Book Review: Close Contact and Close Encounter by Katherine Allred

I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.

Close Contact, the second book in the sequel, (from the info I found) came out in 2010. I don’t get why there aren’t more books in the series. It legit makes me sad.

I lost sleep over these books.

So the first book I started at 11:30pm and I was so engrossed in it. I thought I’d only read a chapter or two but then as the night grew on, I just couldn’t put it down. A few hours, and a couple of bathroom trips, later I’d finished all 360 pages of the book. It was close to 4am and I had to wake up for work at 6:10am. I was exhausted but content.

I love the main character, I love the plot, I love the romance, the science fiction, the dragon birds, everything! When I turned the last page I knew that I had to find and request the next book in the series before I’d let myself go to sleep. I requested Close Contact through the library and then I realized, it might take days to come. I couldn’t wait that long! So I found it on Overdrive and borrowed it there.

I was so tired that after I got off work I fully intended to lay my head down for just a few hours and I ended up sleeping for 11 hours straight.
Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long. The second book came on Monday. Immediately picked up where I left off in the Ebook. I loved it as well. It didn’t come as close as Close Encounter but I loved it.
I would definitely, definitely recommend reading these books. They are great, witty, funny, interesting and with a big sprinkle of romance!

Here are the covers!

 

close encounters

The Bureau of Alien Affairs needed a special GEP agent with empathic abilities to handle their most extraordinary assignments—and a rogue geneticist saw to it that Kiera fit their specifications. But she turned out stronger, faster, smarter, and more impervious to harm than anyone anticipated. A reluctant “superhero,” Kiera wishes she were normal, but it is not to be.

On Orpheus Two, the indigenous Buri race faces extinction, a prospect the powerful Dynatec corporation welcomes and, in fact, may be actively hastening. It is Kiera’s job to protect these beautiful, exotic aliens . . . and to discover what there is on Orpheus Two that Dynatec feels is worth killing for.

But the magnetic allure of Thor, the breathtaking Buri leader, is proving a dangerous distraction. And now, to save Thor’s people, Kiera will need a power she’s never before possessed—something hidden in the unexplored recesses of her heart.

 

Close contact

A Genetically Engineered Person and self-proclaimed “party girl,” Echo Adams loves her diplomatic job entertaining alien bigwigs for the Galactic Federation. But the Bureau of Alien Affairs has discovered she’s much more than she thinks-that a rogue scientist endowed her with skills and psi abilities dwarfing those of common GEPs. And suddenly Echo’s luxury life is over, replaced with a far more dangerous one: a special agent expected to not only chase bad guys, but eliminate them.

Echo’s hates being stuck on Madrea-a planet of technophobes off limits to Federation visitors-hunting for a stolen quartz crystal with a powerful alien lifeform embedded inside. She despises the Bureau’s restrictive rules-especially the one warning her away from the dangerously seductive Commander of the King’s Forces. And if she doesn’t learn how to use her alleged super-psi powers soon, her partying days-in fact all of her days-will be over for good.

Good Readdance,
Jade

Link to Book

So…Many…Books!

Heya,

We are moving out of our apartment in August. The crazy thing is that, yes, I’ve started packing already. I am so glad that I am because I already have five duffle bags and four big boxes filled with books and I haven’t even touched the other rooms.

We have so much stuff in comparison to when we first moved in two years ago. I’ve bought three bookshelves and I plan to get a few more as well as smaller bedside tables to put my tiny lamps on. I love to read in bed and this is definitely going to be a happy moment for me.

Another thing is that I have no doubt I will be buying more books between now and our move out day. I am keeping a box empty just in case I do…which I will. So, full circle. We are actually going to get a moving company because there is no way I will be able to carry any of these boxes. My guy is considerably stronger than I am but even he won’t be able to lift them. Hopefully the movers come with a dolly.

