Thursday, May 7, 2015

Read This: Not In The Script

Not In The Script
by Amy Finnegan

The Goodreads Summary Says:   
Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.

Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance.

When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? Toss in Hollywood’s most notorious heartthrob and a resident diva who may or may not be as evil as she seems, and the production of Coyote Hills heats up in unexpected—and romantic—ways.

This novel in the deliciously fun If Only romance line proves that the best kinds of love stories don’t follow a script.

I Say:
5 stars

You know how sometimes you find a book that is the perfect fit for your reading mood? That's how reading Not in the Script was for me.  I just wanted something funny, cute, and swoony. And that's exactly what I got.

The book focuses on Emma, one of the biggest young stars in Hollywood, and Jake, a chaps-wearing model turned actor. Emma's had really bad luck in her past relationships and a lot of pressure to now keep her life simple. Jake has his own reasons for leaving modeling for the TV show he, Emma, and a couple other people star on. They have enough problems to give them depth, but not so many that it becomes a Serious or "issues" book. The characters and the plot stay incredibly lighthearted, and it makes everything very fun. Jake and Emma are interesting characters on their own, but they're adorable together. The book is full of banter and flirty moments. Finnegan does a great job writing the romantic aspect of the story. I was really invested in their relationship and wanted everything to work out for them.

The other thing I thought was cool was the look at what it's like filming a TV show. Reading about the long hours and hair/makeup and craft services were all fun and interesting. (And also made me hungry. There's a lot of food in this book). I liked that it showed some of the downsides too: having no privacy; tabloids twisting anything to make a good story; worrying that people are taking advantage of you for money or fame, even if they're family and friends. I felt for how normal the characters were, even though they were not in normal situations. My only complaint was that the book was a bit unrealistically G-rated. The characters are all 18-20, but live in a version of Hollywood where no one swears, smokes, drinks, has eating disorders/body image issues, does more than kiss, or does drugs. I would have been fine with a story where characters personally avoided those things, but it was more like they didn't exist at all. But it's a small quibble for an otherwise really cute, fun story. Not in the Script is a new favorite of mine.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Dune Readalong: First Discussion Post

Jenni has been trying to convince us all to read Dune, one of her favorite books, for the longest time. Thus, the Dune Readalong was born.

Truth be told, I didn't finish Book 1. I read about a quarter of it before I went for a plot summary on sparknotes. But here are my thoughts on Jenni's discussion questions. Link up at her blog if you want to play along.

Have you ever read a high sci-fi book before?
Nope. I didn't even realize that was a category. 

Is this your first time reading Dune?
Yes. I'd never heard of it before Jenni talked about it.

If this is your first time reading Dune, is the book anything like you expected it to be? If this isn’t your first time reading it, have you noticed anything different this time around?
Not at all. In my head sci-fi is about regular people with cool technology. This book feels more like high fantasy to me. (Anything with the word fief in it has to be fantasy, right?) I wasn't expecting it to be so big, either. 

Were you surprised that you knew who the traitor was before everything went down at the end of this book? Did it help prepare you? Or, were you bugged by it?
I always like when I know about something as a reader that the characters don't.  I was more surprised that the Duke knew he was going into a trap but ultimately couldn't do anything about it. I kind of liked him so that was a bummer.
I wish there were a little more mystery, though. I felt like I knew what every character thought about everything through all the internal monologues. It'd be nice to have to guess their motives or feelings more often.

What do you think of the idea of recycling the water from your body to survive in such an arid climate?
That's cool. (Is that the thing that makes this book sci-fi instead of fantasy?)

What was your favorite part of this section? Why?
From what I read it was the quote about "Parting with friends is a sadness. A place is only a place." It's an idea I like to think about. (I think I mostly agree, although I'm pretty sentimental about some places) I like feeling like I can connect with ideas from the story.

Which character(s) do you find the most interesting? Why?
I didn't connect with anyone. I know, that's terrible. Besides the super detailed writing, I think it's one of the reasons I'm having a hard time with the story. I guess Paul is the main guy, so I hope I'll get more of a feel for his personality as I go on.

Are there any revelations in this section that surprised you?
I actually accidentally spoiled myself on this. I read one of the appendices in the back of my book when Jenni mentioned them and saw who Jessica's dad was. I thought I'd just not caught it when she was introduced, but it turns out that's the big reveal at the end of book 1. Oops.

What do you think of Dune so far? Are you having a hard time following what’s going on? It is engaging? Boring?
I feel like it's very dense and detailed. I liked reading the summary for the part I did read because it helped me better understand the book. But I hated that it was nearly 80 pages of reading that got summarized in a few paragraphs. This is not an efficient book.  I think the writing will bother me throughout but I'm hoping I can get into the plot.

Do you have any predictions about what’s going to happen in the next section?
Action? Maybe a spice-induced trippy part? I hear there are worms that people ride on, so I'm looking forward to that.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Day in My Life: Wednesday

Today anyone who wants to is linking up a day in their life at Trish's blog: Love, Laughter, & Insanity. I decided to document my Wednesday, which is only a little atypical because my oldest has a shorter school day.

Here's how it all went down:

5:45 – The baby woke up to eat. She’s stuffy so I had to suction her nose. She actually doesn’t mind that.

Somewhere in here I woke up for good but I didn't write it down. Probably closer to 7:45.

