Friday, August 31, 2012

Review Day: Beatrice Munson

It's Review Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Title: Beatrice Munson
Author: Lorena Bathey
Rating: 5 stars

**Warning: M.A. content!  Not suitable for anyone under the age of 18!**

Summary from Amazon:
In Vista Heights, the women of the neighborhood have started to look like their homes, varying shades of beige. Lost in this world of suburbia, Marissa Lyons learns her high school nemesis has bought the house right across the street from her. Afraid that her arch enemy, Beatrice Munson, will arrive with Marissa's high school crush as her husband and cause Marissa to relieve the insecurity of high school in her her forties, she decides to face the music and head to Beatrice's house with warm cupcakes. But what Marissa finds is something she never expected. How will Marissa and the rest of the women of San Martino deal with someone like Beatrice Munson, whose defining moment in her life was to get a boob job or go on a trip to Egypt. This story is about friendship, love, learning to look at things differently, and great parties. Step into the world of Vista Heights where you might not only recognize the women, you might be one of them. (end)

My Review:
Beatrice Munson is an aboslutely hysterical novel.  I laughed so many times!  It's not very often that a novel actually makes me laugh-out-loud, but this one did.  I also felt a whole range of other emotions - happy, excited, anxious, giddy, sad, sympathetic, concerned... I could keep going.  Lorena draws you in with a witty character, but keeps you around with a whole crew of female characters who we all know and can relate to.

I read this novel in less than four hours, keep in mind it has about 126 pages!  I was hooked from the first paragraph.  Marrissa, Beatrice, Andrea, Lily, Grayson, the rest of the women, the children and so many more characters, were absolutely amazing.  I instantly knew who they were after just meeting them.  I loved each character, even the ones I disliked, and know they are the most realistic characters I have ever read before.  They jumped off the pages like few characters do!

This is another must read novel for adults (especially women, you will love it)!  And... because I loved it so much, Lorena and I have decided to have a giveaway!!  The giveaway has ended!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
Share the giveaway and good luck!  Beatrice Munson can be purchased on Amazon here.  Happy Review Day!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

ANSA #34

Welcome everyone to the thirty-fourth Authors Not-So-Anonymous weekly meeting!! This weekly series is about authors from Twitter and Facebook!  This week, I would like to introduce Lorena Bathey into Authors Not-So-Anonymous!

Lorena Bathey is the mother of four, has three grandchildren, photographer, and a women's fiction self-published author.  "I can barely keep up typing as fast as the story wants to come out.  I believe that's what happens when you follow your passion and do what you really love. It's a risky business and it's a lot of hard work to not only write the stories but get them out where people can see them. But I know that I am doing exactly what I love to do.  The beauty of that is my creative kids see that it's important.  They now feel free to be creative now and to aspire to be avant guard and creative in the paths they are starting for their own lives.  It makes me happy to see that."

She began writing in 2004 with a memoir.  "I wrote my memoir, Happy Beginnings: How I Became My Own Fairy Godmother. It was what I call the 'real' woman's Eat, Pray, Love because I did go to Italy, but only for 10 days.  That book really began my writing career because I wrote for women who had found themselves lost in their roles and wanted to find out WHO they were."  In 2010, Lorena began writing Beatrice Munson - a novel about women who are stuck in their mundane routines change when they meet a ray of sunshine who lives a life full of wonder.

Lorena gets her writing inspiration from her characters and the sheer happiness of writing.  "Usually I get a character in my head and they kinda live there until I start writing about them.  But I write because I love it.  It is when I am happy."  Her favorite authors and books include - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Katherine, To Kill a Mockingbird, Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, and Stephen King.

Lorena's newest novel, House on Plunkett Street, came out in April, 2012.
 
Summary:
Phoebe Bertram is boring, bland, and unexciting. She works a job that is inadequate of her abilities. She has a boyfriend that is a dud. She is on the treadmill of her life and doesn’t know how to get off.  

With changes in her job and her apartment going condo, she must find a new place to live. Her friend Meghan brings her to the perfect apartment and the moment Phoebe steps in the door she knows there is something atypical about this perspective residence.

What she never expects are the three ghosts that arrive on her couch to teach her how life is really meant to be lived. (end)

She is currently finishing up her next novel that will be out within the next few weeks titled The X, that is a thriller.

Summary:
Clarissa Hadonfield had it all. She lived in a lovely home surrounded by affluent intellectuals, had a successful husband, and two phenomenal teenage boys.

With the ring of a doorbell she finds her life substituted by one where she has to fight for her children with an evil she never knew existed and had been sleeping next to for the last twenty years.

When Clarissa's X shows his true colors, she finds she must become a strong woman who cannot only grow prize-winning flowers but can place a devastating roundhouse kick. Teaming up with Bryce Brightman, an ex-FBI agent, she uncovers a woman whose only goal is to save her children.

This story is about what a woman can do when she put her brains, her brawn, and her boots into changing the course of her life and protecting the ones she loves. (end)

Connect with Lorena on Twitter or her website.  Have an author to nominate?  Send me a message via Twitter (#ANSA), Facebook, or leave a comment with the author(s) name and contact information.  I'd love to add new members!  Happy Reading!

Monday, August 27, 2012

eReader How To: Organize Your eBooks!

I was recently contacted by Guest Post U, a company that creates guest posts for blogs.  They asked to write a sample post for my blog to help promote their site and their incredible free services.  I agreed to let them write up something ebook related for you guys... so here it is!  Robyn and Josh from GPU are here to talk about sorting ebooks on your eReader.  They have several very good ideas and tips about organizing and making your ebook collection much more efficient.  Let me know in the comments what you think of the post.

