Archives for March 2014

Blog Tour: Raising John by Jennifer Lesher (spotlight, guest post, giveaway)

raising johnRaising John
written by Jennifer Lesher
published by Cavu Press

find it here: (affiliate links) Amazon, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: How do you go on living when you have done the unforgivable? How do you love a mother you barely remember? John is an orphan who misses the mother he hardly knew. Robert is the drunk driver who killed her. As the story opens we meet 4-year-old John, who wonders why his mother had to die. Robert wakes up in lockup, expecting to sleep off a blackout and go home, until he learns of the accident he caused.

John grows up under the care of his devoted maternal grandmother, who grapples with guilt over her daughter’s past. Just as John is on the cusp of manhood, he must confront his mother’s death anew and question everything he has come to believe about himself and the people he loves.

Robert is sentenced to 4 years in state prison. His incarceration begins a journey that will have a profound effect on not only himself, but on the life of the boy he orphaned, and on the legacy of the young mother who died.


Traveling, Writing and Following Your Dreams

Some people know where they’re going in life from a very young age. When I was in first grade, I planned to be a Roller Derby queen, as soon as I was grown up, which, at the time, I believed would be around my 7th birthday. Then, later, when I was 11, I wanted to be a famous rock star. Inspired by Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good” I imagined zooming around in a Maserati in between gigs at sold-out arena shows.

So, okay, we don’t always know exactly who we’re going to grow up to be, but Roller Derby and rock-and-roll fantasies aside, I always knew I would travel, and I always knew I wanted to write. I grew up in a small town in Indiana, and while there is something to be said for living in a town small enough that you know nearly everyone, I always itched to get out into the big world, and I itched to tell stories.

At first my travel ambitions were modest. I dreamed of being a city girl. I wanted to see what was beyond the seemingly endless corn and soybean fields that surrounded my home. But, I was always a bookworm, and as I got older and learned more about the world, I wanted to see it all. I dreamed of backpacking across Europe, of exploring the Alaskan wilderness, and of seeing the animals of Africa.

I saw Alaska several times, first as part of the crew of a fishing boat and then later, as a self-supported backcountry biker. To this day, Resurrection Pass on the Kenai Peninsula stands out as the most magical and beautiful place I have ever seen (the inside of the pollock fishing boat, not so much).

By the time I made it to Europe the first time, I had outgrown backpacking, but I’ll never forget the excitement of entering Paris on the bus from Charles de Gaulle Airport to my hotel near Rue la Fayette, or the bittersweet knowledge that never again would I be able to see Paris for the first time.  I went back to Europe a few times over the next several years, and have always enjoyed it, while at the same time recognizing that visiting Western Europe doesn’t require much of a cultural stretch.

Then, in 2005 I had the chance to go to Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore, India for a mixture of work and vacation. I came home convinced that I could spend the rest of my life exploring India and still come away understanding only a fraction of it. I loved it. I hated it. I was exhausted by the constant hustle and harassment on the streets, but energized by the burgeoning flow of humanity. I want to go back, because I didn’t even scratch the surface of the surface of that amazing and complex country.

Since then, I have visited Southeast Asia a couple of times, and experienced a 10-day overland trip through the African countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique. The Africa trip came about as one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for adventure that I find irresistible: A friend asked me to help move her car from Kampala, Uganda, to Maputo, Mozambique, after she had moved her family by air.

Of course I signed on immediately, and with the car owner’s brother (who is also a good friend), made the 3000 mile drive in late 2012. Generally when Americans visit Africa as tourists, they see a lot of wildlife parks. We saw roads. Red dirt roads, roughly paved and deeply potholed roads, surprisingly smooth and well-marked roads. Along the roads we saw village after village, often assembled and supported almost entirely from materials that were taken directly from the local land – small huts made from homemade bricks; beehives made from hollowed out logs, a diet of local produce and meat and dairy from individually owned animals.

