Posted in e-books, fiction, women on August 22, 2012

I love when authors contact me to read their book…..I never know who is going to find me and what interesting reads are in store.  This request came from author Misa Rush who has written her first novel called Family Pieces.

About Misa:

When the inspiration first struck to begin writing a novel, Misa had no idea where she’d find the time. Most of FAMILY PIECES was written between 1:00-2:00 A.M. Add two pregnancies, a three-year-old, a husband, a household, then throw in an economic downturn for her insurance agency just to complicate the task a wee bit more…and it’s sheer determination that completed the task.

Determination has never been lacking in her persona. Growing up, she competed in gymnastics for 18 years including four on a full-ride scholarship to Eastern Michigan University. She’s also ran two and a half marathons, the half of which holds a story all its own.

Misa graduated from Arizona State University with a Masters of Business Administration. She currently resides in Arizona with her husband and two children.

Interview with Misa:

Do you feel connected/can you relate to any of your characters in the story?

Although the storyline is completely fiction, there are personality characteristics from me in both Karsen and Addison. However, I feel most connected to Adelaide. Many of her sayings and actions were what my daughter was doing as a two-year old including trying to put Mommy in time-out.

If your book were made into a movie, what do you think the theme song would be?

I think “The Script” by Breakeven, even though the meaning of the song is not along the lines of the story. The chorus ‘I’m falling to pieces’ always brings me back to the book. I could see Karsen singing it in her head.

Are you working on another book?

Yes, I’m not quite done with my second book. It was easier when I only had one child, but I’m trying to carve out more time now to finish.

What authors inspire you?

I love books by Emily Giffin, Sophie Kinsella, Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult. I’m always inspired by indie authors though. They have to work so hard to write, edit, and market their books and the tenacity it takes to withstand the naysayers is truly inspirational. Authors to look into include Samantha March, Kathleen Kole, Melissa Foster and Dina Silver. There are many more I could mention, but I don’t want to take up too much space!

What books do you have on your nightstand?  (What are you currently reading)

I just finished Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult (Unfortunately, it wasn’t my favorite of hers.) I just started Kat Fight by Dina Silver. The Kindle is on the nightstand more than books, though.  LOL.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

The first advice I always give is simply just to write. I’ve ran into so many people who say they want to write a book, but then they have five hundred more excuses why they can’t. It doesn’t matter how bad the rough draft is. No one but you/the writer has to read it. Get the story down, then edit, edit, edit.

Synopsis:

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?

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this novel, there was a wide range of emotions that were brought out in the story, from sadness to happiness, from selfishness to selflessness.  The characters were multidimensional and how their lives intertwined helped each character grow in who they were as a person.

Some of the storyline was predictable (and I’m not going to tell you what, you’ll have to read it for yourself and figure that out!) but it did not detract from the story and while you can figure out part of the storyline what results is definitely NOT predictable!

All in all Gracie & April give the story 4 paws up and suggest you head over to Amazon and buy the Kindle format for yourself.  At $0.99 it is a bargain for sure!

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Posted in fiction, suspense, Washington DC on August 21, 2012

This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for a few years, it always seems like there was something else getting in the way of me picking up this book.  So I finally did last night and am only a few chapter into it but it feels like home.  I am already intrigued and can’t wait to see how the story unfolds.

Synopsis (from the dust jacket):

What is lost will be found….

In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world’s most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling – a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths…all under the watchful eye of Brown’s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.

As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object – artfully encoded with five symbols – is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation…one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon – a prominent Mason and philanthropist – is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations – all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

As the world discovered in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown’s novels are brilliant tapestries of veiled histories, arcane symbols, and enigmatic codes. In this new novel, he again challenges readers with an intelligent, lightning-paced story that offers surprises at every turn. The Lost Symbol is exactly what Brown’s fans have been waiting for…his most thrilling novel yet.

Teaser:

from page 179

Tonight was  night of firsts for Katherine Solomon.

In two years, she had never used her cell phone inside the void.  nor had she ever crossed the void at a dead run.  At the moment, however, Katherine had a cell phone pressed to her ear while she was dashing blindly along the endless length of carpet.

I’m not to this part yet and this has me curious as to what is going to lead up to this point!

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Posted in Cozy, mystery, Texas on August 20, 2012

This is the latest in Victoria Laurie’s Psychic Eye series and it does not disappoint!

