Tag Archives: love

Book Review: Die For You – Fabulously Complex YA Novel

die-for-youDie For You

By Amy Fellner Dominy

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley and the publisher.

Teenagers fall in and out of love daily. But the love Dillon and Emma have is more than puppy love. They have a real connection, bound together with deep emotion and a short, but encompassing past.

Emma met Dillon when she moved in with her father after her parents split. It was her choice to leave her friends, high school just before senior year and start over in a new place. It was rough for her and meeting Dillon helped fill the emptiness she felt after making one of the hardest choices of her young life.

Emma helped Dillon fight some demons he was struggling with. This made her feel needed and loved. They planned a future together after senior year. Both had been accepted to the same college and were planning to spend the next four years and the rest of their lives together. They knew their young love would withstand the test of time and both of them wanted to be together forever.

But when Emma unexpectedly receives the most unbelievable opportunity for an internship in Rome for the next year, she knew she had to try for it. Her life dream of becoming an archeologist like her father made studying in the ancient city a dream come true. She felt sure that Dillon would support her dream, after all, it was only a year apart and they could phone, skype and text to keep in touch almost as if they were together.

But Dillon had other ideas. At what lengths would he go to make sure Emma stayed with him forever? She was about to find out.

I loved this YA book. It was a love story, a coming of age story that had elements of suspense, mystery and family issues. The complexity of the characters and story evolution made Die For You a great book for YA audiences as well as adults. It was well written, with realistic conversations and situations. Once I started reading it, I could not put it down.

Per her website, Amy Fellner Dominy is “…a former advertising copywriter, MFA playwright and hula-hoop champion.”  You have to love an author with a hula-hoop championship under her belt! She is an award winning YA and youth writer, with a picture book coming out soon. Die For You is her fifth novel, I am looking forward to reading the previous four as well as her picture book.

Copyright © 2016 Laura Hartman

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Christmas Craft is Always a Blast!

I have posted before about our annual Christmas Craft. To catch you up, it is always a surprise until after Thanksgiving dinner. The craft has to be easily completed by the youngest person participating (the youngest this year is 3) and has to have the ability to be personalized so all of the projects turn out differently.

When this tradition started many years ago, we didn’t have the HUGE advantage of Pinterest. This year I found a couple of ideas using wine glasses. One was creating a snow globe effect and the other was painting the outside to use either as an actual glass to drink from or as a candle holder.

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There were lots of different designs. Our youngest artist painted a blue snowman as well as a plastic wine glass instead of the glass one the grown-ups used. We also helped her make a snow globe out of one of the plastic glasses.

The craft didn’t cost much. I purchased the wine glasses at the dollar store for $1 each. The plastic wine glasses were 6/$1. I got paint brushes in a package of 12 for $1, then just threw them out instead of trying to get the paint out of them.

The paint was .79 – $1.50 each, but I only purchases primary colors, black and white with a 30% off coupon at Michael’s. I also got all of the little snowflake, tree and reindeer stickers and figures 50% off with the additional 30% from Michael’s. The glitter, glue and cotton balls I had at home as well as the rubbing alcohol that is needed to clean the glass before painting. For under $20.00 we had an afternoon of fun and everyone has a Christmas decoration or wine glass to take home.

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She was not happy with the camera flash interrupting her painting. 🙂

 

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It is a messy, noisy, fabulous way to spend Thanksgiving!

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Concentration….

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And sometimes you have to take a break to play with a few toys 🙂

This is one of my favorite traditions, what are some of yours?

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Writing 101 Day 15 Life Changing Event??

 

Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force.

How does that make you feel?

I have been thinking all day about the Writing 101 prompt of the day. I have attended events, concerts, plays, movies and backyard BBQs, but honestly, in my 57 years on this planet I absolutely can say with certainty, not one of them was a life changing experience. In as much as I enjoyed most of said events, without one, two or most of them I would not have been devastated.

Maybe I am not Zen enough to put all of this importance on ONE MAJOR EVENT. I dunno.

buddy 9In the last 10 years I have been privileged enough to attend concerts of some of all-time favorite artists. Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton and Buddy Guy. I have seen plays in Chicago with superstars such as Zero Mostel, Donnie Osmond (don’t laugh, he was a very hot guy and had his shirt off most of the play), David Hyde Pierce and my personal favorite Tim Curry (Huge, HUGE fan of Rocky Horror Picture Show here!!) and many more I am surely forgetting.