We saw scores of women and girls in every town, carrying 5-gallon buckets of water on their heads; we’d often see them a mile or more outside their villages, walking from some central water source, spending the better part of the day just acquiring that one necessity. It made me realize how little we all really need. Yes, I am glad that I have water piped directly to my house, and I’m glad that if I need shelter I don’t have to build it from bricks that I had to form by hand and fire in a kiln in my backyard. And, I’m very glad for modern sanitation. All that aside, my experiences in less developed countries has made me realize that a lot of us could do with a lot less, and maybe that would allow others to have a little more.

I was asked how my travels have influenced my writing. The answer isn’t obvious, because while I do write about my travels in my blog, my fiction doesn’t directly incorporate travel stories. However, I believe that what shows up in my writing is the sum of the my experience. All the experience goes into my subconscious and gets ground up and processed and spit out again, not immediately recognizable, but containing bits of all the raw material. I think travel has made me grateful for the life I have, and appreciative of life in general – it’s made me see that while the world can be a harsh place, there is beauty and grace everywhere, and even when the story is sad, life is still good, and life is still worth living.

jennifer lesherAbout the author: Jennifer Lesher is an author, mountain biker, travel junkie, non-sufferer of fools, and graduate of the School of Hard Knocks. Recently Jennifer left her job in the high-tech industry to pursue certification as an airplane mechanic. She will complete her schooling in the spring of 2015 and, FAA willing, will be certified shortly thereafter. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

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

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Cover Reveal: My Not So Super Sweet Life by Rachel Harris

I am so excited to share the cover for Ms. Harris’s newest release in the My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century series, My Not So Super Sweet Life. 

I can’t wait to read it!!!

 not so super sweet - harris - final copy2

My Not So Super Sweet Life

(My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #3)
written by Rachel Harris
published by Entangled digiTeen


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


About the book: Cat Crawford just wants to be normal—or at least as normal as a daughter of Hollywood royalty can be. And it looks like fate is granting her wish: she’s got an amazing boyfriend, Lucas; her fabulous cousin, Alessandra, living with her; and her dad planning his second marriage to a great future stepmom. That is, until her prodigal mother reveals on national television that she has something important to tell her daughter…causing a media frenzy.

Lucas Capelli knows his fate is to be with Cat, and he’s worked hard to win her over once and for all. Unfortunately, Lucas has his own issues to deal with, including a scandal that could take him away from the first place he’s truly belonged.

As secrets are revealed, rumors explode, and the world watches, Cat and Lucas discover it’s not fate they have to fight if they want to stay together…this time, it’s their own insecurities.

Well, and the stalkerazzi.



rachel harrisAbout the author: Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Emotion, vibrant settings, and strong families are a staple in each of her books…and kissing. Lots of kissing.

A Cajun cowgirl now living in Houston, she firmly believes life’s problems can be solved with a hot, sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations. She homeschools her two beautiful girls and watches way too much Food Network with her amazing husband.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and losing herself in story. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!

Find Ms. Harris here: webFacebookTwitterGoodreads




Blog Tour: The Memory Child by Steena Holmes (review)

memory child blogger

memory childThe Memory Child
written by Steena Holmes
published by Amazon Publishing

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

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

Did I enjoy this book: 
You know how sometimes you drink too much and end up with a knot in the pit of your stomach the next morning – not because you’re hung over, but because you’re certain you’ve embarrassed yourself in some unforgiveable way?  Yeah.  You know.  Your heartbeat is erratic, your breathing is all breathy and weird, and for some reason you’ve got the tingles even though you’re certain none of your limbs are asleep.  It’s not a freight train, but there’s certainly something loud and uncomfortable ricocheting around inside your skull cavity.  Eating day-old sushi or smelling that thing in the back of your refrigerator sometimes creates the same effect.

That’s what this book is like.  It’s brilliant.  It’s terrifying.  I was mostly nauseous the whole time I read it, but I promise you I gave up both food and sleep to finish it, and so should you.


Would I recommend it: I just did.

Will I read it again: I’m going to go with an utterly honest “maybe” response… it depends on the status of my mental health next time I consider it.  =)

About the book – from Goodreads: 
When Brian finds out that his wife, Diane, is pregnant, he is elated. He’s been patiently waiting for twelve years to become a father. But Diane has always been nervous about having children because of her family’s dark past. The timing of the pregnancy also isn’t ideal – Diane has just been promoted, and Brian is being called away to open a new London office for his company.

