Archives for July 2013

Review: Eleusis by Genevieve Fairbrother (review)

eleusisEleusis
written by Genevieve Fairbrother
published by CreateSpace

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, SmashwordsGoodreads

Why did I pick this book: I participated in the blog tour hosted by CLP Blog Tours. I like this genre.  I enjoy seeing how people twist myths around to make them seem new. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book: I did.  Sort of. Maybe.

Macy was likeable enough (though her medical skills felt contrived once I realized she needed them to further the plot), and Jason was all kinds of intriguing and beguiling.  This was a fun book – full of mysteries, Greek gods, adventures, and yes, even a bit of ancient Egypt (although I’m still trying to figure out why exactly).  Unfortunately, once I took off my “reader” hat and put on my “writer/reviewer” hat, I found a few problems I couldn’t ignore.

First there’s Jack.  Jack and Macy’s relationship could have been much more robust; Jack’s only distinguishing feature – his unrequited love for Macy –  felt contrived as well.  Wasn’t there any other dynamic in which Macy could get him to ready her boat overnight?  She was wealthy enough to own two homes and a boat; couldn’t she have just paid him a ridiculous amount of money instead of dooming the poor lad to life as a stock character?  And whatever became of Jackie, anyway? He disappeared entirely about half-way through the story.  He didn’t even make a comeback at the end.  Poor guy.

I also want to know more about Macy’s childhood.  Sure, she was adopted, but when?  How?  Does she remember her childhood?  When she forgot her immortal identity, did she somehow also de-ageify herself so she could grow up again with her adoptive parents? Was she reincarnated as, um, herself? Did she put her adoptive parents under a spell so they would only think they raised her?  Jason said she looked different than he remembered.  Why?  And why was Jason starving in the woods if immortals don’t need to eat (as evidenced by Macy’s six month foray in the underworld)?  Don’t the gods all have to follow the same laws of nature?  I’m all for willingly suspending my disbelief, don’t get me wrong, but you’ve got to make the disbelief BELIEVABLE.  Um. So. Maybe there’s a simple explanation.  Maybe one sentence would do it.  But I want that sentence.

Macy and Jason were annoyingly cute, but I didn’t feel that tingle in the pit of my stomach that I wanted them to make me feel, and I’ll be honest – I’m pretty sure the only reason they waited so long to hit the sheets was so Macy would remember her other identity at the appropriate time in the plot line.

I’ve been accused of being difficult to please.  Well, it’s true (and it’s much easier to review than to actually write, goodness knows), but I don’t hate this book, and I’m not giving up on it.  It’s got the dreaded “p” word… potential.  I want more.  I want more of Jack, more of Macy, more intensity, more everything (except sweet little kisses.  There were plenty of those).  Mostly, I want to sit down with Ms. Fairbrother and edit the heck out of her book.  If she won’t let me edit, then I want her to sell the story to Hollywood.  It would make a great summer blockbuster.

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Would I recommend it: I would recommend it to the Hollywood folk in charge of making movies.  I would also recommend that Jason be played by Johnny Depp.  Yum.

Will I read it again: Maybe.  I’d love to see Fairbrother streamline her story, expand her characters, and get rid of those pesky e-book typos.  This book was a great idea (I think it would make a killer movie), but as a work of fiction it needs some work.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
Her parents are dead and now a moody trespasser has set up camp on the property Macy has inherited. When the stranger confesses himself to be an ageless sea-god and tells her she has been guarding a secret she never knew existed, her once simple life takes a drastic turn. Just when she thinks it can’t get any stranger, a back door to the Underworld opens up and it’s time to run like hell.

Mythology and contemporary life collide as this fast-paced novel explodes and dark forces tracking Macy surface to capture her. In the transatlantic chase that follows, she learns of her forgotten past and a centuries-old connection to the sea-god who helps her escape. A tragic miscalculation derails Macy and in a moment of self-sacrifice she ends up where it all began, trapped in the Underworld.

Has she learned enough about her past to forge a meaningful future? Utterly alone, she realizes that to gain real freedom, she must reject her assigned place in history and in doing so risk everything.

Events challenge her whilst she comes to grips with her legacy and decides what she wants in life. Family betrayal, sinister plot twists, and unlikely friends fill this exhilarating story of one woman’s journey to shape her future as she learns her true identity and strives to become a force in her own right.

Eleusis by Genevieve Fairbrother is one-of-a-kind contemporary paranormal adventure novel that narrates a unique perspective on women and relationships using the life of one immortal woman moving through time.

efchappy

 

Blog Tour: Nine Fold Heaven by Mingmei Yip (spotlight, guest post)

Nine Fold Heaven - Cover ArtNine Fold Heaven
written by Mingmei Yip
published by Kensington Books

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book: An ex spy and nightclub singer who undertakes an emotional and dangerous journey to reunite with her lost lover and the baby she was told was stillborn, and to discover the secret of her parents’ murder.

