Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Book Review: Fighting Love by Abby Niles

Fighting Love (Love to the Extreme, #2)Fighting Love by Abby Niles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an ebook ARC from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

This is the second book in Abby Niles' Love to the Extreme series.  You can find my review of the first book here. I have really enjoyed both books in the series and I'm looking forward to the next book due out in 2014.

One of the things I like about this story is that Julie is the one in the friend zone, or as Tommy sees it, the sister zone. Tommy and Julie have been best friends forever. Julie has been in love with Tommy since she was a child.  She's been pretty okay with this but things are changing between the two friends.  Their lives are so different, Tommy has been focused on his fighting and the lifestyle that surrounds the sports. Julie is fine with the quite life at home and doesn't much care for the lifestyle.

Julie's quite life is about to get a change when Tommy moves in with her.  Things have been rough for him, he lose his belt, then he lost his job, and at the start of the novel he looses his house. Tommy's in a weird place right now in his life, he's not sure what he's supposed to do or where he's supposed to go, the only solid thing is his friendship with Julie.  Things start to change when Julie starts seeing another fighter.  Tommy becomes jealous. I'm talking green eyed monster jealous. It was nice to see things from this tough guy's point of view.

Abby Niles does a really good job of breaking down the male point of view and showing the reader that these tough guys do have soft sides. Tommy shows his soft side a number of times in this novel (sometimes a little too quickly).  I really liked the relationship between Julie and Tommy, both as friends and lovers. When Tommy is given the chance to get back into fighting things get strained between the two of them on both fronts.  This is when I feel Tommy's mood swings were a little extreme.  Julie too was quick to jump to conclusions, but I almost understood her reactions more than Tommy's.  Julie has been on the sidelines before, she knows how Tommy changes and doesn't want to go through that again.

I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the characters from the first novel. We get Dante and Caitlyn's wedding, but I would have liked a little bit more interaction with them.  Abby has set up future novels and I can't wait to see how these will play out!

View all my reviews

Friday, December 27, 2013

55 Flash Fiction Friday - Holiday Recovery

This meme is hosted by Mr. Knowitall.

From my Instagram

Christmas morning passed in a blur. All too soon the gifts had been opened, oohs and aahs had been expressed, and breakfast had been consumed.  Now it was hours before anyone had anywhere to be and the humans were sitting at the table playing cards.  We didn’t have to supervise anymore so we napped.

Friday, December 20, 2013

55 Flash Fiction Friday - Christmas Eve Discovery

This meme is hosted by Mr. Knowitall.

Today's story is true. When we were younger my brother and I used to cuddle up in one bed in anticipation of Christmas Morning. We were always very excited and could hardly sleep.  Then one year as we lay there we heard my mom watching her soaps, which wasn't unusual. What was unusual was the sounds of gifts being wrapped. 

Christmas Eve Discovery

Cuddled in bed, too excited to sleep, a brother and sister lay awake talking about what they expect to find Christmas morning. Then they hear the TV come on with Mom’s favorite soap opera, and the sounds of gifts being wrapped. But all the gifts from Mom and Dad are already under the tree!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013 TBR Pile Challenge - Wrap-Up

Adam over at RoofBeamReader is hosting the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge.

The Goal is to read 12 books from your "to be read" pile before the end of 2013.

Here is my list: (Completed 7 of  12)

  1. Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantle
  2. Geektastic edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci - Completed 6/23/13
  3. How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo - DNF
  4. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
  5. The Smart One and The Pretty One by  Claire LaZebnik - Completed 2/11/13
  6. Jack's Widow by Eve Pollard - Completed 2/2/13
  7. The Dead Beat by Mailyn Johnson
  8. Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik - Completed 2/17/2013
  9. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie JamesCompleted 3/8/13
  10. Casting About by Terri Dulong
  11. Needles and Pearls by Gil McNeil - Completed 5/27/13
  12. The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil - Completed 5/7/13
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel  - DNF
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sneak Peek: Christmas Wishes by Mary Manners

A Featured Sneak Peek:
Christmas Wishes by Mary Manners

Love comes full circle when a child's Christmas wish arrives special delivery.

