Archives for May 2015

Armchair BEA 2015 – Day 4: Giveaway and Book-to-Movie Adaptations

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Book to Movie Adaptions: What books do you want to be made into a movie or television show? What are some of your favorites? We’ll explore more about this topic, especially what works and what doesn’t.  Are there any upcoming shows or movies that you’re excited for? What are your recommendations?

I think book to movie or tv show adaptations can be tricky. There are so many that disappointed me. The one that sticks out in my mind is the Eragon film. The book was so much better than what they were able to create for the silver screen.  Not to mention they changed so many things that the whole film was a train wreck.

Recently, one of my favorite book series has been turned into a television series on STARZ. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon could not have been done in film form. It’s absolutely the perfect book series to be done for TV. The actors and the costumes are brilliant. I feel like I have been transported in time when I watch it. The writers for the series have been in touch with Diana, which I think is important and have given the fans of the books what they wanted. Sure there are some disappointments I’m sure, but as a lover of the books and a viewer, I have no complaints.

One of the films I am very curious about is The Scorch Trials. It is the second film based on the books by James Dashner. The first film had some differences that I didn’t love and already I can see from the trailer from The Scorch Trials there have been changes. I’m really hoping that they find some way of bringing together the characters and action sequences that I loved from The Scorch Trials. What I also hope is that there is better chemistry between the cast. There were so many times I felt that the interactions were truly awkward during The Maze Runner. And I think that’s the challenge for everyone involved with a film or TV series from a book, you have to find a way to please not only the age group you’re making it for but the avid readers.




It is the end of another wonderful Armchair BEA, and that means it’s time for a giveaway!! I’m giving two prizes–one is a tote bag filled with a few of our favorite reads. (It will be a surprise, but you’ll love it! This one is open to the US only.) The other prize will be a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or $25 in books from the Book Depository if you are an international winner!!!

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Armchair BEA 2015 – Day 3: Character Chatter and Blogging Q&A



Character Chatter-It’s time to give your favorite characters some love! Characters are essential to a story, and they can make or break a book for some readers. Now’s your chance to shine the spotlight on your favorite characters, or maybe your least favorite. Who’s your favorite couple? What are the components of a well-written character? What are you favorite or least favorite cliches associated with characters?

Dear Bad Guy,

Yeah, I know you’ve got an evil plan. I know you’ve spent months, possibly years, of your fictional life plotting, scheming, and scheduling countless nefarious activities, but let’s be honest with each other, shall we? I ALREADY KNOW. I’ve been reading your story now for a couple hundred pages, and I’m not a moron. I’ve picked up on your motivations, your deep-seated emotional scars, your wounded childhood. I know you’re complicated. But listen. I’ve got about ten minutes to sit and read your story before I’ve got to rescue the baby from drowning himself in the toilet, make sure dinner’s on the table, drive the toddler to gymnastics, and make sure my husband’s lucky boxers are clean for his business trip in the morning. I don’t have time for you to rehash your entire evil scheme ten pages before the end of the book. I don’t know for certain, but I’m fairly sure you’re only delaying the inevitable: the hero is going to sneakily untie his restraints and blast you with his ultrasonic save-the-day gun while you’re talking. You’re going to lose, and I’ve got STUFF to do, okay?  So just SHUSH. Please?

Love, Melissa


Blogging Q&A-Blogging 101. All kinds of tips and tricks to get you started or keep you going. Talk about ARCs, reviewing in general, web design, etc.  What blogging platform do you use? How do you network? What are some of your favorite web designs?  Or maybe you want to talk about your own blogging journey, and how you got to where you are now. Either way, we want you to share your knowledge with the rest of the community!

I will not tell you “how to blog” or “the rules of blogging” because there is no right or wrong way to blog, and there are no rules set in stone concerning blogging. (And, yes, there are a few exceptions–don’t plagiarize, and if you use affiliate links or have received a book or product from free in exchange for a review, tell everyone that.) I’ve read a lot of posts over the years that say you must do this, you must do that, you can’t do this, you should never do that. You know what? Your blog is your space. Do what works best for you. (I’ve seen quite a few posts that say that as well.) I can only tell you what worked for us here at EFC.