Four Different Ways of Organizing E-Reader eBooks
Photo from The Ebook eReader
E-readers are becoming quite popular nowadays.  Some people use them because they feel that e-readers are more friendly toward the environment than are traditional books. Some simply use them for ease and convenience, while others do not have enough storage space in their home for hundreds of hardcovers.  These e-readers generally allow people to organize their ebooks into categories.  What are some ideas for doing so?

1. Genre
One of the most popular ways to organize ebooks is by genre.  You can have separate lists for science fiction, romance, comedy and so forth.  If you're going to use this method, it's important to remember under which genre your favorite ebooks fall, so you can easily find them when you want to.  Sometimes, ebooks can be a blend of a couple of genres.  For this purpose, you many want to consider creating an "other" category. 

2. Author
When you read a lot of ebooks by the same author, you can categorize them into groups based upon who wrote them.  No matter where you are, you can pull up an excellent read by your favorite writer in the literary field.  However, if you don't really stick to certain authors, you may want to avoid this idea. Imagine that you read ebooks by 200 different authors and try to categorize them all.  You would wind up with an overwhelming amount of groups!   If you do decide to follow this option, be sure to create an "other" category for works that are written by two or more authors.

3. Person
Let's say that you share an e-reader with a spouse, sibling, parent or other person in your life. You're each always complaining that the other individual downloads way too many ebooks, and you are never able to find yours. Create separate categories for the two of you.  You could even break down them more.  For example, your categories might be along the lines of "John's Favorites," "John-Science Fiction," "Jane's Favorites by Mark Twain" and "Jane's Books of Poetry."  Do you have ebooks that you both love to read? Well then, start a collection called "Books We Both Love."

4. Stars
Perhaps after you read a book, you like to assign it a number of stars based on how good you thought it was and how much you enjoyed it.  Why not organize the ebooks by the number of stars then?  You'll be able to easily access your favorites at any time, and you will also be reminded of the ebooks that you did not enjoy so much.  In some ways, this process is much like ranking the ebooks.  However, you do not need to drive yourself mad ranking every book from one into infinity.

Making collections and categories on your e-reader is a fairly simple process. (Click here for help! HilyBee has a tutorial for the Kindle.)  Once it's done, it allows you to have a clean library of novels instead of a confusing mess of ebooks.  Choose a method with which you are most comfortable.  Remember, it is always important to have that "Other" category for ebooks that do not quite fit into any of your other headings.

Robyn Gandolfini likes to write about technology, read & compare insurance.  (This is not a spam link, I promise!)  Thank you so much Robyn and GPU for the tips!  Happy Sorting!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Angels are back!!

I have the special privilege of revealing the cover of The Angel Chronicles: Gilded Wings (Book 2) today! (yay!!!!) Without further delay... Here is the cover, description and release date!


Gilded Wings: The Angel Chronicles, Book 2 - The Beloved Angel/Warrior Team from Until Next Time Returns!

When Matt and Emily are sent on their second mission they have no idea how truly dark human nature can become…

Emily never wanted to face humans again. With the heartache that went on down below, she’s still trying to figure out how to save souls that don’t deserve saving. The only one she wants to see again is Jason - the young man she fell in love with who became the soulmate she simply can’t forget…

Matt was trained to protect and defend the souls down below. Longing to feel the heartfelt emotions that come from being human, Matt wants nothing more than to have just one life - one chance - to live and love the girl of his dreams…

The powerful team find themselves in a brand new century, living in the Gilded Age of New York City. Emily takes over the body of Anya, a young Russian girl who arrives on Ellis Island after a hideous tragedy. There she meets up with a strangely familiar young man by the name of Drew Parrish, who helps Anya survive in an unknown world of luxury, snobbery and…obsession.

What Anya’s inner angel doesn’t know is that the soul she loves is also back. This time around Jason goes by the name of Max Carrow. Once a quiet and kind boy, he’s now part of the ‘Four Hundred Club,’ and wants nothing more than to be among the most admired as he climbs the shaky ladder of society’s elite.

As two worlds merge, Emily and Matt struggle under the weight of their “Gilded Wings.” Not only will they have to figure out who they should fight to save, but they must also face a romantic choice that could destroy them both. (end)

(all together now) YAY!!!!!!!!!!!  *squeeeeee*  I'm so excited for book two!!  Mark your calendars for November 1, 2012!  Haven't read book one yet?  Click here to read my review!  Keep up with Amy Lignor and the Angels on The Angel Chronicles website.  Happy Cover Reveal Day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ANSA #33

Welcome everyone to the thirty-third Authors Not-So-Anonymous weekly meeting!! This weekly series is about authors from Twitter and Facebook!  This week, I would like to induct Susan Buchanan into Authors Not-So-Anonymous!

Susan Buchanan works in international sales, an author and is currently working on a research project while writing her second novel.  A lover of food, traveling, languages and reading, Susan weaves her passions into her novels.  She is the author of Sign of the Times, a novel I recently reviewed.  Susan is an adult fiction Indie author.  (side note: not adult as in erotica, but adult as in too much for children. heh.)  She began writing Sign of the Times in August of 2002 during the holiday seasons.  She took a year off and finished writing it, then Indie published the novel in March of 2012.


Twelve people. Twelve star signs.

Sagittarius - Holly, a travel writer, visits Tuscany to research her next book. Seeking help when her car breaks down, she gets more than assistance when Dario, a vineyard owner, puts temptation in her path. Disappearing without explanation, he proves elusive. Bruised, Holly tries to put it behind her until a chance encounter brings her feelings to the surface again.

