Archives for December 2015

Melissa’s Review: Freya’s Inferno by Sonja Bair

Freya's Inferno (Winging It Book 1)

Freya’s Inferno 
written by Sonja Bair
published by Sonja Bair, 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: 
It sort of has a Sookie Stackhouse vibe, but with less sex. I love the idea of a political supernatural organization, and I always enjoy reading how authors put their own spin on classic supernatural characters. Bair ends her storylines a bit more cleanly than I’d like, and though I know she’s planning more books in the series, I could have done with a bit more of a conclusion. Overall, I enjoyed the read, and I think you will as well.

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Would I recommend it: Yeah, go for it.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
Freya Holm is smart, quick-witted, and an Alva—a paranormal species with the ability to fly. In a bid for a normal life outside of family expectations, she moved across the country. But within a few days of arriving in a small California town, she finds herself fighting over the last bag of lentils with an attractive but ill-tempered werewolf named David.

David Waterstone is desperate for normal, too. Recently banished from his pack, he finds himself struggling to stay sane. The presence of another supernatural power in his new town, especially one as inquisitive and lively as Freya, makes his struggle even harder.

When their new city gets besieged by an insane supernatural with a passion for Dante’s Inferno, Freya’s family sends in one of her old schoolmates. Alrik Isaksson has long been in love with Freya, but she can’t see beyond their hurtful history. Despite the tension, David, Alrik, and Freya must work together and use their intellect, supernatural powers, and sense of humor to survive the layers of Hell being created in their town by a maniac with a passion for literature.

 

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h&m online

Throwback Review – Christmas Edition: A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Woods Fisher

I just read this book last Christmas. I’ll have to read it again next Christmas.

 
A Lancaster County ChristmasA Lancaster County Christmas
written by Suzanne Woods Fisher
published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

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

Did I enjoy this book: I love Amish fiction. It has been quite a long time since I have read an Amish fiction book. I wanted an uplifting, happy, heartwarming Christmas book and that is what I got. A Lancaster County Christmas delivered a great story of hope, happiness, and perseverance.

I really enjoy the stories where the Amish learn from the English and the English learn from the Amish. Both have great lessons. Both have value. Both need each other in some circumstances. The main circumstance in this book had me on the edge of my seat. I kept hoping for a good outcome. I kept praying that it would end right. Both of the women in A Lancaster County Christmas were missing something and looking for peace and direction. Their journey is worth the read.

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Would I recommend it: If you are an Amish fiction fan, and you like heartwarming Christmas stories, you should check this one out.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
Jaime and C. J. Fitzpatrick began their married life as most couples do–in love and looking forward to a bright future together. But four years later they’ve drifted apart and are almost ready to call it quits.

Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband Sol the Christmas gift they have both longed for–news that a baby was on the way. But as usual, she is disappointed. The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big family isn’t likely to become a reality.

Then a winter storm raging outside blows the Fitzpatricks into the Riehl home–and into a much slower pace of life. Can these two couples from different worlds help each other understand the true meaning of love this Christmas?

With her trademark plot twists and attention to detail, Suzanne Woods Fisher offers readers a beautiful Christmas story of love, forgiveness, and what truly matters in life.

 

 

efchappy

Boost It Tuesday! – December 15, 2015

boost-it-TuesdayEFC

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!

 

We have a guest host this week!! Check out Brooke Blogs.

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to Brooke Blogs Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

We will be taking the rest of the month off! There will not be a Boost It Tuesday link up on December 22 or December 29. We will be boosting again on January 5! Happy Holidays, Boosters!

 

If you would like to host the giveaway on your Facebook page one week, please fill out the form below. Be sure to notice the rules.

Click Here to Sign Up to Host the Giveaway

 

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

 if these books could talk
 

efchappy

Interview: Paula Carlson, winner of the 2015 EFC Short Story Contest

 

Congratulations to Paula Carlson, winner of the 2015 EFC Short Story Contest!

