Monday, October 21, 2013

Adventures with Buster by London Pickett

From Amazon:
"Adventures with Buster" is a children's book that will entertain and educate readers about guide dogs and blindness. This is the first book in which London Lake Pickett shares experiences she has had with her guide dog named Buster.
London had approached me to read and review Adventures with Buster, and being an animal lover I agreed!  

This is a great children's book and very easy to read.  There were several points I could imagine a child giggling to as they see the picture or imagine what is happening.  The story line moved pretty quickly.  It is a chapter book, but it isn't too long.  I will say there are a few "big" words for children but it wasn't too many, and if a parent is reading with the child it can be easily explained/looked up. 
Overall it is a great book that I think children and parents both will enjoy together!  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Guest post by Robin Burks

This week is a Blog Tour of Robin Burks' Novel Zues Inc.  Which I have read and recommend, to view my review you can find it HERE.  So I will let Robin take over.

How NaNoWriMo Turned Me Into A Published Author

It is October and you know what that means: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is right around the corner. If you are not familiar with NaNoWriMo, here is how it works: you write a novel (or at least 50,000 words of one) over the course of a single month. It sounds crazy, but NaNoWriMo is why I became a published author.

When I started to write Zeus, Inc., my ideas were all over the place. I didn't really know a lot about outlining a story, and I didn't have any daily writing habits that would guarantee that the story would get written. I began the story three different times, writing and re-writing, but never got more than halfway through. Then, a friend of mine told me about NaNoWriMo. I signed up, thinking it couldn't hurt to try, and patiently waited to finally get my story out of my head and on paper (or my computer).

The first thing I did, even before NaNoWriMo began, was start learning about how to organize my story. Thanks to the NaNoWriMo forums and a lot of helpful blog articles, I learned how to outline my story so that I could figure out what I was covering each day during my writing sessions. Now I know many writers who like to write by the seat of their pants (referred to as “pantsters"), but I am a lot like the main character, Alex, in my novel, Zeus, Inc. I need a plan for just about everything. I need some idea that I am in control or have some semblance of control. And I needed that with my novel.

When November 1st arrived, I started writing. I took the advice from NaNoWriMo and did nothing but that: write. I focused on the 2,000 word count I had set for myself for each day of November. I did not look back. I did not edit. I did not re-write. I just kept pushing forward. It not only felt good, but it felt like freedom. I was finally okay with just writing without thinking about anything beyond that. I continued to write every day, occasionally using ideas from NaNoWriMo's story prompt Twitter account, and by the end of the month, I had most of the novel completed. I kept writing beyond November and when it was complete, I realized I had a story that I could work with.

Of course, more months of re-writing lay ahead, but getting that foundation of the story down is really what set me off on the right path. Before participating in NaNoWriMo, I had been so bogged down in getting everything right in the first draft, that I never actually wrote anything. NaNoWriMo taught me how to write a first draft without worrying about the minor details that could be worked out later.

Because of NaNoWriMo, Zeus, Inc. was born as a novel. That novel was eventually published by Biting Dog Publications.

Don't miss the Zeus, Inc. Blog Tour giveaway. You could win ebook copies of Zeus Inc. , along with a $25 Amazon gift card. Even better? Winning is easy: see details on how to enter below.

To be entered to win:
  1. Pick up a copy of Zeus, Inc. for $2.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo or anywhere else ebooks are sold.
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below.
About Zeus, Inc.
(Biting Dog Publications) -50 years ago,  mysterious Zeus, Inc. CEO Joseph Brentwood saved the world from a major energy crisis by discovering a new unlimited energy resource. Now, in 2069, Mr. Brentwood has gone missing and private eye Alex Grosjean has been hired to find him. Alex’s search leads her through her own murky past and into the fantastical depths of Hell itself, where she discovers that no one is who or what they seem to be.
Robin Burks, is not only a journalist for‚‚and‚, but also for her own site‚‚ Robin has just published her first novel:‚Zeus, Inc.‚ with Biting Dog Publications and is working on its sequel‚The Curse of Hekate. A science fiction trilogy, The Book of Revelations, is also currently in the works. An internet addict, she can often be found on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  She also loves to read , act, sing, play video games and travel. Robin currently lives in Missouri with her four cats. She also occasionally speaks French and loves Doctor Who. Visit Robin on her websiteTwitterFacebookGoogle+ or GoodReads.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Show by John A. Heldt

From Amazon(blurb and image):
Seattle, 1941. Grace Vandenberg, 21, is having a bad day. Minutes after Pearl Harbor is attacked, she learns that her boyfriend is a time traveler from 2000 who has abandoned her for a future he insists they cannot share. Determined to save their love, she follows him into the new century. But just when happiness is within her grasp, she accidentally enters a second time portal and exits in 1918. Distraught and heartbroken, Grace starts a new life in the age of Woodrow Wilson, silent movies, and the Spanish flu. She meets her parents as young, single adults and befriends a handsome, wounded Army captain just back from the war. In THE SHOW, the sequel to THE MINE, Grace finds love and friendship in the ashes of tragedy as she endures the trial of her life.

