Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!




Happy Thanksgiving!!

I hope that each of you has had a very blessed day. Today, and always, I am thankful for:

My family. They may drive me crazy at times, and vice versa, but I love them with all my heart.

My friends. So many of you are family to me and I am beyond lucky to have each of you in my life. You help me soar but also know when to pull me back down to ground.

My Tyson. Yeah, he has cranky face on most of the time, but he shows love in his own way on a daily basis.

My job. It may not be glamorous, but it is all mine and I am thankful to have it and to enjoy what I do.

Those that provide entertainment, inspiration, and creativity in my life through their own efforts.

The brave men and women that dedicate their lives to ensuring that we continue to be free and safe. Their sacrifice is the ultimate and they deserve all the respect and blessings in the world.

I hope you count your blessings today and make sure to tell those that make your life better how happy you are to have them.

Traditions and a Giveaway!

One of my favorite new authors this year, Misa Rush, has an absolutely wonderful book out called "Family Pieces". (Reviewed here.) This book centers around a pretty cool family tradition in the form of a puzzle piece charm that is worn on a necklace. Each piece interlocks, completing the family circle.

Misa and I exchanged a quick volley of tweets and decided to host a giveaway based on you telling us what is your favorite family tradition? That's it! Leave a comment between now and Friday, December 1st, for a chance to win Misa's debut novel, "Family Pieces" in either print or e-copy version.



A little bit about "Family Pieces":
What do you do when your once charmed life falls to pieces? Karsen Woods' life seems charmed from her hunkalicious boyfriend to her picture-perfect midwestern roots. Away at college, even the necklace she wears serves as a constant connection home - a family tradition created when her grandfather handmade each immediate relative an interlinking charm. Each piece crafted in the shape of a puzzle piece, each one interlinking perfectly together. But when the unexpected death of her mother turns her world upside down, she discovers there is a missing piece of her treasured family tradition and her life as she once knew it may never be the same. Addison Reynolds resides in her posh Manhattan condominium and wraps her personal identity around running Urbane, the magazine empire built by her father. In a moment of haste, Addison divulges her deepest secret to her closest friend Emily - a secret she never intended to disclose. Could one choice, one secret, bond two unlikely women forever?


This is one of my favorite books this year and I can't wait to share the love with one of you.

So, share your favorite family tradition and tell your family and friends to come on over and share traditions as well! Good luck!!

(By the way, be sure to leave me a way to contact you in case you win. :) )

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's that time!

The Chick Lit Plus Challenge 2012 is up and ready for you to sign up!

I joined this for 2011 and I have loved it! I have met some absolutely lovely people through the challenge. And, of course, I am on board for 2012's challenge!

(In fact, a new blog will be debuting for the new year that will be housing all my reviews for books as I try to get back into some life blogging on this one.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book Review: Chosen by Denise Grover Swank



Everything Emma Thompson owns fits in a suitcase she moves from one roach infested motel to another. She and Jake, her five year old son who can see the future, are running from the men intent on taking him. Emma will do anything to protect him even when it means accepting the help of a stranger named Will. Jake insists she needs Will, but Emma’s never needed help before. And even though she’s learned to trust her son, it doesn’t mean she trusts Will.

Mercenary Will Davenport lives in the moment. Hauling Emma to South Dakota should have been an easy job, but his employer neglected to tell him about Emma’s freaky son and the gunmen hot on her trail. Instinct tells him this job is trouble, but nothing can prepare him for Jake’s proclamation that Will is The Chosen One, who must protect Emma from the men hunting her power. A power she doesn’t know she has.

Will protects Emma and Jake on a cross-country chase from the men pursuing them, while struggling with memories from his past, his apprehension of Jake, and his growing attraction to Emma. Will’s overwhelming urge to protect Emma surprises him, especially since it has nothing to do with his paycheck and possibly everything to do with the tattoo Jake branded on his arm. Rich and powerful men are desperate to capture Emma, and Will must discover why before it’s too late.


This is another book where I am struggling to come up with a review for. Not because the book was bad. It is the complete opposite. I couldn’t stop reading once I started, finding myself staying up later than intended because I needed to read “just one more page”. When I read Denise Grover Swank’s first book, “Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes”, I noticed that she had books in other genres as well and was thrilled when Samantha with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours asked me if I was interested in reviewing two more books for Denise. The first one up was “Chosen”.

