren't totally clear until the very end. It reminded me a little of the 90s tv show "Party of Five," but with only two siblings.

Coach McGinley, like all too many real coaches, believes that everyone is a female, as he calls his male dive team "ladies." (I've known such coaches, and have gotten suspended for not answering to the intentional misgender.)

Society could benefit by using this book as a jumping-off point for a discussion about straight, gay/lesbian, bi, pan, etc. Does being in love with just one person (m/m or f/f) automatically make you a gay/lesbian? Or, if also being attracted to others (m/f) mean you're bi? The book only lightly touches on the question. But it would be an excellent way to open a discussion. 

The Bechdel test would note that Lucy does talk to another named female character, and the discussion is focused on music. 

Chasing the Taillights by Kate Larkindale My Amazon wishlist (mentioned in the review).
Amazon actually let me post a review! I must have finally given them enough money again. ๐Ÿ™„

Thanks to the 40 or so people who wished me a happy birthday yesterday. Technically, I don't know when my "real" birthday was, other than a hot summer day. August 21 was the day I was added to "the system," so they just used that date, and took an educated guess at the year and my age. It's a dark and complicated story that I'm not getting into here.

That should have been A7. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿฝ‍♂️

Book bought during Bout of Books:

Total number of finished books: 3
Titles of finished books:
Twenties in Your Pocket: A twenty-something’s guide to money management by Kate Nixon Anania
Old School Discipline by Misha Horne (adult content)
Chasing the Taillights by Kate Larkindale

Goodreads shelf of these three books.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

#WEP 2021 - FREEDOM OF SPEECH! #wepff #flashfiction

#WEP 2021 - FREEDOM OF SPEECH! #wepff

SEVEN by J Lenni Dorner

The mighty leader enters to horns and cheers. His golden, bejeweled crown is nested atop his head today. He tucks his dark cloak behind him as he takes his spot on the soft, elevated great-chair. 

"Bring forth the flowers and sweet fruits," he commands. A muffled laugh rolls through the crowd. "And dim the light. There's no need for us to smell or see them this well."

Once the Great Hall is satisfactory, the large doors are opened and seven enter.

The crowd steps back as they hold each other and whisper. The leader waves his hand for silence. "As I am so magnanimous, I have granted Freedom of Speech to our guests today. These seven have been chosen by their own to speak for them. No repercussions shall come from what they say here today."

The tallest of the seven moves forward, a sashay in his step, perhaps because that is his walk, or perhaps because the beatings made him unable to move any other way. Scars make his facial features almost unrecognizable. 

"You grant us the freedom to speak as we please? You're givin' something we always had, until you took it."

The crowd gasps. The leader nods. "It was the only way to assimilate you. And see? You have learned proper language, even if you have yet to master it. You are most welcome."

"I wasn't offerin' thanks. We had language without you."

The leader motions for his cup. "We can cancel this invitation, if you wish. There is no obligation on your part to speak here today."

"We want to know when you're all leaving?"

The leader holds his cup to his lips. "Leaving? We have no such intention. This is our home now."

"This land is our home. Always was. And will be again, when you shuffle off." The other six clap and cheer.

"I have generously given you homes to live in, the food in your bellies, the clothing on your bodies, and the words that fall from your mouths. Remember that."

"Nah. We lived here before you came. We had nicer homes, better food, more suitable clothing, and the words of our own people. You took what isn't yours."

"We have given more than we have taken." The leader drinks his fragrant drink, allowing the nectar to coat his tongue. He knows the fruit, the spices, and even the vessel in which it was made just by a sip. "You had no idea what your land could yield."

"You've no idea about the land. It's ruined for what grew here. Five species are dead. You brought new bugs and there's nothing to fight them."

The leader slams his cup on the arm of his chair. "We save lives with our ways! We've brought knowledge beyond yours."

"How would you know?" The scarred one laughs. "None of you ever asked what we know. Based on how you live here, we know a lot you don't. You bring ways to fight the sick you brought. Our kind and yours both die from our sick now. We didn't back when the cure grew regular. But instead, you make your drink. And you'll drink it to all our graves." 

535 words FCA

Who are the seven for you? Native Americans in the past? Citizens of Afghanistan now? Creatures of a fantasy world? What if it's your people and the mighty leader is a space alien? 