When attorney Riley Harper comes home to Maple Ridge following the death of his grandfather, the last thing he expects to find is Kaylee McKenna living in his grandparents' guesthouse. Though he and Kaylee were once best friends, Riley cannot find it in his heart to forgive her for the death of his mother. His heart, full of bitterness and resentment, has room for little else.

Kaylee has no time to dwell on events of the past, especially where Riley's concerned; she's too busy raising her six-year-old niece, Rosie, and working as an ER nurse. With Christmas quickly approaching, her days are spent helping with charity events and filling the wishes on Rosie's Christmas list.

But when Rosie's father makes an unexpected visit, Kaylee must call on Riley's legal expertise to ensure Rosie of a safe and secure future. Will Rosie's special Christmas wish heal Riley's damaged heart and bind the trio together as a forever-family?

I think this sounds like an adorable holiday read.  I enjoyed the sneak peak and can't wait to read the whole story!

Check out the Sneak Peak in the current issue of BTS Book Reviews

If you enjoyed the preview you can find the ebook at Amazon and B&N

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winter Book Club – Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Beautiful RuinsBeautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of those books that the patrons of the library raved about, which meant that I pushed it to the bottom of my To Be Read list. I guess I’m a bit of a book snob, but the greater the reviews the longer it takes me to read a book (for the most part). I might not have read the book, if not for it being picked for the first book of the Winter Book Club.

I enjoyed the story and the characters immensely. The differing plot lines that all intertwined gave the novel a sort of soap opera feel, but it also added to the charm of the story. Seeing some of these characters at different points in their lives drives you forward to the point where the past and the present meet up. These characters are all flawed, but not one of them is flawed to the point of no redemption.

Well, except for Richard Burton, he was my favorite character. Dee Moray, has landed a small role in the movie Cleopatra, unfortunately things do not go well for her and she ends up in a little fishing village. There she meets Pasquale, the owner of the only hotel in the town. During her stay she reads a section of a book written by a World War II veteran. Dee ended up in the village because she believes she’s dying of stomach cancer. The man who sent her there is trying to hind the truth from her while he makes some plans. These events of 1962 are just pieces to a puzzle that does not get put together until decades later when Pasquale decides he needs to find Dee and solve the mystery of all those years ago.

There were some things I could have done without in this novel, like the vulgarities used by the Italian men in the fishing village. It took something away from the story (at least for me). I also felt that some of the intertwined stories could have been cut or downsized; I don’t think my understanding of the story would have changed with these sections missing. These few dislikes didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the story.

I would highly suggest this book if you haven’t read it, I’ve picked it up as a Christmas gift for someone who I think would love it!

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Book Review: Public Relations For Authors... by Babs Hightower

Public Relations For Authors Take Hold of Your Own PromotionsPublic Relations For Authors Take Hold of Your Own Promotions by Babs Hightower
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author of an honest review.

Earlier this year I took a class on Contemporary Writers and Publishing.  Nearly everything we covered in that class appears in this book, albeit on a smaller scale.  It's important for authors to have an understanding of how to promote their book.  There is only so much a publishing house will do for you.  If you are a self-published author, this book is even more important for you to pick up.

This book briefly covers some of the most important aspects of promoting your book and yourself as an author.  Bab's writes a step-by-step of what a publicist should do for you, but I feel that as an author you need to be able to do the same thing for yourself.  It's all about putting yourself and your book out for people to notice.

View all my reviews

Tea & A Book: Ford County by John Grisham

Ford CountyFord County by John Grisham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With the buys holiday season, I thought it would be easier for my book club members to read a collection of short stories.  I'm not a big John Grisham fan, I've seen the movies based off his books, but have never read one of his books.  That being said, when this book first came out, I was interested but just never got around to reading it.

Because of the bad weather on Tuesday, only one person showed up, but we still had a great conversation.  Both of us were surprised at how much we enjoyed the book (like me he wasn't a fan of Grisham).  Of the seven short stories we both enjoyed:

In this story we meet Bobby Carl Leach, who is one of those slimy business men. He'll do anything to make a buck, including claiming to be of Native American decent so he can open a casino.  The star of this story is Sidney, who's wife leaves him (she ends up with Bobby Carl) because he's boring.  Sidney finds a way to break the casino and kinda get his wife back.

