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Tag: Mention Monday

Library Bookspotting – January/February

Howdy folks! My library volunteer time has been a little strained as my day job takes up more of what should be my personal time, but as I just accepted a new job elsewhere that should change a bit, and I can do these posts a little more regularly! Here are the gems I uncovered so far this year.

IMAG0219You all know how often and eagerly I rib poorly-titled popcorn adult mystery titles, but this one, a mystery about a Rabbi’s wife with a stereotypical Jewish foodstuff in the title (which I’m sure was meant to be a play on the Evita song but last I knew ‘pastrami’ didn’t rhyme with ‘Argentina’) is walking far too fine a line with a Jewish stereotype and almost crosses over into racist territory. Or maybe I just need to lighten up and roll my eyes like I do with “Chihuahua of the Baskervilles”.


 The reason I found this juvenile nonfiction biography humorous is not only because this book seems to fly off our shelves courtesy of those afflicted by Bieber fever, but also because this book made my biceps hurt it is so thick. Bieber is what – 16? And yet his 100% official (whatever that means) biography is something like 1000 pages long. And this says just getting started… can’t wait to read volume 2 here in another 16 years.

IMAG0223This is the unofficial cookbook. They can’t stress that enough. They try, even going so far as to include a long-winded disclaimer that this cookbook was not authorized or written by Rowling or her publisher. I don’t know why they didn’t go as far as to say these recipes did not come from Professor Magonagle’s doctoral thesis or that getting actual mudblood as an ingredient is not without risk. After all, they wanted to make sure everyone knew that despite this being the unofficial cookbook, not in use at Hogwarts, this book is a New York Times Bestseller. So THERE!

IMAG0230This book caught my eye about 2 days after I read an article about a parent who appealed her daughter’s F grade on a paper, a grade given because of plagiarism, because it was the mother and not the daughter who wrote the paper. I’ll come right out and say that past grade… 6? I probably would not be able to solve my child’s math problems (they underline math, I think in an attempt to be funny). But just judging from the cover, I immediately jumped to 2 conclusions: either the author is indulging in an environment of overparenting where children rely on their parents to do their homework for them for fear they will fail at life if they get one F, or it’s just a misguided attempt to be helpful to parents who (like me) are mathematically challenged. Either way, your kid needs to solve his own damn math problems and forget everything after College Algebra like the rest of us!

IMAG0234Pretty is as Pretty Dies. A standard punbelievable title for a popcorn adult mystery novel. This alone would make me giggle and roll my eyes. But WTF is this cover art, apart from good old-fashioned nightmare fuel? Garden gnomes and pretty should never be used in the same sentence, a rule I would extend to cover art and titles. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to do a sweep of my property to make sure there are no killer garden gnomes in the immediate vicinity before this image keeps me awake at night.

That’s it for now! Stay tuned for odd, silly, and mind-boggling library finds next month!

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Library Bookspotting December 2012

It was a December to remember at the branch library I volunteer at here in town. Here are my finds for the month, and the end of the year.

IMAG0216Sometimes, I see a book whose cover is so bad and so boring, I think I could probably do a better version of it in Notepad. This is one of them. Of course, there is no shortage of books designed to scare people about what they put in their children’s bodies, so why wouldn’t there be a handful of them for easily persuadable pet owners? And at the very least, they could have borrowed one of those pitiful-looking faces that we see in those Sarah McLachlan commercials. “I will vaccinate you…”

IMAG0215I know I have made fun of some punbelivable adult mystery titles before, especially those that play on classic literature, but this one really takes the cake. It’s just… shameful. Even the chihuahua on the cover is like “This is so wrong”. I can only imagine it is about a mystery-solving chihuahua whose ghost haunts the Baskervilles, a 2-bedroom apartment complex in suburban Salt Lake City.