Capricorn – Holly’s fiancé, Tom misses her while she is in Italy and turns to an internet chat room for solace. His construction business is under threat, but could foul play be at work?

Gemini - Holly’s sister, Lucy, a serial man-eater finally meets her match, which puts her long-term relationship and career in jeopardy. Cheating she discovers, can have devastating consequences.

Libra - Holly’s uncle Jack, an eminent prosecutor, juggles a difficult teenage son with his high profile career and finds himself lacking. When his son’s school work starts slipping, he decides he needs to take control, but it’s not long before the balls all come tumbling down and Jack finds his family on the wrong side of the law.

One event binds them all…  
(end)

Susan's next book, The Dating Game, is currently due out in late 2012.

The Dating Game summary:
Workaholic recruitment consultant Gill McFadden is sick of her friends trying to match-make for her.  Up until now her love life has been a disaster and she’s going through a drier spell than the Sahara desert.  Seeing an ad on a bus one day, she decides to visit Happy Ever After dating agency.  Before long she is experiencing laughs, lust and… could it be love?  But like everything in Gill’s life, nothing is straightforward and she ends up wondering exactly who she can trust.
Her writing inspiration is derived from authors she admires, "I do love the way Maeve Binchy creates characters.  I also love Victoria Hislop, Jodi Picoult and Dorothy Koomson and have probably learned quite a lot from their works."  Susan's favorite novels are - Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, Anita Shreve's Light on Snow, Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes, Carlos Ruiz Zafon's Shadow of the Wind,  Michael Ende's The NeverEnding Story, and Jed Rubenfeld's The Interpretation of Murder.

Follow Susan on Facebook, Twitter, or her website!  Have an author to nominate?  Send me a message via Twitter (#ANSA), Facebook, or leave a comment with the author(s) name and contact information.  I'd love to add new members!  Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Giveaway Time (closed)

Welcome to the Imigration and Adaptation Blog Tour!!  Today you can win your very own copy of this book!  Below are the details, so keep reading!

Immigration and Adaptation Book Summary:
Adaptation is a must. But how does one go about doing this? It takes great planning, finances, and courage to leave one's homeland; but then finding support and comfort or anything of familiarity in a new land presents a whole new set of challenges. The stress is overwhelming. How do you gain the happiness and success you dreamed of attaining in the new land?

Immigration and Adaptation is here to help you navigate through these challenges. With the information herein, immigrants coming to North America will be prepared to identify and resolve social, family, and personal challenges with confidence. Mr. Edwards' vast professional experience with diverse immigrant families, as well as his own personal journey and genuinely encouraging approach, not only help immigrant families adapt to new surroundings, but grow stronger together in their journey.

This book includes:

- A family wellness test
- Step-by-step guidelines
- Real-life examples
- Inspirational stories
- Family, parenting, and spousal exercises
- Illustrations
- Single-parenting advice

Immigration and Adaptation also includes tips on: building self-confidence, resolving conflicts, tuning communication skills, networking and building social supports, budgeting, parenting, enhancing spousal relationships, helping teenagers adjust, communicating effectively, and more.

Read an excerpt from the first chapter for completely free here!!

Below is the giveaway.  Enter using the Rafflecopter form and it's that simple!  The winner will be announced on August 28, 2012!  Good luck! THE GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED!! Congratulations to the winner!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
About the author, Haskell G. Edwards, D. Min.:
Haskell G. Edwards, D. Min. has vast professional experience for more than forty years as pastor, administrator, family therapist, and director of a family therapy center. His extensive experience gained from working with immigrant families in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic setting, as well as his own personal journey and genuinely encouraging approach, positions him not only to help immigrant families adapt to new surroundings, but grow stronger together in their journey.

He has successfully held immigrant seminars, workshops, and lectures throughout North America. Now a retired pastor, he continues to help immigrant families of a wide cultural heritage transition into their new homeland.

Want to follow the rest of the tour?  See a complete list of stops with links here!  Happy Tour Day!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review Day: The Color of Snow!

Welcome to the Color of Snow Blog Tour!  Today's stop brings you a book review.  To see the rest of the tour schedule, click here.  Keep reading for a full review and more about the author!

The Color of Snow Summary
Can a troubled young girl reenter society after living in isolation?

When a beautiful 16-year-old girl named Sophie is found sequestered in a cage-like room in a rundown house in the desolate hills of Arbon Valley, Idaho, the entire community is shocked to learn she is the legendary Callidora--a baby girl who was kidnapped from her crib almost seventeen years ago and canonized in missing posters with portraits of what the fabled girl might resemble. Authorities soon learn that the cage was there to protect people from Sophie, because her biological father believes she is cursed.

Sophie is discovered after the man she knows as Papa, shoots and injures Damien, a young man who is trying to rescue her. Now, unsocialized and thrust into the world, and into a family she has never met, Sophie must decide whether she should accept her Papa’s claims that she is cursed and he was only trying to protect others, or trust the new people in her life who have their own agendas. Guided by a wise cousin, Sophie realizes that her most heartbreaking challenge is to decide if her love for Damien will destroy him like her Papa claims, or free her from past demons that haunt her mind.  Brenda has a true sense of how to create the perfect character, scene, setting, everything!  Her writing style is even flawless!  I can't wait to see what she writes next!

My rating: 5 stars!

I love this novel, so much that I have added it to my favorites list!  This one is right up there with Amy Lignor's Until Next Time: Angel Chronicles series.  I absolutely could not put this book down   The plot and characters were very well done.  I can't get over how intricate the story is!  One minute one thing is happening then WHAM! something else changes.  You will be utterly shocked when you read the ending!