In our new apartment, I’m hoping to set up our TV and library room just how I like it and keep it that way. I don’t currently have a writing desk but I will be buying one to fit in a tiny alcove that the new apartment has tucked between the living room and the bedroom wall. It’s right next to our porch so I could swivel and watch the horizon as I write.  There’s also enough space for one or two of my tiny bookshelves to fit. It’ll be so awesome!

Anyway! Do you guys have separate rooms or spaces for your books? Give me some ideas! How do you work your love for books into your home?

Good Readdance,

Jade

A Scholar Review Newsletter!

Heya!

I’m very excited about this.

Yes, you’re right, excited is my favorite word on this blog. I’ve probably used it in every post but it’s true! I mean, don’t you want someone who is passionate about their writing and about books?
Anyway, I currently have a Thoughts category but I will be removing it soon. I’ve created a monthly newsletter in which I will be writing this content and more. It’s going to be great. Sign up so you get a look at what’s going on with me, the blog and what’s new in the writing world! Well…my writing world.

I have plenty of things that I want to share with you. Signing up for the newsletter gives you a chance to hear words from me personally and get a leg up on all the non-followers! I have it scheduled to come out at the end of the month so sign up before then to be involved! For those that do, you will receive a shout out on my blog and social media as the first Jadenites! That’s entirely too cheesy, I won’t be using that. I promise.

This is the first newsletter so weigh in, tell me what you think, and what you’d like to see more on the page. In the newsletters following I’ll be answering any questions in a Q&A. So if you’d like to know more about me or my process don’t forget to leave them below.

Follow the journey and come along for the ride!

Good Readdance,
Jade

Book Review: Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

As the carrier of a rare gene, Sirantha Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace-a talent which makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. Then a crash landing kills everyone on board, leaving Jax in a jail cell with no memory of the crash. But her fun’s not over. A group of rogue fighters frees her…for a price: her help in overthrowing the established order.

This is it!

This is the book I was talking about the other day. I’m still not exactly sure if this book is more fantasy than romance but I don’t care. I loved it. I blindly picked up the first three books in this series and I’m glad I went in unbiased. It was definitely a surprise.

Sirantha Jax is an amazing main character. She has dimension, fight and power. I love the way Aguirre really made you care about her, fear for her safety but also want to slap her. There are a few times in the book where I was just like girl, pull it together! I was rooting for her, for the crew and I need that in a book. I need to WANT the character to win, even if it also means losing. I need to be behind them and I was for her the entire ride.

 

Grimspace

 

I will say, I spent a healthy amount of time crying at the end. The book takes you on a wild ride from the very first chapter. On the edge of my seat. Wanting to know what’s next. Hoping she won’t fade into nothingness.

I would definitely recommend this book. That is definitely saying something as it’s from first person point of view and trust me…that is NOT my favorite pov. It intrigued me and the writing held a sense of urgency that made you want to read for hours. Which, of course, I did. If you are looking for something heavy on space, heavy on plot, heavy on inner turmoil, this is the book for you. Don’t worry about the romance, it is more mental than physical and makes the subplot ever so sweeter.

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readance,

Jade

 

 

Link To Book

The Book That Made Me A Reader

Heya!

So I am beyond excited! I can’t even believe I’m writing this right now.

When I was a young  foster girl, sad and angry, I needed a coping mechanism to fill the void love loss left in me. I found that in The Westing Game. I was around seven years old when I first read it.

I had been looking for it for so long but could never remember the title or the author. All I could remember was that a ton of people are invited to a house as heirs to a large estate. There’s intrigue, mystery and crazy twists. A huge competition would pit them against each other until one lone person came out the winner…and single heir. Something to do with a guy named West…or something. I tried every form of google search but couldn’t come up with results that fit the book.

Then, a good friend of mine told me she was moving back to her home state. ‘Can you come over and help me pack?’ Of course! Then she added ‘and you can look through my books and take whatever you like!’ Umm…what? She had a ton of books from the 90’s. All those old covers and big pants. I loved it! We had the greatest time!