Come along with an ex spy as she returns to Shanghai where she’s a wanted woman – but she has to search for her baby and her lost lover. Is her baby really alive? Will she be able to find her lover? Can she elude the police long enough to find them? Learn much more about Nine Fold Heaven and Mingmei Yip at http://www.mingmeiyip.com and get your copy of this exciting and exotic novel at Amazon.

Nine Fold Heaven is part of a series about Camilla the songbird and female spy – you can also find Skeleton Women, the first book about Camilla, here at Amazon.

Book Trailer

Every Free Chance Book Reviews is pleased to welcome Mingmei Yip, author of Nine Fold Heaven, to the blog today. She is touring the blogosphere with http://bookpromotionservices.com/. She has prepared the following guest post about female rivalry in fiction for all of you.

A writer must try to write about almost anything, even things she has not directly experienced. Somehow, I’ve always been able to get inside a character’s head, be it a gangster, a nun, an adventurer, or a prostitute. I credit this to my free imagination and voracious reading, not only of fiction, but also many other materials, including Hong Kong’s notorious gossip newspapers and magazines.

So, although I’ve never been involved in a love triangle or bitter rivalry with anyone, I believe I did a good job writing about these in my novels. I’m particularly pleased with the love-hate relationship I describe in The Nine Fold Heaven, between the singer-spy Camilla and the magician Shadow.

There is a famous Chinese expression, tongshi tianya lunluo ren, meaning “two forlorn people at the far corners of the earth.” My two protagonists are women on the margin of society. Another Chinese phrase for them is qi nuzi, outsider “women” — left-over people.

In the beginning, the two skeleton women, or femmes fatales, hated each other, but later as they begin to respect each other as worthy rivals, they start to treasure each other. They then join hands to revenge their mutual enemy, the number one gangster head in Shanghai who is the cause of their  miseries.

Here, excerpted from the novel, is a letter Shadow sends to Camilla after she uses a magic trick to revenge upon their mutual enemy, Big Brother Wang:

I used to hate you because you’re more beautiful and talented than me and charmed Lung, the man I most wanted for myself. If you were not in the picture, I might have become the number one woman in the Shanghai underworld. But if this had happened, I’d now be a widow fought over as a prize by rival gangsters.

I envy you. How come no matter how hard I try, you’ve always stayed one step ahead of me? Maybe it’s pointless to ask questions like these. Since Heaven will never let us know its grand scheme. Even if we find out, what good will that bring us mortals? All we can do is enjoy our journey, even without knowing its outcome.

Are we what the Chinese call qi nuzi, unusual women? Maybe…but also left-over people from the far ends of society.

I am glad that I had the chance to know you, understand you, admire you, hate you, and now, like you. We were truly each other’s worthiest rivals.

Fate has not been so bad to us, after all. Look at you, not only you get the fame and money, you’ve also gotten the loving man. In this life, how many people can taste both the fish and the bear’s paw?

Farewell my friend, and don’t try to look for me. Please don’t disappoint me or yourself by doing so.

So, let’s enjoy our youth and beauty before our faces wrinkle, our hair turns snow white, and our loved ones are no longer by our sides.

Karmically,
Your best friend and worthiest rival
Shadow

Mingmei Yip - Author Photo 2About the author: Mingmei Yip has been writing and publishing since she was fourteen years old and now she has twelve books to her credit. Her five novels are published by Kensington Books and her two children’s books are published by Tuttle Publishing.

Mingmei is also a renowned qin (ancient string instrument) musician, calligrapher and painter. In Hong Kong, she was a columnist for seven major newspapers. She has appeared on over sixty TV and radio programs in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and the US.

Find Ms. Yip here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

 

Blog Tour: Royal Secrets by Kathleen Irene Paterka (spotlight, excerpt)

Royal-Secrets-Royal Secrets
written by Kathleen Irene Paterka
published by Kathleen Irene Paterka

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Smashwords, Goodreads

I am really enjoying this book! I can’t wait to see how it ends. I will post my review as soon as I finish it.

About the book – from Goodreads: The Royal Wedding Chapel of Las Vegas

Where dreams come true
and are just as easily destroyed…

Immersed in the regal world of weddings and romance, Lily Lavender grew up believing in brides, grooms and happily-ever-afters. A direct descendent of the British royals, it seemed her destiny and royal birthright to someday assume a position as wedding coordinator in their family-owned wedding chapel business. But when her mother Mimi’s third marriage eventually fails, Lily’s dreams of her own happily-ever-after quickly fade. She’s no longer interested in a life of assisting brides walk down the aisle into a life of disillusionment and possible divorce. Lily turns her back on The Royal Wedding Chapel and leaves Las Vegas to fashion a life of her own.

