Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Announcement! Drumroll Please...

So it's been a little quiet around here but only because I've been working on a super top-secret project that somehow turned into two super top-secret projects. I've been waiting until they were all done to share them with you, my faithful readers.

As a direct result of my participation in Armchair BEA, especially the Blogger Development and Blogger Ethics strands, I have re-branded my blog and moved it to Wordpress.

If you can no longer stand the suspense, click here.  If you are interested in my motives, keep reading.

After discussing issues of plagiarism, especially as they pertain to web image copyrights and memes and features, I felt compelled to overhaul my blog so that all images and features were totally original.  (A quick Google search proved that I was not as clever as I thought when coming up with feature names.)  Also, I've been dissatisfied with my blog's layout.  I've been through three on Blogger since I started blogging - all free templates - but none of them ever felt quite right.  They were not a reflection of who I am as a reader, writer, and blogger.  However, I am also not a graphic or web designer.  Another quick Google search introduced me to PicMonkey - a free, easy to use photo editing tool, which allowed me to create my own original blog banner and labels.

After cleaning house and sprucing the place up, I felt it was time to take the next step and move the whole shebang over to Wordpress, which I did with relative ease.  What took so long was updating each link in each post to link to my new Wordpress site and adding labels and changing feature names throughout.  I also had to tweak my blog name just a little bit, so I could get the URL I wanted.  I am now at Matched Manuscripts: Reviews and Recommendations: matchedmanuscripts.wordpress.com.  The premise of matching readers with texts based on mood, setting, and experiences remains.  As part of the new move, I have also joined Twitter.  You can follow me @matchedmscripts.

BUT, I'm finally done, and apparently, the changes and move were not all for naught.  I recently showed my new site to my husband, and he responded, unprompted, "It looks like you."  So, if you were wondering what I look like in blog form, apparently this is it.

My new blog banner

My new review label

Label identifying posts part of the
Sarah Dessen Re-Read Challenge hosted by I Eat Words

Label identifying posts part of my Scripted Stanzas feature
(previously Scribbled Verses) - original fiction, poetry,
and memoir penned by me

Label identifying posts as part of my Traces of Text feature
(originally Flashback Fridays) - posts revisiting texts and
bookish events that have impacted me

While in the midst of this project, I attended a Leadership Seminar hosted by The Delta Kappa Gamma, an organization for educators.  I was inspired to begin a feature dedicated to education detailing teaching strategies I am using, projects I am working on, and conferences I am attending.  My current blog, Matched, sometimes felt like it had two identities, book blog and educational blog, which meant I wasn't always reaching my target audience.  Therefore, I began a feature solely devoted to educational matters, Incombustible Classrooms: Igniting Educators Across the Community, and moved my posts about teaching matters from Matched there.  Look for a recap of the DKG Leadership Seminar soon!

Pop on over the new site to see my Top Ten Five Books of 2013 (so far), and I hope you like the new look and feel.  I am very, very happy with it.  Please make sure, though, that you update your blog feed with the URL for the new site, matchedmanuscripts.wordpress.com, since after this post I will no longer be posting to Blogger.  Blogger was a great platform for a beginning blogger, but I feel Wordpress will really help my blog grow more.

I hope to see you over at Matched Manuscripts and on Twitter!  Thanks!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Armchair BEA: Wrap-Up

Design by Emily @ Emily's Reading Room

This was my first year participating in Armchair BEA, and I had a great time!  I consider it a personal accomplishment that I posted in response to at least one of the prompts every day.  I credit this feat to having two choices per day.  If I wasn't feeling one topic, I usually had plenty to say about the other.  I also liked the discussion on blogging habits in general.  It was nice to have an opportunity to voice some of my concerns about my blogging habits and to see what others are doing that make them successful.

Day One: Introductory Post
Day Two: Blogger Development
Day Three: Literary Fiction
Day Four: Blogger Ethics
Day Five: Children's/Young Adult Literature

Check before you upload.

