Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Review& Giveaway: Dangled Carat by Hilary Grossman

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Booktrope Editions (July 24, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1620154641
  • ISBN-13: 978-1620154649

For every girl who wondered if she should love him or dump him..... For every girl who listened to her heart instead of her friends advice.... For every girl who l wondered if she was wasting her time dating that guy.... meet Hilary.... She had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship--why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose. But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realize how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn't ready--and their friends' meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year's Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point. For anyone who has ever dated a commitment-phobe, who has found their patience wearing thin with the one they love, or who has sat around wondering if he is ever going to pop the question while trying to remain the very picture of patience and grace, Hilary's humorous and honest story will hit home.

Meet the Author:  Hilary Grossman
Hi! I am Hilary!
I dated a guy so commitment-phobic that I was able to write a book about our relationship! I am also the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer and live on Long Island.
here are some random facts about me....
* I am a klutz... I walk into walls and fall off my shoes (flats too - not only the skyscraper heels)
* I have an unhealthy addiction to denim... Oh, and add shoes to my addiction list while you are at it please...
* I am the worst singer imaginable. When I was a waitress, I would get tipped extra not to sing happy birthday!
* I am a righty, but I can also write with my left hand. When I was little, I also taught myself how to write with my foot.
* I used to be a very shy and quiet girl....But, wow, did that ever change
* I love to laugh, and find humor in the every day
* My life long dream was to write a book. Now my dream is         a reality. I hope you like it!                                  XOXO,   Hilary

My Review:   I am one of the very very fortunate few people who met my soul mate at 20 and was married young enjoying our lives happily ever after.  That clarification being said I can still completely relate with many portions of this book.  Insecurities NEVER go away...they just adapt and while this doesn't mean you don't love or trust someone it really means you simply need reassurances sometimes.  I have my perfect match who knows my cycles of madness and is able to tame the wildness in me if my mind begins to wander just like the characters in Dangled Carat.  I found this book to be written extremely well and detailed above my normal reading materials.  I only got lost one time when switching between the current and a "flashback" memory but was able to reread the last paragraph and figure it out with ease.  I began this book 11 hours ago and while constantly interrupted was still able to finish it tonight.  I was enthralled and wanted to know if their relationship would make it with all the meddling friends and family.  I was also able to relate to the situation of the character Marc and see a perspective I hadn't before.  My husband has a friend EXACTLY like this and it was years before we met his girlfriend who is now luckily his wife.  At times we still continue to struggle to understand his reluctance to talk about anything in depth, but I am understanding through this book it isn't likely done to keep us at a distance, but is something he is just habit after so many years and they are hard to break.  

To be honest, I received this book for review and simply by the cover and overview wasn't overly excited to begin.  However, after reading it I am thankful I did.  Dangled Carat was a great read and kept me interested from start to finish.  Without a doubt I would read this book again.  

I give it a 5 out of 5 as it was such a vivid world and I felt a part of it.  well done!

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Views expressed are those of Two Children and a Migraine and not influenced in anyway.  A book was supplied for review purposes only and no compensation was received for this post. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Pinch of Nostalgia a Hint of Creativity a Load of Determination: The Ingredients to Writing a Successful Novel by Jessica Ashley Dafoe

While reflecting on my journey from intentional hopes of writing a novel to the end result of actually having it completed and ready for publishing, I've attempted to mentally note the ingredients needed to bring it all about. I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to writing, I'm not a grammatical genius, I don't have the intrinsic and unparalleled ability to write a whole work in iambic pentameter or sing-songy sonnets. Holden Caulfield, Elizabeth Bennet, Dorian Gray, my characters are not. But they are mine and are a representation of the facets of life that make me smile and motivate me, daily.

I enjoy finding humour in the everyday, in random situations such as the moment I fall face down on the subway stairs and the majority of the manic crowd scurries and hurdles around or over me, all aside from a young boy who helps me up with a cheeky grin on his face as if to say, "Get it together, lady." I brush off my ensemble, pick up my purse, thank him with a sheepish demeanor and swallow my pride, thankful that I didn't become a tread-marked victim.