Years later, Lily—now a single mom—discovers her teenage daughter has run off to Las Vegas, lured by Mimi to help run the chapel. Determined to save her daughter from the broken dreams of Sin City and the nonsensical world of which family fairy tales are made, Lily returns to Las Vegas. But nothing prepares Lily for the royal drama which awaits her… or the sins and secrets she stumbles across that threaten to close the chapel and ruin her family forever.

Please enjoy the following excerpt from Royal Secrets.

Keep calm and carry on. That’s what the English people were told during World War II. Too bad Mimi never embraced that as her motto. Perhaps if she had, she would have stayed in the kitchen with Francesca, finished her tea, and none of this would have happened. Plus, Mimi wasn’t even born until after WWII. She didn’t visit London until the late 60s while on a whirlwind backpacking trip through Europe. It was during the height of flower power and free love that she met my father, Lawrence Lavender, Husband Number One. He swept her off her feet and within a matter of days convinced her to marry him. Always one to do exactly as she pleased, she quickly accepted and lived in England for nearly a year… until the fatal car accident that robbed a pregnant Mimi of her husband and me of the father I would never know. Then, in true Mimi fashion, she picked up the pieces and left the country that is half my heritage, never looking back, never to return.

“And what about tomorrow?” Francesca says. “We have two weddings booked.”

“Only two? But tomorrow is Saturday.” When I was growing up, Saturdays meant a whirlwind of weddings. The chapel is open throughout the week, but Saturday still remains the day most brides choose to be married.

“Things have been slow lately,” she says. “I’ve told Mimi we should advertise more, maybe update our website. But she refuses. She says the chapel is doing fine and that we will carry on with business as usual.” Her voice drops. “But I think she’s wrong. Things aren’t fine.”

Only two brides on a Saturday in June? I don’t think things are fine, either.

“The other chapels in town don’t seem to have a problem,” she continues. “Then again, their websites are nicer than ours. Or maybe it’s because they have a younger staff. Of course, we still have our reputation, which brings in some business, and we still get phone calls. But so many of the brides I talk to on the phone end up not booking. And some of those girls are so rude; they hang up without bothering to say thank you or good-bye.” She bites her lip. “I try not to take it personally, but I feel bad for Mimi. The chapel is her life, and she’s losing business. Girls are still getting married, but they’re not getting married at Mimi’s chapel.”

The Royal Wedding Chapel has been a fixture in the Vegas community for decades, and its reputation for elegance and opulence has served Mimi and the business well. When I was in my mid-teens, she recruited me every weekend. Forced to man the reception desk, I answered the phones and worked with the walk-ins while she and Francesca handled the ceremonies. But once I started college, Ed stepped in and pled my case, and for whatever reason, Mimi listened. Thus ended my career in the family wedding business.

I’m still not sure why she allowed me to step aside. Even after Ed moved out and they divorced, she never pressed me back into service. Nowadays, Jaabir chauffeurs bridal couples to and from their hotels in the stretch limo while Francesca runs the music and Mimi officiates at each ceremony.

And if my mother gets her way, she’ll have Tori behind the reception counter, working the phones, handling the appointments, and serving as a licensed minister as soon as she reaches legal age.

“What about Tori?” I ask as the limo speeds along the side streets. “Does she know about Mimi?”

Francesca nods. “I phoned after the ambulance left. She’s probably already at the hospital.”

Tori and who else? The mere thought of Jack being with her starts a slow burn simmering in my stomach. Hopefully Ed had the sense to accompany them or we could be facing fireworks in the waiting room. I love Ed, and I’m always glad to see him, but his son Jack is a different story.

“I suppose we’ll have no choice but to call in a substitute minister.” Francesca pauses, worry clouding her eyes. “I hope we’ll be able to find someone. And what if Mimi isn’t well enough to do the weddings next week?” Her face is in another free fall. “What if—”

“What if you quit worrying about things?” The last thing I need is Francesca worrying herself sick over minor details. “Everything will work out.”

She tsks-tsks her way out of silence. “Mimi will hate paying the extra money for a substitute minister, but I suppose it can’t be helped. This is an emergency.”

“Mimi will understand.” And if she doesn’t, I’ll make sure she does. When you’re in the bridal business, the first rule of order is to make sure emergencies are covered by a backup plan. Las Vegas means brides—all kinds of brides. Plain or gorgeous, sweet or demanding, drunk or sober, when a bride and her groom show up at the Royal Wedding Chapel, they expect a minister on site who will be able to marry them. The bridal business can be messy, but you don’t mess with brides. A bride in meltdown-mode is not a pretty sight.

“Tomorrow’s weddings will go smoothly,” I assure her. “Wait and see.”

She squeezes my hand. “I can’t imagine what we would do without you. You are such a blessing.”

Poor Francesca. She has no clue. Things are calm for now, but the who-what-when-where-and-howwe’ll get through tomorrow’s weddings is beyond me. We can’t cancel the bookings, and I’m not licensed to conduct the ceremonies. Mimi tried every trick in the book when I turned eighteen to get me to apply for a certified officiate’s license. Just in case, she insisted, but I wouldn’t budge.