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How did you come up with “Bedside Manner?” Edward Burns is one of my writing inspirations. The other influence I grew up with is O. Henry. The opening of Edward Burns’s The Brothers McMullen has stuck with me for years. The scene is Finbar (Edward Burns) standing with his mother at the grave of his recently deceased father. His mother tells Finbar she is returning to Ireland to be with the man she truly loves. I wanted to give a slight nod to Edward Burns’s Brothers and wanted to give the classic O. Henry twist. This metamorphosed itself into “Bedside Manner.”

Why do you enjoy reading and writing? Reading gives me the opportunity to go to places and meet characters that were born in another writer’s mind. I like to see how, after so many centuries of writing, there are still characters no one has dreamed up before. As for writing, it gives me non-work writing to do and allows me to work on dialogue and still use my imagination. I also like to write stories for friend’s birthdays. People are always surprised when you name a character after them.

What is your favorite genre to read? I love historical fiction. I am still messing around with a story that was originally a screenplay. Books like Leon Uris’s Trinity, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, and Cindy Brandner’s Exit Unicorns series are like candy for me because I love history, and you know they poured their hearts and research into these grand stories. Throwing the reader into history is just fascinating for me.

Who is your favorite author? That’s like asking me my favorite musician. But if I had to choose, it would be Anne Rice. She constantly mixes up her genres and is in touch with her readers. Anne has given us vampires, witches, angels, and even Jesus.

In your opinion, what is one book that everyone should read? Definitely my own opinion because not many agree with me: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. It is a great example of using your craft to hide the politics of your time. The book is a satirical look at atheistic, Stalinist Russia through the clever use of characters such as a talking, chess-playing cat, the devil, a witch, and Pontius Pilate. Again, my favorite book comes back to history and fiction. The book is ultimately about good and evil, in both the fictitious sense and what the author was dealing with in his real life in Russia while writing the story.

 

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eb (1)About the author: Paula grew up in western Pennsylvania the daughter of a WWII Veteran coal miner and nurse/hotel bellhop. Paula was heavily influenced by music and her two Brooklyn neighbors. With the initial intentions of becoming a sports physician and working for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Paula discovered that instead of chemical formulas, she had a passion for dialogue and politics, and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and political science. Paula did some travelling to Sydney and Belfast before hitting up NYU for a graduate degree in some more political science. She met and married a New York City Firefighter who grew up in NYC. Paula and her husband are both avid runners, music enthusiasts, and both volunteer at a camp for children who are burn survivors.

So what does one do with degrees in creative writing and political science? Work for the New York City Emergency Management, of course! Since 2004, Paula has been developing disaster drills and high level tabletop discussions as well as preparing for and responding to the City’s emergencies. Writing has become an important part of her career. The need to clearly communicate information is important when writing situation reports during events and evaluations and summaries following drills. It is precisely this job that made Paula re-discover writing. Long hours and stressful events call for some mental time off. Paula has two blogs to exercise her writing skills. She has both a short story blog, No Evasion to Reality, and a music blog, Paula’s Music Journey.

 

 

 

 

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Julie’s Review: A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan

A Window OpensA Window Opens
written by Elisabeth Egan
published by Simon & Schuster, 2015

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

Did I enjoy this book: 
No. I forced myself to finish this book for the sake of book club. I was also holding out hope that the plot would pick up (or develop!). No such luck. I found the character development to be lacking, with the exception of the protagonist’s father. Alice’s dad was an endearing character who added some much-needed humor to the book. Unfortunately, he left the novel too early in this reader’s opinion.

A Window Opens promised to be a modern account of a working mother trying to have it all–it fell flat with ordinary prose and a less than compelling plot.

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Would I recommend it: No. I’m fairly certain that most of my fellow book lovers would be disappointed.

 

~ Julie ~

 

About the book – from Goodreads: For fans of I Don’t Know How She Does It and Where’d You Go, Bernadette?.

In A Window Opens, beloved books editor at Glamour magazine, Elisabeth Egan, brings us Alice Pearse, a compulsively honest, longing-to-have-it-all, sandwich generation heroine for our social-media-obsessed, lean in (or opt out) age.