Fast-forward one year: being a mother has brought Diane a sense of joy that she’d never imagined and she’s head over heels for her new baby, Grace. But things are far from perfect: Brian has still not returned from London, and Diane fears leaving the baby for even a moment. As unsettling changes in those around Diane began to emerge, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems.

A woman’s dark past collides head-on with her mysterious present in this surreal and gripping family drama.

steena holmesAbout the author: Steena Holmes grew up in a small town in Canada and holds a bachelor’s degree in theology. She is the author of eleven novels and novellas, including Finding Emma, for which she was awarded a National Indie Excellence Book Award in 2012. She currently lives in Calgary with her husband and three daughters, and loves to wake up to the Rocky Mountains each morning.

Find Ms. Holmes here: web, blog, Facebook, Twitter, GoodreadsPinterest 



Blog Tour: Sympathetic People by Donna Baier Stein (spotlight, excerpt, giveaway)

sympatheticpeople banner

sympathetic people coverSympathetic People
written by Donna Baier Stein
published by Serving House Books

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

About the book: Both the beauty and frailty of human connections are seen in the thirteen stories collected in Sympathetic People. Here are women and men struggling to find love, meaning, happiness in marriage, adulterous affairs, art, meditation, and even the passage from life to death. Longing generated by loss is everywhere–in the death of a son, the end of a marriage, the slide from hope ignited by Neil Armstrong’s moon walk to hopelessness after President Kennedy’s death.


News Feed

The day of her son’s surgery Evelyn sat in the waiting room alone. Her ex was in Tucson with his girlfriend. She’d brought her new phone, a Samsung Galaxy S3, in from the car with her. Leaving behind one tether to the car charger and finding another in her purse.

She pulled the cell out again as soon as Jason left with a nurse.

It was only supposed to take 45 minutes. I’m worried! she wrote.

A comment appeared almost immediately, from Ruth in Rhode Island. She hadn’t seen Ruth in twenty years but they’d caught up recently thanks to Facebook.

Don’t worry! He’ll be fine.

Another comment, this one from a graphic designer she’d worked with, Monica.

What happened? Before you answer me, go ask the receptionist what’s going on. When Bailey had his surgery I bugged the hell out of anybody I could find to get updates.

Evelyn replied quickly.

I just asked her ten minutes ago. She said hand surgery takes a while, not to worry. And that the doctor might have gotten a late start. And @Monica, my son cut his hand washing a glass in the sink. Cut a nerve.

OMG. Give him my love. To you too. ©  From Monica.

Evelyn looked up when the phone in the receptionist’s office rang.

She logged off and dropped the phone in her pocket. The TV in the waiting room, was too loud and tuned into an inane morning talk show. Evelyn looked again at the receptionist who sat behind a closed glass window talking soundlessly into her headset.

She lifted her cell from her pocket again to log back on to see if anyone else had commented yet. They had:

Sending wishes for a full and speedy recovery. From Diana, a high school classmate back in the Midwest.

She rubbed her forefinger and thumb together, hard. A new habit she’d acquired since the divorce a year ago. A commercial for anti-depressants came on the tv. Primary colors, flowers blooming, an anthropomorphized sun.

Behind the glass window, the receptionist had removed her headphones. Evelyn stood; one pane of the glass window was pulled back. “Is there a problem with the surgery?” Evelyn asked, hands in her pockets.

“No, not at all. I’m sure the delay probably means the doctor had to start the procedure late. But if you’d like, I can call down and ask.”

Evelyn nodded and returned to her seat as the receptionist closed the glass panel and slid the headset on again. In a moment, the panel separating them slid open again. “No problem at all. I know it’s hard to wait when you’re the Mom.” Jason was 27 so the role of Mom was different now. She pulled out her cell again. A second comment:

Good heavens! I will keep you both in my prayers! Philip, a talented musician she’d met through a mutual friend.

Jason’s father should be here, she thought. We should be doing this together. But they weren’t.

In all 36 people sent digital wishes, prayers, reiki in the first fifteen minutes since she’d posted. 23 were friends Evelyn had spent time with in the flesh—former neighbors, work colleagues, long-distance relatives. Eight were friends she’d made through Facebook but never met in person. Five were from strangers, including one in Belgium.


