Friday, August 26, 2011

Favorite Summer Read

Cherie Reich is hosting a favorite Summer Reads Blogfest.

I completed The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little on 04/09.

(I know that’s not summer. Stick with me.)

Here’s how I started my review on Goodreads:

This is one of those books when I found myself thinking, WoW as I read though it.

I'd heard great things about this novel, but I was hesitant to read it because when I was 14 years old, my mother fell down the stairs and landed in a coma for weeks. I knew this book would drudge up memories. And it did. Near the end of the book, something happens that I'd forgotten about, and I burst into tears.

Soon after, I received an email from the author, thanking me for the review and asking me about my mother’s accident. We had a few email exchanges on the subject. It was cool that she reached out. We became Facebook friends.

She held a contest to win a copy of her ARC Circle of Secrets . I won!

I finished the book on 08/14 (See, summer!). This is similar to the review on Goodreads :

Kimberley can write layered, complicated feelings - especially when it comes to mothers and daughters. She can also bring the bayou alive. Even though I hate humidity, heat, and mosquitoes, this author makes me long to live on a bayou, boat near the alligators, and eat gumbo. She does an authentic dialect as well.

Shelby is uprooted from her grandmother and father to live with a mother she's barely had contact with for a year. (The mother's name is Mirage - how apt is that?) Everything about her new life, including the secrets of the bayou, makes her nervous. But soon the allure of the bayou calls to her. So does the mystery of the notes hidden in the blue bottle tree. Who wrote them?

When she starts school, some mean classmates entice her to play a dangerous game of ‘Truth or Dare’. When Shelby flees, she meets Gwen at a graveyard. The girls immediately click. But something doesn't seem right. Can Shelby connect the clues to figure out why?

Kimberley Griffiths Little writes beautifully. She can get into the head of girls around age 11. She understands what adults seem like from the children's POV.

Often, when I ask to be a published author’s “friend”, I comment on their Facebook posts, but they don’t comment on mine. She’s not like that. Recently she said she hoped my writing was going well. When I mentioned my 8 rejections out of 15 queries, she wrote:

Most importantly, just keep writing. I wrote for more than a decade without any hope or knowing any other writers - before blogging and Facebook began on the internet, etc. I have tons of practice novels sitting in file cabinets.

There are many authors I admire for their writing. It’s rare that I also get to admire them as people. And even rarer that they take the time to encourage me.

Please share your favorite book so far this summer in the comments section.


  1. Hm... that's a tough one! I read The Help in June, and I adored it. I'm a bit late with that one, I know!

    How cool that you became friends with the author! I love Goodreads -- I've met some lovely authors over there, too.

  2. Aww! That's awesome about those books and developing a friendship with the author. There are some wonderful people in the writing community. :)

  3. You make me want to give everything else in my life a shove into the corner and just sit down and read for long periods of time.

    I read "Unbroken" this summer. It was amazing.

  4. I love the way your story, the two books you talk about and their author weave together in this post. How cool that Kimberley Griffiths contacted you and that a supportive cyber-friendship ensued. I'm definitely going to look for these books. Thanks, and happy blogfest-ing!

  5. My favorite book so far? I have read 18 books all of them have been for English literature courses but there is one book that really stands out to me and that is "Dreams of Trespass" by Fatima Mernissi

  6. Don't think you'd like the book I'm reading, Gormenghast,the Mervyn Peake trilogy - reading it because his writing is so wonderful, I learn so much from him, it is brilliantly written, even if the subject matter is not for everyone.

  7. Yay for Kimberly Griffiths!! Thanks too for the review of the Healing Spell - sounds very evocative and perfect for summer (heat, bayous, alligators, mosquitoes!! ) with a feisty yet fragile heroine! Lovely! Take care

  8. I like hearing things like this. I've met some great authors who are the same way. Makes me want to be exactly like that. My favorite read this summer was Linger. I fell in love with Cole, one of the characters.

  9. What a great story! It's so cool she took the time to answer you.

  10. Thanks for sharing such a special story! So cool to have published authors offering encouragement. I'm reading Esperanza Rising right now (middle grade) and it's beautiful. It might end up being my favorite, though I really enjoyed Magic Under Glass too. Oh, and I finally got around to reading Janice Hardy's Healing Wars books, and I can't wait for the third to come out...crap, I don't know. They're all good :)

  11. My fave? Probably Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz. Good characters and lots of of twists and turns.

    Happy weekend!

  12. What a great story! It's so nice that you developed a friendship with that Kimberly. This is the first I've heard of her books, I'm definitely going to check them out.

  13. Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill. I devoured that book. :)

    How cool that she replied to you!

  14. great suggestions and that is exciting to get encouragement from an author!

  15. I find it so comforting and encouraging to know that people who can really write, whose books are now on bookstore shelves and Amazon etc., had to get through those years of practice novels and rejections too. Maybe there's hope :) Kimberly sounds really nice!

  16. Isn't the Internet great? You post a random review and hear back from the author! That's just so cool.

    As for a fave book this summer, I don't have one. The ones I read aren't really worth commenting about, so I won't.

