Click: A Review

Hi friends!

Wow, this week has been swamped! I might have gotten a little emotional this morning, but it's Friday afternoon and all is well again.

Life is going especially well because I am finally getting the chance to start reading again! I never thought I would say that, considering I usually read constantly, but with the way things have been going I'm lucky if I sleep at night. Times are about to change! And with change comes awesome new stories to read...

...like Lisa Becker's Click: An Online Love Story! Interesting concept, cute title, and fabulous cover...yes, PLEASE!

Want to know more? Read on, my friends...

Click: My 100 Word Summary

Renee Greene is an expert in PR, but her dating life could sure use some polishing! Formatted entirely in a series of emails between Renee and her closest friends, Click details the (mis)adventures of a woman looking for love...online! What starts as a series of funny, light-hearted messages soon evolves into a roller-coaster ride of relationship drama and hilarious, endearing attempts to find love in unexpected places.

Click: What I Think


I was so intrigued by a novel based entirely on email threads, and, at first, I worried whether or not that would impede my ability to really care about the characters. Well, I must say I was pleasantly surprised! Click was a very funny read, and Renee's best friend, Shelley, was almost a spot-on match for my very best friend in the world (with some slight alterations!).

The only thing that truly bothered me was, in fact, Shelley's character. I loved her, but I felt like the author did her a great disservice by focusing Shelley's personality almost entirely on her sexual escapades. She was a delightful and loyal friend, but I felt like there was a certain aspect to the relationship between Renee and Shelley that was missing. In essence, Shelley held Renee to high standards (i.e. complimenting, encouraging, and even kicking her in the ass in a few much-needed moments!), but Renee didn't seem to reciprocate as much as I thought she should have. Of course, the story read, to me, similar to how a romantic comedy would play out on screen, but with all the relationship issues that the characters faced, I assumed a realistic concern on Renee's behalf for her best friend's...well...promiscuous behavior would turn up somewhere. I was wrong, and very surprised! Personal beliefs aside, I simply wanted to know that Shelley was as responsible when it was needed as she was devoted to her best friend.

Overall, Click did not disappoint...I would say it was one of the funniest books I've read in quite sometime! If you're ever nostalgic for those carefree moments with your wonderful, crazy best friend, or you're simply on the risky adventure of looking for love, Click is the book for you!

Want to know more about author Lisa Becker? Check out her interview with A Bundle of Contradictions below!


1. How did it feel, after so much hard work, to see your book in the hands of readers?
I remember writing short stories and poems as a little girl and always told myself I would write a book someday.  So, it’s incredibly gratifying to see a “bucket list” item/dream come true.  People keep asking if there will be a sequel.  I’m thrilled readers are feeling invested in the characters and want to know more.  With each positive review and reader comment on Facebook, I get more and more motivated to continue writing. 

2. Can you tell me anything about your new or upcoming projects?
Due to the feedback so far, I have started working on a sequel, Double Click that picks up a year or so later.  I hope people will be excited to see where Renee and her friends are in their lives. 

3. What is your go-to Starbucks order?
Believe it or not, I’ve never had a cup of coffee.  I tried it once and didn’t like it, so I never tried it again.  Sadly, I fell in love with chocolate after the first taste, and haven’t stopped.  My thighs can attest to that, believe me.  So, I suppose a hot chocolate with a big dollop of whipped cream would be my go-to choice. 

4. Describe your writing process. Do you write every day?
I started writing the book after my husband and I married but before we had kids.  Then I had to take a break from writing due to the rigors of motherhood.  But, as mentioned earlier, I had always told myself   that I would write a book one day.  So, I made the commitment to finish it.  I wrote in the mornings while my girls were at school or at night after they went to sleep.  I made it a goal to write – even if only for a half hour – every day. 
5. What one piece of writing advice would you pass on?
Much like the other author advice that I’ve read before, I would say to: (1) write what you know; and (2) make a commitment to write every day.  
6. Do you have a reality show guilty pleasure?
The only reality TV show I watch – and it’s infrequently – is Shark Tank.  I’m always intrigued by the inventions people come up with and what the “sharks” will find worthy of investment. 

7. Who is your favorite author/what is your favorite book?
To Kill a Mockingbird is both my favorite book and movie.
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8. What is one suggestion you would offer new authors trying to get published?
Don’t write off self-publishing.  I explored the traditional publishing route and got feedback from multiple literary agents. One in particular explained the current economic state of the publishing industry to me. Due to the large investment to edit, produce, distribute and market a work by an unknown author, many large publishers won’t take the risk. Self-publishing is a way to get your work out there.

I'm also reminded of some advice I was once given. I had interviewed Charles Rosen, one of the producers of the original Beverly Hills 90210, for an alumni magazine article while I was in graduate school. And I'll never forget what he told me, "Don't fall in love with your words, because somebody above will probably change them." One of the great benefits of self-publishing is that you can really take control of the process.

9. Twitter or Facebook? City or country? Beach or mountains?
Definitely Facebook!  I’m not brief enough to deal with Twitter. 

I’m a city girl at heart.  I love museums, shopping, historical sites, movies, malls and all of the hustle and bustle that comes with big city living. 