I also incorporate emotion and am inspired by what I witness around me; A gentle exchange between a couple at an adjacent table to my own, tears shed over excitement or sadness in a given moment by a friend or acquaintance. I delve into my own experience and, just as an actor does when attempting to get into character, I find myself drawing on past moments in order to relate to the possible emotions experienced by my characters in a created scenario. It's through this vulnerability and by chucking the fear aside of revisiting possibly negative, emotionally charged moments that the best descriptions are created. The characters come to life and are made identifiable, made real. Fear masks creativity. Rip that mask off and just give 'er. Let go and create.
Of course the most pertinent ingredient which allowed this creative spark to result in a full manuscript involved one trait that often is a bit absent from my days, unless a sizable fire is lit under my, by times, lazy  and sizable backside. In the past, when expected to complete a task, of course determination is cranked to the max. However, when I have expected something of myself, ' fits and bursts that dwindle to nothingness' is the more appropriate way to describe its presence in my days.

Determination has been the key to the entire project. Of course some talent or skill is required, of course a creative spark and remaining in touch with experience is necessary, but without the big D, a project like this would be sunk before it ever began sailing.
Fearless determination with a hint of creativity, a pinch of nostalgia and perhaps a dab of wit, a titch of an appreciation for the lighter side of things, a smattering of zeal, a peppering of homegrown nuttiness and a talent with words; there you have it, the ingredients for a debut novel or any creative project YOU want to get underway.

It's all about the big D! (Get your minds out of the gutter, determination, determination, determination.)

Book Review and Giveaway: The Tantalizing Tale of a Bitter Sweetheart - Champagne Wishes and Cupcake Dreams by Jessica Ashley Dafoe

Successful, lucky in love, taking the world by storm?.....not quite. Portia Delaney is down on her luck, disgruntled in a deadend, mind- numbing career with little prospects and is not even close to finding a stimulating romance to take her mind off her lack-luster situation. Her defeatist attitude and unmistakable idiosyncrasies don't help much either. But with rock bottom comes a choice, lie down and enjoy the cold and barren ground beneath, or climb that ladder of success to the top. Portia finally sets out to do just that. With a fantastic group of friends and a bit of fateful circumstance on her side, she begins her trek up and out of the despair filled trenches. But Portia soon finds out that with success, often comes hardships and unwelcome competition.
Buy the Book:   Amazon

Jessica Ashley Dafoe resides in Toronto where she is an educator by day and a literary enthusiast and writer by night. She attained her BA in English Literature at The University of Ottawa and her B Ed at Brock and Queen’s University. 

When Jessica does not have her nose in a book or is not scribbling out her ideas for her newest tantalizing tales, she's most likely keeping busy trying out various exciting activities and delicious cuisine that the great city of Toronto has to offer or planning her next getaway to her immediate destination of choice. The travelling bug bites her often.

 A romantic comedy addict to the core, she enjoys all things silly, frivolous and emotionally endearing which is the reason she writes stories that encompass all of these qualities. 

 visit her blog

Review:    I am not a very fashion forward person and have never traveled to Europe, but figured that I would be able to relate to most of the story.  I enjoyed her characters exploration and self evolution.  I am also currently partaking on a similar journey (just not in fashion).  I loved the character of Nina and would embrace her as a friend too!  I liked how so many different women with such different backgrounds and interests were such a close knit group of gals.  I also could relate to the sad reality of one of the girls (Angelica) going sour and her life falling to pieces.  I think this book was well written and other then the errors in formatting (I am not certain it isn't simply the ebook translator or ereader I am using).  It would be a delightful read to anyone looking for a book on new beginnings.  I give this book a 3.5 out of 5.

Views expressed are those of Two Children and a Migraine and have not been influenced in anyway.  A review copy was supplied for review purposes and no compensation was received for this post.