“Donna Baier Stein is a discovery. Her deceptively mild story-telling veers swiftly into the savage but often unacknowledged discontent of suburban life – wives struggling with marital disappointment and missed opportunities, celebrating and often betrayed by unexpected friendships – all explored with language that engages and surprises.” – C. Michael Curtis, Fiction Editor, The Atlantic

“Ms. Baier Stein’s stories are powerful in both language and character . . . she balances a fierce wish to love and be loved with the hard reality of loss and failure, yet the yearning does not diminish. A profound accomplishment.” – Elizabeth Cox, author of The Slow Moon, The Ragged Way People Fall Out of Love

“Donna Baier Stein uncovers the sometimes heady glint of danger in relationships in a brilliantly edgy collection of stories that gets under your skin as even as it illuminates love, lust – and everything in between.” –Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Is This Tomorrow

“Donna Baier Stein writes with the grace and precision of a poet . . . here is a writer who trusts not only herself, but her readers, who will be skillfully guided into coming to their own satisfying conclusions.” –Elizabeth Berg, New York Times bestselling author, most recently of Tapestry of Fortunes

Donna SteinAbout the author: Donna Baier Stein’s writing has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Kansas Quarterly, New York Stories, Prairie Schooner, Washingtonian, many other journals and anthologies from Simon & Schuster and The Spirit That Moves us Press. Her short story collection was a Finalist in the Iowa Fiction Awards and will be published, as Sympathetic People, in 2013 by Serving House Books. She has received the PEN/New England Discovery Award for Fiction, a Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars Fellowship, Bread Loaf Scholarship, a grant from the New Jersey Council of the Arts, prizes from the Poetry Council of Virginia, two Pushcart nominations, and an Honorable Mention in the 2013 Allen E. Ginsberg Poetry Awards. Her poetry chapbook Sometimes You Sense the Difference was published in 2012 by Finishing Line Press. One of her stories was performed by Tony-award winning actress Maryann Plunkett at Playwrights Theatre in Madison, NJ. Donna was a Founding Editor of Bellevue Literary Review and founded and currently publishes Tiferet: A Journal of Spiritual Literature ( She is also an award-winning copywriter. Her website is

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

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A Guest Post by Michele Gorman

Two nations, divided by a common book cover

I’ll never forget the day I first saw the cover for my debut novel back in early 2010. My editor emailed it to me while I was waiting to meet with my agent. I was sitting in a beautiful café on Piccadilly on a sunny February day (a rare thing in London). Excitement, tinged with nerves, fizzed when I opened that image. For months I’d wondered how Penguin would package the book that I’d spent years writing and rewriting until it was as perfect as could be. Would they take the same care over the cover? Would it reflect the story, about a young American woman named Hannah who moves to London only to find that she’s completely ill-equipped to live there?

Expat Diaries UK Penguin coverIt did, and I loved it. The cover fit perfectly with the story and perfectly with the romantic comedy genre in the UK – a pretty illustrated pastel cover. It reflected Hannah’s uncertainty, swept along and buffeted by London.

Then, about a month later, my agent took me out for dinner. “You’re not going to like what I have to tell you,” she said, pushing the cake we were sharing in my direction. “Penguin wants to change the title. To Single in the City. They feel that it has broader appeal.”

SITC UK Penguin coverThat explained why she’d been plying me with wine for two hours.

It took me a few days to get used to the change, but if Penguin, one of the biggest publishers in the world, thought Single in the City was a better title, then I’d trust them. So the book got a name change, and a new cover. And I loved it even more than the first one.

Happily, so did the British reading public. Single in the City gained tens of thousands of fans and I was officially a best-seller in the UK!

So when I decided to independently publish Single in the City in the US, I worked with the cover designer who’d done my UK cover. I wanted suitcases, and a little clue that she’s American. I loved the result (and note the tiny flag).

SITC US coverMisfortune Cookie followed, and then The Twelve Days to Christmas, and the series was complete.

