Tag Archives: teenagers

Heroes ‘Til Curfew

Cover Art by Robin Ludwig

All Joss wants is to be left alone—with Dylan. But as more Talents are imprisoned by the government, everyone’s looking for a leader. Some look to Joss, some to Marco whose new criminal plan threatens Joss’s family and friends. Joss wants to stand up to Marco, but Dylan’s protective instincts are putting him in harm’s way. Can Joss find a way to embrace both the boy and her hero within?

This review is long overdue.

I’ve been a die-hard fan of Susan Bischoff for years, and this second book was a long time coming, yet definitely worth the wait. It took Susan almost a year to release this novel, after the initial release of Hush Money, the first book in the Talent Chronicle series. Of course, this book was much longer, and obviously a beast of burden for the author. Like me, she’s a perfectionist, at least when it comes to writing. As writers, we are wont to published anything that feels unpolished or unfinished. We stew. We edit. We critique ourselves constantly.  But is it worth the wait? Most definitely! Luckily, there was a short story included in an anthology, which expanded on the Talent Chronicle characters, and kept my impatience slightly abated.

Miraculously, she finally published this book, and I read it immediately, with promises of a prompt review.

Um yeah.

Forgive me, Susan. Life has been chaotic, as I’m sure you can understand.

Anyway, enough with my waxing on and on…

Go check out the book! Besides the minor blurb up at the top, Susan has a preview posted on her website. <—–click me 🙂

You can also view all the other various perks she’s incorporated. Trust me. You will love this. Susan’s created a whole new world for her characters, and is working on the third book as well!

I love YA books! Okay, so I’m in my mid-thirties, but whatever?!

The thing I love the most, that Ig et from numerous YA authors, is the strong female protagonists. Susan delivers Joss to her readers with a punch. I adore her. She’s a tom-boy. She’s outspoken (sometimes), and isn’t afraid to stand up for her friends and her beliefs. To me, this is admirable, especially in the Twilight-era of moody, wimpy chicks in YA literature. (Bella: Joss could kick your butt!) Joss is a  great role model for teenage girls, as she’s a bit of a recluse, but through the first novel (Hush Money), she grows as a person, and by the time we see her again in this novel, she’s strong-willed, take-no-prisoners kind of gal. And I love it!

Joss’ relationship with Dylan (her kinda boyfriend) is truly brought to life in this book, and who doesn’t find the bad boy turned good thing a bit sexy?

I also greatly enjoyed the levels that Susan added to Joss’ family dynamic in the second book. (No spoilers!) For me, it helped me to understand a bit more of Joss’ background, and sympathize with her father’s plight in a way I’d never have guessed. Way to shock me, Susan!

So if you like YA, and even if you’ve never tried it, go check out this lovely second installment in the Talent Chronicles! Strong females, government conspiracies, super powers! What more could a girl ask for?

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“Now it’s time to jump.” / Flat Out Love by Jessica Park

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

About Flat-Out Love

 
Flat-Out Love is a warm and witty novel of family love and dysfunction, deep heartache and raw vulnerability, with a bit of mystery and one whopping, knock-you-to-your-knees romance. 
Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it.When Julie’s off-campus housing falls through, her mother’s old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side … and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.And there’s that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That’s because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie’s suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that … well … doesn’t quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

 
First and foremost, I have to holler from the top of my lungs, “SQUEE!”
 
No, really! This book is awesome! I just happened to be scanning my Twitter account one day, and Jessica was looking for reviewers, so I thought “Hey why not?” I enjoy a good YA novel, and I was not disappointed. Immediately, I was sucked into the plot: lost and alone college freshman in a strange town. Cue flashbacks of my first night in the dorms. Fortunately, I was neither alone nor lost. Alas, I digress.
 
The initial rapport between Julie and Matt was eerily familiar, almost like siblings. And the humor?! Don’t get me started! Within the first chapter, I laughed out loud no less than four times. The characters were well-rounded, and strong while still vulnerable.
Being a female, I obviously identified with Julie, the narrator, but Matt satisfied my inner math-geek. I adored the descriptions of his geeky t-shirts.
 
