Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Book Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

This is the third and final book in the Anna and the French Kiss series. The main characters are Isla and Josh who were both featured in the first book.

Isla and Josh have a lot in common. They both attend The American School in Paris, they both are New Yorkers, they both love comics, and it turns out they both have had a secret crush on each other for the past four years. Unfortunately, Josh has been in a relationship for most of that time and so Isla has had to admire from afar, but when she sees him sitting inside Kismet over summer vacation, finally girlfriendless, she figures this is her chance--or actually the pain meds from having her wisdom teeth pulled make her loopy enough to plop down at his table and strike up a conversation.

And so begins a whirlwind romance that takes us from New York to Paris to Barcelona and back.

I liked this book, but not as much as I liked the other two. One thing Stephanie Perkins is awesome at is description. I could totally picture Cafe Kismet in New York, the treehouse in Paris, and the steets of Barcelona--and I want to go to each of those places now!

The biggest downfall for this book was that there really wasn't much of a plot. Yes, it is a romance and we get that, but the other two books felt like they had real stories, and this one didn't. I liked Josh, but there wasn't nearly enough of him. And yes, this is Isla's story, but to be honest, I didn't really care for her. Not the way I found myself rooting for Anna and Lola in the previous books. When the book ended I really had no idea what Josh saw in her.

Still the other two are must reads, so if you are like me and have to finish the trilogy you will probably read this one and just know while it isn't all that,
it isn't all bad. Hey, it is definitely better than Mockingjay was so at least you won't want to be hitting your head on a brick wall when you finish it!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Long and Short of It!

Is this the year you are looking to write that short story, novella, or novel? I am usually too long winded to get out a short story. In fact, I have only written a few short stories and one novella and they were for college classes. But this year that is going to change. The shorts are making a comeback and if you want to be part of it then I have a new article up on the Eschler Site that talks about short stories and novellas in the marketplace. It also links to a few really great stories to read so make sure to head on over and check it out.

Write On!


Monday, January 5, 2015

Healthy 2015!

Well 2014 came and went. My year pretty much consisted of work, kids, and soccer. A few highlights were getting to teach an editing panel at Write Here in Ephraim, two amazing Critiki Retreatis, taking my 9 year old to Germany, and Thanksgiving in San Diego with the family. The not so great part of the year started about March and finally had its blowup in September with a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.

I've dealt with chronic pain for a few years now so that was really no big deal. Over the past few years I have been diagnosed with IBS, Restless Leg Syndrome, Chostocondritis, and just general aches and pains with no good reason for them. In March I added Chronic Fatigue to that list. It increased slowly, not to the point that I was too worried until August. By that time I also got hit with what is called brain fog. I couldn't concentrate on anything and was tired all the time. I figured I was just overworked and was super excited to go spend nine days in Germany with my little bear.

The trip started out great. We flew into Munich (by way of Iceland!) and spent a day there, saw Dinkelsbuhl and Rottenburg, then on to Lubben to visit family. We went to Berlin (of course) and shopped, and I visited a bunch of places that I plan to use in the new book I am outlining, which right now just has a working title of Germany With Love (yes, I listen to Alphaville way too much, it was almost going to be titled Summer in Berlin!). The night we got back to Lubben from a full day in Berlin I had this throbbing pain in my chest. Again, I wrote it off as a lot of walking and carrying shopping bags.

The pain persisted the last three days of my trip and the flight home about killed me (I thought it was because my bags were overstuffed with chocolate). The day after I got home I woke up and was sure I was having a heart attack. A trip to the doctors and several blood tests and EKGs later, they said it was just an extreme case of Chostocondritis (inflamed rib cage) and gave me some pain pills. Two weeks later the pain was not getting better, the brain fog came back in full swing, and I just knew I wasn't feeling right. So I got in with my actual doctor and we had a good long talk. He asked a lot of questions, looked over my medical history, and then started poking me in the strangest places. 

These turned out to be Fibromyalgia pressure points, and man did it feel like I was being tortured when he barely touched them. So I got a diagnosis, got a rude awakening that I could no longer keep going at the neck breaking pace I was accustomed to, and got on some meds to help things out. That was in September. Since then I have learned a lot. I got to talk to an old friend from high school who suffers from this and learned a ton from her. (Thanks Jeanette). I have slowly started to overcome my brain fog and fatigue. I have realized that I get every bug there is and am working to build up my immune system to combat that. 

2015 is going to be the year I take my health back. I want to write, I want to edit, I want to read, but none of those are possible if I can't even get out of bed. So those will be my rewards instead of my goals. The more I regain my health with diet, exercise, and knowledge, the more I will be able to do the things I love.

So yeah, I plan to finish Room for Two, I plan to outline and draft Germany with Love, I hope to work on expanding The King's Brother--and I want to do all of these things because that will mean I am healthy enough to do them. 

Here is to a Healthy 2015--for me and for you. I wish you the best and hope to be on here a lot more with writing updates, editing tips, and so much more!

Write On!