Synopsis:

Vision Impossible is back with her newest Psychic Eye mystery, in which psychic Abigail Cooper must rely on her inner vision to search for a missing woman…

When a mysterious client approaches Abby with a cryptic message about a young mother who has vanished, Abby is more than willing to get involved.  After all, it’s the perfect distraction from dealing with the headache of her sister Cat – who has flown into town and turned Abby and Dutch’s impending nuptials into Weddingpalooza.After Abby recruits her business partner and BFF, Candice, to assist, they meet with the parents of the missing woman.  But the parents refuse to put their faith in a psychic. What’s worse, due to a grave misunderstanding, the family suspects Abby has a connection to their daughter’s husband – the man they believe to be responsible for her disappearance. So while the family may be blind to the truth, with a potential killer in her sights, Abby is determined to keep her eyes wide open.

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Posted in e-books, Pets on August 17, 2012

Over the last week or so I have gotten several books for free on Amazon for Carolyn McCray’s books….I may have gotten them from another link that took me there, but whatever…I added more books to my Kindle (like I really needed to do that?!) and read two of hers over the weekend.  According to Goodreads she also writes under the name of Cristyn West

The first was a short story called Pet Whisperer…er..rrr about a good-for-nothing that sponges off of his family but his uncle sees something in him and asks him to fill in as a Pet Whisperer at a fair because the uncle is sick and cannot attend.  Here is the official synopsis: 

Wyatt and animals…don’t always see eye to eye. But that doesn’t mean he can’t make
a rip-snorting pet psychic, right? I mean, seriously. What could possibly go wrong? Other than an elephant with a wandering trunk and a ferret that likes to dance around inside his pants, that is.

Oh, and the serial-killer Chihuahua.  Okay, so maybe a lot could go wrong.

The book had me laughing at the antics of the animals and Wyatt’s reactions. 

The second was Pups in Tea Cups: Tales of “Littleness” overcoming BIG odds.   This was a collection of short stories about little dogs and the trouble that they can get in to or how they helped their new owners cope with a situation.  I enjoyed all the stories because I have two little dogs myself…not as little as the ones in this book AND they think they are big dogs, but still smaller dogs.

April and Gracie give both books 3 1/2 paws up

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Posted in Fantasy on August 16, 2012

Author Julie Korzenko contacted me about reading and reviewing her book, Dragon Dancer – The Awakening, which is the first in a trilogy.  I’m not 100% sure what category this book falls in to, but I think it is somewhere in the fantasy or paranormal genre.  I could be wrong, that is just my take!  The second book is The Heralding due out in December and the final book is The Reckoning due out next Spring sometime.

About Julie (from her website):

Born in England, raised in New England and subsequently settling in the South, my background has strongly influenced my eclectic taste in literature, art and life experiences.  A passionate advocate for nature and wildlife, I began college as a zoology major but ultimately graduated with a business degree in paralegal studies.  My career has run the gambit from law to network administration to marketing and back to law.

My fervent desire to “save the animals” feeds my writing as well as my ability to fall prey to half a dozen canines that rule my life.  My home in the North Georgia mountains provides an environment that infuses creative energy and a ten acre playground for my puppies. (And she told me she has quite a few dogs running around her place and they are a handful, but loveable!)

I write what I love. The environment. The paranormal. The law.

Synopsis:

Blood on the hand of evil, magic imprisoned by ignorance and success blinded by stubborness rule the lives of Ancient, Dragon and Dragon Dancer.  They have one chance to adhere to destiny before their lives are destroyed and futures darkened.  This has been written since 935 AD, but in present, it becomes an impossible mission.

Blood on the hand of evil, magic imprisoned by ignorance and success blinded by stubbornness rule the lives of Ancient, Dragon and Dragon Dancer. They have one chance to adhere to destiny before their lives are destroyed and futures darkened. This has been written since 935 AD, but in present day, it becomes an impossible mission.

MI-5 Agent, Trent Arnot has felt the call of his legacy. To fulfill his destiny, he must fight a nemesis that is wreaking havoc across the globe. Another murder, more grisly and gruesome than all the rest, has taken place. This time, however, Trent knows who the next victim will be. She is his past, his present and his future.