Like her fictional forebears Kate Reddy and Bridget Jones, Alice plays many roles (which she never refers to as “wearing many hats” and wishes you wouldn’t, either). She is a mostly-happily married mother of three, an attentive daughter, an ambivalent dog-owner, a part-time editor, a loyal neighbor and a Zen commuter. She is not: a cook, a craftswoman, a decorator, an active PTA member, a natural caretaker or the breadwinner. But when her husband makes a radical career change, Alice is ready to lean in—and she knows exactly how lucky she is to land a job at Scroll, a hip young start-up which promises to be the future of reading, with its chain of chic literary lounges and dedication to beloved classics. The Holy Grail of working mothers―an intellectually satisfying job and a happy personal life―seems suddenly within reach.

Despite the disapproval of her best friend, who owns the local bookstore, Alice is proud of her new “balancing act” (which is more like a three-ring circus) until her dad gets sick, her marriage flounders, her babysitter gets fed up, her kids start to grow up and her work takes an unexpected turn. Readers will cheer as Alice realizes the question is not whether it’s possible to have it all, but what does she―Alice Pearse―really want?

 

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Best of 2015 Giveaway Hop

best of 2015

 

Welcome to my stop on the Best of 2015 Giveaway Hop hosted by Bookhounds  and I Am A Reader!

 

I’m giving away two books. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and Plan Bea by Hilary Grossman.

 
The NightingaleThe Nightingale 
written by Kristin Hannah
published by St. Martin’s Press, 2015

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

See Gina’s 5-star review here.

About the book – from Goodreads:

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.
 
Plan BeaPlan Bea
written by Hilary Grossman
published by Booktrope, 2015

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

Read Chrissy’s 5-star review here.

About the book – from Goodreads: How well do you really know the people in your life?

Annabel O’Conner has the perfect husband, two adorable children, an amazing job, and the mother from hell! Annabel doesn’t like it but has come to terms with the fact that her relationship with her mother, Bea, deteriorated to the point of forced and strained communications. However, an unscheduled call from Bea turns her world around and makes Annabel question everything she believed about her life.

Despite the fact secrets, lies, and misplaced blame have destroyed the women’s relationship; Annabel reluctantly agrees to help Bea plan her wedding. Little does Annabel know the impact of her decision.

In this Women’s Contemporary Fiction novel, Hilary Grossman explores the complex relationship that exists between mothers and daughters in a light-hearted and relatable manner.

giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out the other blogs on the hop!!!

efchappy

Throwback Review — Christmas Edition: The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

This is one of my all-time favorite Christmas books. I try to read it every Christmas. My neighborhood book group is reading it this month.

This review originally appeared on EFC on December 3, 2011.

 

The Christmas Train
written by David Baldacci
published by Grand Central Publishing

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

Did I enjoy this book: I did. I always do. It is definitely a book that I read every free chance I get. This book has love, adventure, criminal activity, near tragedy, and it takes place at Christmas time. What more can you ask for?

The snake incident towards the end of the first half of the book always gives me a big chuckle.

The author has a good way of depicting his characters in this book. Not everyone is who they appear to be. That adds so much to this story that seems like it should be simple. Tom meets some interesting characters: Agnes Joe, a rather large woman who is one of my favorite characters especially when she elbows Tom right onto his back; Regina, a sweet woman who works for Amtrak on the Capitol Limited; Misty, the eccentric fortune teller; Father Kelly, the retired priest; Gordon Merryweather, the loud obnoxious attorney; Herrick Higgins, the laid off Amtrak train engineer; Roxanne, a loud and wonderful train worker on the Southwest Chief who is also one of my favorites. This is just a few of the many characters that formulate this story.

The only downside of this book is long descriptions about the train engines, the history of Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain), and the detailed weather information for they are sometimes too long and not needed. These tend to make the book drag on those parts. But once you get past those, all is good. (They are short passages, but drag nonetheless.)