I still don’t think I would have had the courage to stand up to Mimi if it hadn’t been for Ed. His advice to follow my heart and get out of the wedding business paid off with me graduating summa cum laude with a degree in finance. I was recruited straight out of university into their corporate training program by the international casket company I’m still with today.

Coffins? Funeral parlors? Mimi accuses me of mocking her happily-ever-after business by having allowed myself to be hired into the death business. But I’m happy where I am. I’m head of my department and successful at what I do. I’ve always preferred dealing with numbers; you can trust them. Unlike people, they don’t cheat, steal or lie.

There’s a good reason I’ve never been married. I’m the last person who should stand before two people, urge them to join hands, and pronounce them husband and wife. Let someone else handle the happily-ever-after nonsense. As for the Royal Wedding Chapel, it’s Mimi’s passion, Francesca’s paycheck, and—if Mimi gets her way—Tori’s inheritance. But the last thing I want is Tori making the same mistakes I did. I love Ed bunches, but hanging around Mimi too long can break your heart.

So can hanging around Jack.

kathleen irene paterkaAbout the author: Kathleen Irene Paterka is the author of numerous women’s fiction novels which embrace universal themes of home, family life and love, including Royal Secrets and the James Bay series (Fatty Patty, Home Fires, Lotto Lucy, and For I Have Sinned). Kathleen is the resident staff writer for Castle Farms, a world renowned castle listed on the National Historic Register, and co-author of the non-fiction book For the Love of a Castle, published in 2012. Having lived and studied abroad, Kathleen’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Michigan University. She and her husband live in the beautiful north country of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
Find Ms. Paterka here: web, blog, Facebook, Goodreads

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Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

 

Review: Secret Storms by Julie Mannix von Zerneck and Kathy Hatfield

Secret Storms
written by Julie Mannix von Zerneck and Kathy Hatfield
published by Blue Blazer

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: EFC was asked by the publicist to review this book. Chrissy thought I would enjoy it, and she really wanted me to give something more than 2 stars.  **grin**  (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book: 
I cried – and not just sniffly, easily hidden tears, either.  We’re talking full blown,  red-nosed, blood shot eyed weeping.  So… I guess that’s a yes.  I’m desperately in love with my own son – partly because it was so difficult to get him here – and I’ve found that I now have a squishy spot in my heart for stories about mothers who love their offspring.

But.  Enough with the sentimentality.  Here’s the low down: 

Both women have excellent grammar (and you know how snobby I am about grammar!).  Both have exceptionally poignant imagery (it’s like they’re related).  Both tell their stories with honesty, humor, and just the right amount of emotion. The writing is superb, and this book is wonderful.  Each woman’s story could stand alone, but together… well, together they’ve turned their story into a fairytale.

I’m almost certain that if my mother and I tried to write a book together her half would be about blue teapots and craft projects and my half would be about whiskey and swearing.  On the other hand, we both love our kids desperately, and we both love music, and had we lived apart for most of my life, I bet we’d find we have a lot more in common than we think.  I could tell the story of my mom and I.  It might even be slightly interesting to someone. Von Zerneck and Hatfield’s story, though, gets the first ever five star rating from me. I’m in love (and also, I really think I need a pet monkey)!

My first ever 5 star review!

My first ever 5 star review!

Would I recommend it: Yes, definitely!  My husband decided, based on the title, that this book was for women only, but I’d bet a bottle of scotch he’d be hooked if he read the first few chapters.

Will I read it again: Next time I need a good cry, this is on my top ten list of Things to Read.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
This is the story of two strangers: a mother and daughter, separated at birth. It is the story of the riveting journey each took to redeem the past.

JULIE

I was being transferred from the Psychiatric Institute of Philadelphia to a state hospital-a home to people ranging from mentally challenged to the criminally insane. I was nineteen, blonde with blue eyes, five foot four, 102 pounds, and a Philadelphia Main Line debutante. And I was 3 1’2 months pregnant.

KATHY

“She’s a screamer,” the nuns at the hospital for unwed mothers warned as they handed me to my parents. “We think she just needs some attention.”

The Sisters of Charity were right; I was born with an insatiable desire to be noticed and wasn’t afraid to show my unlikable side if it meant all eyes would be on me. My grandfather called it a mean streak; my father deemed it determination, my mother, who had waited ten long years for me, simply smiled.

 

Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

 

Blog Tour: Speak Easy by Melanie Harlow (review, giveaway)

speak easy coverSpeak Easy
written by Melanie Harlow
published by Melanie Harlow

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I participated in the blog tour hosted by AToMR Tours(I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book: 
I did enjoy this book. It was something different that kept me interested until the end.

As I said, Speak Easy kept me interested. I got caught up in the story and I wanted to see how it would end. The story moved and the characters were well-written. Each of them fit their parts. I could see each of them in my head as I was reading.