And then…I saw it. The instant she pulled it from the book I almost cried. My heart nearly exploded. The Westing Game!! That was the title! That was the book I read at least twice a month! That was the book that made me want to read any and everything I could get my hands on. All the old memories rushed through my mind and I grasp it to my chest.

I’d finally found it. It was finally mine.

I’m going to read it again. I don’t even care if it’s different than I remember. My inner child is jumping for joy and shivering with anticipation.

Dramatic, I know…this is me.

No google found photos here. This is the actual book on my bookshelf. Yes!

TheWestingGame

Good Readdance,
Jade

 

P.S. I picked up 50 books in total.

 

allthebooks

 

Link to Book

6 Steps to Love Reading

You may think that this is a silly title or even a silly topic but it’s important!

I think that a lot of people just don’t ‘get’ it. They can’t figure out what is so appealing about curling in bed with a good book. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to read, they just probably never enjoyed it on their own sooo…they don’t. Well, I can help!  Hopefully. I want to give you a few tips of my own that have really helped me and others glean the most they can from reading.

1. Find a Genre You Like!

You might think this is a no-brainer but it’s not. With so many people telling others what you ‘should’ read or what is ‘posh’ to read, it can be daunting for someone who is just starting to pick up books for pleasure. Think of movies or TV shows that make you happy. Do you enjoy ones that are scifi? Like Fringe or Doctor Who? Are you a psychological thriller kind of person? Dexter, Mr. Robot, Black Mirror? Are you a fan of the cutesy shows or romance filled hour long love fest? Hart of Dixie, 90210, Bones, Gossip Girl, etc? Looking at what you like to watch can definitely help you figure out what you like to read. Then research or go to that section in your local library or bookstore and pick something up! Read the flap!
2. Don’t Finish If You Hate It!

I know, I know. Tons of people think that not finishing a book is so taboo but I don’t! I currently have 250 books in my TBR (to be read) pile and that’s just physical books that I own. Not E-Books. Not library books. Not books in the queue. I don’t have time for that. Ain’t nobody got time for that! I do try to give a book a few chapters before I throw it against the wall but I definitely won’t torture myself further if I can barely get past a paragraph without dying inside. That being said, if a book is suggested to me (via a book club, blog request, etc) I will definitely stick with it longer than normal. I want to give everything a fair deal. But I’m an aficionado at this, don’t try this at home kids! It can be discouraging if you find yourself unable to get into a book or if it takes months to get through it.

3. Buy Books!

Now, I’m not sponsored, as much as I would love to be, but amazon and half priced bookstores are your best friend. I say actually buy your books because you are more likely to read them, in my opinion, than if you grabbed it from the library or borrowed from a friend. As a borrower, you are under pressure to finish quickly (heehee) and return it in mint condition. I always try to take the best care of my books but if I carry a book everywhere, because it is so good, and end up accidentally dropping it in the dirt, that’s only on me. No fines accrued. And I’d still read it.

4. Start Small!

Don’t think that you have to burst out of the gate with a 1100 page monstrosity of Stephen King’s or a hard read with emphasis on philosophical imagery, blah, blah, blah. Start with something short, something innocent. Start with a light hearted novel. I’d say even start with a YA, anything to ease yourself in. If you are a ‘take the leap’ type then go ahead and ignore everything in this section. Go forth, you over achiever you, Mary Higgins Clark awaits you.
5. Discover You Neeeeds!

Why did you decide to start reading more? Are you trying to better yourself? Are you wanting to see what all this book hubbub is all about? Are you trying to teach yourself about a specific subject? I think this is important because at least now you know what types of books you are looking for and won’t stress yourself out. Meaning, if you are wanting to read about demons and warriors and bloody battles, picking up a book on the children in the attic won’t appeal to you.

6. Change It Up! 

This is sort of a continuance and contradiction to number 5 and number 1! So this one is just for fun. As a kid, I was obsessed with romance and love and rainbows and historical and and and… It wasn’t until I graduated high school that I began to really broaden my horizons. By dipping into other genres or randomly buying books without vetting them, I then discovered how much I love mystery, psychological thrillers, witty banter, spy novels and even some non-fiction (woa what?).