So since I have read The Mine, I knew I wanted to read The Show.  I enjoyed seeing Grace's point of view in finding Joel, and then during her visit to 1918.  When seeing her circumstances, it brings up a what would you do aspect.  Would you make the same choices she did, or would you do the complete opposite.  I am not sure where I stand, although I really could see me acting like she did.  My only thought is how does it affect the "future" and other events that had taken place.  However I found thinking about it too much can cause a headache :-p

The story line moved ok.  At some points it did move a little slow, plus I would think Grace would have a bit more difficulty adjusting to 2000 with all of the technology that we have compared to 1941.  It didn't hinder the plot though.

Overall I did enjoy The Show and if you read The Mine, you should continue the story!

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Journey by John Heldt

From Amazon(blurb and image):

Seattle, 2010. When her entrepreneur husband dies in an accident, Michelle Preston Richardson, 48, finds herself childless and directionless. She yearns for the simpler days of her youth, before she followed her high school sweetheart down a road that led to limitless riches but little fulfillment, and jumps at a chance to reconnect with her past at a class reunion. But when Michelle returns to Unionville, Oregon, and joins three classmates on a spur-of-the-moment tour of an abandoned mansion, she gets more than she asked for. She enters a mysterious room and is thrown back to 1979.

Distraught and destitute, Michelle finds a job as a secretary at Unionville High, where she guides her spirited younger self, Shelly Preston, and childhood friends through their tumultuous senior year. Along the way, she meets widowed teacher Robert Land and finds the love and happiness she had always sought. But that happiness is threatened when history intervenes and Michelle must act quickly to save those she loves from deadly fates. Filled with humor and heartbreak, THE JOURNEY gives new meaning to friendship, courage, and commitment as it follows an unfulfilled soul through her second shot at life.

This is another book from John Heldt's Northwest passage series.  Yes this is another time travel book, however it raises a great point, if you were able to go back and influence changes in your life would you?  Sure there are a few regrets we all have, but would we change the outcomes?

So the story was short, but it was definitely a well moving story line.  It also does change perspectives but it is very clear which Michelle you are viewing life through.  I also enjoyed the sweet romances that happened as well.  The romance was also done right and it isn't over the top.

Michelle does realize that she is able to change a few outcomes from her past.  She has good intentions when she does it.  She does try to be more of a guide and not a boss but there are a few times she has to be a bit more stern.

I loved the ending and while it wasn't exactly what I expected but I couldn't imagine another way for it to turn out!  You even learn more about how influential Michelle was to her younger self and young friends.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Winner for The Guardian's Keeper!

Sorry I am late posting this, but we do have a winner for the Guardian's Keeper giveaway!  

Drummmmmmmmmmmmmmm rolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

The winner is Ursula!!! She won by following me on twitter!

Congrats Ursula!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Mine by John A. Heldt

From Amazon(image and blurb):
In 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can't use, money he can't spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

John had requested that I read and review The Mine. The time travel plot caught my attention, and so I agreed.

Overall The Mine is a good read.  Going back in time and visiting 1941 was quite interesting.  Heldt did a good job transporting the reader to 1941 and giving us a glimpse of what it was like right before WWII.  It was interesting to see how Joel adapted from modern times to 1941.  Some things I don't think I would have thought about, but Heldt did and that also helped to make the story more plausible.

Let me tell you the ending is very emotional as Joel had to make decisions.  The ending is quite a twist that I thought was great!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Defiant Heart by Marty Steere

From Steere's request:

Set against the backdrop of small town America on the eve of World War II, it features two extraordinary characters and one unforgettable love story. 
In the spring of 1941, young Jon Meyer’s family dies in a tragic accident, and he is sent to live in a small Indiana town.  He arrives to find himself unwanted and shunned. 
Mary Dahlgren is the mayor’s daughter.  A pretty girl, she could have the pick of the boys in town, including Vernon King, the star of the vaunted high school basketball team.  To the chagrin of her friends, though, Mary has always been more interested in books than boys.  That is, until she meets Jon. 
But Jon and Mary are kept apart through the efforts of Mary’s father, who perceives their relationship a threat to his political aspirations, and Vernon, to whom Jon is a rival for Mary’s affections.  For months Jon is subjected to a painful ostracism.  Then, just when the young man’s earnestness and perseverance begin to win over many of the townsfolk and it appears that love may conquer all, tragedy strikes. 
As the country is caught up in war, so too are the young lovers swept up in events beyond their control, leaving both fighting for their very lives.  If, against the odds, they are to be together, each will need to find the strength, the courage and the resourcefulness that beat only in a defiant heart. 

Steere had requested a review of Defiant Heart, it had caught my attention so I had agreed.  Sometimes I can be a sucker for a good love story.

Let me tell you this one will have you on a roller coaster ride!  The story starts of with an unfortunate accident, which grabbed a hold of me and didn't let go until the end.  It moves at a good pace and the description of the war was intense.

Jon and Mary are fantastic characters!  Steere has you feeling sorry for them, and then cheering for them! Plus there are several other characters I just loved as well.  Even ones that I didn't like at first, but then an ah-ha moment happened and I came to care for them too! And let me tell you the ending is definitely a worthy ending to keep reading!

So if you can't tell I really enjoyed this book!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

T.R. Raven and a giveaway!!