Through Armchair BEA, I engaged in some thought-provoking conversations and learned a lot. In fact, as a direct result of my participation in the ethics chat, I am currently re-vamping my use of images on the site to be more ethical.  Ignorance is no excuse!  These two sites are very informative:

Nose Graze: Why You Shouldn't Use Book Cover Images Straight From Goodreads (technical advice about bandwith stealing)
Oh, Chrys!: Ethics in Blogging (common sense advice for bloggers)

New Follower Shout-Outs

I also found a lot of great new blogs to follow including:

Tattooed Books
Badass Book Reviews
Chapter Break
The Hollow Cupboards
The Novel Hermit

Look to the Future

Since this was my first year participating in Armchair BEA, I don't have any suggestions for improvement.  Everything seemed to click along pretty fluidly to me.  The link-up process was easy, but I do have to echo some other bloggers' concerns that it was quite a few posts to wade through every day if you had the time.  I don't know if there's a way to streamline the links - especially because I wouldn't want to lose the inclusive nature of the event - but it was hard to choose which blogs to visit!  I felt like I was playing a blind game of pin-the-tail on the donkey sometimes, but it paid off as evidenced by my new follower shout-outs above.  Overall, I hope to keep the momentum I cultivated by participating in Armchair BEA, and I am already looking forward to next year!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Armchair BEA: Children's/Young Adult Literature

Design by Emily @ Emily's Reading Room

So, anybody else totally freaked out about posting after reading all the responses to the ethics prompt yesterday?

Actually, I really enjoyed reading bloggers' various thoughts about blogging ethically and tips for doing so.  In fact, I found answers to all my questions about image copyrights that I asked in my post.

Today for Armchair BEA we are discussing a topic near and dear to my heart: Children's and YA Literature.  Anyone who is a regular follower of this blog knows that I am huge supporter of YA Literature and that I even teach it in my banned books themed ENG 111 course.  Before explaining why, I do think it's important to attempt to define the parameters that dictate literature as "Children's," "Young Adult," and even that very new genre of "New Adult."

Children's Literature: These are the books you learned to read with.  The ones you grew up on, sometimes featuring your favorite cartoon characters, but always teaching you a lesson about how to share or make friends or respect mom and dad.  The best children's literature is an interactive, sensory tool for learning with great images and short words and sentences that children can use as building blocks in their own vocabulary.  The protagonists in typical children's literature are often children themselves, usually ranging from ages 3 or 4 to 10.  These characters illustrate typical childhood quandaries like welcoming a new sibling, attending school for the first time, and taking on responsibilities around the house.  Some of my favorite children's books are as follows:

Digby and Kate by Barbara Baker
Chick Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. (Author), John Archambault (Author), Lois Ehlert (Illustrator)
Donald Says Thumbs Down by Nancy Evans Cooney (Author), Maxie Chambliss (Author)
Purple, Green, and Yellow by Robert Munsch and Helene Desputeaux
The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone (Author), Michael Smollin (Illustrator) (really any Little Golden Book ever)

Young Adult Literature: Young adult literature addresses the time of transition most readers find themselves in from ages 11-18 or 19.  This is often a time of dramatic flux and change for readers, and YA literature shows readers they are not alone or strange for the way they are feeling as their bodies change or when they begin high school, lose friends, get new ones, fight with their parents, and experience their first relationship.  It's intense, and I am such a champion of YA literature because it refuses to sugar-coat this very difficult but life-changing time in a person's life.  The protagonists are often pre-teens and teenagers themselves although some books told from the perspective of an adult as he/she reminisces on his/her teen years have also been adopted by the YA community.  If we're getting really technical, we could probably breakdown generic YA literature into pre-teen and late teen.  Pre-teen YA deals with puberty, think Judy Blume, and junior high.  Late teen YA deals more so with issues of agency, authority, and independence as a teen begins to establish his/her self as a person separate from his/her parents and is introduced to sexual, social, and ethical quandaries. Some of my favorite YA books can be found all over this blog, but if pressed, I highly recommend anything by:

Judy Blume
Laurie Halse Anderson
Sarah Dessen
Ellen Hopkins

New Adult: This is a relatively new genre of literature that has actually been around a while but has typically been shelved with adult literature.  This genre focuses on characters in their early twenties.  They are typically college-aged and therefore experiencing another world of flux as they attempt to transition from a world of few responsibilities to one of many in terms of careers, bills, and serious relationships.  I freely admit I have not read much of what I would consider NA literature, preferring to spend my time with the young adults.  However, a series I believe falls into this category retrospectively is Megan McCafferty's Sloppy Firsts.  After I read the first book in the series, I went to the bookstore to purchase the next one.  I scoured the YA section with no luck.  I finally found Second Helpings in the adult section.  Like many of us in our twenties, Jessica Darling was straddling the gap between not-quite-teen and not-quite-adult.  At the very least, I am glad these books have a home.