I live in a part of Los Angeles County called Manhattan Beach, less than two miles from the ocean.  I love walking along the strand, looking out over the ocean, searching for dolphins and playing in the sand with my girls. 

10. If you could spend the day with one celebrity, who would it be and why?
Jon Stewart!  I love him!  I think he is brilliant, clever and funny as hell. 

Thanks, Lisa, for asking me to review your novel and for taking the time to stop by and answer some questions! Can't wait to read Double Click

Until next time,

Wendi

My (recent) Life in Pictures

Hi friends!

Nothing too much going on right now, so I just wanted to share some pictures with you from the most recent events in my life, including some shots from work, church, and a GSU alumni event at the Braves game (the one where some guy jumped the fence and ran onto the field in a wedding dress...yeah...that one!). Enjoy!

Me, with Gingy, our office pet...such a sweet little animal!

Our lovely office kitchen. A few of my
co-workers brought in some AMAZING
quiche (quiches? quichi?) that day!

Buckhead Church Volunteer Appreication Night:
Chronicles of Narnia on the big screen (Voyage of the Dawn Treader),
Barbecue dinner, and all the popcorn, soda, and candy you could eat!
Heaven!

The EPIC candy table. 


Counting down! The staff at BC did a WONDERFUL job!
We did feel very loved and appreciated. I love my church <3.

Me and Teahna, with our high school
girls from Buckhead Church Inside Out...we
had so much fun on our scavenger hunt!

Me and my sweet friend (and fellow GSU alumni) at the Braves
game last week (also a birthday celebration for another dear friend,
Mary Beth).

True Blue: A lifelong, die-hard supporter of Georgia Southern
University...that's me!!!

Me and my best friend, Jillian. San Francisco. One year apart.
Awesome.
Until next time!

Wendi



Can I Get a Witness?

Hi friends!

Wow...it's been TEN days since I last posted! I am officially a slacker.

I have refused to become one of those people who lets work drive their life, but I must say that having such a demanding position where deadlines pop up at the last minute (which is every minute!) leaves one with very little time for anything else...at least during the lunch hour, that is :). When I worked at Strayer, I would bounce from being so busy I couldn't even sit down to seeing absolutely NO ONE for eight hours. And, yes, I will admit that neither my novel nor my wedding would have been complete without those extra few hours...so actually going to work and being busy ALL THE TIME is rewarding, exhilarating, and exhausting all at the same time.

But when I get home, I put my phone somewhere so that having to do more than reach over and grab it means I won't even care if it's ringing...and then I'll spend time with hubby, make dinner, exercise, fold laundry, read, or decorate (since we're still not quite finished unpacking!). Sundays are filled with church, Kenya meetings (just 91 more days until we leave for Ngaamba! CAN'T. WAIT.), and InsideOut with my high school girls...I'm not really good at slowing life down, it seems. I tried. Really, I did. But being an adult means stuff just keeps happening.

In any case, being at home at night and having lots to do doesn't feel like a chore, thank God. It feels like I'm at HOME. It started to feel like everything in my life was a task, and that was why I made the decision to take a break from grad school until the spring semester AND finish up blog tour interviews for the time being.

I realized a few weeks ago that I was...well...depressed. Life is filled with so many wonderful things, but instead of finding joy in them, I had allowed myself to be robbed of that joy. Everything from listening to a good song to getting up and going to work in the morning was becoming a task...God did not intend for us to live that way! So I'm learning to say no, and I'm getting back into the Word. I can't live my life on my own. I have to sow into the Word and spend time in conversation with God, or else I'll be permanently miserable. What a relief it is to know that I can turn to Him and find joy again! I am convinced that the greatest evil- Satan's greatest tool- is making us feel like robots so that everything we used to enjoy becomes just another thing to get done.

I do have some wonderful news to share (teaser alert!) but I can't until the hubby gives me permission :). And NO, I am NOT pregnant.

One tidbit I can share is this: I received my first author request to do a book review. Samantha over at Chick Lit Plus has been awesome, and she was the one who originally booked all the tours for me (and other bloggers), but it was exciting to have an author ask me herself...I don't know if she was referred or she simply liked my site, but it was such a compliment, to say the least! I can definitely make an exception to my no-blog-tours-for-awhile rule, and I will be posting her review next Friday, July 29th. Stay tuned!

For now, I'm getting ready to head out to a volunteer appreciation dinner and movie at Buckhead Church with the hubby. Can't wait!

Until next time,

Wendi

Happy 100th to Me!

Hi friends,

No, I am not turning 100, but A Bundle of Contradictions is celebrating its 100th post! *cue applause*

And what better way to commemorate such an occasion than to gush about my fabulous weekend in Asheville watching Andrew McMahon wail on the piano?

Saturday morning, my mother and her friend, Kelvin, dropped off my little sister, Kati, at my house in Atlanta. A short while later, my best friend, Lauren, and her friend, Jami, arrived to pick us up. I know that's a tad bit confusing, but you need your cast of characters to understand the plot.