Thoughts:

I will be the first one to admit that I generally do not read books that fall in the fantasy or paranormal genre but I am always open to trying a book before forming an opinion about the whole genre.  As we know there are good and bad writers out there in all areas and you should never judge based on one bad experience!  That said, it did take me a few chapters to get into the book since the first chapter starts in the past and I was a little confused or lost…but some days it doesn’t take much for that to happen.  Once I understood the characters and the storyline the rest of the book flowed very nicely.  There was good interaction between all of the characters and I was in there rooting for the bad guy to be defeated.  There were also scenes that didn’t seem realistic…but I had to remember this was a fantasy book and after all Harry Potter isn’t realistic either! 

Overall I enjoyed the book and if you like fantasy/paranormal definitely check out Julie’s series I don’t think you will be disappointed!  Gracie & April give it 3 1/2 paws up.

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Posted in Blog tour, Interview on August 10, 2012

Yesterday I participated in a blog tour for author, Nicola Marsh.  She was kind enough to allow me to interview her for my blog.

Nicola always wanted to be a writer but she didn’t get her start there, instead it was in the health industry.  One day she decided to start writing and her previous career was nothing but a distant memory.  This was back in 2001 and since then she has written over 30 books and 11 more out in 2012.  WOW!  that is a LOT of writing.  (I’m doing good to get a few blog posts up each week!)  I was reading through Nicola’s website and there are so many fun facts about her there:  she wants to visit every continent, wants to learn to ballroom dance, is attracted to a sense of humor in a man (me too!  When hubby asks why I love him, I tell him it because he makes me laugh) and loves anything by Harlan Coben (me too!). 

So on to my questions:

SBR: How Long does it normally take you to write the first draft of your books?
NM: Writing almost daily hones speed and I’m lucky I write a fairly clean first draft.  For a category romance (45-55 thousand words it can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks.  My mainstream novels have taken about that time too, crazily enough, but usually require more extensive revisions.  Some books are easier to write than others and Not the Marrying Kind was one of them.  The story flowed out in three weeks.  Loved it!  Wish they were all like that!

SBR: What authors have inspired you in your writing over the years and why?
NM: Nora Roberts is a huge inspiration for her work rate, her dedication and her sheer tirelessness.  She treats writing as the business it is and I admire that.  It’s how I see my writing, as a job.  A dream job but hard work all the same.

SBR: What books do you have on your bedside table?
NM: Barbara O’Neal’s The Garden of Happy Endings (have been saving this one for ages, for when I’m on holiday soon) and Su Dharmapala’s The Wedding Season.

SBR: What do you do in your free time?
NM: With two young boys and juggling deadlines, what free time?!  When I do grab a minute, I read.  Could read all day and night!  (I hear you Nicola!)

SBR: What do you think of e-books?  Good, bad or otherwise.
NM: E-books are innovative, easy to buy, reasonably priced and addictive!  (She doesn’t have to tell me this…I can’t tell you the number of e-books I have on my Sony and Kindle….gotta be over 700!)

SBR:  What would be the theme song for Not the Marrying Kind of made into a movie?
NM: Would have to be Going to Vegas by Jimmy Ray.  It would be the perfect movie song.  You can check it out here

 

USA TODAY bestselling author Nicola Marsh writes flirty fiction with flair.

She’s had 32 books published with Harlequin Romance and Presents series, a fun, flirty contemporary mainstream romance BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD with Entangled Publishing (nominated for Romantic Book of the Year 2012) and sold over 3 million copies worldwide.

Her first category romance for Entangled Publishing’s Indulgence series, NOT THE MARRYING KIND, releases July 2012, with another category contemporary romance FALLING FOR FLYNN releasing with Crimson Romance October 2012.

Her urban fantasy young adult novel SCION OF THE SUN releases November 2013 with Month9Books.

She’s also a Waldenbooks and Bookscan bestseller, has finaled in a number of awards, including the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, HOLT, Booksellers’ Best, Golden Quill, Laurel Wreath,

More than Magic and has won several CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Awards.

A physiotherapist for thirteen years, she now adores writing full time, raising her two little heroes, sharing fine food with family and friends, and her favorite, curling up with a good book!

She loves interacting with readers so you can find her in one of these many places!

Website,  Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

NOT THE MARRYING KIND BLURB:

Who said marriage had to be convenient?