What would you do if you became like one of the seven?
Check out the other flash fiction entries here. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

#boutofbooks 32 Day 1 and #moviereview

Though I was never given the chance to interview Angie Thomas, several of the debut authors I have interviewed listed The Hate U Give as a favorite book or as a #WeNeedDiverseBooks recommendation.
I haven't read it yet. ๐Ÿ˜”
But I was at a friend's house today, and the movie is on Hulu, so we watched it.
I found it to be an incredibly powerful movie. Difficult to watch at some points, but in a good and necessary way. It has a lot to teach everyone. 
I never listened to Tupac's music (well, I probably heard it playing, but I mean I never went out and bought a CD or downloaded an mp3). I never knew that's what THUGLIFE meant. (The Hate U Give Little Infants "Effs" Everybody -- Link to NYT article explaining the occasional substitution for the F word.)
There were several scenes in the movie with which I could identify. 
Hailey not understanding, not getting it... I know a lot of "Hailey" people. 


"What are you gonna do, scalp me?" 
Maybe I am a Hailey sometimes? Because I've experienced hate and violence, but not so much the "our skin is a weapon" fear (not in youth, anyway). ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿฝ‍♂️ I remember bullies assuming I couldn't defeat them (because I was trying not to fight, to not get kicked out again). That does NOT work. Letting them beat you to a three-day hospitalization without fighting back still results in expulsion for fighting. Just taking the beating doesn't grant you a pass. Not in youth. Maybe in adulthood IF it's caught on film and a jury is feeling a certain tolerance that day. So in some ways, I feel like I understand, but maybe there's a bit of Hailey in me that doesn't. I've never seen a protest like the one at the end of the movie for a Native American. Actually, I've never seen that many Native Americans at one place at one time.
(I've never lived on a reservation. The main Lenni-Lenape reservation is in Oklahoma. Population 11,195 as of 2010. My ancestors did not leave with the others. My great-grandfather was the first "human" and thus free person from that part of my bloodline. But freedom is more fickle than you might think.

Onward to books!


Twenties in Your Pocket: A twenty-something’s guide to money management by Kate Nixon Anania
4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

A fast-paced informative book. It's aimed mostly at new adult females, though it can benefit anyone who is getting started on basic money management.
A friend of mine got this as a gift, so I thumbed through his copy. It includes the hotline for domestic abuse, because there's such thing as "financial abuse" where a bad partner can use money to prevent someone from becoming safe.
I've read a few books on finance over the years. This is the simplest and most clear, best for most people. It does talk about credit scores, but it does not mention that your score can vary by 20 to 100 points based on who pulls it. (In the same day, you could buy it, a car dealer could pull it, and your bank could pull it -- and all three be vastly different!)
I didn't personally learn anything new, but I have more financial knowledge than the target audience. I will say it would be a good graduation gift, in my opinion. It would also be good for new citizens of the United States, as it explains how many money things work here.

There are some ways to earn money listed, such as compound interest and pet-sitting. There are other books more suited to earning money, this one is more a beginner's guide to how finance works. So the subtitle makes sense, but the main title (Twenties in Your Pocket) is more to catch attention.
It was well-edited. The language is aimed at young people.

Day of the challenge: Day 1
What I read today:
Twenties in Your Pocket: A twenty-something’s guide to money management by Kate Nixon Anania
Old School Discipline by Misha Horne (adult content)

Total number of finished books: 2
Titles of finished books:
Twenties in Your Pocket: A twenty-something’s guide to money management by Kate Nixon Anania
Old School Discipline by Misha Horne (adult content)

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Books for Authors on the Craft of Writing and #WritingCommunity #IWSG

 Before I dive into this IWSG post, I'm going to leave a quick remark about my previous post. 
On the subject of teens trick-or-treating. Not every teenager has good parents or a good home or food on the table. There is exactly ONE night a year where they can go door to door to ask for food without being frowned upon. 

Well, that's not true, because some people do frown upon it. Look, everyone is going to feel how they're going to feel. But what if people who hand out candy to children opted to hand out raisins or those McDonald's coupons for a free small fry to the teens? ๐ŸŸ Something like that. Because maybe some of those young adults aren't trying to pull a goof or take advantage, maybe they've just found a one-night loophole to get some free food. There is historical evidence of poor children using that night to get free food. ๐ŸŽƒ Just something to consider.


Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today: PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox!

August 4 question - What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?

You gonna make Daddy pick between two of his children? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Okay, beyond tooting my own horn ๐ŸŽบ, here's a list of writing craft books I'm into:

Of those, and ones that aren't my own, my favorite is "Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer's Resistance" by Rosanne Bane.
If you haven't been writing for bit, or have been struggling, this book is very helpful.

Only a couple more days until the next WEP! writeeditpublishnow

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award

Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award

Thanks to Jamie for this award nomination. She's got strong opinions, wisdom, and is a fun writer. She's also married to my cousin.

uniquelymaladjustedbutfun logo

Rules for the Award

  1. Thank the person who has nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.
  2. Answer their questions.
  3. Nominate up to 9 other bloggers and ask them 5 new questions.
  4. Notify the nominees through their blog by visiting and commenting on their blog.
  5. List the rules and display the “Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award” logo.

Jamie's five questions and my answers:

  1. If an employee under extreme stress says (verbally or written) something that is construed as insensitive to a group of people (age, gender, religion, orientation, etc), should that employee be terminated/ not have their contract renewed, or should they be given one more chance if they agree to some sort of approved sensitivity training reeducation program? 
    • There are certainly some situations where it's unforgivable. But, on the whole, educating someone like that is the best chance to create change. If they're just fired, they might get angrier and become more prejudiced. A little compassion and learning could potentially create another ally instead, which is certainly more valuable. 
  2. At what age is it no longer appropriate to Trick-or-Treat for yourself? (Meaning exceptions are in place if accompanying a younger child, such as taking a younger sibling ToT so parents can stay at the house and give out candy.) 
    • After graduation from high school, maybe college. Once you can legit afford to go buy your own bags of candy with your own money, it's time to stop taking and start giving.
  3. Would you support or oppose a mandate that 75% of the human population be required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2 including variants and mutations)? Would your answer change if this mandate were global, your country only, or your local area only? Is there a number or percent of deaths that would influence your support or opposition of such as mandate?
    • Support. I don't know if there is enough vaccine for it to be global, but we need it to be, or else this is just going to keep mutating.
      My country needs to educate people, needs to reach out to the community leaders who are holding people back.
      My local area needs about half of our state legislature to accept the reality of the virus and fight for the health of the people of our commonwealth. (So far, of the 1,230,000 cases here, 27,838 have died.)
      I feel like I know more people who were infected, and some who died. My personal experience of pain and loss is above the curve (more than 1 of every 100 people I know), so I'm biased. 
      I'm also worried for the vaccinated people who are potentially back in danger due to the eligible-but-unvaccinated-by-choice people and the de-masking suggestion that came too soon. 
  4. Should celebrities be given exceptions to laws, rules, and terms of service? If so, how famous does one have to be to get that exception?
    • No. And fines shouldn't be flat fees. Yes, it would be more difficult to figure out how much money an ultra-rich person is actually worth and fine accordingly by percent. But a $200 fine is half a paycheck to some people and an absolute joke to others. One person could lose their home and the other spends more on nail care every week. That isn't a crime deterrent. Plus, many of those famous people become leaders, so they set behavioral examples. If anything, they need to be held to a higher level of accountability. 
  5. What is your favorite recipe to use with leftover cooked turkey? Or, what is your favorite summer pasta salad recipe? 

My five questions:

  1. ๐Ÿ˜ท๐Ÿ’‰ How seriously are you taking the pandemic? On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 means you have done nothing and don't even really believe in it, 10 means you've masked, vaccinated, and reached out to your political leaders and such to ask them to help you and your people.
  2. What are your thoughts, opinions, and feelings in regard to the Kindle Vella?
  3. In the United States, voting rights are changing. Do you feel that it should be more difficult to vote in elections and that there shouldn't be as many eligible Americans permitted to vote? Or do you feel that it should be easier to vote in elections and every person of sound mind living in the United States and territories should be permitted to vote and have their vote count equally? 
  4. "Jeopardy!' was hosted by Alex Trebek, who has passed away. Who do you hope the new host will be, or do you think they should just continue with celebrity guests?
  5. If you had 200 billion dollars, what are some things you might do with your money, and would one of them be sending yourself into space? ๐Ÿš€