To sum the book up in one word – Intense. I was immediately drawn into the plight of Emma and her adorable and yet troubled son, Jake. Wise beyond his years, it was often Jake that seemed to be the one steering the wheel for them. Both are strong in their own ways, Emma wanting to protect her son at all cost and Jake, in return, wanting to protect his mother. Enter Will Davenport, clearly with an agenda in “assisting” Emma and Jake, but also just as clearly conflicted. It was the character of Will that I was most fascinated with and wanted to learn more about. Will falling in love with Emma, and vice versa, happened a little too fast for me. I wasn’t sure if I could believe they were in love or if it was the trauma of the situation they were in and turning to each other for comfort. But as the explanation about Jake and his “gift” was unveiled, it made sense.

While there is a love story of sorts that unfolds, this is not a romance book. It is a roller coaster ride, up and downs and your imagination is a requirement. Denise knows how to write a character that doesn’t have to say much to draw you into the story with vivid descriptions bringing the scenario to life. My second book from Denise and I give it a thumbs up!!

If you would like to learn more about Denise and her books, please visit her at any of the following:

Denise's website
Blog
Goodreads Author Page
Facebook
Twitter

If you leave a comment on Denise's Blog Tour Page, you will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Inspiration in Imagination: A guest post by author, Denise Grover Swank



When I learned to read, an entire world opened to me. I didn’t just read books. I devoured them. In my first grade class, each student got a caterpillar with little bubbles we could color for each book we read. My teacher had to keep getting me more sheets. My caterpillar stretched to the side and around the corner. By the end of the year, I’d read 187 books.

As I got older, I always had a book in my hand and it wasn’t uncommon for my mother to find me hiding under covers reading with a flashlight instead of sleeping. (Some things never change. I’m still known for not going to sleep at appropriate times.)

By the time I was a teen, I’d blown through Judy Blume, Madeline L’Engle, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. (Which produced a semi-obsession with all things pioneer related and inspired me to create sunbonnets out of baby dresses. See? I had a wild imagination even back then.) I moved onto adult books. Barbara Cartland, Stephen King, LaVerle Spencer, J.R. Tolkien, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Robin Cook, T.H. White Do you notice a trend here? Yeah. Me neither. There is none. I literally read everything I could get my hands on. During the summer, it was common for me read a book a day. The library became my best friend.

When I started a family, my reading time decreased, although I would often cook and bathe kids with one hand and have a book in another. But my genre hopping still continued, now moving onto to Patricia Cornwell, Janet Evanovich, Michael Crighton, Mary Janice Davidson, Stephenie Meyer. (So I actually own up to that one. Sue me.)

Lately, I’ve gone through a paranormal romance and young adult craze. And let’s not forget the Game of Thrones marathon reads. But my current favorite author is Sarah Addison Allen, who writes adult magical realism. She was actually a partial inspiration for my humorous southern mystery, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes. Her books are sweet and southern with a dash of paranormal thrown in.

Here’s the fact: I like change. I thrive on it. If I spend too much time reading one genre, it becomes stale. And if I was chained to a single genre to write, I’d probably gnaw my limb off to get away. Because even though writing is the most fun career I’ve ever had, it’s also the hardest. If I start writing stories that don’t excite me, then I might as well hang it all up. The only way I know to keep it fresh is to keep moving around.

Besides, I never know when and where inspiration for story ideas will strike next. It just might be in my next great read.
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You can find out more about this talented lady at the following:
Denise's website
Blog
Goodreads Author Page
Facebook
Twitter

If you leave a comment on Denise's blog tour page, you are entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

When Books Become Movies: A guest psot from author Kathleen Kole

When Books Become Movies

When writing my books, there’s no question I have a mental image of my characters in my head. It’s pretty much impossible to write without that mental image, as it allows me to give meaning and depth to their movements, expressions and conversation.

That being said, I think it becomes great fun to take things one step further and ask the question, “Whom would I cast in each character’s role, should this book ever see the light of film?” Thankfully, I was given the opportunity to share my vision with you, as Michelle was kind enough to offer me the chance by asking me to write my guest post about this very thing!