Tiny was a good character but I found her to be rather naive. I would think that given she is part of the bootlegging operations, she would have a bit more common sense and street smarts. Tiny often allowed her physical emotions (and wants) control her actions even though her conscience was clearly telling her not to do things. But Tiny is loyal to her family and only wants to protect them.

The two leading males, The Shiek and Joey, were great in that I could see them easily and they fit their respective parts. Neither guy is the right one for Tiny but both of them offer her something that she needs, craves, and deserves. They are there for Tiny when she really needs them. When it really counts. It was interesting to see how each of these men could be right for Tiny but were also clearly wrong for her.

Given the title of the book, I really thought there would be more time spent in a speak easy. More of that culture. More of those events. I would have loved to read more about that. I understand why that wasn’t the focus. But with the title Speak Easy, I expected a bit more.

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Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book if you are a fan of the 1920s and the bootlegging era. It was a good historical novel.

Will I read it again: I will not, but I would be interested in reading the next book in this series.

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About the book: 
July, 1923. The ‘20s are roaring, and twenty-year-old Tiny O’Mara is desperate for a little anything-goes excitement. But when her father is kidnapped by a mobster in Detroit’s exploding organized crime scene, she’s shocked to find herself caught up in the bootlegging wars of Prohibition—and torn between two gorgeous gangsters on opposite sides.

To save her father’s life, she’ll have to choose between them. But deciding whom to trust isn’t easy in a world where everyone wants something—be it booze, money, power, or sex—and no one cares what it takes to get it.

Temptation is everywhere.

Author, MelanieHarlowAbout the author: Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her lipstick red, and her history with the naughty bits left in. Speak Easy was inspired by her cocktail culture obsession, her affection for good gin, and the view from the end of her street. She lifts her glass to NA readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI.
Find Ms. Harlow here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

And now for the GIVEAWAY!! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win.

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To see other stops on the tour for reviews, guest posts, and excerpt click here or the tour button below.

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Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

 

Book Blast: The Immortal Circus: Act Two by A.R. Kahler (spotlight, giveaway)

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TheImmortalCircusActTwo_COVERThe Immortal Circus: Act Two
written by A.R. Kahler
published by 47North

find it here: Amazon, Goodreads

About the book: Vivienne is almost content with her new life in the Cirque des Immortels. She has moved up from selling cotton candy to telling fortunes, she has a gorgeous, magical boyfriend, Kingston…and no one has been murdered since the clash between the otherworldly Courts. Her life under the faerie big top would be perfect, in fact, if not for the nightmares and visions that compel her to seek and confront her half-remembered past. But for Viv, not knowing her past may well be a blessing. There’s a reason she ran away. But can she truly escape herself?.

The second act of the fantastically evocative Cirque des Immortels series, The Immortal Circus: Act Two draws readers further into a world that’s at once wonderful, seductive…and deadly.

Step right up…

Alex-KahlerAbout the author: Alex is many things, but first and foremost, he’s a Sagittarius.

In the past few years he’s taught circus in Amsterdam and Madrid, gotten madly lost in the Scottish wilderness, received his Masters in Creative Writing from Glasgow University, drummed with Norse shamans, and even spent a few months as the assistant to Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.

The Immortal Circus, book one in his Cirque des Immortels series, is now available from 47North. Act Two will be released June 11, 2013.

Martyr, the first book in his post-apocalyptic YA fantasy series, The Hunted, is set to be published October 28, 2014 by Spencer Hill Press.

When he’s not writing or climbing in the rafters, he’s probably outside, staring at the clouds. And seeing as he now resides in Seattle, there are clouds aplenty.

Find Mr. Kahler here: personal website, Immortal Circus websiteTwitter, Goodreads

 

And now for the GIVEAWAY!! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!

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Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

 

Review: Eyes of the Sage by Peter J. Ochs II

9781621372103_Cover.psdEyes of the Sage
written by Peter J. Ochs II
published by Virtualbookworm.com Publishing

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I participated in the blog tour hosted by Virtualbookworm.com. I volunteered to read this book because it sounded awesome.  (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book: Um, no.

I tried my best to get through it.  I gave it my usual “if I’m not addicted after a hundred pages I’m probably not going to be.”  I even gave it another sixty pages just to be sure.  Ultimately, I couldn’t finish it.

I tried my best to get past the grammatical errors:  the passive voice, the subject-verb agreement, the use of contractions.  I tried my best to ignore the colloquialisms and the main characters staring “into” floors instead of “at” them.  I really, really wanted to care about what the characters were doing, but with sentences like this one:  “He bought some handcrafts from some Bedouin women…”  it was difficult to invest.

I tried to give Mr. Ochs credit for including ALL of his research in the text.  I tried to forgive him for including what he clearly thought were necessary pictures (including a picture of what appears to be nothing but SAND).  I tried for a week to sift through the flawed basics and get to the essence of the story.  I failed.