When I decided to start blogging, I spent a month or so reading other blogs. I read mainly book blogs because I knew I wanted to start a book blog, but I also read mommy blogs, food blogs, life blogs–you get the point. I saw how other blogs were designed, their layouts, the content, you name it. I took it all in and then developed “my” blog and how I wanted it. I started on Blogger because it was free and because I didn’t want to completely commit until I knew I was going to take the blog somewhere. Now, I’m with WordPress, self-hosted, and I haven’t looked back. Over the years, we have added reviewers, features, blog tours, etc., and we have backed away from features, tours, etc. You learn and change as you go. You have to do what works best for you and go for it.

If you have any questions about blogging, or if you want to know more about what we do (or have done) here at EFC, please comment or email or find me on Facebook or Twitter. I would be happy to chat with you about it. I will help in any way I can. That’s one thing I love about this community, most bloggers and authors will help each other out, give advice, or just be there for one another. It’s fantastic.




Summer Reading Challenge: The Grown Ups by Robin Antalek (Chrissy’s review)


The Grown UpsThe Grown Ups
written by Robin Antalek
published by William Morrow Paperbacks, 2015

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

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review. And this is how my book arrived:


Did I enjoy this book: 
I did enjoy The Grown Ups. And I did something I rarely do anymore–I took my time reading it.

This is the first coming-of-age book that centers around characters who are my age . . . maybe a few years younger. But I could relate to them. I understood the time they grew up. I got the parents. I got the circumstances. The story is told from multiple characters’ points of view. Each chapter tells you which character we are focusing on and what year it is. This helps tremendously. Sometimes mixed POVs can be confusing, but this book works. And I like reading what everyone is going through at different stages of the same time period. It was done well. I liked all of the characters, and I disliked them at a few points. It was just a good read to make you think about your own life and memories.

The Grown Ups was a great read full of ups and downs, loves, life, everything.



Would I recommend it: Yes, I would recommend The Grown Ups.

About the book – from Goodreads: 
From the author of The Summer We Fell Apart, an evocative and emotionally resonant coming-of-age novel involving three friends that explores what it means to be happy, what it means to grow up, and how difficult it is to do both together

The summer he’s fifteen, Sam enjoys, for a few secret months, the unexpected attention of Suzie Epstein. For reasons Sam doesn’t entirely understand, he and Suzie keep their budding relationship hidden from their close knit group of friends. But as the summer ends, Sam’s world unexpectedly shatters twice: Suzie’s parents are moving to a new city to save their marriage, and his own mother has suddenly left the house, leaving Sam’s father alone to raise two sons.

Watching as her parents’ marital troubles escalate, Suzie takes on the responsibility of raising her two younger brothers and plans an early escape to college and independence. Though she thinks of Sam, she deeply misses her closest friend Bella, but makes no attempt to reconnect, embarrassed by the destructive wake of her parents as they left the only place Suzie called home. Years later, a chance meeting with Sam’s older brother will reunite her with both Sam and Bella – and force her to confront her past and her friends.

After losing Suzie, Bella finds her first real love in Sam. But Sam’s inability to commit to her or even his own future eventually drives them apart. In contrast, Bella’s old friend Suzie—and Sam’s older brother, Michael—seem to have worked it all out, leaving Bella to wonder where she went wrong.

Spanning over a decade, told in alternating voices, The Grown Ups explores the indelible bonds between friends and family and the challenges that threaten to divide them.





Armchair BEA 2015 – Day 2: Visual Expressions and Social Media



Visual Expressions–There are so many ways to tell stories. Whether it’s comic books, graphic novels, visual novels, webcomics, etc, there are quite a lot of other mediums to tell a story. On this day, we will be talking about those books and formats that move beyond just words and use other ways to experience a story.

You know what? I’m going to talk about memes. Yeah, I know–there isn’t much writing (or reading) involved, but if you spend enough time on the Internet, you know exactly how a little penguin on a blue background is supposed to make you feel. You know as soon as you see the guy dressed in brown with his hat on backwards that you’re about to read a tidbit about someone being an a**hole. You know the little green square with the dinosaur inside means you’re reading someone’s deep, “philosoraptor-y” thoughts.

Memes aren’t exactly, um, literature, but let’s face it–they’re pretty gosh darn accessible, and even if it’s only a few words, they’re a way people (even non-writers) express themselves through writing. Flash fiction in a .jpeg, anyone? Memes are concise little bites of word and image that prove a familiar picture, and in some cases even just a color, is a powerful method of expression.