IMAG0214Again, this is one of those book covers that is so literal, so boring, and so shoddily put together that it’s just laughable. Then again, if you’re learning how to hunt open country mule deer by reading a book, you’re kind of asking for it. I thumbed through this one a bit, just because I wondered what kind of content actually goes into an instructional text on deer hunting, and it’s mostly ammunition diagrams. Figures the content would be as boring as the cover. The author’s name also made me chuckle, as “Dwight Schuh” is dangerously close to “Dwight Shrute.” I wonder if he hunts mule deer on the open country of his 60-acre beet farm…

IMAG0212And the winner of the month. The spine of this guy caught my attention as I was shelving it with the other early readers, and I thought to myself, “Wow, Dragon Puncher might be the most awesome title for a book I have ever heard of. I can’t wait to see what’s on the cover.” I did not expect to see an actual cat in a cartoon cat suit, yet it somehow is even more amazing than anything I could have pictured in my mind. When I teach my future children to read, you can bet they will be doing so to Dragon Puncher.

See y’all next year! I hope one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to pay more visits to your local library!

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Library Bookspotting for September 2012

September was a great month for me, both personally and professionally, both of which I will elaborate on in a future post. For now, savor these tasty gems I found while volunteering at the library last month.

It’s a good this fiction (?) novel is geared toward junior high boys, because otherwise men of all ages might track it down and enjoy it. How do I know? My fiance laughed hysterically and said he would read it, and all he reads is programming books. I think we can all recall a day this very thing has happened – I once ate street tacos for every meal and yes, it ended badly. And The Day My Butt Went Psycho is supposedly based on a true story…

This one’s a little hard to read since the cover’s so busy, but it’s a children’s cookbook called The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookiee Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes. I’ve been trying to get a good shot of this one for awhile, but it never stays on the shelf for long. I want to believe that the publishers of this fine specimen had no idea that Wookiee Cookie had another, more grownup, meaning, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, they knew the correct spelling of Wookiee – which blew my mind when I discovered it. I’ll have to check it out and try the Boba Fettucine for myself sometime.

Remember how I told you that mystery novels, particularly those in series, have ridiculous titles based on bad puns? Well, here’s another case in point. Roast Mortem (part of the Coffeehouse Mystery series) is about as stretchy of a pun as you can get. Despite its terribly punny title, this book actually doesn’t look half bad.

The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln is an I-Can-Read book. I can’t think of more appropriate subject matter to use to teach my child to read with than the in-cold-blood killing of our 16th president. I’ll avoid this one like the plague – I’d rather wait until the dog passes away to explain the concept of death instead of using poorly illustrated photos of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Stay tuned for October’s finds!

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Library Bookspotting for August 2012

I collected some great gems volunteering at my local branch library this month. Have a look for yourself!

This is an I-Can-Read book, so if you want to teach your kid to read and teach him a valuable lesson about the merits of public sewage servants, this is the book for you. What I really want to know, though, is how they convinced 1988 David Boreanaz to pose for this cover.

I just couldn’t resist snapping this cover. My life experience hasn’t involved many baboons, but I truly believe that this baboon is the most melancholy baboon in the animal kingdom. He looks like he hit the bong before his youth non-fiction book cover photo shoot.

We have an absolutely unreal amount of cookbooks, even for our small branch. You can get all kinds of holiday-themed cookbooks, your favorite celebrity’s cookbook (I’m looking at you, Alicia Silverstone), and cookbooks meant to transport you to a bygone era where men manned the grill and women had 18-inch waists with ridiculous titles like this one.

I don’t care how old I get; I will never not laugh at the title of this book. I’m guessing that when they started the series (A Look at Mars, A Look at Venus, etc.), they failed to take the full Milky Way galaxy into consideration. By the time you get to Uranus (snicker), you can’t very well deviate from the theme. Besides, it’s not like the intended audience of this book is a bunch of immature children or anything. Oh, wait…

That’s all for this month, but I’ve got some great ones already for September, so be sure to come back next month!

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The End. No wait… The End. No wait…

For my money, the hardest part of writing a book is figuring out where to end it. With my first book, The Redheaded Stepchild, it took me nearly two years to figure out an ending. The book was chiefly about the complicated relationship I had with my ex-stepmother, and even when that relationship was over, it wasn’t really over in my mind, so pinning down an ending was difficult. Even though I could pinpoint our last interaction, it still didn’t feel like “the end” in my mind. So I did what any writer does when they don’t know how to end a story: I picked an ending, and I went with it.