But the thing about being an author is that there are always things you’d like to change in your books, and as I wrote 5 more after my debut, the number of things I wanted to change grew with my experience.

I couldn’t rewrite Single in the City in the UK, because Penguin owns those rights. But I could rewrite it for the US. Misfortune Cookie and The Twelve Days to Christmas also got makeovers. Together they’re rebranded as The Expat Diaries series, as I’d originally planned way back in 2010. (For those who follow me on twitter, that’s why I’ve been @expatdiaries all along)

And just as redecorating one room can make the rest of the house look tired, knowing that the text was rewritten made the covers seem out of date. So new covers were designed and they’re the ones that I’d want to snatch off the shelf, throw myself on the sofa with a glass of wine, and devour. I hope you will to!

2014 Expat Diaries series covers

The Expat Diaries: Single in the City launches in the US on March 25th . All the books are available globally, and here’s the link.

If you’re on Facebook and/or twitter, please do come say hello – I promise to do my very best to be entertaining J







Blog Tour: Roanoke Vanishing by Auburn Seal (review, giveaway)


Roanoke Vanishing coverRoanoke Vanishing
written by Auburn Seal
published by Keys Publishing House

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, 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: 
Yes, and no, but mostly yes – I think.

I’m deeply conflicted about this book. I think the story idea is interesting. I believe Auburn Seal has really strong writing skills and a great imagination. I feel certain that we’ll see books from her in the future that are really good.

I’m not sure Roanoke Vanishing is that book, unfortunately.

I began the book expecting historical fiction. But then ghosts showed up, we had a murder mystery, we flashed back to England in the 1500’s, then a love story.

I usually like complicated books with lots of twists and turns. I’m just not sure it worked in this case. There were too many cross-genre moments. You can blend maybe historical fiction with a mystery (like National Treasure with Nicolas Cage). Or romance, murder, and ghosts if you’re really good (like Ghost with Demi Moore).

But it’s nearly impossible to mix ghosts, murder, history, romance, mystery, betrayal, etc. into one story. But she comes darn close.

She may have been able to pull it off except for one character development flaw. Avery initially lacked clear motivation to risk everything to solve this ancient mystery.

Her boyfriend broke up with her, someone broke into her house and threatened her, her professor claimed he’d fail her. And she’s too pigheaded to stop. I couldn’t figure out – and believe me I tried – what her motivation was to risk everything to solve a mediocre historical mystery.

But I have to give her points for trying. I enjoyed each story individually but as a whole the novel lacked cohesiveness.


Would I recommend it: If she makes specific revisions to tighten the novel’s focus, I think it’d be a grand slam story.

Will I read it again: And yes, I’d love to read it again.

About the book: 
What if the only thing standing between you and certain death was the spirit of someone long dead?

Avery Lane, a plucky grad student, is determined to discover the fate of the colonists from sixteenth century Roanoke. Nearly one-hundred twenty souls vanished without a trace in August 1597 and their demise has remained a mystery to world’s historical experts.  Aided by a ghost from that time, Avery is certain that she is closer than ever to the truth, but soon discovers that some people will stop at nothing to keep the secret buried. Can Avery find the answers she seeks before it’s too late?

Auburn Seal

Find Ms. Seal here: webFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads


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Book Blitz: 8 Weeks by Bethany Lopez (spotlight, giveaway)

8 weeks cover8 Weeks (Time For Love #1)
written by Bethany Lopez
published by Bethany Lopez

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

About the book: Is eight weeks enough time to earn back the love of someone you’ve betrayed…the only one you’ve ever loved?

Shelly has been in love with Cal since they started dating in eleventh grade. Despite everyone saying that the odds were against them, they got married after graduation and built a life together. Now, six years later, she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. Devastated, her first instinct is to call it quits…

After a drunken binge at his best friends’ bachelor party, Cal betrays the one person who has always been there for him, his wife, Shelly. Terrified and realizing she might divorce him, Cal must come up with a way to prove to her that his love is true…

Cal asks Shelly for eight weeks. Eight weeks to convince her that their marriage is worth the fight. Will Shelly be able to trust him again, or will their marriage end the way many others do when faced with opposition… In divorce?