  17. @ Talli, I haven't read The Help. It's sitting on my shelf...

    I love Goodreads too. And Facebook. There's this author I really admire. A Newbury Honor recipient. Way too cool to talk to me. She actually hit the like button on some of my statuses. Unreal.

    @ Cherie, thanks for hosting this blogfest. It was fun to write. There are some amazing authors out there. I hope I'm like that if/when I have a book out there.

    @ Bossy Betty, I'll have to look up Unbroken.

    @ Nicole, thanks for the compliment. If you read these books, I think you'll like 'em.

    @ Summer Ross, I haven't heard of Dreams of Trespass. Thanks for the suggestion.

    @ Carole, not for everyone because of the subject matter? I'll check out the description. Thanks for the comment.

    @ Old Kitty, it IS perfect for a hot and humid summer. You gave it a better description than I did!

    @ Miranda, is that the second in the series after Shiver? I haven't been compelled to read it after reading Shiver. Maybe I should.

    @ Ru, I was surprised that she found me after reading the review. Very cool.

    @ Jess, I have Esparanza Rising, but haven't read it yet. Thanks for reminding me to! I don't know Magic Under Glass. And I don't know Janice Hardy's books. I'm getting so many suggestions. My poor TBR pile! ; )

    @ Karen, thanks for the title. I'm going to take some time to check out all of these recommendations.

    @ Julie, I'm glad to hear you're going to check out her books. I think you'll enjoy them.

    @ The Golden Eagle, now the song "Black Hole Sun" is in my head. I'll check out this book. Thanks!

  18. See this why I like your reviews, as I'm sure the author did as well, you are real my friend.

    Reviewing with your personal touch, that is what makes one read reviews, what makes it, well personal.

    And no I have not read it but I would consider it after your review. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  19. Wow, Theresa, I truly feel honored by such a wonderful post! (*blushing over here*!)

    YOU are an awesome writer and friend and reviewer, too. You wrote a gorgeous, heartfelt review, and it touched ME so much I had to respond.

    And hey, I totally do NOT feel like an *author*! I'm just a writer who's been plugging away for eons, never gave up, and it finally happened! I feel blessed, overwhelmed by reader's responses, and I'm just a regular ole person loving to make connections in the writing world, too. :-)

    It's been fun to read everyone's comments here, too. *waves hello* to all your blogger friends!


  20. I like that the author reached out to you. This book intrigues me, I'll pick it up soon.

    Thanks for your visit to my blog, and I hope to keep in touch via our blogs.

  21. Oh, also, I'm a fellow campaigner! :)

  22. Wow, what a considerate and cool author! Makes me want to check out her book. My favorite summer read so far has been Geek Love. Weird and twisted. Really liked it.

  23. What a great story. It's great to hear of an author reaching out like that. It's the little things that keep us going, right? :)

  24. @ Tara, yes, there's nothing like encouragement from someone who is further along in his/her career than you.

    @ Susanna, yes, I like those stories better than the ones who were overnight successes.

    @ Liz, yes, I love how the Internet makes the writing community small and accessible.

    I'd love to know which books weren't worth mentioning, so I can avoid them!

    @ Jules, thank you for such an awesome comment. I'm glad you found my review personal. I've read several good books this summer, but I chose this one because there was more behind the book.

    @ Kimberley, I'm glad you like the review. You're a talented writer, so I want more people to buy your books!

    Seriously, I'm surprised over how many new authors don't reach out. I once wrote a post at the request of a blogger as a surprise to the debut author, then commented on the author's blog to tell her about it. This author never commented on her blog or my blog. I didn't do it for an acknowledgement, but I was surprised. I would be overwhelmed with gratitude if someone did that for me.

    I know you're far from a debut author, which makes it that much nicer that you contacted me.

    @ Damyanti, hi fellow campaigner! I hope you read the book. I think you'll like it.

    @ Julie, I'll have to check out Geek Love. Thanks for telling me!

    @ CherylAnne, it is the little things that keep us going!

  25. I definitely like the sound of these titles :O)

  26. You're right. I can post on your site using Safari, but not Firefox. Anyway I just put a link to this post on my site and wanted you to know.

  27. I recently became "friends" with Neil Gaiman on Goodreads. I wonder if he read my review of it. Probably not. But yeah...I'm kinda stalking him now...

  28. Great reviews Theresa and a wonderful story of how you connected with the authour. What a wonderful person to reach out like that!

    My favorite read this summer was, "Harold the King," by Helen Hollick. Even though Harold died on Oct 14, 1066 I mourned his death for weeks after closing the book wishing history could be remade.

  29. Kimberley Griffiths Little sounds like a genuinely good person. And Circle of Secrets sounds good, too. It's good the two of you connected.

  30. Theresa, although I’m sad to learn you had to go through what you did as a young teen, your reviews have made me very eager to read Kimberly’s books, especially since my dad was from Louisiana.