So, if you are looking to get into the world of nerdiness I hope that I’ve helped you take the next step. Below I will share with you some authors, and their genres, that I really enjoy!

 

 

Julie Garwood- Romance and Mystery romance

Lynsay Sands- Paranormal Romance, historical romance, romance romance!
Tina Wainscott- mystery romance

Nora Roberts- Formula Romance
James Patterson- Psychological, mystery, procedural, etc. (He also writes YA)
Mary Higgins Clark- Mystery! Crime!

Nora Roberts, John Grisham, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, Cindy Gerard, Gena Showalter, Iris Johansen!

 

Happy Readdance,

Jade

P.S. If you have any other tips you’d like to share with other readers, let me know in the comments! Did any of these help you? What are you going to read next?

We Should Teach Creative Writing in Schools

This is a long one, so buckle up. (or in, or down, or whatever). Get ready. Stay for the ride, maybe you’ll learn something. Maybe you’ll…just pretend you did. Hehe.

It actually surprises me that this isn’t something we already do. I mean, yes, in the times of the past maybe ‘we’ thought that this was ‘all just woo-woo stuff’ that we were giving into. For some reason ‘we’ thought that encouraging our children to open their minds and believe in things that didn’t exist meant that we were not being good parents. It meant that we weren’t preparing them for the “real” world where things are hard, and tough, and fierce, and angry and streets were dirty. It was like we thought that we couldn’t allow them to fly free and they wouldn’t see the world around them. It was as if we never used our imagination to help develop who we became.

It’s widely known that ‘we’ believe you lose your ‘inner child’ when you get older. Only thing is…you don’t lose it, it’s suppressed, stolen, beaten and trampled by adults who constantly say “that’s not real” or “that would never actually happen” or “life isn’t so happy” or even “wake up!”. Yes, at some point we do need to have a discussion of this sort but we always fail to realize that children are smarter than we think they are.

How did we forget that when we were kids ourselves we had imaginary friends and we poured fake tea and we danced circles in frilly dresses or chomped wood with plastic saws? We knew we weren’t drinking anything. We knew we weren’t princesses or construction workers or true magicians. We just didn’t care. At some point, after the suppression of our passion we cross from being a “knowing someone who enjoys” to “a person who is unknowing, dying and actively disliking everything”.

Break here for a deep breath.
Okay, Go.

Well, I’m going to tell you a small story as to how my own experiences with school and writing and creating my own worlds changed my life. Then I’m going to share with you a few bits from others that I found while doing research for speech class. Yes, they will be credited and citations will be below. Far below. Don’t worry, I did my homework and I actually enjoyed it. Ha! These are the friends that I spoke of in the title, that are not really friends. Just those more qualified than me to talk about the subject of child development and the need for play acting in the kiddos.

When I was about 7 I wrote my first story. I wrote it down on crumpled paper and it took me forever to do it. At the time, I thought I was writing a book, which makes me laugh inside as it was only about 4 to 5 pages. It was about a dog and a cat that truly loved each other. They played all day and all night and everything was just perfect. It was all just perfect until the dog died. The cat was sad, it’s best friend was gone. What was the cat to do? It moped and cried. At the end of the “book” the dog came back to life and the cat was happy! THE END!

No really, that was the end. I was so proud of myself. My heart was full. I couldn’t believe it. I’d written a book! Immediately I turned around and went to my mother. Read it! Read it! I was so excited. She read it and I sat there with twiddling fingers and tapping feet. And then there was the Look. You know, the one someone gives you when they know you want good news but all they have is bad news and they want to let you down softly. That one.

“Umm…this would never happen,” she starts. She proceeded to tell me about how cats and dogs are never friends, how they don’t experience feelings of love and loss the way we do, and how once something dies it can’t come back to life. That’s JUST the way the world works! At first, I was broken. Then, I was angry. I was so defensive and offended. I can do anything I want with my story! I wrote it. It was my book and no one could tell me what to do with my book.