8 Weeks is book 1 in the Time for Love series, but can be read as a stand alone.

About the author: Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. Since then she has published various YA and NA books. She is a lover of romance, family, and friends, and enjoys incorporating those things in what she writes. When she isn’t reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible.

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Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

divergentDivergent (Divergent #1)
written by Veronica Roth
published by Katherine Tegen Books, HarperCollins

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

Why did I pick this book: I have been wanting to read this book for awhile. I finally picked up because the movie is out this month, and I talked our book group into reading it for April.

Also, I received my copy of Divergent from the fabulous Ashley at A Cute Angle during the Books ‘n Bloggers Swap.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I did enjoy this book. I read it every free chance I had. The last half had me glued to my book. The first half took a bit to get through. I could put the book down during that and not have to pick it up again.

Tris is a fantastic heroine. She is up there with the best of them — Katniss and Hermione. (Sadly, I can only think of two right now off the top of my head.) She finds strength, power, knowledge, courage. Finds may be the wrong word. She always had it in her. She just didn’t know it. Her love interest is great. Four is such a gem. I loved the cake comment. (Read the book. You’ll understand.) They aren’t sappy and it definitely wasn’t insta-love. I got to see it develop. It was sweet.

(This next part isn’t a spoiler but it will be cryptic.) I was surprised by the ending and how fast it all wrapped up. The ending made me sad. I would have loved to know more about some people. I was surprised by the actions of some people. I wasn’t surprised by those of others. But I wish it hadn’t ended the way it did.


Would I recommend it: Absolutely.

Will I read it again: Probably, but first I want to read the rest of the series.

About the book – from Goodreads: 
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.




Review: Just Like a Musical by Milena Veen

just like a musicalJust Like a Musical
written by Milena Veen
published by Milena Veen

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

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

Did I enjoy this book:
I enjoyed parts of it, but I had some issues with the plot.

Here’s the thing, I wanted more out of this book. I get that it is short, “like a musical.” But it needed more. There was this mystery about Ruby. I didn’t quite understand why it was a big secret. It had me in suspense, then let me down. Joshua seemed like a sweet guy. I enjoyed their date to the party. They really fit together. However, there is insta-love that doesn’t fit either of these characters. Not even a little bit. These two, from what little we learn, would not fall for each other so completely, so fast.

Mrs. Wheeler was a sweet old woman with a story of her own. I wanted more from her. I enjoyed hearing about her life in movies. I wish this book were about her telling Ruby about her life and the secrets she holds. Speaking of secrets, no. Just no. I don’t think that would work out the way it did at all.


Okay, you’ve been warned because I’m going to spoil the major plot point because it is what I had the most problem with. The big secret is that Mrs. Wheeler gave up a child for adoption. Ruby goes to find said daughter, without Mrs. Wheeler’s consent or blessing or anything, because Mrs. Wheeler is dying. When Ruby and Joshua hitchhike to Oklahoma to find her. First, these two 17 year olds leave without telling their parents, with little money, and hitchhike. This does not happen nowadays. If it does, then those teens are just plain stupid. That whole sequence irritated me. It glorified, or at the very least, made it seem like hitchhiking is a safe way to travel.

Anyway, then they find Mrs. Wheeler’s biological granddaughter because her daughter died during child birth. Okay. That’s fine. My problem was the granddaughter’s reaction to finding out Ruby was there because of Mrs. Wheeler. What would this person know about the situation regarding Mrs. Wheeler and her biological daughter that gives her the right to have such an angry reaction to her. It makes no sense whatsoever. If there is a reason, it needed to be told because just the fact that Mrs. Wheeler was not a part of this woman’s life doesn’t cut it. Chances are Mrs. Wheeler never knew her biological daughter growing up, didn’t know where she was, and probably didn’t know that the daughter had a daughter. Given the time period of the adoption and the circumstances behind it, I’m guessing the adoptive parents didn’t really communicate much about it with the daughter or granddaughter. So, that whole thing kind of pissed me off.


Other than those gripes, there is potential here. It just needs more.


Would I recommend it: I don’t think I would.

Will I read it again: I will not.