Here is a list of actors I could see stepping into my character’s shoes and bringing them to life on screen. Let’s see if you happened to visualize the same people, or at least individuals who are a very close match. Here we go!

April:
When I first began writing April, I hadn’t assigned any one known female to represent her in my thoughts. However, upon reflection, I’d say Drew Barrymore would absolutely fit the bill to bring April to life. Drew has that girl-next-door quality I imagined in April, is about the same build and has shown herself to be able to adapt to many different roles and make you believe in whomever she is in that moment.




Kevin:

Kevin is definitely a man who would be called handsome, as opposed to pretty. He’s a great looking guy, but would make an ugly woman. He’s strong and solid and carries himself with confidence; thus I believe the actor, Nathan Fillion, would be a perfect match to portray him on screen.



Gerritt:
This character was an easy one for me. Gerritt is charming, lean, unconventionally good looking, worldly - who better than Isaiah Mustafa to bring him to life?




Jessica:

April’s sister took me a while to match to a current actress in her mid-thirties. It was actually my husband who was able to give a face to her character and I think he did a great job. The talents of Christina Hendricks seemed the ideal match to Jessica. She matches Jessica’s curvy build and comes across as a strong and intelligent woman - just like Jess.



Carol and Deborah:
Almost from the inception of this book, I had an image of both Carol and Deborah in my mind’s eye. The talented Edie McClurg would be the perfect person to breath life into Carol’s character and Parker Posey would possess and bring fantastic animation to the role of Deborah.





Denise and Heidi:
I believe Margaret Cho would be brilliant in the role of Denise. As her sidekick, Heidi, I’d happily cast Melissa McCarthy - both of these actresses are funny and charismatic, exactly what I believe these characters would need when on screen.





Ed and Bob:
And, finally, the husband’s of Carol and Deborah. I think it would be fun to see Carol’s husband, Ed, embodied by none other than Jeffrey Jones. (Yes, for all you “Ferris” fans, it would be a fun hat tip and that’s an added bonus in my world!) As for Bob, I believe Kevin James would be spot on to bring to life Deborah’s patient and slightly downtrodden husband.





Well, I think that wraps it up - or not! Don’t for a moment think I’ve forgotten the unique and smile worthy Thomas! I would love to see Thomas brought to the big screen by the talented and charming Craig Ferguson. Imagine Craig "aged up" by approximately ten years with unruly Einstein hair, a Van Dyke beard, eclectic clothing and charming Scottish brogue - what fun it would be to see that!



Okay, that really does wrap this post up. A huge thank you to Michelle for giving me this fun opportunity. If you already had character ideas of your own in your mind’s eye, wonderful. If not, then I hope these actors will breath an added dimension of vitality into the book as you read.

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Kathleen Kole was born in Edmonton AB and graduated from college with a Diploma in Radio and Television Arts. Her career path has included writing in the fields of advertising, television and newspaper - and most recently novel writing. Kathleen relocated from Edmonton to Kelowna BC and resides there with her beloved husband, adored son and their happy-go-lucky dog. Dollars to Donuts is Kathleen's second published novel and she is currently working on her third, to be published in December.

Visit Kathleen at her website and on twitter.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Follow me by email!

Woo-hoo!!
You can now follow my blog's updates by email via the handy dandy little gadget located on the upper right hand side.

Review: Dollars to Donuts by Kathleen Kole



Take one newspaper columnist; move her from the anonymity of her home city to a sleepy, small town; add a dollop of nosey, suspicious and just plain odd neighbors; a dash of mystery in the form of a stained garbage can and a rodent and, finally, a large pinch of unsettling attraction to a virtual stranger and you’ll find yourself with a recipe that imitates April Patterson’s life.

Sound strange? It is.

April Patterson had no idea that when she decided to follow the path of family and love, she would find herself an unwitting player in an eyebrow raising cul-de-sac mystery, grasping for her privacy as she plays “Dodge the Neighbor” and being forced to examine her relationship motives ... all before she had unpacked her last box!

Taking a deep breath, and a large bite into a comforting donut, April consoles herself with the knowledge that it will all work out. It always does ... doesn’t it?