 
 
Flat Out Love is a shining example of romance in the internet age, complete with IM chats, Facebook status updates, and email communications. I found it rather indicative of the technological advances society has made since the mid-nineties when I was in college. Heck, I didn’t even own a computer until 2000?! I always tell the youngsters the story of “How I Graduated From University Without A Computer”. With an English degree?!
 
They simply look confused. Apparently, they thought there was no life before computers.
 
You know, back in the Dinosaur Age, when people actually had to speak to each other in person (gasp), and busy signals were not a thing of the past.
 
In all seriousness though……oh who am I kidding?!? I’m not serious! Well, rarely anyway.
FLAT FINN! <——-coolest idea ever. Kind of makes me want to have a two-dimensional friend to cart around? Ya know, like maybe a Doppelganger? No. Too creepy. I mean, if Jessica can have a Flat Rick, maybe I should have a Flat Prince or something? You can check out Jessica’s inspiration for Flat Finn here: http://flatoutlove.blogspot.com/p/chapter-tidbits.html
 
Speaking of Flat Finn, there were hints of emotional instability from the get-go, as far as the family dynamic is concerned. For anyone who has ever dealt with depression, either their own or a loved one, the characters were true yet gritty. Whole, yet fragmented. Without spoiling the entire plot (go read it yourself), I questioned and suspected a few things, but even I did not figure out the whopper of an ending until just before the secret is revealed. Loved the suspense!
 
I highly recommend this book to everyone! Especially anyone who loves YA books or just humorous Romance!
 
Thank you, Jessica, for a lovely and enjoyable read! You’ve got a new fan here! 🙂
 
You can check the book out yourself over on Amazon:
 
Find Jessica Park here:
Flat Out Love website: http://flatoutlove.blogspot.com/
 
Jessica Park is the author of the young adult novel RELATIVELY FAMOUS, five Gourmet Girl mysteries (written as Jessica Conant-Park) and the e-shorts FACEBOOKING RICK SPRINGFIELD and WHAT THE KID SAYS (Parts 1 & 2). She grew up in the Boston area and then went to Macalester College in frigid St. Paul, Minnesota. During her freshman year, there was a blizzard on Halloween, and she decided that she was not cut out for such torture. So she moved back to the east coast where, she’d forgotten, it still snows. Oops. She now lives in New Hampshire with her husband, son, bananas dog named Fritzy, and two selfish cats. When not writing, she is probably on Facebook , pining over 80s rock stars, or engaging in “Glee” activities. Or some combination of the three. Probably with a coffee in hand. 
 
 

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Dear Baby Jeebus: Is this month over yet?

HUZZAH! To the corporate jackassery that blocked my shit a couple of weeks ago. F to the big, fat U!

Honestly, I didn’t do anything, but it’s working now. Obviously. I still can’t access Twitter, but at least I can write again!

Speaking of……more poetry is coming! I’ve been writing things out (gasp) long-hand! I’ll bring them with me tomorrow to post.

And….maybe I can even finish my erotica that I’d started when al this hit the fan? Or maybe because I just said that, the whole damned thing will crash/cock-block me out again. LMFAO.

Anyway, a brief update on life:

Mom is doing well at home, getting adjusted and such. It’s a trial, but life is chock full of trials. It’s so hard for us to imagine doing even the most mundane things without a left foot. Try it sometime…you’ll be amazed at how much you take your body for granted!

Michael got a JOB! HOORAY!!!! The first thing he said to me on Friday after work was, “Honey, it’s a dive bar. You’ll love it!”

Yeah, cuz that’s how I roll.

Little by little, we’re trying to get our collective shit together again. It’s been a difficult month (ie. I haven’t actually killed anyone yet), what with his son staying indefinitely for the last 4 or 5 weeks. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: teenage boys eat. A lot. As in Everything.

Seriously. The whole “eating me out of house and home” thing. Totally spot-on.

Meanwhile, Michael & I are on the “we have no food leftover to eat ourselves” diet. So, at least my waistline is happy.

I’ve got more, but I’ll save it for later, and leave you with this.

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