Waiting on Wednesday: The Kiss Quotient

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Author: Helen Hoang
Published: expected June 2018

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

(to be published in 2019)

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Character Names

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Naming a character isn't easy. Fortunately, I never have to do the thing because I just review the books. Today we're going to look at some of those great, classic names. Strong in meaning. Subtle.

8. Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein 

The man invented a language just to call his hidden king, "King".

Gandalf means "Wand Elf" in Norse, btw.

 7. Egwene al'Vere from The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan

She's Gwenevere.

 I was 30 before I got that.

 6. Mort from Discworld by Terry Pratchett 

Much subtle. Very latin. Wow.

5. Smite from Unraveled by Courtney Milan 

 He's a judge. Named Smite.

 Actually he's named 'The Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake, for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every living thing, as I have done.", from Genesis where God promises to never again bring the Flood which, like number four, belies a hidden depth to the character.

 4. Rock from The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson

Because he's big and dumb you see. That is until you get to know him and you realize he's insightful and sensitive. Then his full name, Nuhumukumakiaki'aialunamor, a full poem in his language about a rock his father found suddenly makes sense.

 3. Georgette "Buffy" Meissonier from Feed by Mira Grant 

It was a toss-up between Georgette and Georgia as tributes to George Romero in this zombified poli-horror, but Buffy edges the heroine out as her nickname of the famous teen monster slayer is a double whammy.

 2. Trebor Jordayne of House Tor from ASoIaF by George R.R. Martin 

 Trebor is Robert spelled backwards. Robert Jordan also published at Tor and there was a bit of a rivarly between the two fan camps.

 Martin also named a giant Wun Wun (the number of the NY Giant's quarterback at the time) and had him crush a knight with the Dallas Cowboy's logo on his arms. And he had a whole family of muppets. And knights named Lharys, Mohor, and Kurleket. I kind of love Martin.

1. Remus (raised by wolves) Lupin (wolf-like) from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling 

 Can we also discuss his father Lyall (Norse for WOLF)?

"We will call him 'Moony'," a bunch of wizards who somehow passed the OWLs.

 Yes there are only 8 because I ran out of jokes and also what's going to top Wolf McWolf born on the full moon with his wolf patronus?

Life Update + Giveaway

Monday, May 14, 2018
Hey kittens, long time no see. This post has been a long time coming and I'm really sorry for the past year. Updates have been sporadic, I haven't been great at responding to comments, and I just haven't been able to make APR my priority. I have an explanation; I've mentioned parts of this on Twitter, but I've never put it all out there on the blog. So, to give you all the dirty bits I've tried to keep off the internet, let's go back, back, back. If you stick with me through all of this, I have a present at the end.

On June 14, 2008, aka my 21st birthday, I gave notice at my first big-girl job to go into business with my mom. She'd managed a heart surgery practice for many years and with the help of the retiring partner, set out to open her own boutique-style billing and coding service. The last ten years have been incredibly hard. We started with one doctor. Some days we would be so dead we'd spend hours just stamping return addresses on boxes of envelopes to say we accomplished something. But we grew. In 2013 we suffered a devastating blow. Our business partner, more grandfather to me than my actual bio relatives, passed away. We almost closed - his estate forcing us up for sale as the majority partner. After months of uncertainty, no offers were made and we soldiered on. In the last five years, we've hired significantly more staff, rented more office space. I went to trade school and earned two sets of credentials to better market myself. My baby company was growing up.

And it took control of our lives.

In the last year, my mother's health has declined with a rapidity that's terrifying to see. She's lost 75 pounds in eight months. We've been through every test imaginable, and some I hadn't heard of despite 10 years in the medical industry. The final diagnosis? Stress. Stress so severe it has caused her stomach lining to spasm and rip and, due to constant reflux, she's developed the early signs of throat cancer. In the last year, I've had my anxiety medication increased four times. I work 65 hours a week, sometimes in the office as late as 2 o'clock in the morning. Obviously, my blogging has suffered and though I've made a few "I think work's under control, I should be back on a schedule!" posts, I can't stick to them on top of my work hours.

As of today, I can announce we have sold our company. It's bittersweet. It's giving up our connection to Bob and his family, (though if he were alive to see what this has done to our health, I suspect he would have sold us back in 2013.) I am walking away with nothing tangible from the sale. In a lot of ways, it feels like the sacrifices of the last decade were wasted.

I'm also incredibly happy. I've taken a similar position with one doctor. My employment contract guarantees only 40 hours of work a week. I'm using my certifications; at the company, I was spending far more time on HR and client relations than actually coding. The position is (currently) work from home, which allows me greater freedom during the actual sunlight hours of the day. As some of you know, my husband manages a bar which has made it very difficult to see him when I was working 10a - 7p and he works 6p-2a.

So it's a good thing and a sad thing and a long overdue thing. But what does it mean for APR? Well, I can't speak for Jessie who has her own life issues going on, but as for me, I will be posting twice a week to start. One post will be a bookish meme, TTT or Waiting on Wednesday, and one will be a review or discussion. I'm also committing to replying more to comments and talking to y'all more on Twitter instead of just retweeting every meme I see.

So that takes us to the end of this post and what you've been waiting for: the giveaway! To thank you all for sticking with me and believing APR could come back, I'm not choosing one winner, I'm choosing FIVE. Giveaway is open internationally as long as TBD ships to your country. All you have to do to be entered? Tell me what one book of the last year you think I should have read.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Again guys, thank you so much for following me through all of this. My inability to balance work and life cost me my girlfriend, my health, and a lot of contacts in the book community. It means to world to know I've still got you on my side (or if you're new, that some people want to check me out anyway!) I love you all.

Two Minute Review: Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

Thursday, May 3, 2018
Title: Only Human
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Genre: science fiction
Series: Themis Files #3
Pages: 352
Published: May 2018
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 3/5

We always thought the biggest threat to humanity would come from the outside.

We were wrong.

As the human race picks up the pieces of destruction left behind, a new world order emerges. New alliances are formed. Old divisions are strengthened. And, with a power struggle fuelled by the threat of mutually assured destruction, nothing is certain.

At a time when the world's nations should have been coming together, they have never been more divided.

With the human race teetering on the brink of total war, Rose, Vincent and Eva must choose sides. But doing the right thing might mean making the ultimate sacrifice.

Hmmm... I hate to damn with fain praise but this is a very lukewarm three stars. This is one novel that needed to sit and sink in before I was entirely sure how I felt about it. It's obvious that Sylvain Neuvel never does what you think he is going to -- or even what he might possibly do. He heads in entirely new directions with each successive novel, but I can't say that it worked very well for me in this last of his humans-meet-aliens trilogy. The first novel was an unparalleled success but neither of the followups matched that original level of imagination meets execution.

For a finale, specially for a series like this -- one that has been so creative and unpredictable... this was kind of underwhelming, I am not going to lie. This series started out so strongly and then.. kinda petered out more and more with both sequels. They each weren't bad taken on their own merit, but both Waking Gods a year ago and Only Human now definitely didn't have the vision and creativity of Sleeping Giants.

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