I actually want to know what happens, but I got so bogged down in trying to decipher the language that I couldn’t follow the plot.

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Would I recommend it: I recommend the following:

  • that Mr. Ochs brush up on his grammar
  • that Mr. Ochs reads his manuscript out loud (because no one actually says, “I have found an interesting journal” when they could instead mutter, “I’ve found [something].”
  • that readers wait for the third (or fourth, or fifth) draft of this novel before they attempt it.

Will I read it again: No.

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About the book – from Goodreads: A MIT astrophysicist is called upon to continue the investigation of a lost civilization on the Arabian Peninsula after the unfortunate and untimely death of the expedition’s lead archaeologist. Just why an astronomer is called upon a situation where he is evidently “a fish out of water” is not exactly clear, but his involvement is not accidental and his role becomes pivotal. The research revolves around the location of a cluster of lost cities in the southern Arabian Peninsula that are believed to have been settled over 3000 years ago by a group of people migrating from the Mediterranean with ties to Ancient Greece. This group appears to have been guided to the site by an enigmatic figure who continues to crop up throughout the history of the settlement even though the recorded evidence suggests that the settlement was active for over 800 years. Some time in its ninth century of existence, the civilization and its intriguing father-figure vanished abruptly somewhere about the time of the well known chronicled collapse of a great earthen dam. As sites are revealed and artifacts are recovered, the astronomer is drawn into a complex scenario where his very actions will trigger the story’s climatic events and reveal the identity of the settlement’s mentor.

efchappy

Blog Tour: Tales from the Laundry Pile by Kathleen Kole (spotlight, interview, excerpt)

tales-from-the-laundry-pileTales from the Laundry Pile
written by Kathleen Kole
published by Sublime Coyote Media

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Smashwords, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Claire Jamieson has moved back home to Boxwood Hills… And, she’s not alone. Trailing behind her overworked laundry basket is her husband and their energetic twin boys.

Claire had always thought that once she’d left the nest, she’d never return. Now that she has, she’s wondering what type of bird that makes her… Cuckoo?

When she has a moment to pause and catch her breath, she’ll let you know.

Please enjoy the following excerpt from Tales from the Laundry Pile.

“There it is again, Mommy!”

Claire jerked on her step ladder. She was standing in front of to her soon-to-be-painted kitchen wall, paintbrush at the ready, when a metallic ratta-tat-tat on their furnace vent hammered through the house.

Damned woodpecker, she thought. She’d banished from her memory all the wildlife moments that had occurred throughout her formative years in Boxwood Hills.  However, as the woodpecker used her house for its drum solo, those memories were coming back at speed.

Noah came charging into the room, Evan hot on his heels, the two of them brandishing matching orange and yellow water pistols.  More like water cannons, truth be told.

“We’re going to scare him away!”  Evan declared.

“Boys, hang on,” Claire said, trying to keep her balance on the ladder and parent at the same time.  It was like trying to keep up with a tornado.

Evan didn’t even glance in her direction, his focus solely on following his brother outside through the porch screen door, water pistol resting on his shoulder like a machine gun.

“Oh, Jake,” she muttered, as her sons disappeared from sight into the backyard.  “This is your fault.”

It had been Jake’s inspired idea to use the water pistols, stating that he, his brother and their sister had done the same thing when they were kids to humanely deter the woodpeckers.  Claire debated, did she throw caution to the wind and continue with her edging on the wall, or follow behind them?

“Don’t shoot!” a woman’s voice rang out from the backyard.  “I come in peace!”

Claire’s eyebrows shot upward on her forehead.  Decision made.  She rapidly descended the steel step ladder, turned on her heel and nearly wiped out when her foot tangled in the drop cloth.

“Nuts!”  she blurted, only just managing to keep herself upright by clutching at the kitchen table for balance.

“Boys!” she yelled, shaking off the drop cloth and regaining her footing to take off at speed through the door.  She thundered down the back steps in her bare feet, paintbrush still held aloft.  “Do not shoot those things at anyone! Do you hear me––”

Every Free Chance Book Reviews is pleased to welcome Kathleen Kole, author of Tales from the Laundry Pile, to the blog today. She is touring the blogosphere with CLP Blog Tours and has answered some of my questions for all of you.

 

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. Well, that’s a challenge, but here goes: Tales from the Laundry Pile offers you an engaging, thoughtful story of motherhood, family tangles, new friendships and self-discovery.

Where did you get your inspiration for Tales from the Laundry PileIt started with the title. A very odd thing for me as my stories are usually created character first, then title. Anyway, the title arrived and from there Claire’s story swiftly came together. As for inspiration, I’d say the so-called “motherhood condition” was the fuel behind this story.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? Absolutely! I’ve just completed the dirty draft of my next novel (another tale to introduce you to more characters residing in Boxwood Hills) and have at least three more stories waiting patiently in the recesses of my thoughts. Never a dull moment in my head.

