Friday, October 31, 2014

REVIEW: Of Breakable Things

I was in a horrible reading slump. To my recollection it had been almost a month since I had been able to read more than a couple pages of a book before putting it down. I don't remember who tweeted about Of Breakable Things, but it must have been one of my "go to" authors, or book bloggers, for reading recommendations because I immediately went to Goodreads to check it out. I must admit the special ebook price of $3.49, was my final hook because with new authors I won't spend more than $4.00 on an ebook; I usually wait and go to the library.

It is $3.03 as an ebook now and FREE on Kindle Unlimited

"A captivating debut about the fragility of life, love, and perspective."

"When Chase dies tragically, Alex embraces her own mortality. What she didn’t expect was that she’d have to make a choice: forget the years of pain and suffering once and for all, or linger as a spirit and get another chance at life and love."

 "But the spirit world is nothing like she expected, and Alex finds she's forced to fight for her life once more."

I am a ghost hunting reality show addict, so the synopsis hooked me right away.

Straight out of the gate there is a gripping "which door will you choose" scenario.

"Alex doesn’t hesitate to choose; she’d follow Chase anywhere." ~ Goodreads

But where exactly does her chosen door lead?


Is it where she expected?

Do the spirits hang out in cemeteries? NO!

They go to ghost school.

Why? To learn things like the physics of the spirit world...

and how to change their clothes.

They can even help out the physical world at Halloween. Which was one of my favorite parts of the story.

Now back to the serious stuff.

As most of you know I don't care for: insta-love, triangles, or grunt, groan and grope romantic scenes. This book had none of that. HALLELUJAH!!!!

Don't get me wrong... there is love and romance, but it is soft, sweet, and heart-warming. There is also some romantic tension and jealousy, but from a unrequited love scenario with a third party.

But does she actually find Chase when she gets there?

Hmm... maybe not.

I also hate comparing books to other popular stories; and loathe it when authors and publishers do it...

However, I am neither the author, nor a publisher, so... I will say that this novel has a welcoming Harry Potter vibe, though it really isn't much like the Potter stories, at all. I felt back at home, and comforted by this book for some reason. Since then, I have read several blog reviews that have expressed the same exact feeling, so I am not alone in my thinking.

So scurry off and add this book to your Goodreads TBR shelf. 

This was my immediate feedback mini-review on GOODREADS.
I am so in love with this story. I was in a horrible reading slump when I picked this book up. It was probably the fifth or sixth book I had tried. I wasn't expecting to become fully engaged within the first few pages, so I was happily surprised. Even though this book is nothing like Harry Potter it had this certain vibe to it that gave me that same comforting feeling. I recently read another review that said very much the same thing. The otherworldly setting is unique, and the characters have great chemistry. Even the secondary characters are well thought out and detailed enough so that I didn't have to search back in the story to remember who they were (one of my pet peeves).

The sequel, OF DELICATE PIECES, is out now.

I usually include what I call a Micro-Interview with my reviews, if the author is available and willing, where I ask one question and get a one or two sentence answer.

In this case Amy was so lovely, and time giving, I need to change it to a "Mini-Interview" because she gifted us with much more than a few words.

My question was, "Why did you choose Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome as Alex's condition for this storyline?"

I asked this because Alex having a debilitating condition in life is an integral part of this story.


"Thank you so much for including me on your blog! I'm honored! And I'm especially happy to talk a little bit about EDS. In no shape, way, or form am I an expert. I've done research, but I'm not in the medical field. However, I do think this works to my advantage as a writer of YA because I can try to explain Alex's condition in a way that my readers can understand.


Why Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome? Oddly, Of Breakable Things was almost entirely written before EDS elbowed its way into the plot. I had an image of Alex, a very particular image, and I kept researching different illnesses throughout the writing process. I needed it to fit a certain criteria. I needed Alex to feel limited in life, so she would also carry her mental flaws into death. I needed her to be sheltered and naïve because the world I created relies so heavily on what she believes she can see. I also needed Alex’s mother to die in childbirth to make her relationship with her father become nonexistent, and for her to rely on the Lasalles as much as she does. I had a student comment the other day, asking why I made Alex so dependent on the boys. Well, it could have been a family of girls next door- it wouldn’t have mattered. Alex didn’t have a family- the Lasalles became her family. I have an entire file of short stories that didn’t make the final cut for Of Breakable Things- I’d love to release them periodically on my blog. I need to find time to edit them, however. Now, I’m straying away from the topic…

I also needed the disorder to be genetic. And finally I needed it to be as unique as Alex. There are different types and varying degrees of EDS, so I choose for Alex to have vascular EDS. I never wrote an actual death scene - I kind of leave that up to the reader. With vascular Ehlers-Danlos, the organs can rupture, so I’ve had many kids assume that she literally died of a broken heart (ruptured heart valve, etc). Once I began researching EDS, I was flabbergasted that I’d never heard of it because it seems to affect so many people! After a year of visiting classrooms, book clubs, writing groups, only one person in any of those crowds had ever heard of EDS prior to my presentation. One person, and there are over a million people who have it! Many people don’t know they have it; they think they’re just bendy or that they bruise easily. There’s a lack of understanding.