 

I learned to actually appreciate opera after attending several for my Opera Appreciation Class in college. Oddly enough I hated the one in English, loved the one in Italian. I was fortunate enough to see both the best (Aida – was fabulous) and the worse (Macbeth – biggest bust ever!) of the year according to the Chicago critics.

As far as events like family picnics, trips to the zoo with our children and vacations, almost all of them have been great. There was the unfortunate incident with bad clam chowder (my dear young cousin and I fondly pronounce it chowda in honor of the east coast) in Oregon giving me food poisoning for the last four cold and rainy days of our vacation.

Don’t for a minute think we had a lot of disposable cash. I didn’t work when the kids were young, but stayed home raising them while my husband worked. We did the zoo and museums on free day, camped because it was lots of fun for three little boys and a big Old English Sheep Dog. And it was cheap. We watched our money and ate at home, not restaurants to save our money to do things with the kids and as a couple. Jim Hartman_5

 

I don’t want to gloss over hardships we may have had. Money was really tight some days, weeks, months. We made do. One of our sons had a major medical issue but is thankfully back on his own, working and thriving. We’ve had sickness and deaths of those close to us. Two come to mind that passed away too young.

After all of this information telling you that one event didn’t shape my life, I have to tell you that all of these events had a part in shaping my life.

I have learned the following (and wish I could always live by them but sometimes just can’t – I’m only human)

  • No amount of worry will affect the outcome of any situation
  • I cannot make people act differently, but I can control my reaction to them
  • Sometimes I just have to act happy when I am not. Ironically, it does improve my mood
  • Money is nice, but you can have a great time with little or none
  • Keep learning and growing. Your little grey cells will thank you
  • Family dinner is important. Talk to your family. What a concept!
  • Hold your friends close or let them go – you’ll know which is appropriate
  • Enjoy your life or change it
  • Live, laugh and love (to quote some wise, famous person who remains a mystery to me)

© Laura M Hartman 2014

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Writing 101 day 7: The old one and the young one

Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.

She slowly rose from the low bed, grumbling and grousing without opening her mouth. Her hair used to be as black as onyx, but somehow turned white practically over night. Blue eyes, once clear enough to see even when the dusk of the evening claimed the sky, have gone milky with cataracts, making them water in the morning sun.

Her breakfast, the usual stuff with a pill chaser was waiting patiently while her arthritic legs carried her to the kitchen. Just as she bent her head to begin her meal the young one grabbed it instead.

Jumping, hoping, sassy mouth yapping the young one boldly grabbed part of her meal. Why even snap or snarl at her when she didn’t listen anyway? The young one had bright eyes and enough energy for both of them, she was always ready to run, play and bother anyone that couldn’t keep up with the antics only youth can pull off without breaking a bone. Or two.

Moving to the yard, the young one chases birds and squirrels and toads. The old one saunters over to the shade for a nap.

“How is my favorite girl?” the woman asks, giving the old one a hug.

Afternoon nap Indy and Mea

The young one runs over to steal some attention, as if to say, “Me! me! Look at ME!”

“I love you both,” says the woman. “My best old girl, you have to teach this one some manners.”

The old one sighs with contentment, basking in the love she feels from hand smoothing down her hair. She allows the young one to snuggle by her side. The woman is right, the young one could learn a trick or two from her, and wasn’t only it yesterday she was the young one?

 

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Family Night :)

I love Friday nights. The weekend hold unlimited promise of sleeping late, writing, knitting, reading…and laundry, vacuuming, dusting, grocery shopping. Ok, MOST of the weekend is fun 🙂

Our family has the best plan to start the weekend. Anyone that is available meets for dinner at a restaurant or someone’s home for dinner and catching up after the work week. Tonight our table and hearts were full. Fourteen and a highchair was the head count tonight. We chair hop to visit and everyone ooohs and ahhhs at the baby of the family. She is just eight months old and holds everyone’s heart in her chubby little hand.

The food really doesn’t matter, what matters is we share our time and our lives with each other face to face in addition to facebook, email and texts. I feel badly for people that don’t get along with their families. My hope for them is to find sharing and caring friends and treat them as family.

However big or small your family is, take time out of life to spend time with them. You will be much richer for having done so. Give family night a try; it is the best way to start a weekend!

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