T.R. Raven decided to stop by and post a little something for you all to enjoy!  Also if you get to the end you will see a giveaway!!

Allow me to share a dirty little secret with you that we fiction authors live with day in and day out–we lead double lives. Sometimes triple or even quadruple lives. No, we don’t have secret families in another state and we’re not double agents. As we go about our daily lives–working, caring for our families, and socializing with our friends–our ‘other lives’ are always lurking in the backs of our minds. You know them as our books, but to us authors, they are an extension of who we are and they bleed into our real lives at all hours of the day and night. They often don’t have the courtesy to do it one at a time, either. It’s not uncommon have multiple separate ideas simmering away all at once, each jockeying for our attention so that they may come to fruition first.
These other lives we live in our own heads start as a seed, just a wisp of an idea, and eventually they blossom into the stories we pen. It all begins with a character born in our imaginations or a scenario waiting for its players to come to light. Over time these ideas grow and spread their roots. We don’t get to choose when these ideas spring forth. It’s often at the most inopportune times, like when we’re in the middle of a parent-teacher conference or our spouse’s company Holiday party. When an idea comes it either takes root or branches off into another idea and we’re at its mercy until we put it out there for the world to enjoy.
The Guardian Trilogy was born in this manner. I’d toyed with the idea of writing a novel for a while but I could never pin down which idea to bring to life first. One early evening while making the 100 mile drive home after visiting an out-of-state relative, The Guardian Trilogy came together piece by piece in my mind as the miles passed.
There I was, on the road in the New England dusk with two young children in the car. I had to pull over every ten or fifteen miles to jot down notes in a little travel notebook I kept in my purse. As the miles passed, the story grew, and by the time I got home The Guardian’s Keeper was all there in my hastily scrabbled notes. The story was no longer just an idea. Claire, Nikoli and their story had taken root within me.
Life got busy, as it tends to do. I tucked that little notebook away in a drawer for quite a while. Months? Years? I’d be hard pressed to put an exact time on it now, but it was at least a year. I may have put that little notebook aside but the story kept beckoning to me. My drive to write shifted from something I wanted to do to something I needed to do. Ideas and thoughts about Claire, Nikoli and their journey would wake me up in the middle of the night and I’d lay there in the dark, lost in my own little world that was begging to be brought forth into reality.
Eventually I gave in to my calling, and I haven’t stopped since. It’s like that for a lot of authors. We don’t decide, ‘I’m going to be an author’ and go to it…we become pushed into it by the stories in our heads that get ahold of us and won’t let go until we express them. We don’t get to choose, “I’m going to think about my next book this afternoon between 2:00 and 3:00”. The ideas come when they wish and stay until they’re done with us, not the other way around.
Now that the Trilogy is finished, I’ve had some readers inquire as to what’s next. A prequel? A Sequel expanding it past a Trilogy? Hmm…sometimes when I least expect it, a little shard of Nikoli and Giuliana’s time together, long before Claire, niggles away in the back of my brain. Will their story eventually disrupt my slumber or give me pause in the middle of the post office? Time will tell, but in the meantime I’ve got a girl unexpectedly tangled up with a pack of Lycans interrupting all else in my life. Watch for my new release, The Chosen, coming Oct. 2013.

The next time someone sits too long in front of you when the light turns green or spaces out in line at Target, try to cut them some slack. That person may just be an author or a soon-to-be-author grappling with the characters in their minds that may one day become some of your favorites!

Thanks T. R.!  Now for the exciting part....She is allowing me to giveaway an ebook from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble your choice!  The giveaway will run from Today(8/14) until the 21st and all you have to do is enter using the rafflecopter form below.  GOOD LUCK!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Guardian's Keeper by T.R. Raven

From Amazon: 
Kidnapped by the handsome young vampire Nikoli, eighteen year old Claire discovers she holds the relic capable of resurrecting the most dangerous vampire in history. She should be repulsed by her kidnapper, but instead she's irresistibly drawn to him-and he to her as well. Claire wants to explore their feelings for each other but Nikoli resists, worried their romance will distract him from his part in the dangerous task at hand.
Together they must seek the help of the Gypsy Queen Renka in order to destroy the relic. Their lives are on the line as they travel across the globe in search of Renka and her Gypsies while safeguarding the relic from those who would use it to resurrect their Master. 
Claire and Nikoli must also struggle with a possessive unwanted suitor, surprising news about Claire's lineage, and a meddling ancient Greek Goddess-all while holding the fate of the world in their hands. They must destroy the relic- but at what cost to them both? Is the Gypsy Queen's prophecy about their love true?

T.R. Raven approached me to review The Guardian's Keeper.  I had accepted since I do enjoy a good urban fantasy/paranormal book.  This was a different spin on the traditional vampire stories by adding in the Greek Goddess Circe. 

The story line moved very well, no real down times to get bored with it.  Also this is not one I would recommend for Middle Graders unless they are very mature as there are some sexual contact.  It doesn't go in depth but it is known the deed was done.  The sexual innuendos and contact didn't bother me, but helped to show the intimacy that was formed between Nikoli and Claire.