Don’t assume that everyone with EDS is like Alex. She has the most extreme, most dangerous, most rare type. And if Alex was born today, she might not have had the same fate or the same limitations because as research continues a cure could be found.

I just created a page YESTERDAY on to help raise money for the National Foundation for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. If someone uses the page to donate, I’ll send them a swag pack to thank them. Since OBT was published, I've spoken with many people who have EDS, and they are truly amazing. You can donate here:

         Thank you for giving me a chance to discuss it a bit!


A. Lynden Rolland
Amy Lynden Rolland was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, a picturesque town obsessed with boats and blue crabs. She has always been intrigued by the dramatic and the broken, compiling her eccentric tales of tragic characters in a weathered notebook she began to carry in grade school. She is a sports fanatic, a coffee addict, and a lover of Sauvignon Blanc, thunderstorms and autumn leaves. When she isn’t hunched behind a laptop at her local bookstore, she can be found chasing her two vivacious children. She now resides just outside Annapolis with her husband and young sons.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014



TELL ME TuEsDaY is a feature that seeped from the fried brains of myself, and Brittersweet from PLEASE FEED the BOOKWORM after a mind twisting Armchair BEA Twitter party. This is a weekly, or bi-weekly, feature depending on your reading style, where you tell us what you are reading now, and why, and what you will be reading next from your TBR pile, and why. Our first (and only) feature follower is Pili from IN LOVE with HANDMADE. We are all oh so curious why people read what they read.

 I have read 50 pages of my beloved Stone in the Sky, sequel to Tin Star, over the last two days. I guess at only 25 pages a day my dance should look more like this...

but, hey, I'm READING!!!! And with the cheerleading of Brittersweet, I will be back in the swing of things in no time!

Next I will be reading Napoleon Xylophone and its sequel, Xyz.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

TELL ME TUESDAY (on Wednesday) #19

Goodreads just informed me that I started reading Stone in the Sky 25 days ago and I have only read 55 pages. I have not read anything since September 24th.

TELL ME TuEsDaY is a feature that seeped from the fried brains of myself, and Brittersweet from PLEASE FEED the BOOKWORM after a mind twisting Armchair BEA Twitter party. This is a weekly, or bi-weekly, feature depending on your reading style, where you tell us what you are reading now, and why, and what you will be reading next from your TBR pile, and why. Our first (and only) feature follower is Pili from IN LOVE with HANDMADE. We are all oh so curious why people read what they read.

Over two weeks without reading...

I know this might sound crazy, but this is what has prevented me from reading anything at all; I wanted to be the first person to review Stone in the Sky on Goodreads, and I wanted it to be the book that completed my 2014 Goodreads Reading Challenge. I love this book that much. 

Because the fact is, I have been having trouble reading physical ARCs lately, I could just request it on Netgalley, wait, and go on to an eARC until I get a proper reading chair (I'll explain about that later), but I NEED to finish it now, or I will feel like an epic failure. I have been afraid to look at the GR page for fear someone else had reviewed it. I had to look today for this post and although it says there is one review, it is not. Someone only posted that they were going to wait and post their review closer to the publishing date. I was so proud to be chosen for the small group who received very early ARCs, and now I have ruined that feeling.

I have been living in a tiny apartment with my son, and we were all packed to move, but when I went apartment shopping I realized just how much that move to a bigger place was going to cost. We decided to stay here because I am trying to get my son through his Bachelors degree without taking out any school loans. The livingroom is just large enough for a loveseat and ottoman, so I am going to have to find a reading chair small enough to fit in my bedroom. 

So, I have made a deal with myself that Iater today I will read this ARC, NO MATTER WHAT! Even if I have to read in my son's room, and use his comfy desk chair, while he is on campus for his video game club (yes they actually have that). Then I will make plans to go to the library, on Friday, to sit and finish it up. I would go to Barnes and Noble, but would it be weird reading my own book there?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

TEN BOOKS TAG... double yikes!!

So, before I even I finished my TEN BOOK BLOGGER CONFESSIONS TAG post a Wicked Witch flew by and dropped another tag on me.


Well, I can be a Wicked Witch, too, so I just tagged back with the CONFESSIONS TAG...

Now that I have gotten revenge...

let's get back to the challenge!
"List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Do not take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard. They do not have to be the “right” books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way. Paste these instructions and tag 10 friends, including me, so I can see your list.”
This could be done anywhere on social media! 

Books open up new thoughts and ideas in our minds, and paint pictures of faraway places and fantastical worlds.

1. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. It was the first book I read by myself, and it also calls up wonderful memories of my father and childhood. My father subscribed to the Dr. Seuss Book of the Month Club for me, and I vividly remember the excitement of my grandmother bringing in the mail and seeing the familiar shape of the white box. I can still recall the smell of the pages upon opening the new book. If it came on a weekday my father would sit on the couch and read it with me as soon as he changed out of his work clothes. I made sure my son had the Dr.Seuss book of the month club, too!

2. Random book about a sailor cat. I do not remember the title to this Children's chapterbook, but it is packed safely away at my mother's house, complete with scribblings from my little sister (one of the few times I have hated her with a little black heart for a day, or so). This was the first chapterbook I read independently. I would get up after my parents had closed my bedroom door at night, and read by the light of my aquarium. This isn't an illustration from the book, but it is close. I think it must have been an older relative's book at one time because the pictures look pre-1960's. This book was my first inkling of being a bookoholic.

3. A Wrinkle in Time. My fourth grade teacher was reading this to the class, and I moved. The first thing I did after settling in was borrow it from the library and finish it, myself. I think it was my first Junior (this is what Middle Grade was called in the olden days, lol) chapterbook. I am, however, sure that it was the gateway book to my undying love of Science Fiction.

4. Where the Red Fern Grows. We moved to the country when I was in fourth grade, and after that my tween and early teen's life was pretty much entirely horse riding and dog shows, and my reading material reflected this. Black Beauty, National Velvet, all the Farley Black Stallion books, Terhune's dog stories, the Big Red novels by Bob Kuhn. But the book that made me full on snot cry for the very first time was Where the Red Fern Grows. It is a story about a young boy and the two redbone coonhounds he raised.

5. Jane Eyre. I read this in junior high school (I am continuing to date myself), seventh grade to be exact, and it was the perfect book for my blossoming romantic notions. I tried reading Jane Austen, on the recommendations of my friends, but eh, didn't like, and still don't. I was a  Brontë Sisters fangirl through and through

6. To Kill a Mockingbird. This is the only book that sticks out for me from my senior high school years. In fact, it is my number one favorite book of all time, and second favorite movie. I spent my years from sixteen to twenty-six on the road with rock bands, so if it wasn't required reading for high school,  I didn't read it; except for this book and The Hobbit. After I saw the movie in a hotel room one Sunday afternoon, I went to the library to find it as soon as I returned home. Oddly enough it wasn't required reading for the Regents program at my school. I hate racism and bullying in any form, and this book has always spoken to my heart.

7. Cat's Cradle. After I graduated from high school I was on the road with the bands I worked for; 365, so I didn't read much until I went to college at the age of twenty-two. I do remember reading Lady Chatterly's Lover, Lolita, The Exorcist, and this series of quick read books about naughty airline stewardeses *blushes and shakes head* while on tour, but nothing that stood out. I was assigned Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano to read for a college Lit class, and loved his writing style so much I read several of his other novels, and also some short stories. Cat's Cradle was my favorite because it is about how science and technology affect religion.

8. The Chronicals of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever trilogy. Okay, I'm cheating here but give me a break. Once out of college, and not on the road any longer, I was delighted and eager to get back to my book devouring. I joined a Science Fiction / Fantasy book of the month club and the first book I was sent was Lord Foul's Bane, by Stephen R. Donaldson. It is adult high fantasy at its best. To me it is far better than Tolkien. I read all six of his first Covenant novels and was overjoyed to find out there were three more written during my "mommy reading" years.

9. The Dune Saga. Again cheating, but I can't say I love one of the books more than the other. A college friend gave me a boxed set of the first three in papaperback, but I didn't get around to reading them until later on. I purchased the next three from the aforementioned mail orderbook club. This is by far my favorite Sci-Fi series. I will admit that I started reading Chapterhouse, the final book of the original series, when I was thirty and became totally confused. I re-read the six books again when I was 49, and Chapterhouse made perfect sense, so we do continue to grow intellectually past thirty, lol. There have been several books co-written by Frank's son and another writer, but I haven't tried any of those yet.

Why is Blogger making this have GIANT print?

10. Harry Potter. I am not going to be specific here either.  Sorcerer's Stone is one favorite because it started it all, and Deathly Hallows is another favorite because it ended it all, but Half Blood Prince is my ultimate favorite. I stumbled across Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone before the books became popular when I was looking for something to challenge my son's reading level, but would also be kid friendly enough to hold his interest. We started reading two chapters a night before bedtime. He would read one chapter and I would read the next. One night his father was fixing the curtain rod in my son's room while we were reading and he asked what book it was. Well, needless to say he started reading it to catch up to us and he was hooked too. He called it "book crack". This began a family tradition of dressing up for Barnes and Noble midnight release parties and movie premieres,  collecting and playing the card game and Potter themed birthday and Halloween parties. Six years later, when my son was twelve, his father walked away and the familiarity of the books and movies, and the traditions that they created helped us through the rough times.


I am not going to tag anyone, but if you are interested please answer the question and bring your blog post link back here and post it in the comments, and I will come and visit your blog.