So why do I read mostly YA literature when I am a person firmly in the New Adult category?  I'm married with two degrees, a steady job, and all of the responsibilities those attributes entail.  I've written several times before on this blog that YA literature is valuable to me for two reasons.
  1. It can teach readers important lessons about life and their role in it.
  2. YA literature is characterized by a hope born of personal agency.
As I wrote before, YA literature refuses to shy away from uncomfortable, but very realistic, issues most teens experience today such as abuse in all its forms, depression, suicide, peer pressure, and loss.  Readers need to be introduced to characters that they can relate to, whose feelings match the intensity of their feelings.  YA literature becomes a safe haven for expression of your deepest fears and secrets when you feel as if you can't share them with anyone else.  The characters become your outlet and touch stone - a safe middle ground for articulating the often confusing mass of emotions that rain down on you in your teen years. Although these stories often deal with heavy issues, they always offer a beacon of hope.  Unlike most adult literature where the characters seem stuck in the same tired cycle with little to no hope of ever moving forward, most YA literature teaches readers that they can overcome any obstacle placed in front of them by showing them characters that do just that.  It inspires self-confidence.   

I hope to flesh out my understanding of YA literature along with its significance and more recommendations in the YA LibGuide I plan to construct this summer.  It will look very similar to the one I created on banned books last summer.  I will keep you all apprised of my progress.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Armchair BEA: Blogger Ethics

Design by Emily @ Emily's Reading Room

To plagiarize or not to plagiarize?  That is the question.

Except it shouldn't be.  Ever.  To me the answer to that question should be a no-brainer.  Plagiarism, or the stealing of someone else's words or ideas, should be something that no sane person would consider.  Ever.  However, if my several years of experience in education have taught me anything, it's that plagiarism is an all too common resort for many budding writers.  But why?

I tell my students on the first day of class every semester that there are two reasons why students plagiarize.
  1. They did not understand the assignment.
  2. Their life blew up near a deadline.
Are these good excuses?  Of course not.  There is never a good excuse to plagiarize; however, it happens.

But how does this translate to the blogging community?  

Fortunately, my experiences (and they have been numerous) with plagiarism have remained firmly in the academic setting.  Although I have read accounts of other bloggers who have had their reviews plagiarized, I personally have never experienced that type of infringement (as far as I know).  I imagine, though, that plagiarism in the blogosphere stems mostly from blogger envy, something I touched on in my blogger development post for Armchair BEA a few days ago.  It can be tough to watch your little blog languish while another's grows by the hour.  Sometimes someone else was able to articulate exactly what you were thinking or feeling while reading better than you every could, so you "borrow" a few of their phrases or ideas.  It's a form of flattery, right?  WRONG.

So how does one avoid plagiarism while blogging?  For me it's pretty easy.  I started my blog because I wanted to share my thoughts on the books I read.  Mine.  So no content worries there.  However, I follow some amazing bloggers, and sometimes their posts inspire me, and I want to respond in more detail than just the comments section, or I want to reference something they said.  To avoid plagiarism in an academic setting I would bust out my MLA handbook (I have numerous editions), format my in-text citations (author's last name and page number), and painstakingly construct my Works Cited list (organized alphabetically by the authors' last names); however, the blogging world is much more casual, so I just link to the blogger's post that inspired me or whose concept I referenced or survey I filled out.  Pretty straightforward, and most of them are grateful for the shout-out.  Bonus: It ups traffic on their site.  Win-win.