The novel is a mix of YA true love, curse/new-age, and *what would happen if you were kidnapped and then someone found you again* story - an insane mix that works extremely well together.  It was like reading a biblical curse story mixed with a Lifetime movie - but in I need more of this way.  I guess what I'm trying to say is, just read it.  You will love it.

The characters - Sophie (aka: Callidora), Damien, Papa, Sophie's *family*, Luke, the various police and social workers involved, and every single other character - were incredible.  Each one was perfect!  They were each a piece of the jigsaw puzzle that was the plot.  I loved trying to solve how each character intertwined with the others.

(Because I love this book so much, this is a little bit long. oops! This also isn't the best review in terms of actually telling you any details in the book outside the summary.  I did that on purpose.)

*update*
I'm still thinking about this book two days after I finished it!  I can't believe how much this book has stuck with me.  Seriously, if you choose one or two books to buy a month (or longer).  THIS should be one!

Purchase your own copy of The Color of Snow from...
About the author, Brenda Stanley:
Brenda Stanley is the former news anchor at her NBC affiliate KPVI in Eastern Iadho. Her writing has been recognized by the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Hearst Journalism Awards, the Idaho Press Club and the Society for Professional Journalists. She is a graduate of Dixie College in St. George, Utah, and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Brenda lived for two years in Ballard, Utah, within the Fort Duchesne reservation where the novel is set. She and her husband live on a small ranch near the Snake River with their horses and dogs.


Follow Brenda and The Color of Snow on the official website, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter (#TheColorOfSnow), Brenda's website, Tribute's website, Tribute's Facebook, Tribute's Twitter, or the blog tour Facebook.  Happy Review Day!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Birthday Bash Blog Tour!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY R.M. GILMORE!!!!!!!  Welcome everyone to the first stop in the Birthday Bash blog tour!!  R.M. Gilmore is celebrating her 29th birthday by having a huge birthday bash blog tour and giving back to all of her fans.  How sweet!  So, lets all wish her an even bigger *Happy Birthday!* and participate in the tour!
About R.M.:
Raised in Central California, bred from two very young parents, I have fought hard to get where I am today. Which isn’t saying much since I haven’t come very far. But, I do my best. I married my best friend October of 2011 and published my first novel in 2012, not too shabby I guess.

I started writing almost four years ago. Dylan Hart was my first character and I fell in love with her immediately. Since, I have created, and am currently working on, a number of different works. All varying from supernatural thrillers, to biblical apocalypse, to the life of a young punk just trying to drink, smoke, and survive. Short stories are regularly being pumped out as well. All are lying in wait for the perfect time to be unleashed.
Aside from writing, I also paint. In fact, painting was my first passion. I operate an online store where I sell my original artworks. Just as the characters I drudge up, all paintings I’ve finished have their own identity.  I definitely consider myself to be “unconventional”  (“conventionist.”) I also have an affinity for cult films. I love movies and could watch horror all day, everyday. My heart lies with vampires but I never turn away a good monster, slasher, ghost, or otherwise otherworldly plot. Thanks to my lovely husband I watch Trailer Park Boys nearly everyday. Along with, Roseanne, Ancient Aliens, Decoded, and SVU. Just to name a few.
My life revolves around humor. If I’m not laughing at something or someone then I must be dead. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen anytime soon.

For her birthday present to us... R.M. is having a massive giveaway during the tour.  Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter, and of course... "May the odds be ever in your favor!"


The Scene - Dylan Hart Odyssey of The Occult series (4.5 stars)
In the opening novel of R.M. Gilmore's 'Odyssey of the Occult' series, entitled "The Scene", we find Dylan Hart in her hometown of Hollywood, California. The bodies of seven exsanguinated prostitutes have been found from the Central Valley to Southern California. The media has dubbed them the "Vampire Massacres".
Dylan has decided to cash in on the tragedy and write a true crime novel. She begins her odyssey with research into the underground vampire lifestyle. All seemed to be going as planned, and as long as fiction can keep its ass away from fact, she should be alright.
But let's face it, someone is draining women of all their blood.  There is no way in hell it's going to end pretty.
Purchase your copy of The Scene from...
Follow the story on and chat with others about it on...
Becoming - Lynnie Russell Trilogy ( 4.8 stars)
Country girl paranormal novella from author R.M. Gilmore (author of the Dylan Hart Odyssey of The Occult series). A new twist on an old classic. Havana, Arkansas isn't exactly the picture of mystics and magic, but Lynnie Russell learns quickly you can't judge a book by it's cover. She discovers myths and legends are alive and well in her tiny little town and she is at the center of it.
Purchase your copy of Becoming from...
Follow the story and chat with others about it on...
The next stop in the tour will be tomorrow (August 19th) at Bex' n' Books!  Make sure you stop over for another opportunitiy to enter the giveaway and more R.M. Gilmore Birthday Bash Blog Tour fun!  Stalk R.M. on her website, Facebook, Twitter (@RMGilmoreAuthor), GoodreadsShelfari, and Pinterest!  Don't forget to leave your birthday message for R.M. in the comments!  Happy Tour Day!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hey There Delilah: Overheating Nook

Hey There Delilah is a mini-series where I help solve Kindle and Nook problems.  I get asked all the time "So...something isn't working right on my Kindle (or Nook) and I have no idea why.  I don't have a warranty anymore...PLEASE help!"

Before you decide you hate your Kindle or Nook, want to return it and get a new one...ask me!  I've had many freak outs when I thought something with my precious little device was wrong...but really it was something simple.  Here is a problem that I have been asked about, but that was something very serious.