Social Media–How do you use social media to expand your blogging/writing horizons?  Social Media is all about networking and connections, and utilizing today’s technology to the fullest.

There are so many different social media outlets–Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads, to name a few. It’s hard to know which to choose and which to stay active on. For me, I interact the most on Facebook and Twitter. I post my reviews to Goodreads and Pinterest. I also post non-bookish things on Pinterest as well. One thing that I really enjoy on Pinterest is looking at authors’ character boards and other book-related boards. It’s fun to see the inspiration for their stories.

Social media is a must for any blogger or writer. You have to be able to connect with one another. Without it, where will your blog go? Who will find out about your book? What fun would you have? Didn’t you start your blog to chat about books with other bibliophiles? I know that without it, EFC wouldn’t be as popular as it is, and I wouldn’t have the blogger and author friends that I am so close to. And without social media, EFC wouldn’t have the followers whom I love interacting with and chatting about wonderful bookish things.

The bottom line: choose something, get active, and have fun!!!

Please connect with me! I would love to chat!!! Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads




Armchair BEA 2015 – Day 1: Introductions and Library Love



Introductions: We have to answer a few questions about ourselves to kick off this year’s Armchair BEA!


How long have you been blogging? How did you get into blogging? I have been blogging for almost 4 years. I can’t believe it’s been 4 years; the time has truly flown by. I started blogging because I love to read, obviously, and because I wanted to see what I could do with it. I wanted to see where, if anywhere, it would take me. And, boy, has it taken me places!! 


Why do you love reading and blogging? I have always loved reading, ever since I was young. I love that you can get lost in the pages of book–entering a new world and getting wrapped up in a story. I love blogging because I love to share my thoughts about the books I read. I love it when someone reads a book because I recommended it. I love it when I can get into a “debate” about a book with another book lover. And I love that I have made so many friends from across the country and around the world. It is truly amazing. 


What book are you reading right now? I am reading “The Grown Ups” by Robin Antalek. I should be finished soon.  


What is your theme song? I’ve got a 3-year-old. If Daniel Tiger sings it, so do I (usually nine or ten thousand times a day) :::singing::: “If you have to go potty, STOP, and go right away. . .”

What does diversity mean to you? It means that most of the things we’re worried about aren’t that important. Skin color? Little deal. A boy whose favorite color is pink? So what? A family comprised of two moms or two dads? Meh. Atheism? Feminism? A language <gasp> other than English? NO. BIG. DEAL. We, the human race, have a lot of chilling out to do. Celebrating diversity (and realizing how much energy we’re wasting on trivialities) is a step in the right direction.


What is one book everyone should read? You know what? I don’t care what you read . . . I just really, really hope you do.


Library Love–Librarians are awesome. Not only are they helpful, they’re very fun to talk to and give great recommendations. Show your library some love, and the wonderful men and women that run it. Why is your library fantastic? Got any funny stories? Feature your library on your blog? Do an interview with a librarian?


My children and I are in LOVE with libraries! In fact, we often frequent several different libraries, which each excel at slightly different things. One offers wonderful programs like StoryTime, Parachute Play, Preschool Dance Parties, and Reading to a Therapy Dog. We travel a little farther to experience these awesome programs that promote learning, exploration, and most importantly, FUN! Some of the other libraries have much better children’s book collections, and some are just close to home (best for the times when you can’t stand reading that book ONE MORE TIME and you need a new one to replace it). One of my favorite things about visiting different libraries is that my children get to meet and play with a more diverse group of children and are not stuck in the same socioeconomic station as dictated by where we live. Visiting the library is one of our favorite fun activities, and I know that my children are learning and growing as well as gaining an appreciation for a lifelong love of reading!



Chrissy’s Review: The Definition of Icing by Aven Ellis

The Definition of IcingThe Definition of Icing (A Dallas Demons Hockey Romance)
written by Aven Ellis
published by Soul Mate Publishing, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) AmazonGoodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
When Ms. Ellis asked me to review her newest release, she warned me that I would want to eat chocolate while reading this book. Well, I’ve never wanted chocolate infused with curry more than I have while reading Kenley and Nate’s story. So many things to say “Yummmm” about in this book!

Seriously, though, this is another goal from Ms. Ellis. (Sorry, that was my lame attempt at a hockey reference!) 🙂 I have loved every one of Ms. Ellis’s books so far, and this one didn’t disappoint.