    The best book I’ve read this summer is Sheila Dalton’s psychological mystery/drama The Girl in the Box, which is scheduled for release in November. Sheila excels in bringing her character Inez to life—all without Inez ever saying a word. The mystery surrounding her and how she changes the lives of those who know her is incredibly powerful as is Sheila’s ability to smoothly weave in topics including Guatemalan culture, shamanism and autism.

    Plus, like Kimberly, Sheila is a published author who reaches out to others in a way that shows she truly cares about those who leave a comment. These are the kind of authors who are my role models!

  31. Kimberley is just so wonderful. I adore her books and her! What a beautiful review, Theresa--lovely comments about Kimberley, too. I agree wholeheartedly!

  32. Hi Theresa,

    How lovely that you made friends with this author. I found that most authors are very warm and welcoming sorts and they also love to connect with readers.

    All the best!

  33. Just goes to show that social media really does help to connect authors with their readers and that it does make a difference. I want to buy these books on that alone! It helps that they both sound like really great reads, of course.

  34. Theresa, this warmed my heart. It is so cool that the author replied to you and you friended on FB. That's how it should be and it's lovely to hear. You do so much for writers. Nice to feel you're appreciated. Your writing is wonderful, so be encouraged. Keep sending out those queries.


  35. @ Madeleine, glad you like the titles. Hope you get to read them.

    @ Cleemckenzie, thanks for going through the trouble to try a different browser. I posted the problem in the Blogger forums.

    And thank you for the link to my post!

    @ Michael, Neil Gaiman is definitely worth stalking. (Don't quote me on this.)

    @ Ann, I get like that too. I remind myself the people are long gone. Little consolation.

    @ Carol, I wish more people knew about her books. She's talented. I'd like to spread the word.

    @ Michelle, if your dad is from Louisiana, you'll probably appreciate these books even more than me.

    Thanks for telling me about Sheila Dalton and her book. Now I'm going to look it up!

    @ Carolina, I'm glad you read Kimberley's book too. I remember reading about The Healing Spell on a few blogs. When I finally read it, I kicked myself for waiting so long.

    @ Nas, I think the writing community is pretty supportive. I love seeing it from the published authors as well.

    @ Lynda, I find most of my books through blogs and Goodreads. Hearing about them from people I know, makes me more interested.

    I hope you read these two. If you do, tell me what you thought of 'em.

    @ L'Aussie, you wrote such a complimentary comment. Thank you very much! I'll keep trying on all fronts.

  36. Favorite book so far this summer: I read Vonnegut's Breakfast for Champions.

    As a writer, it taught me something (as reading his books usually do).

    Every character is important. All of them. They all have a story, they all have an agenda, they are all IMPORTANT!

    The book I read directly following was King's 'salem's Lot.

    You know what I noticed in that book?

    That every character was important! They all had their own agenda.

    Remember that lesson from two writers who know/knew the craft.

    - Eric

  37. I can comment, finally.
    Really interesting books and how lovely the authors communicate with their readers.

  38. Wasteland by Lynn Rush. She is a debut author. Great picks!

  39. I'm so ashamed (not really). I passed on reading to write and make memories with my great grandson.

  40. That is so awesome when authors you admire connect with you!

    My summer reads were Vampire Diaries, The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander, and A Scary Good Book by Anita Laydon Miller. I really, really loved the last two.

  41. Wow, you're very brave to read that book when you've had a personal experience. And Kimberley is one of my favorite people on the planet, and I'm so glad she reached out to you! What a great story.

  42. @ Eric, I'm embarrassed to admit I haven't yet read Vonnegut. I've read a lot of earlier King, but think I missed Salem's lot. Thanks for the recommendations.

    I agree, we learn something from each read.

    @ Brigid, I'm so happy you can comment! I put my issue in the Blogger forum, and now I hope it's resolved.

    Yes, I liked that it's easier to communicate with authors we admire.

    @ Ciara, I've heard of Wasteland. I wish Lynn Rush the best. Thank you for the recommendation.

    @ GigglesandGuns, not a bad way to spend a summer. Glad you had fun!

    @ Kelly, 3 recommendations? Thanks! I'm especially interested in reading The Fourth Stall.

    @ Elana, glad to know your impression of Kimberley is similar to mine. Thanks for the comment.

  43. I found a nice poetry book by an Irish author in Dublin. I don't often read poetry but I really like it.

    Also bought Olive Kitteridge in Ireland and like it so far (though the font is tiny).

    Hope you had a good summer! Can't believe fall's approaching. :)

  44. @ LR, I've been trying to read more poetry this year. First Jack Keroac and now Langston Hughes.

    Olive Kitteridge is everywhere in Maine. I think the author lives in Maine.

    You went to Ireland! YaY! Can't wait to hear all about it.

    I can't believe fall is approaching either. Boo.

  45. I read many non-fiction books this summer and can't say any were a favorite. Circle of Secrets sounds good though.

  46. @ L. Diane Wolfe, I've gone through big non-fiction phases, but not in a while. Thanks for visiting!

  47. Thanks for stopping by! This summer, I'd have to say my favorite was "Soul Surfer".

  48. @ MadDonna, I don't know Soul Surfer. I'll have to look it up. Thanks for the recommendation!