Problem: My Nook is overheating, won't hold a charge and I can barely hold it because it gets so hot.   I charge it every day like I do my iPhone, but it doesn't seem to help.  Is there something I can do?

How to fix it: First - Overheating is very bad.  If your device is getting hot at any point in time, then you need to contact customer service right away.  (If you  have a warranty, this will be covered, if not...you might be able to get it sent in for repairs at a cheaper price than buying a whole new device.)

Second - Don't charge your device every single day, only charge it as needed.  Charging your device every day will cause it to stop holding a charge, especially with Nooks.  If you have an older Nook with a detachable battery, you may want to purchase a new battery.

How to prevent it: To prevent overheating and battery issues - only charge your device when it needs to be charged.  Wait until it is almost dead (on the last 1/4 or less of a battery) to actually charge it.  This will help with overheating and charging.  If you charge your device too often, it can cause it to overheat from the device trying to draw in too much power (only older models will do this). 

Make sure you store your device out of direct sunlight or in a cool environment.  You don't want the protective coating on the wires to melt or for a short in the wires to occur because of the heat.  Never leave your device in the car in extreme heat or cold.

I always recommend buying the extended one or two year warranties.  They cover so many problems like these and will replace your device without a charge!  You never know when something like this could happen to you, so make sure you take care of your eReader properly.

Have a Kindle or Nook problem?  Ask me!  I love helping people figure out their Kindle or Nook issues.  *Please note, I can't solve all Kindle and Nook problems.  Some of them can't be fixed at home.*  Send me an email, tweet, message me on Facebook, or leave a comment and I will get back to you!  Happy Cooling and Charging!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

ANSA #32

 ** Sorry for the delay! Here it is!**
Welcome everyone to the thirty-second Authors Not-So-Anonymous weekly meeting!! This weekly series is about authors from Twitter and Facebook!  This week, I would like to introduce Carmen DeSousa into Authors Not-So-Anonymous!

Carmen DeSousa is romantic suspense/adult novelist and a book editor.  She's been writing her entire life, but began writing seriously in 2010 - "I sat down and penned four novels in one year.  I spent the next eight months selling them.  And in August 2011, I signed a contract to release my first book 12/24/2011."

Her first released novel was She Belongs to Me...
(description from Amazon)
After secrets and a mysterious background leave a wife's life hanging by a thread, a husband must look for answers in the only place he knows--the past.

When wealthy construction company owner and Charlotte detective, Jordan Monroe, meets Jaynee for the first time he is awestruck and determines to make her his wife. Jaynee, however, has a history she cannot easily overcome and is fearful to submit to love. Jordan succeeds in making her his wife, but five years into their marriage, he realizes she is keeping secrets.  Before he can decipher her duplicity, he discovers her unconscious in their home from a gunshot wound only hours after giving her an ultimatum concerning their relationship.

With Jaynee's life hanging in the balance, the mystery of her past drives Jordan to investigate. But what appears to be an attempted suicide turns out to be something far darker. Is someone from her past stalking her? Or worse, is someone close to Jordan trying to kill them both? As Jordan edges closer to the truth, it may be deadlier than he could ever have imagined. (end)

Her second novel was Land of the Noonday Sun and she is currently working on Split Decisions, due out in December 2012.

Carmen is an Indie author.  Large publishers and several agents had contacted her about her first novel, but she turned them down.  "For my first novel, I decided to stay with an independent publisher because I was able to have more flexibility and control."  Indie authors do have more control over the content of their novels, which makes writing more enjoyable for many.  Carmen draws her inspiration from every aspect of her life, "...everything I’ve seen, experienced, and dreamt."

Since Carmen has been an avid reader her entire life, she can't narrow down her list of favorite titles.  Her first three favorite authors are: Sidney Sheldon, Iris Johansen, and Ted Dekker.

"I write modern-day fairytales filledwith romance, mystery, and suspense. All of my novels are sensual, but not erotic, gripping but not graphic, and will hopefully make you cry, laugh, love, and hope."

Keep up with Carmen on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Amazon.  Have an author to nominate?  Send me a message via Twitter (#ANSA), Facebook, or leave a comment with the author(s) name and contact information.  I'd love to add new members!  Happy Reading!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back to Bataan!

Welcome to the Back to Bataan blog tour!  Today's stop brings you - an bio about author Jerome Charyn, a spotlight about Back to Bataan, and an excerpt from the book!

Back to Bataan was released on July 1, 2012.  It is a YA novel only 98 pages long.  Below is the description and the excerpt.

Back to Bataan description:
New York City, 1943. War is raging in Europe and the Pacific, while Jack Dalton is stuck attending Dutch Masters Day School. What Jack really wants is to enlist in the army, to fight...

Everything changes when Coco, Jack's "fiancee," throws him over for one of his classmates. Jack sees red and does something drastic. Then he runs away. Hiding out in a nearby park, Jack joins ranks with a group of vagrants and is soon under the sway of a man called the Leader, an ex-convict who is as articulate and charismatic as he is dangerous. The Leader turns Jack's world upside down. To put things right, Jack must prove himself a braver soldier than he ever imagined. (end)
 
Back to Bataan can be purchased in the following formats or from the following places:
Excerpt from Back to Bataan:
Mauricette told Harriet Godwin I was the pig of the class. I had treated her like garbage. Mauricette wouldn't answer my phone calls. She wouldn't read the notes I dropped inside her desk. But Arturo Fink kept reminding her who she was. “Fiancée,” he said. “Jack’s fiancée.”

I promised myself I wouldn't write anymore compositions, but how could I graduate from Dr. Franklin's class and join General MacArthur?