LA party planner Poppy Collins has kept her side business—planning divorce parties as the Divorce Diva—under wraps, but keeping her sister’s company afloat is proving tougher by the day. When a new divorce party prospect gives Poppy the opportunity to save the day and boost her bottom line, she can’t pass it up. But this time, she’s about to get way more than she bargained for…

Vegas golden boy Beck Blackwood knows Poppy’s secret, and he’s not afraid to use it to get exactly what he wants—a wife. With his reputation and corporate expansion plans on the line, the only way he can repair the damage is by getting hitched, and fast. And if blackmail is the only way to get Poppy to the altar, then so be it…

But they’re in the city of high stakes, and Poppy has a few aces up her sleeve. Now it’s time to find out if they’re playing to win…or if they’re playing for keeps.

Link to excerpt

Buy the book from Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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Posted in Blog tour, Las Vegas, romance on August 9, 2012

If you are looking for a lighter quick read, then you might want to look into Not the Marrying Kind by Nicola Marsh!

Synopsis:

Diva Las Vegas!
When investors tarnish the King of Construction’s reputation he’s forced to prove his respectability… by finding a wife!

Beck Blackwood, desert bad-boy made good, will do whatever it takes to expand his construction company nationwide. Including blackmail a woman guaranteed to drive him crazy, into marriage.

LA party planner Poppy Collins is a woman on a mission: save her sister’s sanity. Determined to keep business afloat, Poppy pitches for the divorce party of the century to Vegas hotshot Beck Blackwood, not expecting a proposal of a different kind.

Beck leaves Poppy no option. Marry him or her Divorce Diva Daily secret is out and her sister’s business implodes. He holds a winning hand. However, Beck hasn’t played the game with a defiant woman who has a few tricks of her own!

In the city of high stakes and high flyers, can the Divorce Diva and the construction king take a gamble on love and beat the odds?

My thoughts:

Every now and then I want to read a book that is a quick but fun read….well Not the Marrying Kind DEFINITELY fit this bill!   The story line was fun, and even somewhat interesting.  I’m all for a party but had never thought about a divorce party…not that I plan to get divorced but is something to keep in the back of my mind for friends!  Anyway, I sent the PDF the publisher sent me for the blog tour to my work computer….and I will admit that I read it while at work..shhhh, don’t tell my boss!  I couldn’t help it though, the story hooked me from the beginning and I wanted to see what would happen next with Poppy and Beck.  Isn’t always the confirmed bachelor that has love sneak up and hit him square between the eyes?  And Poppy was willing to go along with Beck’s crazy scheme in the beginning to help her sister.  I think even that is more than what most family members will do for one another.  There is some witty dialogue between the two and some well meaning friends that throw some kinks into the scheme, but that just adds to the intrigue if everything is going to go as planned….but does it ever?!

All in all, Gracie & April give this 5 paws up and suggested that I look for other books by Nicola to read.  What can I say, they have great taste!

Coming tomorrow:  An interview with the author, Nicola Marsh…so stay tuned!

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Posted in Cozy on August 6, 2012

Today’s mystery takes us into the world of gardening.  I’ll admit, I’m not a big gardener especially since it gets so hot here in Texas!  But I love looking at gardens and admiring the beauty that someone else creates.  So I was interested to see what author, Alyse Carlson would come up with in her new Garden Society mystery series.  The book is The Azalea Assault.

Synopsis:

Roanoke, Virginia, is home to some of the country’s most exquisite gardens, and it’s Camellia Harris’ job to promote them. But when an out of towner turns up dead, she discovers there’s no good way to spin murder…

Camellia Harris has achieved a coup in the PR world. The premier national magazine for garden lovers has agreed to feature one of Roanoke’s most spectacular gardens in its pages—and world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges is going to shoot the spread. But at the welcoming party, Jean-Jacques insults several guests, complains that flowers are boring, and gooses almost every woman in the room. When a body is found the next morning, sprawled across the azaleas, it’s almost no surprise that the victim is Jean-Jacques.

With Cam’s brother-in-law blamed for the crime—and her reporter boyfriend, Rob, wanting the scoop—Cam decides to use her skills to solve the murder. Luckily a PR pro like Cam knows how to be nosy….

 

Not bad for a first in the series.  April and Gracie give it 3 paws up.

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