Monday, October 13, 2014

Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death by Mark Reutlinger

So I missed about 3 or 4 days of the 31 Days Challenge. If you were dying to see what was coming next, sorry. For my part, I'm not too sorry. It was good to challenge myself and some good stuff came from it, but I'm not sad to leave the challenge behind. Between home and work and some fun, I just didn't have the time to commit to that this year. Maybe next year.

But I did finish reading a book that I'm going to tell you about:

Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death

In the style of Sherlock Holmes, where the sidekick tells the story. We also do not know all of the facts as in the modern Sherlock adaptations. (I have read the original Sherlock. Some say they can figure it out, but I never did. So I don't know if I can say we didn't know all the facts.) The author did remind us of Sherlock and Watson in dialogue a time or two and I'm glad he did. Just when I started to get frustrated with what we didn't know and the sidekick point of view, I was reminded why he was doing that. Then I settled back into the story.

There were a few places where I started thinking it was too convenient or too fantastical.  The other is one character whose set was so fantastical and awkward that I struggled through her part of the story. I see why she was necessary, but I still didn't enjoy it. Those are the primary reasons I rated it a 3 instead of a 4.

The characters were a lot of fun though. The Yiddish words and dialect of the narrator really made me believe I was talking to an elderly Jewish woman. The ending was great because it didn't emphasize anything tragic or sad. It could very easily become a dark story when you are talking about death and the elderly. This one was not at all dark or tragic. The fabulous characters are what made me almost consider giving it 4 stars.

When I factor in the price, my enjoyment level goes up. It was an easy read and for $2.99 it is worth the money to get to know Rose and Ida.

It is available for pre-order now and will be released on Nov. 18, 2014.


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley

Thursday, October 9, 2014

31 Days of Characters: Tennyson Locke

Day 9 and you think I would have these categories memorized, but I don't. In fact, I just realized that I've been missing a category for the last 2 days. Maybe I don't need that one after all?

Name: Tennyson Locke

Career: Invalid

Location: Small town, Southeastern US, Locke estate

Appearance: Dark hair, bright eyes, in a wheelchair

Personality: He was also rude, inconsiderate, and snobbish. Now he is like a kid again, simple and loving.

Back Story: He was a vibrant young man working his way up in the family company until the accident caused a traumatic brain injury.

Where are they now?: Living on the Locke estate being cared for by Daisy, resented by Duke, and pitied by his brother, Laurence.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

31 Days of Characters: Laurence Locke

Name: Laurence Locke

Career: CEO of a company

Location: Small town southeastern United States

Appearance: Tall, thin, dark hair, balding.

Back Story: He has always been the conscientious one in the family. Trying to protect their good name and their company. Trying to do right by everyone, which is the opposite of his brother.

Where are they now?: Struggling with the sacrifice Daisy has made for his brother who doesn't really deserve it. He understands Duke's feelings and feels the same way at times. However, he is immensely grateful for someone who is so compassionate and caring to look after his brother in his current condition.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

31 Days of Characters: Duke Thayer

 Name: Duke Thayer

Career: Estate Manager for the Locke family.

Location: Southeastern US. Small town.

Appearance: Blond hair, blue eyes, short, fit from working outside so often. 

Back Story: Hard working, self sacrificing for the good of the family, mostly his sister, Daisy.

Where are they now?: Frustrated that his talented sister is reduced to nursemaid for an invalid instead of a high paying powerful career woman.

Monday, October 6, 2014

31 Days of Characters: Daisy Thayer

Name: Daisy Thayer

Location: Southeastern United States. Small town. Everyone knows everyone else and everyone's business.

Career: Nurse for a wealthy family

Appearance: Short blond hair. Short. Thin. Blue eyes.

Personality: Very giving. Willing to give everyone a chance. Smart. Nice to a fault.

Back Story: She was in college and was on her way to being a doctor. Her family is a poor family. They were working hard to support her. Then the wealthy family they worked for had a tragedy occur. She came home without a thought to help Tennyson.

Where are they now?: Her brother is furious at her for giving up her chance at a 'good life' to work for the same family that they have been indebted to for so long. The fault was his and now it has cost her the career she has dreamed of. At least that's the story he is choosing to believe. Her opinions are little more confused.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

31 Days of Characters: Roman Kingsley

Name: Roman Kingsley

Location: Same as Jolie Graham

Career: An improver. Given various titles at various companies. His job is to make workers happier and more productive.

Appearance: Tall, dark, and handsome. Who could resist? Jolie for one.

Personality: Gregarious, hard working, loves a challenge

Back Story: Moved often as an adult, which is the opposite of his childhood. He has had a talent for making things run more smoothly and eventually that led to a career. Personally he doesn't let people in too far. He knows he will have to move on and doesn't want to leave any casualties.

Where are they now?: Living in the Northwest and charged with improving the company, he finds himself challenged by Josie. He either opens up or fails. What will he do?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

31 Days of Characters: Whit Gurdey

Day 3, . I'm almost out of it on day 3. This is why I don't do blogging challenges. But I going to try to get it into under the wire. I have searched every place that I can think of and have not found the list of names and places. I will keep looking, but in the meantime I will be closely observing my world for inspiration. For today,

Name: Whit (short for Whitten) Gurdey

Career: Ex-military. Currently, searching for a new postion. 

Location: Small city or small town USA. Maybe the mountains.

Appearance: Tall, broad, but not excessively so, very short hair

Personality: Demanding, disciplined, principled. Exudes confidence.