And that is how I knew I wanted to be a writer. For the next ten years I continued to write stories about opposing characters and things that ‘could never actually happen’. During this time, I didn’t let my mother read anything that I’d written. I couldn’t let her stop me from becoming a god to my characters and have their fearful bodies shaking in their boots. Couldn’t have her telling me I couldn’t resurrect my Lazarus and keep his humanity to fall in love with some chick with mousy brown hair and a big obsession with finger blades!

But it wasn’t just her, when I was a young troubled girl trying to make it through the ins and outs of my foster home I wrote like crazy. I filled composition notebook after composition notebook of character ideas and story arcs and I read as much as I could. Books of all genres were fodder for my tiny fast fingers and I soaked in as much of their imagery and filth as I could. Only to spew it back out in the form of inspiration and child like ambitions.

Ok, that just went on an odd tangent but you get the point. I didn’t even get to the part I was trying to say. I loved it and it changed my life. I had a teacher in the fourth grade who gave in to my childish wants and desires. She suggested so many books to me I can’t even remember them all. She said ‘one day you will grow up and be a writer’. From her I got Melusine, Summer of my German Soldier and the original readings of The Giver. She told me I was reading and writing on a high school level and she was impressed with me. Blah, blah, blah. Of course, at that time I didn’t care about all of that. I just wanted to write.

Then in eight grade, and I’ll never forget, Mr Vincent Potts awarded me with an English plaque at the end of the school year. It was my first time back in school with the ‘norms’, meaning I was no longer in the private school that had fostered my introverted nerdiness. He would read my writings and give me real feedback. He, too, told me that I would one day become a great writer. This was at the time when things were confusing, I didn’t believe him and yet I did.

I had an english teacher in high school that was mean as hell. To everyone else. Or at least that’s what I remember them saying. All the time. I loved her. She was great. I made my first friend in that class. I wrote a book complete from beginning to end at her request. She pushed me and pushed me and I knew, one day I would be a writer. And I am. *Mild shoulder shrug while throwing up in my mouth a little*

So that was me.

Now, from my fake friends I gleaned that this actually has an effect on children that should not be ignored. Not just expanding the mind by writing down things you create from your own imaginations but also pretending that there are things before you that aren’t there. No, not crazy speak, just childhood word vomit and seeing spies in sky.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge” -Einstein. Okay, okay. I apologize for this one but we all know it. We know how important imagination, excitement and intriguing mystery is. We learn this from ‘woman is a grinch at Christmas’ or ‘CEO learns to love’ movies that we all watch as adults to make us think that rich people aren’t happy or sit around all day without an ounce of make believe.

Another… There are benefits to pretend play that involves “fantasy, make-believe, symbolism, organization, cognitive integration, and divergent thinking; it allows the expression of both positive and negative feelings” from Psychologist Sandra Russ*. This is one we also know. When you are allowed to create, to push the envelope back and forth, to bend the rules and then punish your characters for breaking them, you get to experience both sides of things. You allow yourself, and readers, to learn the consequences of life and how to react to betrayal, anger, excitement, the works.

Dr. Catherine Neilsen’s voice on enhancing the imagination and it’s effects through to adulthood can be reduced to 5 reasons as to why creativity is important. I’m just going to list these and put my summaries of each because…that article is long and I read it myself and gleaned what I could so you don’t have to. Here*:

  1. Social development- learning cooperation and compromise with friends! Yay!
  2. Language development- expanding vocabulary and understanding inflection.
  3. Emotional development- positive and negative feelings and working through things in a ‘made up’ world! Whoop! Becoming a god with a conscious!
  4. Physical development- using physical tools help with expression and muscle development. Writing! Typing! Wooden swords and play tea sets!
  5. Thinking skills- Children think in magical ways and use their imagination to stretch their minds. -and develop their own thoughts and personalities despite the adults proverbial sodomizings! (yes, I made that plural…and?)