It felt lonely without a fiancée.

Mauricette began seeing Barnaby Rosenstock after school. They were holding hands and having chocolate malteds at the Sugar Bowl on Seventy-ninth Street. Fat Arturo was eating two ice-cream sodas. The Sugar Bowl is our hangout. It’s the official candy store of Dutch Masters Day School. I didn’t have money for ice-cream sodas. I didn’t have money for malteds. I'd buy a Hershey bar or some Chuckles once a week. I'd peek at the comic book rack and wonder what was happening to Captain Marvel or the Sub-Mariner. Marvel and the Sub-Mariner were already at war, fighting Japs. And when Mauricette was still my fiancée, I'd sit with her over a glass of water and treat her to some candy whenever I could. But now she was sucking malteds with Barnaby Rosenstock. I could hear her from my corner, next to the comic book rack.

“Oh, Jack Dalton,” she said. “He has a wild imagination. He likes to fling words around. He thinks half the school is going to marry him.”

She didn’t have to shame me in front of her friends. Arturo was laughing into his fat cheeks. Barnaby had a chocolate rainbow on his lips. I didn’t even bother with the comic books. Marvel would have to fight the Japs without me. I walked home.

Mama was at the factory. She makes parachutes. Sometimes she’d bring home a little piece of silk left over from one of the chutes. That's how I get my handkerchiefs. Not even Arturo with all his father’s money has a handkerchief of genuine silk. But handkerchiefs couldn’t make me feel good. Silk is only silk. I wondered about the American fliers who had their planes shot down and had to fall into the dark wearing some of that silk.

I couldn’t concentrate on my homework. It didn't seem important when you considered all the Japs and Germans out there. I hope General MacArthur takes me with him to Bataan. I’m not asking for a Purple Heart. I'm only asking to kill Japs. And if I have to die, I want to die near my dad...

Mama came home at seven. The streets from my window looked so dark, I thought the world had gone gray. I didn’t care. I wouldn’t mind going to school after midnight.

“Darling,” Mama said, “what’s wrong?”

I couldn't tell her how I lost a fiancée, because she would have figured I was insane.

“Mama, I’m blue...that's all.”

“You’re still dreaming of the Army, aren’t you? We'll have dinner and listen to the radio, my little blue boy.”

We had soup and bread and boiled potatoes and peas out of a can. It’s not Mama’s fault if meat is rationed and sugar is rationed. No one can inherit ration stamps, not even the President or Arturo’s dad.

We listened to Jack Benny. He played the violin and talked about the Japs. Mama laughed, because Jack Benny is the biggest miser in the world. He would never spend a nickel. But he told everybody to buy war bonds.

“What about you, Mr. Benny?”

Mama told me it was time for bed.

I put on my pajamas. But I didn't feel like sleeping. I dialed Mauricette’s number and let the telephone ring. Somebody picked up the phone.

“It’s me,” I said. “Jack Dalton. Your former fiancé. Coco, are you there? I wanted to—”

Mauricette hung up. And I wondered who was lonelier. The dead cowboys on Bataan, or young Jack Dalton. (end)

About Jerome Charyn:
Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since 1964, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.  Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

Follow Jerome and the Back to Bataan characters on the Back to Bataan blog, Goodreads, Twitter (#BackToBataan), Facebook, or on Jerome's website.  Do you like blog tours and YA novels?  Follow Tribute Books on Twitter and Facebook!  Find more amazing novels similar to Back to Bataan on Tribute's website.  Happy Blog Tour Day!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Review Day: Sykosa

Welcome to the Sykosa Blog Tour!  I have a review of Sykosa below plus details about the author and the novel.  Enjoy!

Title: Sykosa
Author: Justin Ordoñez
My rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Description:
Sykosa (that's "sy"-as-in-"my" ko-sa) is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence shatters her life and the life of her friends. This process is complicated by her best friend, Niko, a hyper-ambitious, type-A personality who has started to war with other girls for social supremacy of their school, a prestigious preparatory academy in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. To compensate, Sykosa has decided to fall in love with her new boyfriend, Tom, who was involved in the act of violence. Propelled by survivor guilt, an anxiety disorder, and her hunger for Tom and his charms, Sykosa attends a weekend-long, unchaperoned party at Niko's posh vacation cottage, where she will finally confront Niko on their friendship, her indecision about her friends and their involvement in the act of violence, and she will make the biggest decision of her life — whether or not she wants to lose her virginity to Tom. (end)

My Review:
Sykosa is a novel about a teenager named Sykosa, her best friend Niko, her lust/love interest Tom and their journey through a chaotic life in the Academy.  This coming-of-age story is not for the faint of heart, or anyone under the age of sixteen (sexual content).  It will pierce your heart and make you remember the down sides of high school, but also the adventurous fun sides as well.  The novel read like another popular novel, Prep by Curis Sittenfield, because it told the tale of young students growing up and discovering love, friendship, sex, and much more at a young age.

The hardest, and arguably the best, part about this Sykosa was trying to truly relate with what Sykosa and Tom went through.  Justin told the tale of the teens as if it were a true story/non-fiction instead of a fiction story.  It was an incredible read and I really enjoyed getting to know the characters, watching them grow, and seeing how they truly aged.

I'm giving Sykosa 3.5 stars because it was a great read.  For being a young-adult/adult fiction novel, the content was definitely mature.  I enjoyed the characters, the story, the tone, and the moral(s) throughout the novel - the story came to life like very few novels of this genre do.