Oh Kathleeen Kole, you have done it again...you have given me another fun filled read, an adorably charming chick-lit novel. I love the character of April Patterson. I think of all the books I have reviewed this year, this is the one that I identified with the most. Accused by her sister, Jessica, of letting her life live her instead of the other way around, April evidently has a history of bouncing from one situation to the next. I can relate, most definitely.

The big problem starts when her live-in boyfriend, Kevin, brings home a house guest: His extremely attractive friend, Gerritt, who needs somewhere to stay after a freak accident destroys part of his house. You can't always control what your heart wants, especially when your head is already feeling restless. This is where all the insanity starts to ensue - crazy stalkers and even crazier neighbors. Seeing as how I think my neighbors are insane (hippies on one side, pigeon raising paranoid kooks on the other) I was amused to read all the gossip of the neighborhood. (I wonder what MY neighbors would do if dead squirrels started to show up on their doorsteps? Ha!)

I love Kathleen's writing style. She brings to life fun characters with a lot of spunk to them. I even gifted this book to my mom, who loved it as well! Give it a whirl, you are going to thank me for recommending this lovely author to you.



Kathleen Kole was born in Edmonton AB and graduated from college with a Diploma in Radio and Television Arts. Her career path has included writing in the fields of advertising, television and newspaper - and most recently novel writing. Kathleen relocated from Edmonton to Kelowna BC and resides there with her beloved husband, adored son and their happy-go-lucky dog. Dollars to Donuts is Kathleen's second published novel and she is currently working on her third, to be published in December.

Visit Kathleen at her website and on twitter.

If you go over to Kathleen's tour page at Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours and leave a comment you will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Review: "Our Eyes Met Over Cantaloupe" by Anne McAneny



A wedding order at The Secret Lives of Cupcakes Shop is always reason for Millie Morris to celebrate – except when the groom is her ex-boyfriend and the bride is the woman he dumped her for. Still, it’s business for her mom’s shop. Millie even makes a good-faith effort to shoo the groom away when he confides his doubts about the marriage. But when Millie's job as a crime reporter finds her covering a big court case, she must choke down her unresolved feelings like a burnt cupcake slathered in bitter frosting… because the bride is the lead lawyer on the case. Unexpectedly intertwined on multiple levels with both her ex and his fiancĂ©e, Millie must choose to either remain in her half-baked state of existence or finally rise above it.


I am a big fan of chick lit books, obviously. I particularly love when they are laugh out loud funny and this book was just that. Millie Morris finds herself in one predicament after another and has to rely on her quick wits to help her rise above the claws of her ex's new fiancee, Laura. The ex is also proving to be quite a problem as Sam has decided to unload all his doubts about his upcoming nuptials on Millie. Anne McAneny has created a cast of zany characters that will make you smile.

The side stories are entertaining, particularly co-worker at the cupcake shop, Josh, and his quest to find his "mystery angel". I had a few moments of getting uptight when Sam kept coming around and Millie was starting to question her feelings. Luckily there is a hunky truck driver and a mystery man from the grocery store to spice this story up.

I have to warn that you will end up craving cupcakes, by the way. Each chapter is named for an actual cupcake and I had to stifle the urge to run to Sprinkles a couple of times.

This is a fun read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And Anne, I have a big bone to pick with you - I have had "Jesse" by Carly Simon on my mind since I read this!



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Anne McAneny lives in Virginia with her husband, children, two ferrets and a cat who currently answers to Mythical Flarb or Food. In addition to three e-books, Anne has written several screenplays that float through Hollywood on a regular basis. Her latest chick-lit novel, OUR EYES MET OVER CANTALOUPE, features Stuffed Cupcakes and Belgian beer... she really should have called it "Personal Nirvana." Her previous chick-lit novel, CHUNNELING THROUGH FORTY, sold well enough to gain the interest of literary agent April Eberhardt, who now represents her. Not limited to one genre, Anne has also written FORETELLER, a mystery-thriller that takes readers on a heart-pounding journey into the past with a doomed archaeologist who must fight to ensure her own future. Anne loves to hear from readers and wishes everyone HAPPY READING!


Anne's blog
Facebook
Kindle Author Page
Twitter
Nook page

For something fun, if you visit Anne's page on Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours and leave a comment you will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card AND a dozen stuffed cupcakes from Stuffed Cupcakes. (Just a warning, don't be hungry when you check out that site or you are going to be drooling on your keyboard.)
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