So there you have it. We should teach creative writing in schools. I daresay we should. I say we go for it and we teach them what their mind can do, what it can create. You know…this might just work out for us in the end. (See above 5 ways). We MIGHT just get some decent human beings that are accepting of others (skin color, orientation, freaking accents (personally speaking here) and family situations). We MAY just come across an entire generation of people who want to think up all the mighty things they can do and actually DO them.

So many people say that focusing on the false and on creative writing is a waste of time and there are so many ‘more productive’ things we can teach children but I disagree. I believe that by encouraging them to be themselves, see their invisible friends and more we are actually setting them free. I believe that if we taught our children how to deal with their thoughts, use their own imagination to build worlds and as coping mechanisms, they would be better human beings and the earth would be a better place.
But that’s just me. A girl who dreamed she’d one day be a writer. Who took a few detours until she realized her dream was within reach. Who decided…hey! It will happen because I dreamed it so and now…I’ve done the work to do so.

So…let me know what you think below. Do you agree? Has creative writing effected you? Would you like to be a writer but never thought you could? Do you think that encouraging creativity and play acting in children can really cause them to become better humans beings? Tell me!

Happy Lifeness,
Jade

References:

  1. Wallace-Segall, Rebecca. “Plea for Creative Writing in Schools”. The Atlantic.com. The Atlantic Monthly Group. 4, Oct, 2012. 2018. https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/10/a-passionate-unapologetic-plea-for-creative-writing-in-schools/263212/
  2. Suckerman, Simone. “5 Benefits of Imaginative Play”. LivingandLoving.co.za. Living and Loving Magazine. 3 August. 2017. 2018. https://www.livingandloving.co.za/child/5-benefits-of-imaginative-play

Book Review: Copper Beach by Jayne Ann Krentz

Within the pages of very rare books some centuries old lie the secrets of the paranormal. Abby Radwell’s unusual psychic talent has made her an expert in such volumes—and sometimes taken her into dangerous territory. After a deadly incident in the private library of an obsessive collector, Abby receives a blackmail threat, and rumors swirl that an old alchemical text known as The Key has reappeared on the black market.

Convinced that she needs an investigator who can also play bodyguard, she hires Sam Coppersmith, a specialist in paranormal crystals and amber—“hot rocks.” Passion flares immediately between them, but neither entirely trusts the other. When it comes to dealing with a killer who has paranormal abilities, and a blackmailer who will stop at nothing to obtain an ancient alchemical code, no one is safe.

I’m actually quite happy I read this book. I bought it recently, during one of my happy excursions to the bookstore, and I don’t regret it. I didn’t know what it was about but I have several other books by JAK that I really enjoyed so…obviously I had to grab it.

Copper Beach

I’m happy because I am definitely a person who believes in the power of crystals and auras, etc. I just believe we can’t rule it out. Think of all the times you get bad vibes from someone you’ve never met. Think of the times where you knew not to do this thing or not the go down that alley. I believe it’s all intuition and and bad juju.

I’m a big fan of this novel, it had the right amount of romance and action. I love that this was a turn of the way romances are usually written. The girl falls hard for the guy and he has to some how learn that she’s the one for him before it’s too late. In this novel, she is the one who has to come to terms with their closeness, their intimacy and see if she can deal with her trust ‘issues’. I like that he is indeed powerful but so is she! Gone are the days of the damsel in distress. Now are the days of powerful lady in need of assistance, not you-take-over-and-I’ll-just-hid-and-cry. Yes, I did just put dashes in between, yes you get the point.

I love that our MC here is stubborn and refuses to give up. She has her life and she likes it how she likes it. I would recommend this book if you are a lover of crystals and their appeals. I would say read this if you are looking for something that won’t confuse you or leave you wondering. Although there is another book after this one (which I am actively trying to get), the end is nicely tied and nipped for you. I appreciate that in any good romance.

Thanks JAK!

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readance,
Jade

 

Link to Book