The grey area for me is images.  While most people who plagiarize content do so intentionally, many people infringe copyright on images accidentally.  It's easy to see why.  You can find anything on the web these days.  The content is so diverse, and there's so much of it.  Also, it's constantly growing and changing.  What was there yesterday may have been amended, moved, or deleted altogether today.  Not to mention, so much of the Internet's content today is user-generated, and it's so easy to share things you find on the web.  Look at YouTube for example.  There's a "Share" button underneath each video encouraging re-posting.  I think things sometimes just get lost on the inter-web.  An image or a video is posted and then re-posted, so many times it becomes nearly impossible to track down the original source.  As the Internet continues to grow and change, most of us take for granted that what's there is fair game.  You post it, and it's open for general public use.  Except it's not always.  Images, like content, are subject to credit.  In the case of a fantastically original art piece, it seems obvious, but photographs of public people and places are more obscure.  Especially if you are using a search engine like Google image which may return to you thousands of nearly identical images.  Like I tell my students, when in doubt, cite it.  But do book covers fall into this category?  If I upload an image of a book cover from Barnes and Noble or Amazon or even the author's website, does that deserve a shout-out?  Despite my firm stance on blogging ethics, this question more than any other has stumped me today.  I did a little low-brow research and never found a clear-cut answer.  At best, I found that book covers fall under the fair use act, and most publishers and authors are happy to have their books promoted.  Any insight into this murky water would be appreciated!

All in all, the topic of blogger ethics all boils down to one word: respect.  That's right, R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  And who am I to argue with Aretha?

Video from YouTube.com by Tatan Brown

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Armchair BEA: Literary Fiction

Design by Emily @ Emily's Reading Room

Literary Fiction.  The genre title alone is enough to inspire fear and aversion in most readers.  This is most often because many of our first encounters with works deemed literary fiction occurred as part of the dreaded required reading component of our middle school and high school English classes.  The archaic language and puritanical themes of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter do not translate well to today's contemporary tenth-grader.  The overwhelming prose of William Faulkner is tough for a graduate student to decipher much less a student who is used to conversing in 140 characters or less.  Personal experience has taught me that most classical literary fiction is worth a revisit and a re-read due to the more mature life experiences and perspectives I can now bring to a work.  Does that mean I don't think literary fiction should be taught as part of the middle school and high school curriculum?  No.  I do, however, think that educators can structure their curriculum to build a bridge between readers and more challenging texts by broadening the definition of "literary fiction" and incorporating more accessible texts with similar themes into the classroom.

Before I expand upon this theory, let's attempt a working definition of literary fiction.

According to Merriam-Webster, the term "literary" means "of, relating to, or having the characteristics of humane learning or literature" or "of or relating to authors or scholars or to their professions," which means literary fiction would be fiction with these qualities. But what does that mean? Through my experience, this broad and very vague definition refers to books that have been esteemed as possessing merit by critics of note. Still broad and confusing, eh? Most classics fall into this category, but that doesn't mean contemporary novels and novelists are not also considered literary fiction.

Examples of classic literary fiction by author:
The Bronte Sisters
Mark Twain
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Henry James
William Faulkner
T. S. Eliot
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Virgina Woolf 

Examples of classic/contemporary literary fiction crossovers by author:
Toni Morrison
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Examples of contemporary literary fiction by author:
Nicole Krauss*
Jonathon Safran Foer*
Don DeLillo
J. M. Coetzee 
John Updike
A. S. Byatt
Philip Roth
Jeanette Winterson
*ironically these two are married

There is something exclusive about literary fiction.  In an attempt to narrow down the definition and put some meat on its bones, I often find literary fiction to be meta-textual. It makes allusions to other (often prestigious) works, which creates two audience camps, those who "get" the references and those who do not, thus, heralding those in the know as literary experts and excluding those who do not as simpletons. Literary fiction can be very alienating that way. Similarly, literary fiction is often meta-cognitive. It talks a lot about itself and literature in general and the writing and reading processes. Personally, this is one of the draws for me. I love a book within a book, and I can't deny that when an author makes an allusion to a favorite book/author/play/poem etc. I feel a sense of kinship. Bonus warm and fuzzy feelings if the reference is to something obscure, and I still get it.

However, literary fiction endures despite its snobbery because it delves into the recesses of the universal human experience. It is this complex dichotomy of exclusion and inclusion that makes literary fiction such a compelling if challenging read. Literary fiction often deals with over-arching big issues from companionship to racism to aging. Therefore, the closer your experience to these issues, the more likely that piece of fiction will resonate with you, which is why I stand by the observation I made above:
Personal experience has taught me that most classical literary fiction is worth a revisit and a re-read due to the more mature life experiences and perspectives I can now bring to a work.
It also highlights the struggle then with teaching more classic and literary texts in a classroom full of students with limited life experience.  What is the solution?