The revelation at the end is my absolute favorite. I never see it coming. Even though I have read this book every year, it still gets me by surprise and gives me the biggest smile.

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Would I recommend it: Yes, absolutely.

 

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About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: Tom Langdon is a seasoned war correspondent who is now writing non-war related pieces. After an unfortunate experience with airport security, he is relegated to non-air travel for two years within the continental US. FUN! So, he decides to take a train ride across the country to visit his girlfriend for Christmas. And on this ride, he is going to write a story. Shocking, considering he is a writer.

The first leg of the trip, on the Capitol Limited, takes Tom Langdon from Washington, D.C. to Chicago. It starts as a fairly uneventful trip until he realizes that his ex-girlfriend..the one that go away…is on board the same train. Not only that, but her “boss”, the legendary film director Max Powers, forces the two ex-lovers to join forces in writing Tom’s story and Eleanor’s movie script about a train ride across the country. Of course, Eleanor is none too happy to see Tom. And Tom realizes the mistake he made letting Ellie out of his life.

During this first leg, Tom learns a lot about people and train travel. But while the train is a place where most people lose their inhibitions to an extent, it seems that it is also an ideal place for crime. A theft epidemic occurs and just about everyone on board is hit. Tom is also coaxed into being the best man for Steve who is planning on marrying his fiance, Julie, on the Southwest Chief. Steve’s parents do not approve of the marriage and at one point, when Steve is ready to call it off, Tom lays in to him with a speech that he could have said to himself when he let Eleanor get away.

The second leg of the trip, on the Southwest Chief, will take Tom from Chicago to Los Angeles. This leg is much, much more eventful. The thief also boards this train and more thefts occur. Eleanor, Max, Agnes, Misty, Father Kelly, and Kristobal are also on the Southwest Chief. Tom and his travel companions meet Roxanne, a member of the Southwest Chief crew. She is loud, a fantastic singer, and a great leader.

During this trip, a vicious snow storm is brewing and will hit the Southwest Chief’s path. Herrick Higgins is on board the Chief and he knows that the weather is not good and there will be trouble. The young couple, Steve and Julie, get married. Tom is the best man and Eleanor is the maid of honor. The wedding goes off without a hitch and it is a rocking good time thanks to Max and Roxanne.

While on the Raton Pass, the avalanche hits. Will they survive? Will the train plummet down the mountain side? What will happen to Tom and Eleanor?

I’m not going to spoil it for you. Read it…you will like it.

efchappy

Boost It Tuesday! – December 8, 2015

boost-it-TuesdayEFC

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 Every Free Chance Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

If you would like to host the giveaway on your Facebook page one week, please fill out the form below. Be sure to notice the rules.

Click Here to Sign Up to Host the Giveaway

 

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

 if these books could talk
 

efchappy

Blog Tour: Shadows of Angels by L.G. Rollins (Melissa’s review)

Shadows of Angels Blog Tour Image
Shadows of Angels

Shadows of Angels
written by L. G. Rollins
published by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Dec. 8, 2015

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

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

Did I enjoy this book: 
I really like this book. It’s got all sorts of the awesome things I love–magic, hidden royalty, secrets, and quests–and it doesn’t disappoint. There’s enough plot to keep me interested without being overwhelming, and the world-building is quite lovely. I’m in love with the idea of not one but TWO female protagonists, and I’m enamored with how Rollins manages to write each woman’s unique strengths. I’ll admit I started off liking Aerbrin more than Hilfawn, but I think Hilfawn’s strength is a bit harder to come by than Aerbrin’s. I’m going to keep my eye on her in the sequel (there’s going to be a sequel, right? I hope, I hope!).

I had only a few little issues–one was that I found myself tripping over name pronunciations (Guiltmult doesn’t exactly roll off one’s tongue). Also, and perhaps this is a problem that will be fixed in the final printing (I was given an ARC), I thought the characters fell out of, well, character every so often. It’s subtle, but I get stuck on just a few of the lines–ones where I honestly think Rollins didn’t realize she was using slang. I wish I’d have bookmarked an example, but listen, my daughter is teething and I’m currently trying my hardest to pretend I’m not sick (I’m not sick, I’m not sick, I don’t have time to get sick). Sorry.