8:15 - try to bribe 2 year old to go potty. Change his diaper instead. He put his Halloween shirt on over the outfit I picked out for him.

wearing the Halloween shirt
8:30 – feed the baby. Listen to some Sam Tsui, who is my new favorite YouTube singer.

8:45 – dismantle the cushion fort the boys made and pick up the living room. Remind oldest to take care of the cereal he didn’t finish and have him get dressed. Pass the basket full of clean laundry and grab 5 things to fold up and put away. I don't like to fold laundry so this is the way I trick myself into doing it.

9:00 – 2 year old has a diaper blowout. This does not normally happen. Clean him up. Clean the carpet where he was sitting. Start some laundry. Grab a new pair of pants for him out of the clean clothes basket – one less thing to fold up today.

9:16 – sorting laundry. Boys get in a fight over some legos. Remember husband was out of work socks. Briefly wonder what he ended up wearing. Remember the toast I left in the toaster.

side-eyeing her brothers

9:21 My husband Rusty calls. Ask him what socks he wore. Top the baby off while we talk.

9:31 – put the baby down for a nap. Start oldest’s homework. It's a workbook where he practices writing a letter and finding pictures of 5 things that start with that letter. The letter this week is U. Try to find pictures of unicorns, or universities, or underwear…

9:33 – Rusty calls back with a question.

9:58 – Oldest gets upset that it’s too hard to find things that start with U. It really is. Finally finds a picture of an umbrella, bringing his total of pictures found to 1. Total pictures now found: 5.

10:05 – put pbs kids on for the kids so I can shower.

10:44 – regret the Doritos I ate yesterday. Have carrots for a snack. The boys have crackers

10:55 – decide to crockpot some chicken and potatoes so I don’t have to worry about making dinner tonight. Find science in the potato bag. Accidentally drop the bottle of bbq sauce into the crock pot.

11:13 – find 2 year old’s crackers all smashed. Get the vacuum. Have oldest look through the pictures on his reading book.


11:15 – lose patience with the kid and yell. Notice the vacuum smells like burning. It wakes the baby up. Have oldest read me his book.

11:27 – change the baby’s poopy bum. Make bologna sandwiches for the boys. Realize I missed the bloggiesta chat.

11:36 – 2 year old keeps putting his bologna on his face and saying he’s a pirate. I try not to laugh but it's funny.

11:42 - yell at the kids again for making a mess with their lunch.

11:45 – get everyone ready to take oldest to school. And 2 year old is poopy again. Normally this doesn’t happen. Possibly he has that stomach bug oldest had on Sunday. (ETA: he totally did)

11:50 – now oldest has to go potty. School starts in 10 minutes. Everyone get some shoes on, I say several times.

12:08 – back home and feeding the baby. Can’t remember which side I’m on but left’s as good a guess as any.

12:17 – go over a couple letters with 2 year old . Rock out to his favorite song, Eye of the Tiger.

12:24 – baby spits up on her clothes so I change her. No big deal because she was still in jammies anyway.

dressed for the day
12:30 – 2 year old went into his room and laid on his bed. Normally this doesn’t happen but I’m ok with it. It’s early out for school anyway so we have to pick up oldest by 2:15. If he can get a little nap in there, great. Time to make myself a sandwich.

12:42 – switched the laundry and totally forgot the sandwich. Eating and rocking the baby in my lap and watching a little of Monday’s episode of The Voice.

12:57 top the baby off again before a nap.

1:07 – both kids are asleep. Time to read for a little while.

2:05 - wake the kids up so we can get oldest.

2:31 - back home again. 2 year old throws a fit because he’s still tired. Oldest throws a fit because I won’t give him candy. I hit up my stash of Doritos.

2:42 – Rusty calls to hear about oldest’s day & tell us about his class.

3 – take some medicine because I’m starting to feel bleh. Feed the baby.

3:30 – more laundry. The boys put their clothes away and play with toys.

3:53 – snack break

4:05 - realize my eyebrows are looking a little scary and try to shape them.

4:12 – top the baby off then put her down for another nap.

4:24 – 2 year old was coloring a picture, then his face.

washable markers
4:36 – had to stop a fight between the boys.

4:49 – so tired. This is the longest/hardest part of the day. I give up and put on a movie.

5:15 – unload the dishwasher, switch the laundry, change the towels in the boys’ bathroom

5:37 – husband is home!

5:45 – the boys set the table. Oldest announces he won’t eat anything I’ve made. I let Rusty deal with that.

5:56 – change 2 year old’s diaper

6:15 – dinner: bbq crockpot chicken and potatoes, cous cous, raw carrots, and peaches. It was so good.

We're really into couscous lately

6:25– We send the boys outside to play. Oldest starts hitting. Normally he doesn't do that. Gets time out.

6:47 – the baby wakes up from her nap. I change her bum.

7:05 – I put dinner away. Rusty gets 2 year old to go potty.

7:15 – suction the baby’s nose while 2 year old cleans up toys. Oldest throws fit. Weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth. Earns one way ticket to early bed time. He just did not have a good day on Wednesday.

7:25 – feed the baby

7:45 – put 2 year old to bed and wash the dinner dishes.

8:15 – veg with Rusty

8:40 – feed the baby one last time.

8:50 – put baby down for the night.

9 – writing group chat

11 – go to bed

Exciting, right? :) Not every day is quite that crazy, but I'm sure anyone with little kids can relate.