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SHE LAUGHS IN PINK by Jessica Calla: Hot Read – Deep Characters

She Laughs in PinkLooking for a hot summer read with a cast of wild characters, a lot of fun, and just a touch of magic? You found it in SHE LAUGHS IN PINK!

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

Four years after her twin is murdered, Juliet Anderson still struggles with guilt, her parents, and her relationships. Two things keep her from falling into a deep, dark place—dancing and her best friend, Ben. So when Ben decides to play football for New Jersey University, Juliet doesn’t hesitate. She follows. Finally away from her past, there is nothing to stand in the way. Juliet will win Ben’s heart.

Then she meets Ben’s roommate, Chase.

On probation and hell-bent on adhering to a “new life plan,” aspiring artist Chase leaves his New York City home for New Jersey University and meets Juliet before even stepping foot on campus. For him, their connection is instant. She’s the most vibrant girl he’s ever seen. Her colors explode on his canvas, and he’s never been more inspired in his life.

Too bad she’s madly in love with his seemingly perfect, good guy roommate.

Calla has an exceptional ability to create deep characters with dark pasts who we root for all the way. I never felt like I was overloaded with backstory and was eager to hear about Juliet and Chase. They are each, in their own way, fighting to move on with their lives and in doing so, smack right into each other.

Sheridan Hall, the dorm where Juliet and Chase reside, is always active. It’s diverse cast of characters help to create an atmosphere that makes the college experience very believable!

To backtrack a bit–I picked up this title after reading Calla’s THE LOVE SQUARE because I enjoyed the spin she put on the love triangle trope and was looking forward to another cool, outside-the-box read. I wasn’t disappointed.

The air between Juliet and Chase sizzles despite Juliet’s chasing her best friend, Ben and Chase dealing with pressures from home. Chase is an artist and sees straight to Juliet’s essence–sees it in color, in fact. Chase has the ability to see auras. He begins to paint them–ballerina Juliet dancing and laughing. Laughing in pink.

But before Chase and Juliet can have their happily ever after, they need to reassess their own goals, decide what really matters, and face a tragic event that sweeps in at the end of Act II. I’m all about bittersweet endings, and–not giving this part away–I have to say, the ending of this book was perfect. 

I hope you check out SHE LAUGHS IN PINK and Calla’s incredible debut title THE LOVE SQUARE! To visit her webpage, click here.

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Projects

THE RAVINE: New Adult Paranormal Romance. This is my newest project.

Both can see ghosts after dark. Both struggle with silence. They’ll need to work together if they hope to defeat his malicious poltergeist and stop her ex-boyfriend’s blackmail by the end of the summer.

THE RAVINE finaled in the following contests (2018):

 

THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS: New Adult Paranormal Romance

A gamer geek puts all the guys she kisses to sleep. Her former high school enemy will try to break the curse.

This project has stand alone series potential and has finaled in the following contests (contest dates range from 2016-2017):

 

BENEATH US: Young Adult Paranormal Romance

A Reaper princess turned lifeguard and a skater boy, soldier of Death are our only chance to save the Netherworld’s most powerful city.

This project took first place in the YA/NA category of Virginia Romance Writers’ 2016 Fool for Love Contest! It also finaled in the Chicago-North Romance Writers’ Fire & Ice Contest, North Texas Romance Writers’ Great Expectations Contest, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers’ Golden Claddagh Contest, and New Jersey Romance Writers’ Put Your Heart in a Book Contest.

 

STARCHILD: Young Adult Time-Slip Romance

The concept behind STARCHILD is best described as THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE meets WUTHERING HEIGHTS. This project finaled in the 2015 Orange Rose Contest for Unpublished Writers.

 

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Bittersweet Endings: ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND

eternal sunshineThis is my absolute favorite movie of all time for many reasons, the biggest of which is the ending.  If you’ve never seen this movie, see it now. Now!

Here’s the synopsis from IMDb:

When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.

**Spoiler warning!**

ETERNAL SUNSHINE asks a huge question–if you could erase your most painful memories–those of love lost–would you do it? And if you erased those memories, what would you be sacrificing in the exchange? (Hint: yourself!)

Jim Carey and Kate Winslet are incredible as the opposites attract couple that complete each other but who are also doomed to spiral into a painful break-up. It’s a movie that drives home Tennyson’s famous quote: “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

The cinematography makes the shift from memory to memory feel visceral and surreal. Joel (Carey) chases Clementine (Winslet) through a sort of dreamscape, rediscovering why he fell in love with her in the first place. In the end, he tries desperately to hold onto her. As he becomes resigned to the inevitable erasure of her memory, he does his best to enjoy the time he has left with her. The writing is superb, the characters honest enough to make me ache for what they lost.

But the best–the absolute best–is after both Joel and Clementine have erased their memories, they almost immediately rediscover each other, drawn together by the wrenching feeling that something is missing. Thanks to a scorned assistant at the memory-erasing clinic, Joel and Clementine find themselves with recordings complaining about each other’s faults. Joel and Clementine know they will eventually hate each other…but they decide to get back together anyway. 

There’s this beautiful looping scene at the end of Joel and Clementine tackling each other in the snow, suggesting they replay this process over and over because the ending can’t matter to them right then. They’re content to enjoy the present. 🙂

There’s a lot more existential fun to be had deconstructing this masterpiece, but that’s the heart of it–what sticks out to me anyway.

Have you seen this movie? What did you think?

Michelle Joyce Bond

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What They Never Forget…

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

I had to share this quote by the incredible Maya Angelou because it goes right to the route of why I write the way that I do: quirky and dark, with a bittersweet ending that stays in your heart like a warm shard of glass.  At least, that’s what I’m hoping for. 🙂

Michelle Joyce Bond