Now even though the romance is between a vampire and a human, do not count Claire out.  She definitely has spunk to her.  She isn't one to let things just completely happen.  She does try to fight for herself and for her odd relationship with Nikoli.  However that being said she is a human dealing with vampires so she isn't always able to protect herself and Nikoli does have to save her several times.

This is a great start to a series and looking forward to reading the rest!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Luminaire by Ciye Cho

From Goodreads(blurb and image):

Being the only human in a world of merfolk... isn't easy. Florence Waverley chose to stay in Niemela, but things have gone awry. Secrets have risen and the prince she cares about has pulled away. All the while, dark dreams warn her of a tragedy that only she can stop. But in order to save the merman she loves, Florence will have to enter the Life Path tournament: a brutal test of fear and madness.

The tournament is a rite of passage--a maze where young mermaids and mermen battle to find their purpose. It is also a place where Florence will face grave danger: mermaids with evil magic, tunnels filled with sea fire, and guardians who wish to use her as a pawn in their secret plans.

But will Florence be strong enough to survive the tournament... or will she perish inside it?

This is the second book in the Florence Waverley  series.  You can see my review of Florence HERE.  I must say that both of the covers are very beautiful.  Don't you think!

I was very pleased with Luminaire, as it continued the story line of Florence and Niemela without the feeling of repeating Florence.  Even though it had been a year since I had read Florence I wasn't completely lost in the story line either.  Cho did great with reminding us what happened in book 1 without rewriting it.  I enjoyed seeing some of them appear as flashbacks as well!  Just as with Florence it is told from multiple perspectives but still left you guessing as to what was going on.  However unlike with Florence, I didn't feel that the story line took time to develop.  It definitely grab my attention from the beginning and held it until the end.  

Florence does continue to grow and tries to find her way, and even though she has helped the Niemela, she still isn't fully accepted.  This will sound crazy but to see that she isn't full accepted makes the social aspect of Niemela a little realistic.  Society doesn't always just accept a person because they help to save the day, there are still those that do not approve and will be loud enough to know how they feel.  With that being said it is still nice to also see people change their minds and realize that not always is the disapproval valid.

Again I totally recommend this as a great summer read!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Many Lives of Lilith Lane by E.V. Anderson

From Amazon(image and blurb):

When Lilith Lane's little sister is snatched from her bedroom and turns up dead two weeks later, a reclusive scientist with secret motives offers Lilith a second chance to save the girl. Jumping between alternate realities as she races against space and time, Lilith gives up more and more of her innocence as she uncovers the dark forces at work in her idyllic farm town.

I was approached to review The Many Lives of Lilith Lane as the Plympton was rolling out Kindle's serial reads.  It was published in episodes and when the last episode came out it was also released in paperback.  I got an e-copy and read it straight through like any other book.  This is volume 1 with my hope of a volume 2.

This was another short read, I read it in 1 day.  The story was well paced and kept you guessing as to what happens next and who is the bad guy truly is.  I think if I read as it was originally intended as the episodes I would be very upset with cliff hangers all the time, but I do know the suspense of knowing what happens next would also help to add to the charm of this mystery!

Lilith did some detective work as a child(she even gives us her credentials!) but gave it up to be grown up.  When she is given the second chance she picks it back up to save her sister.  Jumping between realities gives her the unique opportunity to realize mistakes she has made and the choices she had/has are related to what happens around her.  She does grow in my opinion and tries to make amends for some of the bad choices she made.

If you are looking for a great Young Adult mystery/sci-fi then check it out!

Friday, July 26, 2013

New Look!

So I decided it was time for a change, and since I do love the beach and summer fun I thought it would be a good change up.  If you take a look around you will notice that my rating system has changed too.  It is now in flip flops, and each pair is used as a star would be.  So 5 pairs= 5 stars.  I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think!

Also keep checking back as there could be a few other changes coming!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Losses by Robert Wexelblatt

Blurb from request:

LOSSES by Robert Wexelblatt, a contemporary family drama novella

A single father who is a new IRS agent, his cherished and imaginative little girl, a divorced woman having second thoughts about motherhood, a couple who think two ways about becoming parents, a mysterious and crooked financial wizard — these are the people from whose relationships, enterprises, gains, and losses this story is woven.

Has there been a crime and, if so, can the miscreant be caught?  How valid are the claims of a father and a mother?  When they clash, what becomes of their child?

So when I was asked to review Losses, I read the blurb and was instantly intrigued on how all of it fit together.  So it is a short read, and it does move pretty quick.  The story line does leave a lot for discussion on how and what you feel too.  

So the story is told through the single father/IRS agent/ ex lawyer.  His point of view does leave you with only one side of the story, which in certain cases there is always two sides and the truth is somewhere in the middle.  However for the story I think it fits well.  Not knowing everything doesn't leave you much room to ponder over the various aspects of the story.  

I must say when I finished the book my reaction was:  "WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!"   "How could they end it like that?!?!?!?!"  Yep read it to find out why!

Monday, July 1, 2013

E-learning 101: It's not as tough as it looks by Dr. Liz Hardy

From Amazon:
E-learning 101 is the friendliest online learning guide on the planet!