After a short 4 hour road trip to Asheville, North Carolina (beautiful, artsy, eclectic mountain town...and home of the Biltmore! Visit if you ever get the chance!), we arrived at the Days Inn, where we promptly got settled and changed into more appropriate concert attire. I also posted my book review for Marika Christian's Phone Kitten (I can work and have fun all at the same time!).

The venue, The Orange Peel, in downtown was a quaint brick building, and we waited for a short hour before going in. Lots of laughs were had outside on the sidewalk, but since I don't want to offend anyone, I'll keep them to myself. Let's just say my little sister uses her intellect to make fun of, well, just about everything and everyone. Add Jami to that equation, and the four of us were laughing all night long (the 4 a.m. "Have you ever played those?!" was the best, by far...this is a reference to Sock 'Em Boppers and it came from a barely coherent Jami, who sat up in her bed like she was suddenly possessed...).

Anywho...the worst thing about these intimate shows (and also the best thing, I have to admit) is that it's standing room only. Even though we were mere feet from the stage, there were hundreds of people standing shoulder to shoulder in an old building with nothing but the Big Ass Fan overhead to cool us down. The doors opened at 6 and the first act, River James, went on at 7 p.m. They were good, but nothing spectacular. Next up was Lady Danville and not only were all three of them absolutely adorable (and incredibly talented), they completely rocked our socks. I'm a new fan. Their performance was a much-needed second wind because we were all sweating pretty profusely and getting mighty irritable (teeny-boppers, I'm talking to YOU!). Right around 8:15 came Steel Train, a lovely band from New Jersey (the lead singer actually kind of favors The Situation...poor guy...he's handsome but I wouldn't want to look like anyone from that train wreck of a reality show). They were excellent, but not really my cup of tea. At one point, when all five guys got together at the mic to perform an acoustic ballad, Lauren looks up and says:

"Oh, they look like a boy band!"

Finally, Andrew McMahon and the rest of Jack's Mannequin showed up and ROCKED the house! Not only is he a FANTASTIC musician and live performer (he is right up there with Butch Walker...but not quite on the same level just yet...), Andrew is a leukemia survivor with a flair for humor, adorable crooked smiles, and, of course, banging on the piano.

Take a look at some of our favorite shots from the weekend:

My little sister, Kati, who kept
us laughing all weekend with her
political incorrectness. 

Sisters make the best friends <3.

Great venue in a fabulous city!

LOVE.

Lauren and Jami, chillin'.

Me and Lauren...love this girl!

Guitarist for Lady Danville= Quite possibly the cutest musician ever.

Get it, dude.

Serenading us with "Carolina" <3.

Ah, yes, the piece de resistance...
"Slow down...this night's the perfect shade of dark blue..."


EPIC.

I absolutely love the feeling of knowing that I've seen one of my favorite artists in person, particularly one who made the sweating, stinking, noisy waiting more than worth the wait.

Until next time,

Wendi

Phone Kitten: A Review

Hi friends!

This is my 99th post...only 1 more and then I can have a little party for myself ;). I might just celebrate tonight, since my friends and I are on a mini-road trip to Asheville, NC to see Jack's Mannequin live at the Orange Peel! So stoked! They were pretty much the soundtrack to my junior year of college, which was pretty much the best year of my life. I'm a little biased, but Jack's Mannequin is still amazing. Look 'em up; you won't regret it.

Now on to more important things....

Life is slowing down a bit, which means that I've been able to enjoy my readings much more lately. I've fallen a bit behind on my goal of 100 books this year, but pretty soon I'll be back to my normal self (crossing fingers!). I just finished reading Marika Christian's Phone Kitten, and it was a hilarious read that kept me laughing long after I finished. Want to know more? Read on, my friends!

Phone Kitten: My 100 Word Summary


Emily Winters wants to be a great reporter, and she's on her way to digging up the details of a fascinating story when a friend at work steals the scoop. After quitting her job, Emily becomes a phone-sex operator and, for someone who is no good at opening up, finds that she enjoys taking on another personality. But when one of her most popular clients is killed, and Emily is one of the last people in contact with him, she's given a second chance to get what she always wanted.


Phone Kitten: What I Think


This was seriously a funny book. I wasn't sure what to expect, but Christian did a fabulous job of taking what, on the surface, feels like a terribly outlandish plot and makes it connect with her reader. We all want something more out of life, and while I didn't envy Emily's position at times- especially when she becomes somewhat of a suspect character- I rooted for her and hoped that all would be well.

From a writer's standpoint, I can't overlook the fact that the language could have used some tightening up. There were quite a few grammatical errors, and I would hope that any editor would take great care with their client's novel to ensure that it is presented in the best light. Rather than adding on a video to the package, they should have paid a bit more attention to the story itself.

Overall, Christian's novel is an endearing and light-hearted narrative that lets readers take a break from reality and get caught up in the adventure of solving a mystery. Good times for busy people like me!

To learn more about Marika Christian and her work, join the July 14th TwitParty hosted by Samantha over at Chick Lit Plus! It starts at 8 p.m. CST, so don't be late! Use the hashtag #CLPMarika to join!

Until next time, I'm off to see Jack's Mannequin...

Wendi