Monday, July 13, 2009

When traveling....

Spent all day traveling from Dixon Springs in Southern Illinois to Texas. FINALLY made it to the Texas border, and as is tradition, we stopped at the nearest rest area and stood on the brass Texas Star and breathed in the hot Texas air, only to go running to the nearest convenience store for a Texas-sized coke! You can't find those in any other state : ) We're not home, but we're home, if you know what I mean : )

I've done some reading during the week there, if I wasn't on a four-wheeler checking on new baby calves or feeding goats and pigs, or enjoying a cookout of pulled pork sandwiches and home-grown corn on the cob. Am currently reading Willow by Julia Hoban (in my opinion, the best new book out there about cutting since McCormick's Cut). Finished Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and am working on Greasy Rider by Greg Melville. It killed KILLED me that I was in the same state that ALA was having their conference in, but couldn't make it. Pigs, cattle and goats don't wait for no one...grrrrr.... just thinking of all of those galleys!!

On the way home (just passed through Sulphur Springs) I have put together the storyboard for my new booktrailer for Crash Into Me by Albert Borris. It was BEGGING to be made!! I'll reveal it next week when I once again hit the road for workshops in Fort Worth, San Antonio and Corpus Christi. I think I have finally nailed down how to work and have vacation with my family at the same time. By the way, a BIG shout-out to the Wichita Falls librarians!! We had fun creating booktrailers and learning new web 2.0 tools. They are a smart bunch and on their toes!! It's always fun to spend the day with colleagues : )

Summer has gone by fast...can't believe July is halfway gone...but there is nothing like sipping a colada in Cozumel reading a great book to collecting eggs in the barn to sneak a half-hour in the barn reading another good one to riding in a truck until my butt is numb creating a trailer and posting a blog or three : )

Now it's my daughter's turn to have the computer...its myspace or death!! I choose myspace over "how far are we from home? Can I have friends spend the night tonight? When are we stopping to eat?" anyday! Plus, my husband is getting a little jealous that I'm spending time with an electronic black box named Dell than with a true-life handsome man...yeah, I choose that too!!

So, readers out there, keep reading, keep sharing, and keep the faith!!


Crash Into Me by Albert Borris

Owen has tried it at least three times. The last was when he seriously thought about walking into heavy traffic. But as with his other attempts, it just didn't work. So there was therapy again....but no matter how many times he goes through therapy, he can't shake the feeling of guilt for what he did and reasons why he shouldn't kill himself.
It is accidental when he meets three other teens online who has the same suicidal thoughts. Jin-Ae can't handle the pressure from her parents to be the best while she's hiding her alternative lifestyle from them. Frank comes from a wealthy family, but he can't compete with his perfect brother while he won't confess he has an alcohol problem. And Audrey....well no one can quite figure her out, although she did jump from a window in a tall building after her boyfriend broke up with her. Together, this rag-tag team, dubbed the Suicide Dogs, decide to take one last road-trip to pay their final respects to those they admired and died (ie Kurt Kobain, Ernest Hemingway), achieve some of the things on their top ten list of things they've always wanted to do, and make their way to their own final destination, Death Valley, in order to complete their pact. But what they don't realize is that this trip will alter their course and surprise even the stauchest of them that believe suicide is the perfect way out.
For a first novel, Albert Borris packs a punch. Each character comes to life on the page, allowing the reader to not only look at what they do, but also why they do the things that cause them to think of suicide. All of the teens in this book create their own personas, and one that is easily followed. The topic is a sensitive one, and Borris treats it with respect while crafting parts that are more light-hearted without taking away the seriousness of the teens' decisions. This is a realistic fiction that will be hard to keep on the shelves, and those teens who enjoyed Ellen Hopkins's Impulse will find themselves just as engrossed in this one. Excellent read.

Distant Waves: a Novel of the Titanic by Suzanne Weyn

Five sisters grow up together in unusual circumstances. Mimi and Jane are the older sisters, while Amalie and Emma are the twins. Blythe brings up the rear as the baby sister and is born after her father has died. The girls' mother has an unusual gift, to say the least, and one that is at the height of popularity at the turn of the century on the East Coast.

Spiritualism is alive and well, and Maude Taylor, medium, is doing her best to raise her five girls at something that is accepted by those with finances and a wish to talk to the dead. Eventually, her talents lead her to the small town of Spirit Vale, New York. It is here that a community of mediums have banded together to co-exist and make a living. The girls all grow up in the most unusual of circumstances, but it is their fate that will change their lives inevitably.

Jane, in her younger years, had the pleasure to meet Nikola Tesla and his curious inventions. When she and her older sister Mimi decide to run away to New York City for the day, their future fate is sealed. Mimi becomes a companion for a young wealthy French lady while Jane meets Thad and has trouble trusting her feelings. During this time, their mother has been in constant contact with famous English medium W.T. Stead. With unusual circumstances and even more interesting relationships, the girls and their mother find themselves in England on the eve of the maiden voyage of the Titanic. But will they heed the feelings, warnings, and trust in the spirit world, or is it something more scientific that is going on?

Suzanne Weyn has created a YA turn-of-the-century historical fiction filled with true-life historical figures, such as Ehrich Weiss, Nikola Tesla, John Jacob Astor, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to name a few. And whilst this historical plot is being read, the reader can't help but see sicence fiction come into play, making this book a unique blend of both genres. The sinking of the Titanic is not what you may think happened... This is a PERFECT pair for the non-fiction book The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero by William Kalush and Larry Sloman.

On a personal note, I picked up this book for the beautiful cover, and it does encompass my favorite historical era, but I was pleasantly surprised to see which direction the author was taking this book. Not at all the norm, but one that will appeal to those fans of science fiction as well as historical fiction. Readers may have to suspend belief some toward the ending, and although the first part of the book was not as filled with intrigue as the last part, it ended up being a surprising and pleasant read.