Unlike other online study guides, E-learning 101 makes solving e-learning problems fun. Smiling dogs appear on most pages, helping the online learner to smile, relax, and engage with simple and accessible e-learning strategies.
The book presents 6 short lessons. Each lesson defines a common e-learning problem, and then walks readers through a series of steps to solve it. Interactive worksheets are included with every lesson, empowering readers to fix their e-learning problems right then and there

This was a quick read, but it was interesting and can be a help to anyone thinking about taking online courses. It goes over the very basic stuff so you don't get bogged down with a lot of technical issues.  It is more about how to fit it into your life, some of the issues you may run into, and how to deal with those issues.  Hardy does say that you don't have to read straight through, that you can skip to the chapters you need(I did read it straight through).

Oh and let me tell you that this book doesn't just go for E-learning but for other areas of your life!  Need to find time to get stuff done?  Time management is covered!  Have deadlines?  There are helpful hints there too!  Procrastinate much?  Guess what that is covered too! So you could read it and just apply those tips to the areas that you need!(I know I plan on doing just that!)

Also as a how to/educational book it is quite different from others that I have read, such as manuals for my full time job.  Hardy adds a bit of humor and cute pictures here and there to keep your attention.  These are great for little "mental breaks" or even to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What I have been up too...

So I know it has been a while since I last posted a review, but that doesn't mean I haven't forgotten about the blog.  I have been reading A Dance of Dragons by George R.R. Martin.  I gotten into the series a while back but the books are very lengthy and it takes me a while to get through them.  I enjoyed them all and while I won't go into lavish detail since I have review a few other books in the series I will say that there are definite twists and surprises that happen throughout.

So I will begin with my next book in the queque and will have the review up shortly after I am done.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Sorry it has been a crazy weekend but here are the winners for the Second Chance Grill giveaway of a paperback copy and ebook.

The Paperback copy goes to~~~~~Karen Jeske!!!!

The Ebook goes to~~~~~~~Sue Tinge!!!

Thanks for entering and enjoy the books!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Zeus Inc by Robin Burks


From Burks' request:

50 years ago, Zeus, Inc., and its CEO, the mysterious Joseph Brentwood, saved the world from a major energy crisis by discovering a new unlimited energy resource. Now, in 2069, Mr. Brentwood has gone missing and private eye Alex Grosjean has been hired to find him by his daughter (and Alex's best friend), Aleisha.

Black-outs begin to occur all over the world and somehow Alex believes it's tied to Mr. Brentwood's disappearance. Her search leads her through her own murky past and into the fantastical depths of Hell itself, where she discovers that Mr. Brentwood is not who or what he seems to be.

With the help of an otherworldly man named Pip, Alex must save both Mr. Brentwood and the world. But will she be able to face her own guilty past in order to do it? 

Robin Burks had contacted me to review her book Zeus, Inc.  I had agreed since I have been enjoying mysteries more and more.  Plus seeing the title my mind went to thinking about Greek mythology.  When I was getting ready to read the book, I did re-read the synopsis and felt that didn't really deal with the Greek mythology.  But still I was intrigued.

This is a pretty interesting read, it is short but a lot happens in it.  It takes place in the future, and yet there are some things from day making an appearance.  I didn't feel lost in the futuristic feel of the book, and honestly was quite happy to see that the Greek Gods are involved.  The pace was quick, and it kept me interested.

Alex is a character that I can relate to.  She has a sarcastic side and quick temper, but also is down to earth. I love how when certain things happens to her favor she makes mental notes on things to do when she is done with the case.  She also has a certain amount of moxy(no other word really fits) for her to go into Hades and Mt. Olympus as a mere mortal.  She definitely is not a weak character and able to stand her own among the Greek Gods and Goddesses.

The only thing I can say is that towards the end the language did get to be a bit noticeable.  Now I will say that if I was in a similar position I think my mouth wouldn't be clean and would probably be dropping certain words left and right.  I know I would not be thinking as clearly as Alex was able to even if she wasn't ready to handle what was going on so I was able to let that part go for myself.

Overall I really enjoyed the book, and while it left on a cliff hanger(uggggh the drive me a good way though)...I do look forward to see what else Burks comes out with!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Q&A with Christine Nolfi

So as you know I love Christine Nolfi's works and asked her to do another guest post.  She decided on a Q&A so here it is!!!  Also be sure to check out the end of the post because there is something very exciting happening there too!!!!

Can you tell us a little about writing your first book?
I wrote my first novel at age nineteen. The tome sits dusty and unloved in my file cabinet. I’ve been writing fiction ever since.

What is your most recent title published?
Second Chance Grill, the prequel to award-winning Treasure Me, was released in October 2102. The synopsis:

Dr. Mary Chance needs a sabbatical from medicine to grieve the loss of her closest friend. But when she inherits a struggling restaurant in Liberty, Ohio she isn’t prepared for Blossom Perini. Mary can’t resist falling for the precocious preteen—or the girl’s father. The bond they forge will transform all their lives and set in motion an outpouring of love that spreads across America.
Welcome back to Liberty, where the women surrounding the town’s only restaurant are as charming as they are eccentric.

Is there a message in your work you want readers to grasp?
I’ve been called the queen of the redemption story. I believe everyone deserves a second chance, a do-over, an opportunity to build a better life despite setbacks and obstacles.