Blood Drive
When a local boy gets hurt and needs blood three other local guys head up to the big city to donate blood.  Only there are some problems...one's a drunk who makes them stop continuously to get beer, they don't know which hospital they are heading too, and to top it all off it turns into something along the lines of Three Stooges meets The Hangover but with bumbling country boys.

Fetching Raymond
A mother who is in denial about the fate of her son, Raymond, is on a trip up to prison to see him along with her two other sons.  Raymond is on death row and claims he's got a solid case to get off...or so he tells his mother.

Funny Boy
While the other three stories are more humorous, this last one is way more serious. This tells the story of a local boy who comes home to die.  He has AIDs and it's 1989 in the South. It was a very moving story and I think worth picking up the whole collection.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Guest Post - The Power of the Written Word

While I am recovering from the stress of writing a final paper, new author, Gerald Freeman, has written a guest post.  His new book "Kill Daddy" is available as a ebook on Amazon.


The main objective for anyone involved in the arts is to get their message across, and everything revolves around the efficacy. Artists want to communicate with people, share ideas, passions and experiences. For many of us, the inspiration is life.

I have spent the last 20 years focusing on sculpture and writing, both mediums through which I hope to inspire and share my ideas about us and our role on this planet. I spent 10 years working on my technique in both areas, and a few years ago, I felt ready to put my work out there. I began with sculpture and have been very lucky. I have held some great exhibitions and my work has found a home in many parts of the world. Like writing, it is a gradual process and will take the time it takes, and building a platform is where it all begins.

Until recently, I believed my sculpture was the ultimate way to communicate my ideas to people, there are no words, everything is visual and the onlooker internalises the idea and contemplates on its significance and message: it is extremely personal. However, there is a superficiality connected with the art world, which really destroys the whole essence of art: the aristocrats love to be seen at exhibitions, and more often than not, the cameras and film crews take more footage of the rich and famous than they do of the work which is on display. Being nice to these people will get you a nice, but completely fake exhibition.

So, I began to doubt if my work would reach the real people, and I turned again to my books, which tell the same stories as my sculpture, paradoxically though, words being the only tool. In the last 2 months of promoting my first book, I have been bowled over by the effect my written word has had on people and the connections I have made with my readers. To a point, I almost got scared. People have contacted me and told me things about their lives, their ideals and their most personal thoughts, and I have been humbled: I did not realise the power of the written word, until now.

Also, I have found such a great support network, other authors willing to share and participate and give instead of just take, even the promoters in the literary world have made me feel like an individual and not just a client. Reviews have been favourable so far, but I do not expect everyone will like my work. The reviewers and bloggers have been supportive, helpful and inspiring, too. The writing world is not as lonely as the art world, where everyone is keeping their ideas a closely guarded secret for fear someone will copy them.

Until last night, I had lost faith in my art and the power of the unspoken word. However, I took a look at one of my recent pieces entitled ‘The Long Term Effects Of Abuse’, and I have to say that in this case, words are not necessary, and in fact the absence of them speaks volumes. Every person’s experience will be different, and words might only limit the idea to people who can identify with my version of events. Therefore, reaching a much smaller audience.

In conclusion, I would have to say that I believe the written word to be the most effective tool for getting a specific idea across. However, one piece of art is capable of sending a thousand silent messages.


I have spent my life following my heart and living the life I dream of. It has taken me to all kinds of far and distant places both physically and mentally. I want to relay my experiences to others, identify with other people and share experiences and emotions. Most of all I want my readers to enjoy the time spent reading my stories.

My concept is to write about life and identify with people all over the planet.

I also express myself through art, principally sculpture. Check out my website and my blog

Friday, December 6, 2013

55 Flash Fiction Friday - Day Off

This meme is hosted by Mr. Knowitall.

This is a 55 Fiction I wrote back in college as part of my creative writing class.