About the author:
Justin Ordoñez was born in Spain, raised in the mid-west, and currently lives in Seattle. He's nearly thirty years old, almost graduated from the University of Washington, and prefers to wait until TV shows come out on DVD so he can watch them in one-shot while playing iPad games. For fifteen years, he has written as a freelance writer, occasionally doing pieces as interesting as an editorial, but frequently helping to craft professional documents or assisting in the writing of recommendation letters for people who have great praise for friends or colleagues and struggle to phrase it. Sykosa is his debut novel.

Sykosa can be purchased in paperback or ebook format on Amazon or Barnes&Noble. Follow the rest of the Sykosa blog tour here!  Keep up with Justin on Twitter, his website, Goodreads, Facebook, or on his blog. Happy Blog Tour Day!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fire breath is a must!

So I've been toying with the idea for quite some time (cough a month cough) about actually creating a, uh, mascot for Novel d'Tales.  I considered several options...

an old book (way too obvious even if this is the most amazing old book picture ever)

 
a Dragon (less obvious, but I already named my Kindle Dragon/DragonToo)

a shadow girl reading a book (cute, girly, no.)

After agonizing over this for way too long...This conversation occurred between me and Zach.
Me - "ugh!! (forehead hits desk) I have NO idea what kind of image to use."
Zach -"Why not a bee? You know, like your name?"
You could have heard a pin drop at this point.  Even the fans in our PC towers went silent.
Me - ".....O.o why didn't you suggest that sooner?"
Zach - "I thought it was too obvious. (chuckling at my pathetic face)"
Me - "(squealing) That is PERFECT!  Now...how do I turn myself into a bee?"

A few hours later....
The HilyBee was born!!
 The HilyBee is a bee that breaths fire, like a dragon.  He doesn't have a stinger so it can live forever and be a nice little honey bee.  The bee loves to read and will always be your friend, unless you try to squish him.

So my friends, what do you think?  I have a feeling the *HilyBee* will be showing up more often. ;) Happy HilyBee Day!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

ANSA #31

Welcome everyone to the thirty-first Authors Not-So-Anonymous weekly meeting!! This weekly series is about authors from Twitter and Facebook!  This week, I would like to introduce Joseph Sultana into Authors Not-So-Anonymous!

Joseph Sultana is safety assurance manager and author.  His novel is targeted towards the *already corrupt* minds, know as adults.  "I’ve been writing off and on since I was young. I am not prolific nor have I had the itch to become an author.  Having said that, I started Unsceptred Isle after losing a bet and all over a dissertation.  I suddenly realized I had been infected by this bug and now cannot stop thinking of writing."   

He encourages everyone to bring out their inner writer and write down the novel that is truly inside them.  "I want to add that if I can do it then really anyone can, so go write."

The drive to write is what inspires Joseph the most.  "Not too sure I have a who or what to be honest, it’s more like I have a drive, sort of a need to tell a story and entertain people."  His love for the written word started when his English teacher gave him a copy of I, Robot (the novel, not the movie).  "I loved it, I didn’t realise I could be taken to new worlds through simple words joined together on a page."

Joseph is from London - "It could be that I am from Mars if a certain book is to be believed, or a stork brought me home one day, if my mum is to be believed, or I was adopted if my brothers are to be believed.  But the boring reality is I am from London, but have a Maltese dad and Scottish mum."  He loves pasta, has two kids and married.

His latest novel is Unsceptred Isle: Three of a Kind.  Click the title to keep up to date with the novel on his site.  Joseph's work can be found on Amazon and Percy Publishing.

Follow Joseph on his website or Twitter for an instant new friend!  Have an author to nominate?  Send me a message via Twitter (#ANSA), Facebook, or leave a comment with the author(s) name and contact information.  I'd love to add new members!  Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review Day: Life Lessons from the Heart

It's Review Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today's novel is for all those days when you wish something would have gone differently, but you didn't know how to change it.

Title: Life Lessons from the Heart
Author: Teresa Morrow
Rating: 4 stars

Does life at times seem to be filled with disappointment, hardship and overwhelm?
Life is a precious gift you have been given and there are lessons in all experiences that life gives to you.
In, Life Lessons from the Heart, the author shares her experiences of hard times and how she was able to work through them. She tells how she became appreciative of even the toughest of times such as the death of her mom, a divorce with the father of her child, getting disowned by her father for dating a man of a different race, and her husband’s heart attack.
The author reveals how she finds life’s beauty even when life throws in scary, sad or unfortunate events. She shares how she discovered that life is rich in community and saturated in love. She offers ways where you can go on to live a richer, happier and more fulfilled life that breeds from your true authentic self.
This book shares stories and insight on how to:
~realize the importance of celebrating who you are (just as you are now)
~release the grip of having to be right and in control
~end the feeling of self doubt
~embrace and find time to do the things you love to do
~and much more…
If you are someone who feels stuck in your life and wish to turn it around reading “Life Lessons from the Heart” will give you inspiration and motivation to live a life coming from a place of forgiveness, surrender, patience, self love and self care.


Life Lessons from the Heart has twelve chapters, each one comprised of a different lesson.  Each chapter includes a *life lesson*, a morale, and a story from Teresa's life.  Smashwords has labeled this novel as "inspiration" and "general self-help" - well I'm here to tell you it is definitely inspirational and has some very helpful lessons.  This novel can be read at any age and still be helpful.  The lessons include - remember to love yourself, give up control when you can't control something, go outside the 'box', shed the past to move on, and so much more.  These are lessons that people of every age group are constantly battling, and always need help with.