How do you work your storyline? Do you use an outline, or just write?
I begin with the idea for a character and the type of obstacles he or she might face. The plot springs from these deep waters.

Are experiences in your work based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think readers of every genre have certain expectations. As an author, you must meet those expectations for any hope of success. In the case of contemporary fiction, readers demand a writing style rich in emotion, with striking visuals and deep symbolism. They don’t want a surface read. If they aren’t quickly immersed in the story and the conflict, they’ll move on to another novel.

Do those stories arise from personal experience? 
Sometimes. More often, I begin with a simple What if? question then build a plot.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Knowing when to stop working and break for the day. I get utterly caught up in the character’s lives. During the first 100 pages it’s easy to conduct a normal 9-to-5 routine. By page 250, all bets are off. I wake in the middle of the night with half of a scene spilling from my subconscious and hurry to my computer. Midway through dinner I leap up to scramble for pen and paper because I’ve suddenly solved a story problem. It becomes rather silly. Luckily my family is very understanding.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Digital publishing offers a marvelous opportunity for talented authors—especially authors who don’t easily fit into a traditional genre—to reach the reading public. A division of Penguin considered bringing Treasure Me and the upcoming Liberty books out in hardcover. Earlier, Random House was interested in Second Chance Grill.
In both instances, the editors were flummoxed. Were the books romance, mystery or women’s fiction? The prose is close to literary, with cozy mystery elements and snappy dialogue thrown into the mix. Given the financial investment a publishing house makes releasing a debut novelist, it’s understandable why both editors were hesitant to offer a contract. They weren’t sure, exactly, how to promote my novels.
Finally I drew up the courage to publish independently. Given the heartwarming reviews I’ve received for my first three releases, the decision was wise.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Find a specific time of day to write, even if only for a few minutes. Join a critique group to improve your skills. Don’t diminish your wellbeing by pulling all-nighters pounding out fiction. This isn’t a college exam. Producing your best work comes with time, reading often and well, and having the courage to put emotion on paper.

Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I’m wrapping up edits on a romantic comedy slated for release in April. I’m having so much fun with the editing process I hate the thought of saying goodbye to these characters and sending them off to publication!

Praise for Second Chance Grill
“Nolfi writes with an uncanny sense of Americana and a richness of heart that is incredibly endearing and totally refreshing.” BookFetish

@christinenolfi on Twitter                                    
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Ok I know that I am excited to see another book come out and can't wait to read it!!!   But the exciting news is *drumroll*  Christine is allowing me to giveaway an EBOOK and PAPERBACK copy of Second Chance Grill!!!!!  So how do you enter?  Fill out the rafflecopter form and the winner will be randomly drawn.  There is one catch, the paperback copy is for US residents only, however the ebook is international!!  The giveaway will run from March 13th to March 22.  Winners will be contacted and announced on March 23rd!  GOOD LUCK!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 25, 2013

Second Chance Grill by Christine Nolfi

From Nolfi's request:

Dr. Mary Chance needs a sabbatical from medicine to grieve the loss of her closest friend. But when she inherits a struggling restaurant in Liberty, Ohio she isn’t prepared for Blossom Perini. Mary can’t resist falling for the precocious preteen—or the girl’s father. The bond they forge will transform all their lives and set in motion an outpouring of love that spreads across America.

Nolfi asked me to read and review Second Chance Grill, and I immediately jumped at the chance.  The reason is that I have loved her previous books Treasure Me and Tree of Everlasting Knowledge.  Plus Second Chance Grill is the prequel to Treasure Me, so I wanted to return to Liberty and experience the characters and charm of the town.

Let me just say that if you haven't experienced any of Nolfi's writing you are missing out!  She is very talented in drawing the reader in and holding the attention until the very end!  Also you connect with the characters to the point that you experience the joys and sorrows that they experience.

Second Chance Grill is another great read!  All the elements that I love about Nolfi's writing is here.  The story drew me in quickly and I just wanted to keep reading.  In fact at the end of the story my e-reader died, and I had to let it charge just enough that I could finish it.  I was that involved that I was not happy that I couldn't finish it right then.  Especially as emotionally charged as the ending was, even though technically I knew what happened, I needed to experienced it!

The characters are great!  Having Mary and Anthony narrate the story is great, since both have things in the past that needed to be revealed.  Blossom, while had to deal with a lot for a teenager, has the typical teenager mood swings.  Plus all the other native characters you grew to love from Treasure Me make their appearances as well.

So if you can't tell you really ought to pick up this book and the others by Christine Nolfi!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Hour of Predators

From Barnes and Noble:
Two gruesome murders have shocked and divided the community of Bella Coola, a small, isolated village on the coast of British Columbia. The evidence points to a Nuxalk boy, and the tension between whites and tribe members heats up. RCMP Inspector Marcus Chao must sort through misleading clues, cultural conflicts, tangled relationships, sexual scandals, and rumors of sorcery to find the the truth.

I was asked to read and review the book by Lane Stark.  Since I have been enjoying mysteries, and honestly the sorcery peaked my interest I decided to try to read it.

I got to say this book held my attention pretty well!  I kept wanting to read on even though at times I had to put the book down.  The story line has so many twist and turns that it was hard to figure out what actually happened.  At points I just about believed the sorcery to be apart of it.  I was even surprised how Stark was able to tie everything together and making it seem plausible.