Tandem teaching or pairing a contemporary work and a literary work that have similar themes.  The contemporary work acts as a bridge for students to understand the more complex literary work.  This pairing also opens the door for discussions on tone, writing style, and exploration of common rhetorical modes like compare and contrast and analysis.

One of my favorite pairings, and actually the one that inspired this post, is Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Laurie Anderson's Speak.  The two texts have many parallels in terms of theme, imagery, and character and relationship development.  Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings would also be excellent additions to a unit including the two titular novels.  Also, When She Woke by Hillary Jordan is a contemporary espionage tinged re-telling of The Scarlet Letter that may spark interest, or at least understanding, of this century old text.  Rick Riordan's acclaimed Percy Jackson series would make an excellent introduction to a unit on classical mythology, and there are numerous contemporary revisions of Shakespeare's works.  Similarly, The Help by Kathryn Stockett would be a wonderful companion to traditional texts discussing race relations.  Another pairing rich for comparison and exploration would be Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Megan McCafferty's Bumped, which reflects on present-day attitudes towards teen pregnancy.  Incorporating Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried and Don DeLillo's Falling Man into a historical unit to trace attitudes towards war and national security.

What are your feelings towards literary fiction?  Love it?  Hate it?  Proceed with caution?  I want to know!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Armchair BEA: Blogger Development

Design by Emily @ Emily's Reading Room

Today's Armchair BEA prompt echoes a topic that has been on my mind and making rounds in the blogosphere recently - personal blogging habits and development. I still consider myself a newbie to the blogging world.  As I stated in my introductory post, I began blogging for purely personal reasons.  I was just looking for a space to share my thoughts on what I was reading, especially since my built in book club (AKA: other grad students) had recently dissolved.  Although most of the blogs I followed were accepting ARCs and boasting followers in the triple digits, I didn't strive for that kind of notoriety.  However, as my follower count slowly creeped into the double digits and I read review after review for books by some of my favorite authors that I wouldn't be able to get my hands on for MONTHS, I began to get a little envious and to consider my own ability to make it in the blogging big leagues.  That's about as far as I got though, considering.  I attempted a move to Wordpress thinking a more professional and customizable site was what I needed and was immediately overwhelmed by all the techie options that are not present in my very simplified and functional Blogger domain.  I moved back.  I re-evaluated my blogging habits from a practical standpoint (i.e. time and drive) and realized that trying to keep up with seasoned bloggers was taking an activity I loved and making it stressful.  Since then, I have been taking my blog both more and less seriously. I strive for quality reviews.  I participate in memes and challenges and discussions like Armchair BEA when and if I can when the topic strikes me, and if I don't meet the deadline?  No big deal.  My blog is for fun, and since I quite obsessing over my pageviews and how often I posted, I've been more relaxed and oddly more productive.  With this frame of mind, I have realized that although I wouldn't turn down an ARC from a favorite author, I don't want to seek out a commitment and a deadline I'm not equipped to meet.  Similarly, a cornerstone of my life philosophy, which may seem out of sync with my love for blogging, is no social networking sites.  I have been off Facebook, Twitter, and Pintrest for over a year now, and I can say with absolute certainty that I have been happier (and once again more productive) without the drama these sites usually invite.  I know I am missing out on chances to promote my blog and network with other bloggers, but  I'm not willing to compromise my time and energy for those sites.  I've seen blogs I love go under due to creative burnout.  I'd rather use my time to recharge my creative batteries and write a kick-ass blog post, plan an engaging lesson for my students, lose myself in a great book, watch re-runs of Gilmore Girls, play with my niece, kiss my dog, and spend time with my husband. Can you blame me?

Back at the beginning of this year, I did take the time to carve out a few loose book and blogging resolutions.  Since this conversation is occurring mid-year, it seemed like an opportune time to re-visit my resolutions and check on my progress.

Original resolution: Scripted Verses - a weekly feature on my blog sporting original poetry and fiction

Current status: I kept up with Scripted Verses for a few weeks, but my blogger identity crisis detailed above derailed it a bit.  I still have several drafts in progress for this feature, so it will be back!