I’m working diligently on the last chapter of my current work in progress, Portrait of Woman in Ink: A Tattoo Storybook, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to end it. Why? Because this last chapter is the chapter about me, and I don’t know this particular story of my life ends. For those of us who write autobiographically, or semi-autobiographically, as my case may be, endings are unbelievably hard to write. What’s keeping from finishing my book is the decision to either wait to see how my story shakes out, or just make something up.

What do you think? Is making up an ending cheating? Or do I pick an ending and go with it?


A Parley with Carmen DeSousa

Today I am joined by fellow author extraordinaire Carmen DeSousa.  I recently read DeSousa’s debut novel She Belongs to Me and enjoyed the hell out of it. I invited her here today to talk about her novel, writing, and reaching self-actualization in the Author’s Hierarchy of Awesomeness.

KH: Where and when did you first get the idea for this book?

CD: Honestly, I just started typing. I’ve seen a lot in my life, and my husband was a police detective, so I’ve heard hundreds of stories over the years. One line in a country song can put an entire story in my head. One day a comment a line popped into my head of what a guy might say to his girl and I wrote an entire book off the one line, and the funny thing is, I haven’t even used the line yet, but it’s coming. I am the epitome of a pantser.

KH: Your book mixes romance with whodunit. Which do you enjoy writing more?

CD: I will not read a strictly romance novel, but then again, I don’t have much interest in just a mystery novel either. If I had to choose, I’d lean toward the whodunit, but I like a fifty/fifty mix. I would classify my novels as romantic-suspense. Although my third book will lean more to women’s fiction, and my fourth novel has a slight paranormal aspect—no vampires though.

KH: She Belongs To Me is the story of Jordan and Jaynee Monroe. Are there people in your life who you drew on for inspiration for Jordan and Jaynee’s characters?

CD: Yes. And that’s all I have to say about that. 🙂

KH: She Belongs To Me is your debut novel. From inception to publication, how long did it take?

CD: Twenty months

KH: Why did you decide to go with 5 Prince Publishing for She Belongs To Me?

CD: This is a long story, so I’ll cut right to the chase. I had several options on the table with agents, publishers, and of course self-pub. But in the end, going with a smaller publisher, allowed a more intimate situation and enabled me to maintain more control of the final published work. All the books end up on Amazon anyway, so this was the best choice for me to get my first book to readers quickly, as I have many more stories to tell.

KH: Aliens, love at first sight, writer’s block. Which of these is real?

CD: Without a doubt, love at first sight. I don’t get writer’s block; I just move to a different story.

KH: What’s your next big project?

CD: Land of the Noonday Sun will be available spring of 2012.

When Carmen DeSousa was in college, she wrote her first novella. Her professor wanted something that entailed drinking and fishing—he was a huge Hemingway fan. Well, he sure received a surprise when he read her short story. It did have drinking and fishing, but there was nothing funny about it. It was sad; it was real life. Luckily, he enjoyed it, even admitted she was the first student who ever made him cry and that she had potential.

Unfortunately, it just wasn’t in her future at the time. After all, she needed a roof over her head and food on her plate. At seventeen, she was on her own and a career as an author just wasn’t feasible at that juncture in her life. At that time, if you didn’t live in the mecca—aka New York—you didn’t stand a chance, or at least that is what her peers insisted. So, she set out to conquer the business world, and she did. She spent the last decade and a half in sales, rising to the top of a Fortune 500 company.

Now fifteen years later, she’s back. And guess what, it’s a new world where dreams really do come true. Her first novel, She Belongs to Me, has reached bestselling status and is currently in the top .5% of eBooks on Amazon. But more importantly, she has many stories waiting to share with her wonderful readers. She’s waited twenty years to share her love of the written word, and hopes that you will be just as excited as she is.

She loves connecting with avid readers, so please feel free to connect with me via the links below:





Thanks to Carmen for joining me today, and thanks to all of you for reading and checking her out!