While I did enjoy the different perspectives from all the different characters, I will have to say that at points it was a bit confusing which one was talking when.  It was made known pretty quick, usually just a few sentences in, but still was enough to feel unsettled.  However this really didn't bother me enough to quit reading or feel like the book was bad...the book is a good read despite it.

The characters are great, they all add to the story line.  Not one seemed to be out of place.  Chao is very much like a Sherlock Holmes and the way he works reminds me of the TV show Elementary(which I love!). He may not be as quirky as Sherlock Holmes, but putting the crime scenes together is pretty amazing in my opinion!

Gemma, Claire, Daniel, and Mary Grace all are great characters!  Even if a few of them don't quite make my favorites list they definitely are quality characters!

Over all I really did enjoy the book and recommend it!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Awakened Promo

So to help Celebrate Awakened coming out on Thursday here is an excerpt courtesy of Inger Iversen!

Writing Awakened was a bit harder that the first book Few Are Angels, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is an excerpt from the second novel and a link to read the first few chapters of Few Are Angels, the first book in the series.
There are no spoilers in this excerpt. Enjoy!

I wasn’t sure how long the run would be. I hadn’t gone outside any further than the enclosed patio, but I was sure that the island was large enough that we would have to stop and catch our breaths sooner or later. Ana was behind us and would hopefully serve as the first line of defense against any Chorý that had followed us into the woods. I glanced back at her in time to see the two Chorý enter the woods, headed straight for us. I wasn’t worried about myself, because if we got caught, I would at least be safe for a while, but Ana would be punished and Alex most likely killed. Ana caught the look of dread in my eyes and screamed for Alex and I to continue forward. Alex glanced back and cursed.
“Ella,” he gasped between breaths as pulled me forward faster. “It’s a long way back to the dock where we ported, but it’s a straight shot from here.” Alex’s feet seemed to move faster as he spoke, and though he easily dodged trees and shrubbery, I struggled to keep upright.
“Okay,” I huffed. My calves were on fire, and I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to run much longer. The faith that I’d earlier had in myself started to dwindle when I tripped over a large root. “There are two men back there—”
Ana was between the two Chorý, her fist deeply embedded in the face of one, and her knee made a swift but hard connection with the other’s shin. As the second fell and rolled to the side, the first Chorý quickly recovered from the bone-smashing fist to the face and backhanded Ana. Alex and I soon passed a row of trees that blocked the Chorý and Ana from sight.
“When we get on the boat, go. No turning back, no waiting for anyone—“
“Wait, whoa!” I choked out. Speaking was soon to be impossible, and my chest was seconds from exploding into a fireball of pain. I couldn't get enough oxygen in my lungs, and my knees were about to lock up on me. All of that aside, nothing hurt worse that realizing that if we got to the boat before Kale did, we would have to leave him on the island.
As I came to a halt, my brain protested. It was still in survival mode, but I wasn’t leaving Kale or Ana on the island.
Alex skidded to halt a few steps ahead of me. “Don’t do this, Ella. It’s what we all agreed to—your safety first,” Alex pled breathlessly. I almost went with him as he held out his hand and inched towards the freedom I’d dreamt about since I’d been held on the island.
“You should have known that I wouldn’t leave him here, Alex!” I could still hear Ana and the two Chorý fighting, though I couldn’t see them, but I couldn't help myself. “You had to know that, Alex, and I can’t believe you weren’t going to tell me sooner.” I turned around to head back, but a painful grip on my arm stopped me dead in my tracks.
Alex was breathing hard, his faced twisted in anger.
“I refuse to let you go back,” Alex said, and my eyes widened. “I will go back, if it means you get on that boat.” He yanked me forward, and I was too shocked to pull away at first. He pulled me over a few roots and tightened his grip as I almost tumbled to the ground. Seeing Alex this angry was shocking, but I couldn't leave Kale—I wouldn’t.
“Alex,” I gasped as I tried to pull away from him. “Maybe I can help. There has to be something I can do!”
“Don’t be stupid!” Alex pulled me so hard that I screamed out in pain.
“No, by all means be stupid and come back with me.”
We both turned to see the large Chorý leaning against the tree. His beady eyes trained on Alex as Alex pulled out his dagger and rooted himself in front of me.
“Now, now, little human,” he drawled. “That is an awfully big knife ya got there. Why don’t you put it down so you don’t poke your eye out?” the Chorý taunted with an evil grin.
“Back. Off,” was Alex’s hard reply. I peeked over his shoulder for Ana; Alex nudged me back, pushing me against a tree. I knew he wanted me to run, but there was no way that I was leaving Alex alone with that Chorý.
“Hmm. Now, son, let me do you a favor.” The Chorý slowly moved away from the tree and stood up straight. His leaning position had hid the fact that he was almost seven feet tall. Alex was not prepared for the Chory’s skills, either. “Instead of taking you back to my master, how about I sink my teeth into the thick vein on the side of your neck and end you painlessly?”
“What in the—” Alex balked. He turned to me for a second, with confusion and nervousness in his eyes. Alex had no clue what he was dealing with, and it was my fault. I should have told him before I was taken.
“Oh, please. Don’t tell me you don’t know a Chorý when you see one, boy. I know the Council has trained you better than that.” The Chorý stifled laughter.
“Dude, are trying to say that you’re a freaking vampire?” Alex asked in amazement. “Ella, you need to run now. This dude is not only immortal; he is insane.” He spat the last word with utter disgust.
I needed to warn him about that can of worms that he was about to open. “Alex—”
The Chorý glanced at me and growled. “Do not run, little girl.”
“Ella, I said—”
The Chorý flashed his very vampire canines.
I was shocked, too. Kale never extended his teeth, and though Ana and Darke both kept their teeth extended, they never bared them at me as a warning or anything else. I’d read in books and seen in movies how a vampire bite could feel good, but there was nothing that was going to convince me that having those long sharp teeth buried in the crook of my neck would ever feel like anything other than excruciating pain.
“What was that you said?”
“What the hell are you?” Alex asked. I moved away from the tree that I had been hugging and placed my arms around Alex’s waist. He placed his free hand on my arm and squeezed.
“Touching, but that proposition is still on the table. When Laurent gets you, he will show you no mercy. Me, on the other hand,” The Chorý pointed to his teeth. “I promise to make it feel good to the very last drop.”