Have you always been a writer or did you start out in a different profession? I did the usual gambit of part-time, customer service jobs in my late teens and early twenties; however, when I decided to pursue an actual chosen path, writing was my gig.

What do you enjoy most about writing? Finishing the final edits, typing “The End,” and handing it to my publisher with the declaration: “It’s your problem now!” Hahaha! Okay, seriously… The best part is stepping inside my stories. Being able to live so many different lives is such a great thing for my personality. I love change, so it allows me an outlet for that facet of my nature.

Do you remember any of the stories you told when you were a child? If so, have any of them morphed into one of your novels? Or at least made an appearance? How did you know I was a storyteller in my childhood? You must be psychic. As for those stories, I do remember them in a generic sort of way. None, however, have traveled with me to show up on the pages of my novels.

What is your favorite genre to read? Women’s fiction.

Who is your favorite author? Oh, dear, just one? How on Earth will I do that? Literally, when I read your question, at least three different authors jumped into my head. Oh, boy. I’ll cheat a bit, if that’s okay, and extend it beyond just one. Maeve Binchy (I already miss her voice.). Anne Tyler. Karen McQuestion. Fannie Flagg…. Okay, I’ll force myself to stop. I could go on and on and on.

In your opinion, what is one book that everyone should read? Boy oh boy, you ask challenging questions! I want to repeat my “Just one?” response. I’ve had the privilege of reading so many fabulous books; however, I’ll pick Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg. Even just thinking about it makes me smile.

Tell us three things about yourself that cannot be found on the internet…at least not found easily. Hmm, that’s a thinker. Three things that come to mind: I love nature and gardens, but detest gardening. The first full meal I ever cooked for my family was when I was fourteen years old and yet, if I could get away with it, I’d never prepare another meal for the rest of my life. Sitting still for any length of time is one of my greatest challenges – quite the irony considering what I do for a living.

A quick thanks if I may to you, Chrissy, for allowing me the privilege of being a guest on your blog. As well, another thank you for doing my the honor of being a part of the tour for Tales from the Laundry Pile.

You’re very welcome, Kathleen! I’m glad we could do the interview and that I could be a part of your tour. 🙂

And don’t worry, I’m not a psychic…I just do my research! 😉

kathleen koleAbout the author: Kathleen Kole is the author of Breaking Even, Dollars to Donuts, Favorable Conditions and her new release, Tales from the Laundry Pile.

Kathleen lives with her husband, son and dog in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada.

Find Ms. Kole here: web, Facebook, Goodreads

 

**Everyone who leaves a comment on Kathleen’s tour page (click the button below) will be entered to win a four print books from Kathleen! Titles are: Breaking Even, Dollars to Donuts, Favorable Conditions and Tales From the Laundry Pile.One bonus winner will win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Tales From the Laundry Pile before  July 29 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

 

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Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

 

Blog Tour: When Girlfriends Chase Dreams by Savannah Page (review, giveaway)

when girlfriends chase dreamsWhen Girlfriends Chase Dreams
written by Savannah Page
published by Pearls and Pages

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I participated in the blog tour hosted by CLP Blog Tours(I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book: 
I did enjoy this book. I read every free chance I had and finished it in about a day. I think this is my favorite one so far in the series. I was smiling the entire time I was reading this book.

Claire has been waiting a looooong time to get engaged to her long-term (almost 10 years, in fact) boyfriend, Conner. After a super romantic proposal in Paris, it’s all about the wedding. And Claire has become a – too put it bluntly – bridezilla. Claire is an obsessed, Pinterest-pinning, fiance-driving-nuts, all out bridezilla. Even when she hires a wedding planner (UGH!), she is still crazy. I found it funny.

I don’t think I will ever understand the stress that so many brides put themselves under while planning their wedding. I planned my wedding in about 6 months. That was from getting engaged, booking 2 days’ venues (we married one day and had the reception the next), making our own invitations/response cards/table cards, and finding the dress, tux, etc. I don’t get all of the stress and drama. However, the stress and drama does make for some really fun reading!

Poor Conner. He’s a great guy and he put up with – and was incredibly supportive in his own way – so much from Claire. Even her best friends were there for her while telling her that she needed to calm down. Claire had some really great OMG! moments while preparing for her wedding. Conner and Claire had some pretty bad blowouts, too. Claire’s parents didn’t help the stress with their demands, additions to the guest list, and unwanted suggestions. The wedding planner hired by Claire was a ditz. But she was an interesting character to throw into the mix.

I loved Robin’s announcement at the end. *SQUEEEEE* And Sophie’s new shop, The Cup and The Cake, sounds fabulous! I would love to eat there and I love the name! I’m excited for Lara and the progress she has made. Emily is still hanging around, not ready to move on just yet.  All of the girls are doing well. I loved how this book ended.

All-in-all, this was a fun read that kept me glued to my Kindle from start to finish.

everyfree4.5

Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book, especially if you have read the other books in the When Girlfriends series.