Dallas Swat’s Day Off

“What’s wrong?” She asked groggily waking from a sound sleep.
“It’s work I have to go in. Sorry.” He climbs out of bed looking at his pager.
“You know I understand. I feel bad for you it was your day off.” She sits up watching him get dressed. He kisses her. “Be safe.”

Thursday, December 5, 2013

2014 Mount TBR Challenge - Sign Up

This challenge is being hosted at My Reader's Block.  

I have a slight problem with books (as my following list shows). I can't help it when I see a free book, or a deal to get a book at a really low price.  Being a librarian I also can't help grabbing books from the book donation piles. 

My goal is to at least clear about half my pile so I'm aiming for Mt. Vancouver which is reading 36 books from my TBR Piles. 

Wish me luck!

Here is my pile of books:

In my book basket:
  • People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • The Dead Beat by Mailyn Johnson
  • American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay
  • Natural Born Angel by Scott Speer
  • The Wizard, the Witch & Two Girls From Jersey by Lisa Papademetriou
  • Knit One Pearl One by Gil McNeil
  • Casting About by Terri Dulong
  • Mr. Knightley's Diary by Amanda Grange
  • Cassandra & Jane by Jill Pitkeathley
  • Home by Julie Andrews
  • My Name is Will by Jess Winfield
  • The Accidental Bride by Denise  Hunter
  • Midnight's Lover by Donna Grant
  • Matchless by Gregory Maguire
  • The List Lover's Guide to Jane Austen by Joan Strasbaugh
  • I Am Not Esther by Fleur Beale
  • Samurai Game by Christine Feenhan
  • Time Untime by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • The Seductive Imposter by Janet Chapman
  • The Dangerous Protector by Janet Chapman
  • Hummingbird Lane by Emily March
  • Blood Trinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
  • Shadow Ops: Control  Point by Myke Cole
  • A Hunger so Wild by Sylvia Day
  • Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
Book from my Kindle App
  • Truth about Mr. Darcy by Susan Adriani
  • No Place for a Lady by Jade Lee
  • SAR: Powerhounds by Heather Kellerhals-Stewart
  • Friends with Benefits SUCKS (At Least for Women) by Lynn Gilliard
  • Picture Me by Lori Weber
  • TT: Full Throttle by Nicole Winters
  • The Movement of Crowns by Nadine Keels
  • The Physician's Irish Lady by Susan Macatee
  • To Tuscany with Love by Gail Mencini
  • Uptight & Off Center by Sharon Heller
  • Elanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • Knowing the Score by Kat Latham
  • Sleeves by Chanse Lowell
  • Shadows by Jennifer L Armentrout
  • Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
  • More Than One Night by Marie Tuhart
  • Winning a Bride by Jade Lee
  • Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare by Scott Southard
Books from my Nook:
  • Never a Bride by Amelia Grey
  • Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson
  • Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren
  • The Vigilante's Bride by Yvonne Harris
  • Texas Hold Him by Lisa Cooke
  • Liberation of Alice by Abby McDonald
  • No Proper Lady by Isabel Cooper
  • Beauty and the Blacksmith by Tessa Dare
  • Pillow Talk by Freya North
  • Cowboy Dad by Cathy McDavid
  • Married by Mistake by Abby Gains
  • Just one of the Guys by Kristan Higgins
  • The Clayborne Brides by Julie Garwood
  • Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe
  • Blessed Isle by Alex Beecroft
  • By Honor Betrayed by Alex Beecroft
  • Captain's Surender by Alex Beecroft
  • Angel's Ink by Jocelynn Drake
  • Courted by a Cowboy by Lacy Williams
  • Fire at Midnight by Lisa Marie Wilkinson
  • Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake by Sarah MacLean
  • Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait by Grace Burrowes
  • A Certain Want of Reason by Kate Dolan
  • Say You Love Me by Patricia Hagan
  • Lovers Never Lie by Gael Morrison
  • Beauty and the Wolf by Marina Myles
  • Darcy Christmas by Various
  • Highland Bride's Choice by Amanda Forester
  • Her Favorite Temptation by Sarah Mayberry
  • Ever After High: Raven Queen's Story by Shannon Hale
  • Ever After High: Apple White's Story by Shannon Hale