Original resolution: Write more
Current status: Check!  I plan on sticking even closer to this resolution this summer by blocking out weekly writing time to work on this blog, write an article on teaching banned books for the Teaching English in the Two-Year College journal, and whatever else crosses my mind.

Original resolution: Listen to audiobooks 

Current status: I have listened to a few audiobooks via free apps through my library.  It is a valuable way to spend my commute to and from work, but I find the selection to be a fairly limited.  After exhausting the few books I had access to and wanted to read, I've let this resolution fall by the wayside.  I'm not giving up on audiobooks yet though!

Original resolution: Read Anna Karenina and Les Miserables 

Current status: Check minus - I finished Anna Karenina (thanks to the previous resolution), but I've yet to start Les Miserables yet.  I've still got a half a year left (and it may take me that long to finish it...).

Original resolution: DNF 

Current status: Check!  Just as I've let go of a lot of my personal negative blogging expectations and energy, I've gotten better at quitting books that weren't working for me for whatever reason.  Recent DNF's include A Prayer for Owen Meany and You Were Always Mom's Favorite!: Sisters in Conversations Throughout Their Lives.

Original resolution: Utilize the public library 

Current status: Check!  In fact, by taking advantage of inter-library loan, I have access to new releases my library doesn't have, and I haven't spent a dime on books in months!

Original resolution: Read what I own/limit book buying 

Current status: Check (with the help of the previous resolution)!  I will be enacting an exemption at the end of June for Sarah Dessen's newest book The Moon and More.  I already own all her other novels (all signed), so I can't break tradition!

Original resolution: Reading Outside the Box Challenge by Musings of a Book Lover 

Current status: Check!  Although I haven't been sticking to the schedule I original laid out for myself (I'm slightly OCD if you can't tell), I have been reading and reviewing books for this challenge fairly regularly, and I'm looking forward to continuing to participate.

Here are the books I've read and reviewed for the challenge so far:
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Annie's Ghost: A Journey into a Family Secret by Steve Luxenburg
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman (illustrator) 
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
You Were Always Mom's Favorite!: Sisters in Conversation Throughout Their Lives by Deborah Tannen

Not so bad!  And I have a half a year to address any areas of weakness.  The blogging community is one filled with great conversations, great fun, and most of all, GREAT BOOKS, and if my blogging development over the past two years has brought me closer to any of those three, then I count it a great success.

Happy reading (and blogging) from my armchair to yours!

Review: You Were Always Mom's Favorite!: Sisters in Conversation Throughout Their Lives by Deborah Tannen

Image from Musings of a Book Lover

I've been exposed to Deborah Tannen's linguistical prowess in various forms since graduate school. What is most awe inspiring to me is Tannen's down to earth, conversational writing style. No matter the complexity of the subject, Tannen manages to make readers feel as if they are chatting with an old friend. Despite my previous exposure to Tannen's research, I had never read one of her book length studies. I spotted You Were Always Mom's Favorite!: Sisters in Conversation Throughout Their Lives at the same time I found Rachel Simmons' The Curse of the Good Girl. I was immediately drawn to the study because the title is exactly what I've heard my sister say many times in conversations throughout our lives. Recent breakdowns in communication between my sisters and me propelled me to pursue Tannen's study of sisterly conversations with interest. Tannen's intimate, conversational style did not disappoint; however, much of the content included accounts of older and younger sisters in competition, which I was very familiar with from personal experience. When Tannen wasn't describing sisters in conflict, she was painting a portrait of sisters so close they finish each others sentences - an ideal I haven't had as much experience with. These descriptions left me feeling jealous and slightly ashamed. I had entered into Tannen's books with the hope of uncovering conversational analysis and templates to improve my communication with my sisters. What I found was an extended description I could have written myself paired with idealized accounts of sisters that made me feel like a failure in my own relationships. These feelings coupled with an overdue library book with no renewals made me put down this book unfinished.

I may return to it later when I can have more time with it. If you've read it, let me know: Is there more of what I'm looking for in the second half of the book? Or is it more of the same? Is it worth revisiting?

Read for the Reading Outside the Box Challenge hosted by Kate at Musings of a Book Lover
Level Four: 3 Opposites Attract (or in this case, not so much)