Monday, February 4, 2013

Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

From Barnes and Noble:
As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomaniacal King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confidant, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.
Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon's opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon's most horrible creations yet: an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.
War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible...…again.

Ok as you know I just love Snyder's work and well she had a contest in which she gave away copies of Scent of Magic, of course I couldn't pass up the opportunity and entered.  Well I won, and my copy was also signed!!!  I was and still am excited by it!  Of course this was immediately moved up on my TBR mountain and honestly I do not regret it! I loved this book as much as her other books!
This is the second book in her Healer series and let me just say that the story line has several twists and turns that keep you enthralled with the book.  I loved how we are able to see Kerrick's point of view and the way the book alternates between Avry and Kerrick's storyline(It is very clear as Kerrick's chapters always say Kerrick, and Avry's are the chapters).  There is one thing  that drove me crazy, at the end of each chapter there was a cliff hanger!  Each time when I arrived at the end of the chapter and had to stop reading it, I was screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!" on the inside because I had to know what happened next...then add in that the next chapter was the other narrator, the suspense to know what is happening was maddening!!!  Not in a bad way but in the way of "I have got to find more time to read so that I don't have to  wait!  Oh but now I have to wait for Touch of Death to come out!  UGGGHHHHH!!!! 

So if you haven't yet read the Healer series or any of Maria's books for that matter my only suggestion is to DROP EVERYTHING NOW AND GO GET ONE OF HER BOOKS!!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Something to check out!!

I am so excited to share a new site and present their giveaway!!!  So great of these authors!!

The best authors in New Fiction are celebrating the grand opening of with a February promotion:

Best Selling Read’s February Deal

Prize for winning reader entry: iPad Mini with Wi-Fi 16GB plus 1 eBook from each BSR author

$300 Amazon gift card plus 1 eBook from each author (if winner received eReader holiday gift)

2nd & 3rd place winners: $25 Amazon gift card

Winners will be chosen February 28th by Rafflecopter. No purchase necessary.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Few are Angels by Inger Iversen

From Barnes and Noble:
After a fatal hit and run accident, Ella Monroe fears that she’s lost more than her beloved parents. Horrifying visions of a past life and a disturbing voice in her head have psychiatric professionals convinced that she’s lost her sanity as well. But when Kale--a dark and handsome stranger with a mysterious past--reveals the true meaning of her visions and the tremendous power she wields through them, Ella must come to terms with the devastating truths of her own past, while eluding an ancient Dark Prince who seeks to control not only her future, but all of mankind’s, by means of abilities that Ella is only beginning to understand.

Enter the shrouded world of an age old battle between an ancient race known as the Immortals and their bitter enemy Laurent, the so-called Dark Prince, who commands an army of half-breed vampires known as Chorý. Both sides have been desperately searching for the prophesied emergence of the Arc, a clairvoyant with unparalleled power to recall the past and a soothsayer with clear vision into the future.

Inger Iversen had approached me to do an interview.  Since I hadn't read the book yet I asked Iversen to wait until I had read the books since I do guest post/interviews with the books that I like.  I bought the book on my own as the blurb did catch my attention.  Yes another vampire book, but this one seemed different as the story behind it was very intriguing.

This is the first book in a series and you could tell.  It really sets up for what could happen in the next book.  There are action sequences, but the story line on who Ella really is the focus.  Iversen doesn't give anything away very easily, we slowly find out who Ella really is right along with Ella.  The back story definitely is interesting and I wished more of it was revealed but then again getting it slowly builds anticipation.

Ella is the narrator(hence why we find things out when she does).  She still has a lot of issues to deal with and doesn't exactly seem like the strongest female lead out there.  However she is still trying to figure everything out and how to fix the issue.  She has a lot to learn and does make a lot of mistakes that her teenage attitude creates.  The attitude does change and she realizes that her actions does create problems for others.

Overall this is a great set up book and leaves me with hope that the second book will be even better!  I look forward to reading the next one and learning more about Ella and the show down between her and Laurent!


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