Will I read it again: I may read this book again. It was a fun read. I can’t wait to read When Girlfriends Take Chances.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
A novel about chasing dreams, for better or worse, and living your love story.

Claire Linley is finally a bride! After nearly ten years with her college freshman sweetheart, Claire is going to become Mrs. Conner Whitley. She’s got her bridal magazines, is the biggest Martha Stewart fan, and subscribes to all the major wedding blogs. She’s been dreaming of this moment for years! How could planning her dream wedding be anything but perfect?

The easy-going and bubbly type, Claire will obviously have a blast planning, and with her fantastic group of girlfriends-made-bridesmaids she just can’t go wrong. Whether it’s wedding gown shopping, makeup trials, or cake-tasting, Claire’s friends are there in a pinch.

But how big does the pinch get? All Claire wants to do is get married, but at every turn something seems to go awry and she’s starting to lose it. How is a girl supposed to remain cool and collected when the pricy dream wedding planner isn’t turning out to be so dreamy? When DIY projects and the perfect venue are going up in smoke? How is Claire supposed to marry Conner when the special day that’s supposed to join them together, forever, is slowly tearing them apart?

This is the charming story about how sometimes the biggest events in life are defined by the smallest acts of kindness and love. It’s a love story about dreaming large, loving deeply, and, in the end, truly having the happiest day of your life, no matter what happens (or doesn’t). About what happens when girlfriends chase dreams.

savannah pageAbout the author: Savannah Page is the author of the continuing When Girlfriends… collection and her travelogue and first book,Bumped to Berlin. When she isn’t writing, Savannah enjoys a good book with a latte and jazz tunes, Pilates, and exploring her home of Berlin as an American expat.

Find Ms. Page here: web/blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

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Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

 

Blog Tour: Looming Murder by Carol Ann Martin (spotlight, guest post)

Looming-Murder-by-Carol-Ann-MartinLooming Murder
written by Carol Ann Martin
published by Signet

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: LOOM WITH A VIEW

Della Wright has come to peaceful and picturesque Briar Hollow, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, to realize her lifelong dream of owning a weaving studio. To promote her new business, Dream Weavers, Della is offering weaving workshops for all levels of ability. In her first class, she meets half a dozen of the town’s colorful characters, who seem as eager to gossip as to learn how to work a loom. But when a shady local businessman is found murdered, Briar Hollow suddenly appears a lot less idyllic. And when one of her weaving students is suspected of the crime, Della can’t help getting entangled in the investigation—with some help from her criminologist friend, Matthew. But can she weave together clues as well as she weaves together yarn—and stop a killer from striking again?

FEATURES WEAVING TIPS!

Every Free Chance Book Reviews is pleased to welcome Carol Ann Martin (a.k.a. Monique Domovitch), author of Looming Murder, to the blog today. She is touring the blogosphere with CLP Blog Tours. She has written the following guest post for all of you.

Hi Chrissy,

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog. I’m thrilled to be here.

It’s funny. I still can’t believe that I’m an author. I’ve wanted to write my whole life, but was sure I’d missed the boat. Then, I took an early retirement and decided to go for my dream. And here I am, with four books published, another two due out within the next six months, and then a seventh in about a year. Some days, I have to pinch myself to believe it.

I didn’t always write. When I was younger—much, much younger—I was a fashion model. I sort of fell into the industry. I was a tall and skinny teenager, and like all teenagers I had self-confidence issues. My mother used to tell me that I wasn’t too skinny, that I looked like those girls in the fashion magazines. Of course I didn’t believe her, but still, it piqued my curiosity. When I was twenty two I went knocking on the door of a modeling agency and was accepted on the spot.

I know it’s probably difficult to imagine making a leap from modeling to writing, but I made another career leap in between. Modeling isn’t a lifetime career, at least it wasn’t in those days. So when I reached my mid-thirties, I studied finance and became a financial planner and retirement adviser. (I took my own advice and retired early. :-D)  The problem, however, was that my passion was for writing, and throughout all those years, I secretly dreamed of chucking it all and going for it. And I did, and—wonder of wonders—it worked.  And I was already in my fifties at this point. This should prove to everyone that it’s never too late to follow your dream. If I could start a new career in my mid-fifties, and succeed, anybody can do anything if they put their mind to it.

Oh, my God, so much talk about career here, when I should really be talking about my book. Well, let me leave you with an invitation to read Looming Murder, and to visit my website,  moniquedomovitch.com . And please write to me. I love to hear from readers and hopeful writers.

Monique

monique domovitchAbout the author: Carol Ann Martin is a pen name. The author lives with her husband and an ever expanding family of dogs. They travel extensively and she is never seen without her laptop. When is not writing or traveling, she bakes and weaves.
Find Ms. Martin here: web, Goodreads

 

**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page (click the tour button below) will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Looming Murder before  July 29 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

 

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Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!