I loved Kenley from the very beginning. She is strong, confident, and won’t take any crap from anyone. She’s beautiful, too, but she doesn’t use her beauty to her advantage. Ever. And Nate . . . oh, Nate. He gives Harrison a run for his money. (If you don’t know Harrison, go read Waiting for Prince Harry. I’ll wait. Here’s my 5-star review.) I loved Nate from the very beginning. The way he stood up for Kenley . . . swoon!

Besides the loveable-likeable-relateable characters, Ms. Ellis’s stories all connect in some way. There are always references to and appearances from characters from previous books, and of course, Connectivity plays a part in every story. (Wondering about Connectivity? Go read that book. I’ll wait. My review will be up next week.) The story as a whole has some ups and downs, a few moments where I wanted to have a few words with both Kenley and Nate, and some moments that had me grinning from ear to ear. And plenty of moments that will make you swoon and laugh out loud. Fantastic.


Would I recommend it: Yes!!! If you love Aven’s books, why haven’t you read this one yet? If you haven’t had the joy of reading Aven’s books yet, what are you waiting for?


About the book – from Goodreads: 
Kenley Hunter finally has everything sorted out. Fresh from studying chocolate making in Europe, she’s gambling everything on her new business, Confection Consultations. While pursuing her passion of chocolate, Kenley discovered people seek her knowledge. They see past the exterior and fall for the chocolate delights in front of them.

All Kenley wants in life is people to take her seriously, to see the person on the inside rather than the blond beauty on the outside. While pursuing her passion of chocolate, Kenley discovered people seek her knowledge. They see past the exterior and fall for the chocolate delights in front of them.

So with work as her focus, Kenley is ready to start her career in Dallas. Men are out of her recipe, because she fears that once they get past her looks, they’ll be disappointed in what they find. Kenley decides she’s all about the chocolate now.

Or is she?

Because a chance meeting with new Dallas Demon hockey star Nate Johansson might change everything. Sent to Dallas in a blockbuster trade, Nate is somewhere he doesn’t want to be, for reasons that have caused him heartbreak on multiple levels. Nate knows he will never trust a woman again after what happened to him in Minnesota.

But when he meets a woman with an intriguing name and a passion for chocolate, Nate isn’t so sure about his theory. And he might just learn a definition of icing other than the one used in hockey with Kenley as his guide…




Boost It Tuesday! – May 26, 2016


Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!


What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.


Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster


As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!


For this week’s giveaway, head over to the If These Books Could Talk Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!


Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!

 if these books could talk


Blog Tour: The Predictions by Bianca Zander (Melissa’s review)

The Predictions

The Predictions
written by Bianca Zander
published by William Morrow & Company

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

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
As someone who doesn’t usually go for love story-type novels, I was pleasantly surprised. I agreed to read this book to shake myself out of a reading funk (there’s only so much alien-dystopian-fantasy a gal can take), and it did the trick. The ending was just a touch too “happily ever after” for me, but then, I’m giantly pregnant and therefore generally cranky toward everything right now, so it very well could just be me.

I love the characters, and to be honest, I had more than a few flashbacks to my college days (long-haired boys in bands? Yes, please!). I love that Zander keeps the story going long enough for readers to see what we all figure out eventually: life continually evolves, and that’s okay. That’s the way it should be.


Would I recommend it: It’s a decent book. Give it a whirl . . . everybody could use a happy ending every now and again.

About the book – from Goodreads: 
From the author of the acclaimed The Girl Below comes a stunning novel of one woman’s attempt to outrun the destiny that is predicted for her, moving from a remote New Zealand commune in the waning days of 1970s free-love experimentation to the heady music scene of 1980s London.

Gaialands, a bucolic vegan commune in the New Zealand wilderness, is the only home fifteen-year-old Poppy has ever known. It’s the epitome of 1970s counterculture–a place of free love, hard work, and high ideals…at least in theory. The reality is complicated and sometimes fraught, especially as its children reach adolescence. Poppy is drawn to handsome sixteen-year-old Lukas, who’s increasingly skeptical of Gaialands and the adults who shape its rules.