About the book – from Goodreads: 
Seventeen-year-old Ruby Fields has always lived by the rules set up by her foolishly overprotective mother. As a result, she doesn’t go to school, she’s never been kissed, and almost everything she knows about life is what she has learned from old movies.

But now…now there’s this Joshua guy. He’s quirky, and he’s tall, and he uses “romantic” and “old-fashioned” in the same sentence.

And there’s Mrs. Wheeler, an eccentric retired Hollywood costume designer and Ruby’s new best friend.

When Mrs. Wheeler ends up in hospital, just after telling Ruby her long-kept secret, Ruby decides to break her mother’s rules and embark on a journey that will change her life forever.



Review: Kingdom of the Snark: Three More Snarky Tales by Melanie Hatfield

Three More Snarky Tales cover smallKingdom of the Snark: Three More Snarky Tales
written by Melanie Hatfield
published by Melanie Hatfield

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

Why did I pick this book: I did some proofreading work on this title. After that work was completed, I was asked by the author to review the book. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes. Although I was compensated for the proofreading work, it in no way affected the outcome of my review. My review is my honest opinion of the book.)

Did I enjoy this book: 
As with A Tale of Randall the Rambunctiousthese additional Snarky Tales had me laughing, smiling, and glued to the book the whole way through.

My favorite of the three tales is Tina the Terrible. I think it is my favorite because I had already read Randall the Rambunctious, and Tina is Randall’s daughter. So, I felt that connection and knew the history. With that said, I think it would be wise to read the other Kingdom of the Snark tales first so that you have that connection.

These are fun and entertaining stories that will not disappoint you.


Would I recommend it: I would, especially if you have read other Kingdom of the Snark books.

Will I read it again: Probably when I read the other Snarky Tales that these stories are related to. The sneak peak of Kingdom Smackdown at the end has me wanting more.


About the book – from Goodreads: 
Oh, brave Sir Knight! Be wary if ye venture into this second short story collection from the “Kingdom of the Snark” series. Yea, verily, one does not merely wander into the dragon’s den and emerge un-BBQ’d, but perhaps fortune shall be on ye side.

“Three More Snarky Tales” contains the following stories:

1) “A Tale of Haag the Honorable and Caleb the Calculating”: Haag the Honorable, a Quester raised in the monastery of Quaal with Renee the Righteous, is given the task of supervising Lieutenant Lival, who lost his soul and will obey any command given to him. When Haag’s childhood buddy, Caleb the Calculating, decides to have some fun with the easily manipulated lieutenant, he puts all of their lives at risk when his antics raise the deadly ire of Kirk the Smirk.

2) “A Tale of Tina the Terrible”: Tina the Terrible only has twelve years of life under her belt, so she has a lot to prove if she hopes of becoming the deadliest assassin in the Kingdom of Turrack. Anxious to move up in the profession, she challenges the man who currently holds that title to an assassin’s battle of the death. Tina quickly discovers that she is in over her head, and the death that ends the fight may be her own.

3) “A Tale of Audraine the Insane”: Audraine the Insane has lived a comfortable life from the wealth she earned from her only quest, but her heart yearns for another adventure. When Fayna the Fearless enters the Riff Raff Tavern requesting help to find a lost Quester, Audraine is eager to take up the challenge… if only Fayna were so enthusiastic to even have Audraine tag along. Desperate for a friend, Audraine sets out to prove herself while saving the day—if she does not end up in the belly of a dragon.

If that leaves ye unsatisfied, there is also a sneak preview of “Kingdom Smackdown,” being the third part of “The Righteous Trilogy” to be published later in 2014.

So kick up your boots, take of swig of ale and try to swallow these three “Snarky” tales.

“Three More Snarky Tales” is a collection of stand-alone short stories in the “Kingdom of the Snark” series. Other tales (thus far) of this adult oriented fantasy/comedy series include:

“The Quest for the Sword (Being the First Part of the Righteous Trilogy)”
“An Affair with Wizards (Being the Second Part of the Righteous Trilogy)”
“Three Snarky Tales (The First Short Story Collection)”
“Tragedy in the Wine Cellar (A Longish Short Story, Not Quite a Novella)”
“A Tale of Randall the Rambunctious (A Novella)”