Monday, August 26, 2013

Off the Bookshelf: STORYBOUND

Have you ever wished you could fall into one of your favorite books? Jump in and adventure with characters you fell in love with? Imagine falling into the place where all the storybook characters originate -- where they go to school to learn to be the characters in your book.

This book was a Nook Free Fridays read. Love finding new authors this way.

Marissa Burt has dreamed up such a place, called, simply, "Story." Una Fairchild is in the library and picks up a book that tells her story, and the next thing she knows, she's encountering a Hero and Lady, taking a test on being a Hero and a Lady.

What's going on? Well, that's what Una is trying to figure out. She and Peter, the Hero-in-training, determine that she has been Written In, but that isn't a good thing. She could be hunted down and imprisoned, maybe hurt. Because things aren't very nice in Story. Something awful happened in the past, and as Una and Peter and assorted allies start to put together the pieces ... well, Una isn't very happy when she finds out the part she is about to play.

And I wasn't too happy to get to the end of the book before the end of the story -- meaning ... TO BE CONTINUED. Aarrgghh!

The author is clever, making her storybook world believable, from the characters to the long-ago rebellion and all the lies within lies. I have to know what happens next! You'll enjoy it -- just be prepared to either hunt down the sequel or endure some frustration if you can't read the next book right away. The sequel is called STORY'S END. It's in my wish list, definitely!

Monday, August 19, 2013


Written by Mark Liponis, M.D., Medical Director, Canyon Ranch Health Resorts.

The cover says: Do you have the metabolism of a Hunter or a Farmer? Find out ... and achieve your health and weight-loss goals!

Hunters and farms use glucose different ways, react differently to insulin, and store body fat different ways/places. How you eat and what types of foods and when you eat are more important than how much you eat. Thank you! Do you know how frustrating it is, carrying a calorie-counting book the size of a phone book everywhere you go?

Yeah, I know, I have a LOT of diet and fitness books in my e-book library, why buy another one? Besides the fact my cousin (owner of Soza Fitness and Wellness -- if you need torturing... err ... guidance in getting in shape, check him out) told me to read the book, figure out which I am, and start eating according to the guidelines?

Well, yeah, that's the whole idea. Eat better, get rid of health problems, combine it with the early morning exercise/torture I put myself through six days a week ... eventually, I'll work off 25+ years of Writer's Butt.

It's an easy, short read, and it makes sense. It also gives general guidelines that seem pretty easy to keep in mind when you're shopping, when you're hungry, when you're out at a restaurant. It's not like other diet programs that give you a mile-long list of what you can eat, what you can't eat, and expect you to remember what time of the day to eat each food, how much/little you can have each day, etc., etc., ad infi-migraine.

Will it work? Matt swears by it, and others are finding results. Check back with me in a year!

Monday, August 12, 2013


This book, #2 in the Writing Lessons from the Front series by Dr. Angela Hunt, is a classic example that good things do come in small packages.

Just 42 pages in Kindle Format, the good doctor crams in a lot of great advice. Even more important, she doesn't say you MUST do things exactly the way she does. She offers suggestions, gives examples, and leaves it up to you to find the best way for YOU to create your characters.

I like the way she adapts the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to help you get a good handle on the way characters act and react, determining the secret pain, the dreams and goals of your characters. My usual tactic is to get to know my characters as I'm writing them, but doggone it, I could save a lot of time, and maybe two drafts of the book, by figuring out things before I sit down to write.

Maybe. I'll have to think about it.

Because that's the important thing to remember: You have to write YOUR way, and this book shows you how you can pick and choose your tools -- and make your writing job easier. Buy it! And check out the other books in the series. I know I am!

Monday, August 5, 2013


I remember finding this book by E. Nesbit in the bookshelves in my fifth grade classroom and devouring it. I thought I was pretty smart, because everybody who even had the slightest idea who Shakespeare was said his stories were complicated and hard to read -- what with the King James English and being in script format.

These stories are Ms. Nesbit's re-telling of some of Shakespeare's plays -- certainly not all of them, like the really bloody, violent, insane ones -- in short story format. She essentially makes them family friendly and easier to digest. I don't know if they'd help you pass a test on Shakespeare, because she glosses over some of the grittier elements of the stories.

Still, as an introduction to Shakespeare and some of his better-known plays, it's a good starting place. I'm glad I found this e-book -- a collection of the complete works of E. Nesbit, with illustrations -- and I'll be reading more of her books and reporting on them here as time goes on. She wrote a lot of fantasy. Not as fun as, say, the Edward Eager books like Half Magic, but interesting just the same. These are classics that you should introduce your children to -- before they read the modern ones like Percy Jackson or Twilight.