Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hey It's A Post

its been quite awhile since I've done one of these so here's an update on all things Kathy. There's basically nothing bookish so skim as necessary.

Guys, life has been crazy. I get that everyone's life is busy and stressful and nuts, so I guess we're all in this together. Which is why I can say this past year has been extra hard as I've been fighting an anxiety disorder. Some days taking care of my kids and fighting that are all I can handle. I wish I had a nice little wrap up here, like: and then I started taking some medication and I'm all better now! Or: then I found a wonderful therapist and have reached enlightenment!

But those aren't true. I'm working with a really helpful therapist who is good with my occasional skepticsm and crotchety-ness. Medication made an impact but had too many crappy side effects for me to keep taking it. I know lots of people go through trial and error with that but for now it's not something I want to pursue.

So besides all that I try to keep up with my kids. My oldest is in first grade. It's been a transition to have full day school but that is getting easier for him. My middlest started preschool and really likes it. He has these two awesome grandma ladies for teachers and it's been a great fit. My baby is nearly 1, which is so crazy. She has some delays with motor skills and language so we're working with some early intervention programs on that. She does physical therapy every other week and it's made a big difference.

Occasionally I still read, although the recent stuff isn't the most blog-worthy. Right now I'm slowly making my way through two non-fiction books: Stop Walking on Eggshells, which talks a lot about setting boundaries in difficult relationships. And: Early Mormonism and the Magic Worldview, which appeals to the History major parts of me. I'm also trying to learn some basic computer programming because it's interesting and something I've never tried before.

So if you're still reading this, wow. And thanks. And that's what's been up with me. How are you all?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Review: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

5 to 1
by Holly Bodger

The Goodreads Summary Says:   
In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa doesn’t want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa’s family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Kiran’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view—Sudasa’s in verse and Kiran’s in prose—allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.

I Say:
3 stars

5 to 1 is Holly Bodger's YA novel debut, and it was really interesting. Sort of a "Hunger Games" meets "The Selection." As the story opens, Sudasa is preparing to watch the "Trials," or the different rounds of competition that her suitors will go through to win her over. The story is told in alternating POVs between Sudasa and male "Contestant 5." Sudasa is written in beautiful verse. The text is laid out in a way that's supposed to reinforce the idea of the words (like "n#mber" instead of "number") I thought that was unique, if occasionally overused. Contestant 5 is written in prose, and had a distinct feel from Sudasa. I liked the writing, the setting was intriguing, and the tension between the characters was just right.

The only problem I had was that I wanted more of just about everything. The book is super short (I read it all in one sitting), and it almost felt like I'd read a short story instead of a novel. I liked Sudasa and Contestant 5, but I didn't really understand their motivations or their back stories. (How did they both end up so independent? Why wasn't Sudasa interested in milking her privileged female-ness for all she could?) I also wanted more from the world. The idea of a huge gender imbalance would be fun to play around with, but it wasn't explored much. And for a book set so soon in the future, it lacked influences from current Indian culture. I kept wondering why the specific tasks were part of the Trials, and what that said about the culture, and their view of what men were good for. In the end almost all of these aspects were left untouched. I enjoyed what I did get from the story, but overall would have liked more to flesh out the world and characters. The writing was good, though, and I'd definitely read another book by Holly Bodger.

Just So You Know:
I received a free review copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion. 5 to 1 is now available.

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.