 

GOLDEN LINE

“Life is a fairytale — it just isn’t always a happy one.”

 

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Would I recommend it: Yeah, go for it!

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
After the forest dwellers destroy her home and kill her father, Aerbrin sets off on a journey to find the truth about her people, her kingdom, and the mysterious Zaad stone that contains a power she never imagined. Magic and mystery join forces in this intriguing fantasy world. Full of shifting alliances and twists you won’t see coming, it’s a can’t-miss read.

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Stay calm, her father’s words echoed in her head. When you find yourself in danger, above all, stay calm. Aerbrin took a deep, steady breath and leaned down, reaching for her bow. one of the Forest Dwellers charged. It collided with her and knocked her to the floor. Raising a knotted fist, he bashed her head.

Sparks exploded across her vision. She tried to raise an arm, tried to call out. Her body wouldn’t respond. The Forest Dwellers grunted again. The creature above her raised its fist again. She looked up. This was the end, she knew. When these monsters attacked, they killed everything. Animals, plants, and particularly humans. No one survived.

Closing her eyes, Aerbrin forced her body to relax. This time, there was no pain.

About the author: L.G. Rollins grew up in a far off land fighting dragons, stealing talismans, and traveling with dwarfs and elves. She is especially skilled at bribing giants with sweets. Currently, her husband and four kids live in Utah so that is where she spends most of her time. She may, or may not, have a Zaad Stone. To learn more about L. G. Rollins and her books visit LGRollins.com.

Shadows of Angels comes out December 8th and is the beginning of the Zaad Stone trilogy.

Find Ms. Rollins here: web, Facebook, Pinterest

 

 

efchappy

 

The EFC Writer – Comma Splices

 

Welcome to the EFC Writer—a series of quick, easily digestible writing tips based on some stuff EFC Services editor Melissa Ruiz is seriously annoyed you’re still doing (or not doing, as the case may be). 

 

TODAY’S TOPIC: Comma Splices

Listen, I know. You’re in the zone. You’re on a roll. You’re so wrapped up in getting to the end of the chapter before you lose track of what the hero is going to do that you forget to stop your sentence. It happens. That’s why we edit, right? RIGHT. But let’s make sure we’re editing correctly, eh, people?

A comma splice is a run-on sentence someone tried to fix with a comma. They look like this:

I couldn’t figure out what to say, I was speechless.

Melissa loves watching Dr. Who, Chrissy does not watch it. 

Kudos to you for realizing you needed to do something, but a comma isn’t going to cut it. To fix a comma splice, just up your punctuation game to either a period or a semicolon:

I couldn’t figure out what to say; I was speechless. 

Melissa loves watching Dr. Who. Chrissy does not watch it. 

 

FOR GRAMMAR GEEKS:

“Run-ons result from two or more independent clauses joined into one sentence that lacks punctuation or conjunctions. . . . People often speak in run-on sentences, where they are less noticed because the speaker usually pauses and changes his tone in verbal speech. . . . Considered errors of punctuation, run-ons should always be corrected.” (Robbins, Lara M., Grammar & Style at Your Fingertips, Alpha 2007, 78)

“A comma splice is a run-on sentence that’s joined by a comma even though stronger punctuation is necessary to correct the sentence.” (Robbins, Lara M., Grammar & Style at Your Fingertips, Alpha 2007, 79)

 

MERRIAM-WEBSTER DEFINITION:

run–on:
adjective:
:  continuing without rhetorical pause from one line of verse into another :  characterized by enjambment — contrasted with end-stopped

 

Further Reading/Sources: Grammar & Style at Your Fingertips by Lara M. Robbins

Have a suggestion or request for an EFC Writer topic? Want to complain about something? Want more info about EFC Services?

E-mail me: everyfreechance@gmail.com with EFC Writer in the subject line.

 

melissasig

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