Teresa Morrow did a wonderful job of teaching you a lesson without it feeling too much like a "self-help" book.  She gives you stories to back up each lesson and shows how even the smallest of changes can have the biggest impact.  Her writing style and overall theme to this novel were well thought out and developed.  Teresa's stories are charming and real.  She shares real-life situations with her readers, showing that everyone goes through ups and downs in their lives.  Teresa makes the reader feel comfortable and safe, all the while making their brains work - "I wonder how I can use this in my life..." and "hm...she's got a point!" were several thoughts I had.  She addresses twelve very key aspects in life that are the most troubling and un-ties them with ease.

I recommend this novel to everyone.  It will make you think about life situations in a completely new way without feeling as if you read a "self-help" book.  Life Lessons from the Heart can be purchased from Smashwords for Kindle, Nook, Sony, Kobo, and any other eReaders.  Want more lessons from Teresa?  Read Three Lessons to a Happier Life for free!  Happy Life Lessons day!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sign of the Times: Meet Holly!

Holly from Sign of the Times is here with me today.  She has graciously answered all of my prodding questions and more.  She is such a sweet character, I think you will all just love her!  She loves to travel, write and eat.  Keep reading to get to know Holly more.  She is the main character in Sign of the Times, a novel by Susan Buchanan.

Me: What about traveling do you enjoy the most?
Holly: I love meeting new people and learning about different cultures and cuisines.  I love food, so understanding how other nationalities use ingredients is very interesting to me.  I also just love to explore and am very interested in history and architecture.

Me: If you could go to just one place, and stay there for the rest of your life, where would it be?
Holly: That's a very difficult question as I love to travel, but if I couldn't move again, it would probably be Italy and not only because  I love the language.  The people are lovely, warm and inviting.  The men are sexy...and a certain someone who shall remain nameless, but who owns a vineyard lives there!  The food in Italy is second to none.  I would actually like to live in Tuscany someday, or at least somewhere in the Italian countryside.

Me:  What is your favorite food - I bet you've tried so many different ones while traveling!
Holly: Would it surprise you if I said all things Italian?  I love pasta!  I love the fact that Italians have 'primi' or 'first courses' which are always pasta.  I particularly like linguini with prawns, broccoli, peppers and pesto. Yum!

Me: If I gave you an unlimited shopping budget, what would you buy first?
Holly: An airline ticket somewhere I've never been, like Malaysia, New Zealand or Australia.  Followed by books and lots of them!
 
Me:  What or who inspired you to become a writer?
Holly: Well I think the natural combination of loving to read and travelling made my job a bit of a no-brainer. I was approached to write a travel article one day and I did it, not really thinking about it, but then I was told it was very good.  Then I did another and eventually all roads led to Rome as they say, and I ended up writing full-length travel books.  I love it and can't imagine ever doing anything else.

Me:  Lets chat about you and your sister - you two are very different. She's a serial man-eater whereas you settled down much easier...what do you think caused the big difference?
Holly: Ah, well, Lucy is just Lucy.  Gemini has two sides as you may know.  Lucy is a great sister and would do anything for me and our family and never judges me.  But she is a nightmare where men are concerned. She bores easily.  She falls in love easily (or in lust at least!) and then tires of them just as easily.  But it was different with...you know.
My sister is very competitive.  She has always wanted to be the best and she IS the best at what she does, career-wise.  She is simply striving for that same level of perfection in her private life.  She needs life to be exciting.  She's certainly had more than her fair share of that recently...

Me:  So, are you and your sister friends or just siblings?
Holly: No, we are very much friends, as well as sisters.  Of course, we also have our own friends, but there's not that big an age gap between us and although our morals are decidedly different, we get on very well.  She is the first person I call when I am in trouble and likewise when I have something good to share.  Maybe that's telling in itself. Maybe my sister shouldn't have been the one I turned to each time.

Me:  Okay, just one more.  And this might be a *bit* tough.  If you had to pick just one person and five items to take with you on a trip, where would you go, what and who would you take?
Holly: One person, eh? Well, you didn't say male or female, so I am going to say Bill Bryson.  I like to think I have taken inspiration for my own travel books from Bill and that I inject humour into them, albeit my own personal style, just as Bill does.  Reading Bill's Down Under made me want to go to Australia, as I had read his other books and been to most of those places, but Australia has eluded me so far.  We would probably go to Australia and travel around in a campervan.
 
I would take...
Maps & GPS- I have no intention of getting lost in the Australian outback and it's a huge country!
 
Cameras & tripod - don't go anywhere without them - you never know when you might come across a seriously amazing shot.
 
Books - as many as I could carry and my Kindle (which is also a book isn't it, so that's still only one item!)
 
Protective clothing - of every shape, size and material - here in Scotland we moan about the midges, but in Australia, they have a lot of spiders, frogs, snakes and other nasties that pack a serious punch. I'd want as much protection as possible
 
Food to put in the campervan (I love food - I am having food as a collective item, but it would include pasta and some sauces, ciabatta bread, salami & prosciutto crudo/cotto, cambazola cheese, dolcelatte and pecorino for over the pasta, some buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes.  OK, sorry, have I gone on about food too much? Food also includes wine, right?  Lots of that, especially Cannonau from Sardinia and Barbera d'Asti and for white, I suppose a good pinot grigio.  I realise this isn't terribly practical, but I would be a long way from Italy and would miss good food.  Ahem, not that Aussie food isn't good I hasten to add.
 
Holly: Thanks for having me on your blog, Hilary - I've really enjoyed it!
Me:Thank you Holly for joining me today!  It was so much fun learning more about you and your love of food, writing and traveling!

Read more about Sign of the Times here ( I gave this novel 5 stars!).  Now, I'm going to go eat some Italian food and have a travel channel marathon.  Who's with me!?  Happy Character Day!