To help ‘heal’ the commune’s energy, new arrival Shakti harnesses her divination powers in a Predictions ceremony. All of Gaialands’ teenagers receive a card outlining their futures. Poppy, predicted to find her true love overseas, joins Lukas when he follows his dream of starting a punk rock band first in Auckland and then on to London, where punk has given way to 80s pop and hair metal. Struggling simply to survive as they navigate the city’s squats, pubs, and burgeoning clubs, she and Lukas drift apart. Poppy finds a life that looks very like the one her prediction promised, but is it the one she truly wants? And if not, can she define her own happiness, even if it takes her in unanticipated directions?

The Predictions is a mesmerizing, magical novel of fate, love, mistakes, and finding your place.


Bianca ZanderAbout the author: Bianca Zander is British-born but has lived in New Zealand for the past two decades. Her first novel, The Girl Below, was a finalist for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, and she is the recipient of the Creative New Zealand Louis Johnson New Writers’ Bursary and the Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship, recognizing her as one of New Zealand’s eminent writers. She is a lecturer in creative writing at the Auckland University of Technology.

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



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Story Time with Sara: Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough


Duck in the  TruckDuck in the Truck
written by Jez Alborough
published by Harper Collins, 2000

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

Did I enjoy this book:
 Uhm, all the yes! Duck in the Truck was one of the first books that we took out from the library when we started going when my son was just under 2 years old, and he loved it then and still enjoys it now over a year later! In fact, we have checked this book out so many times that he “helps” me read it because he has the whole thing memorized!

The story and the rhymes are fun and silly and my child loves to pretend to be “stuck in the muck” just like duck’s truck! The illustrations are entertaining and colorful and help us follow along as the animals work on solving the duck’s stuck in the yucky muck truck problem. I enjoy reading this fun little story too.

Would I recommend it: Yes, I would! This is a quick little story that my son asks me to read again and again, and I don’t even mind. It is fun and silly, and we both usually erupt into giggles before the end! Pick it up and enjoy your own little one’s giggles!


About the book – from Goodreads: Duck’s truck is stuck in the muck.Who will help him out?

First, frog lends a hand. Then sheep helps push, too. But duck’s truck won’t come unstuck! Can anyone help him get out of the muck? Or is duck out of luck?

Find out in this rollicking read-aloud by the inimitable Jez Alborough.



Book Club Recap: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


There was so much to talk about when it came to The Girl on the Train. Everyone seemed to have lots to say, and they did enjoy the book. I think it makes things more interesting when a book is good and worthy of discussion. Also, it helps when there is delicious food and wine to go around. I was probably three glasses in by the time we got around to discussing the book, and for some reason, alcohol always makes my thoughts flow better.

The one point that sticks out in my mind is whether or not the character Megan slept with her therapist. There were a few of us, myself included, that thought there were some unethical relations going on between doctor and patient. Then there were other women in the club that said there was no record in the book of it happening. One of the women finally researched online to find that there was no record either way but other book clubs were like ours: they were split down the middle as to whether or not Megan was sleeping with the man who was to be helping her professionally. However, many women agreed with me that the therapist sounded hot and that we wouldn’t hold it against Megan for having a romantic notion. So if anyone has read this book and wants to weigh in on the topic please feel free to because I am curious to know what you think.

We also talked about how emotions and scents can help people remember things. Rachel, the alcoholic character, always seemed to get blackout drunk and it caused her pain. I thought that hypnosis would have helped her locate the memories that she desperately wished to remember.

These discussions lead us to a fellow member’s dilemma with the 24-year-old babysitter that believed in mermaids. Well, obsessed over is more like it. Now I am very open-minded when it comes to these sorts of things. I read fiction. I think there is definitely a possibility that there are mermaids, fairies, Big Foot, and aliens. Why not? Then we took the discussion further to mediums and ghosts. Honestly, it was a deep conversation that really showed me different sides of my fellow book lovers. We all come from different backgrounds and yet a lot of us feel the same way about certain topics.

And we also all agreed that the murderer in this novel was CRAZY.

This book won’t disappoint. We were all entertained, and I think that’s what helped us pick May’s book, which is Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.


The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train
written by Paula Hawkins
published by Riverhead Books, 2015

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

Check out Gina’s review here!

About the book – from Goodreads: A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.


If you belong to a book group, please tell us about what you’re reading in the comments.

If you would like to join this feature, please feel free to do so by posting your own Book Club Recap and linking it in the comments.