Back story: Several comically bad relationships left him wondering what in the world he is here for. He is used to rules and to have somone to tell him how to go about things. He has also had several comically bad job interviews. And his neighbors don't really like him either. He just doesn't understand people.

Where are they now?: Looking for his new place in this world. Job wise, neighborhood wise, relationship wise. He is desperately searching for someone to explain things to him, but he doesn't have the courage or humility to just open up about it. Then comes Ruby.

31 Days of Characters: Jolie Graham

Name: Jolie Graham

Location: Small city in America. Northern part. Maybe the north west.

Appearance: Long blonde straight hair. Thin frame. Average height. Not particularly attractive. Not ugly either. Average.

Career: Office work sitting behind a desk.

Personality: Quiet. Commonly perceived as aloof, but unsure of herself is a better definition. She wants to speak up and speak out more often, but can't seem to find her voice or an outlet to use it.

Back Story: Hearing her name people expect her to be bubbly outgoing and a magnetic personality. She never felt she could live up to hat expectation and consequently her name. She doesn't like her name and tries to hide as much as possible. She is single and many see her as someone to be won over. This leads to her desiring to hide more.

Where are they now?: Someone comes into the office culture or maybe her apartment building or a new person at her gym. Someone who wants to get to know her and help her to move out of her hiding. Moving out of hiding and finding an area to shine brings her to a new job, a new place to live and a new life. But maybe she doesn't really want that.

Day 5: Roman Kingsley

Friday, October 3, 2014

How to get Free Books and More

You may or may not know that I have another blog where I review books and post some creative stuff as well. I am currently participating in the 31 Days Challenge and blogging about 31 different characters that I have created, but not written into any stories yet. So click over and enjoy that. You can also snoop around and see some of the books I have read.

You will notice many of them are from the website Story Cartel. Story Cartel is pretty awesome because they give you free books! You get the book for free if you post an honest review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, etc. You read it and tell other people what you think and you get free books. And that's not all.

You get other free stuff too!

Last month I got this box of great stuff for book readers. A classic novel, moleskin notebooks. candles, tea, coffee, headphones, and a gift card to buy more books! I reviewed a book and was entered in the giveaway. And I won! Even the box they sent it in is cute!  How amazing are these people!

(In case you can't tell by the exclamation points, I'm really excited about it.)

So go check them out, get some free books, review them and get free stuff. It really doesn't get any better.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

31 Days of Characters: Ceddie Breen

I discovered that the 31 Days challenge originated at The Nester. There is a link up over there with a list of all the topics people are blogging about. I wanted to give her credit and let you know a little more about it in case you are interested.

Name: Ceddie Breen

Location: Same as Astin Windsor

Appearance: Short, blond, and round. Always well dressed in neutrals and metallics. Very little color because she doesn't want her clothes to distract from her personality or from the art she represents.

Career: Art Dealer

Personality: Bubbly and bright. She loves life and people and wants to share her love with everyone!

Back Story: Native of said city. Fluently speaks 3 languages. One of the few people Astin wants around her and trusts to see her work. In a world of serious men art dealers, she stands out loudly and loves every minute of it. One of the reasons she became an art dealer was her love of people and life. She finds so much life in art that she couldn't imagine living without it.

Where are they now?: Trying to convince Astin to host her own art show and start selling her art to the public. The story is probably from her point of view.

Day 3: Whit Gurdey

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 Days of Characters: Astin Windsor

Somewhere maybe a couple years ago, I read about the 31 Days blogging challenge. You pick a topic and write a blog post for every day in October on that topic. I have wanted to participate in the past, but haven't had a good idea. Last year, I told myself that I would do it this year. Well, here it is October and I completely forgot about the challenge until I read a blog post mentioning it. Then I thought I better come up with an idea quick. Followed by the thought that I was crazy to even think about attempting this. I'm sure that I'm crazy, but I came up with an idea. I may not finish this challenge, but that's okay. I'm going to try it. My motto will be: "Hold tight and pretend it is a plan.". (Thanks to Doctor Who via Michelle for the quote.)

Now on to my idea. A very long time ago, like about 18 years or so, I created a list of character names that I liked. I even grouped them together and put them in a setting in case I wanted to write a story about them some day. I am hoping to find that list and work from it. If not, then I will just make up a new one. I will present 31 characters to you that have been wandering around my head. I have not put any of them into stories, but I might some day.

So without further ado:

Name: Astin Windsor (As in the car and the House of...)

Location: Some large European city. Maybe Canada or South America. Somewhere foreign to her.

Appearance: Long straight black hair parted in the center, tall, curvy and well proportioned (Not fat, but not thin.) (At least that's what I think would be more interesting, but I can't picture it in my head yet.) Colorful! She is always mixing and matching patterns and colors that most wouldn't dare to wear, but she doesn't care for traditional fashion ideas.

Career: Artist.

Personality: Her social awkwardness has increased her preference for pictures over people. She is a loner. Words often escape her, so talking to others is difficult and writing is not preferred. Her lack of ability with words has made her choice to live in another country whose language she does not know easier. If she doesn't know the language, she doesn't have to worry about speaking to them. She seems snobbish because of her money and social awkwardness, but in reality she is just quiet and introspective. And I normally write characters with a little bit of sass. She will probably not be different.

Back Story: ????? I really have no back story for her.

Where are they now?: There is an artsy area of the city. She travels there on a bike each day with her art supplies. She creates quick things for tourist, but the heart of her work is at home in her loft space. And then what???

Day 2: Ceddie Breen