Looking to be owned through a 40,000 word novella?  Then, look no further than Skyla Madi’s Broken. 

A chance encounter on a subway brings together student nurse Emily and seasoned underground fight club participant Jai.  What evolves is a sense of teamwork like no other . . .  think 50 Shades of Grey meets Cliff’s Notes.  Easily read in one sitting (and then reread and read again), be sure and keep the cold compresses handy just in case because you are going to need them.

In all seriousness, though, Madi’s descriptive writing uses sensual language throughout (and not just in the juicy parts) as in, “Fear and desperation curl in thick strands and wrap themselves around my stomach”  (9) when Emily describes her physical response to her unwanted situation as well as her desired physical locale, “. . . a slither of excitement coils around my spine. . . . I’ve always wanted to move to Italy . . ..  Sitting on my porch, I would overlook a vast vineyard while I sucked on feta stuffed olives and wine”  (12).

My one complaint is the misuse of the word “trust” on the top of page 51 when it most definitely should have read “thrust.”  Wait, perhaps I should reread again to be sure . . .

Now, if willing to take that leap of faith and read this novella, Broken,  remember Skull’s (yes, he really is a character) three simple rules:  1) do NOT tell anyone;  2) don’t kill anyone OUTSIDE the cage; and 3) fight when it’s your turn, or you DIE.

If the above doesn’t tantalize you, I am not sure what will.  As for me, I am not so patiently waiting for the release of Twisted, the sequel to Madi’s Broken.

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Women Food and God

While attempting to organize and clean over winter break, I discovered Geneen Roth’s Women Food and God under my bed.  To date, I cannot recall who gifted it to me, but I wish I did so that I could thank her.  A HUGE thank you to woman blessing Christie.  This book rocks, and I do not say that lightly.

Roth had me by page two, “. . . our relationship to food itself is an exact microcosm of our relationship to life itself.  I believe we are walking, talking expressions of our deepest convictions;  everything we believe about love, fear, transformation and God is revealed in how, when and what we eat.”

Roth, a New York Times bestselling author and leader of workshops teaching the seven guidelines of natural eating, shares how she gained and lost the same weight over the course of close to fifty years before she learned to step away from negative self-talk in place due to years of harmful verbiage from her parents as well as others.  Instead, she chooses to truly listen and trust herself through meditation, inquiry, and mindful eating.

Paraphrasing on my part, Roth poses such questions throughout such as, “Are you truly comfortable trying to balance food, hoping it doesn’t spill on your jacket, while driving your car?”  Instead, Roth urges her readers and retreat participants to truly pay attention, “Pay attention to what you value.  Pay attention to how and what you spend your time.  Your money.  And pay attention to the way you eat”  (16-17).

One retreat participant, a single fifty-something woman, questioned Roth on her philosophy of eating minus any distractions including music, literature, television, etc.  The fifty-something woman said she enjoyed reading The New Yorker while eating alone so as to prevent loneliness.  When Roth questioned her further as to why she felt eating alone equalled loneliness, the woman responded, “‘Anyone knows that people who are living alone at fifty-two years old are losers.  Complete losers.  When I read and eat, I don’t have to face the fact I am a loser'”  (185).  Roth explained if the reading and eating gave her pleasure, this would be fine.  Instead, what the reading and eating was inevitably doing was causing her pain because the participant was doing it to avoid her learned belief that eating alone resulted in harsh judgement from others.

I know;  deep, right?  Women Food and God is deep, but in an inevitable eye-opening way.  I was truly bummed when I had finished reading the Addendum.  Roth writes in a manner where the reader feels as if he/she has just met a new friend who shoots straight from the hip which, I believe, is the best kind of friend to have.

i knead A editer!


Reading is my passion.  Being transported inside a character’s head or to an unknown locale  makes me speechless when an author writes well.  In fact, on more than one occasion, I have been  known to grieve when the conclusion of a novel arrives.  Usually, a replacement novel is one of the only means of rescuing me from the depths of reading despair until the replacement novel’s conclusion.  Thus, a cyclical cycle of addiction and sorrow emerges, worth every savored word on the page.

So, it comes as no surprise I enjoy reviewing books, sharing books, gifting books, discussing books, decorating with books, etc.  Saturday I received a novel in the mail for the purposes of review for a blogging book tour.  Snuggled in bed I picked up this new read and ogled the front and back covers as I always do prior to reading page one.  Disappointed to find a spelling error on the back cover,  I did not abandon all hope and proceeded to open the book and commence my read.

On page four I found two additional spelling errors and another on page five which was when I made the decision to read no more.  This particular author, according to the brief biography, worked as a journalist.  So, I think this person in particular should know better.  However, I believe anyone who is pursuing a career as an author should definitely revise and edit for the cleanest draft possible for his/her readers.  To me, this is  an essential part of the author job description.

My English 111 students are on draft three of a Memoir Essay assigned on day one of class;  we are now two-thirds of the way through the semester.  Revisions will continue until each student is able to walk away with a clean copy in hand.  While enrolled in this class, these students are authors and should respect the craft of writing.

In the same manner, when I purchase a cupcake from the store, I expect it to taste sweet.  If the baker misplaces salt for sugar in the recipe, I would not expect him/her to reason, “It’s close enough.”   While undergoing surgery to eradicate the cancer found in my breast, my surgeon performed three procedures for a successful clear margins outcome.  I am grateful she did not determine “close enough” was good enough.

With this being said, authors please revise and utilize an editor (friend, peer, family, Writing Center, writing group) always.  Keep hope and grammatically correct writing alive for your readers.

Accidents of Marriage

accidentsofmarriageRandy Susan Meyers’ Accidents of Marriage is not your typical happily-ever-after, and I like that.  Instead, what Meyers offers in black and white is brutal honesty reinforced with extensive dialogue throughout so that the reader is truly able to “listen” to each of the characters from his/her perspective.

Accidents of Marriage revolves around the marriage of Maddy and Ben, two successful professionals with three children.  A tragedy occurs which pushes to the forefront a marriage and family in trouble, trouble which can no longer be ignored or masked by other means.

As for Meyers’ writing style, her descriptive detail makes use of the senses:

Why?  That’s your first worry?  Why?’  Ben smelled his musk rising- exhaustion, court, aftershave gone flat, and beery rankness.  (Loc 610)

In addition, throughout, the carefully constructed dialogue offers life lessons to be absorbed by all:

She pointed her finger at him like a gun. ‘I’m not asking anything- I’m assuming you were out having a drink.  But don’t try and bully your way out of anything with me.’

‘I love your daughter,’ Ben said.

‘Love isn’t an excuse for anything but treating someone well.’ (Loc 2227)

Moira’s smile lit up the face that must have been lovely before old bruises and lines set in so deep. ‘I said to myself, stop worrying about him killing you.  You’re murdering yourself.  All he has to do is finish the job.  I’d been praying to God, not realizing that all that time God was helping, I just didn’t recognize his hand.  He’d sent me you all- I just hadn’t been listening.  All these years, it was like the Bible says, I’ve been a prisoner of hope.’ (Loc 4318)

If hosting a book club discussion to accompany Meyers’ Accidents of Marriage, the meal of choice should definitely be turkey meatloaf, honeyed carrot pennies, baked potatoes, and croissants in honor of Maddy’s independence.