Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review and #Giveaway: When Girlfriends Let Go by Savannah Page

  • File Size: 678 KB
  • Print Length: 537 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Pearls and Pages (December 19, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
A novel about love, self-discovery, and realizing sometimes you have to let go. 

Jackie Kittredge is the consummate drama queen living the charmed life. She’s enthusiastic, outspoken, and is always looking for a good time. At twenty-seven she’s got a swanky Seattle townhouse, a wealthy husband, a designer wardrobe, the best of girlfriends, and a calendar filled not with meetings and deadlines, but spa appointments and happy hour reminders. On the outside, she’s got it all. 

On the inside, though, Jackie’s charmed life isn’t as it seems. She’s seeing a therapist, battling the demons of coming from a broken home and a past of promiscuity and heavy drinking. She can be selfish and demanding, sometimes even wearing her best friends thin. And now her marriage—what she thought could be her solid foundation—is on the rocks. Her husband Andrew spends nearly all his time at the office (and possibly with his secretary), and apologizes for his absence with lavish gifts and empty promises. 

Miserable and desperate, Jackie questions if her marriage is worth fighting for. Then a string of events begins to put things into perspective…into a perspective she didn’t quite anticipate. With her best friends by her side and some tough love, Jackie finds herself not only asking if she’s where she belongs, but if she’s who she’s supposed to be. 

This is a passionate story about having to answer some of life’s most important and difficult questions. It’s a story about fear, courage, and personal growth. About what happens when girlfriends let go. 

While this Women’s Fiction novel is Book #6 in the When Girlfriends collection, it can be read as a stand-alone.

My Review: 

This is the first book of Savannah Pages' that I have read and didn't know it was part of a series until after reading and finishing it.  It took me a couple chapters to start getting a grasp for who was who....with five best friends I kept getting them all mixed up.  I did however, enjoy the complex relationships and the depths friends would go to for each other.  

One particular passage from this book hit home for me and I think it really rings with a resounding truth while still a novel:

“if we were always happy, then happiness wouldn’t really exist, you know?” Her brow furrows slightly. “Or at the very least it wouldn’t be anything special. It’d be that constant emotion, with nothing to contrast it, and if that was all we felt, we’d never really know what happiness felt like.” She looks me in the eyes, imploringly. “You know?”
“Because there isn’t any juxtaposition,” Lara adds in.
“Exactly!” Emily snaps her fingers. “And happiness is just a state of mind, after all. There’s so much more to life and love than selfish, personal happiness.”
Excerpt From: Page, Savannah. “When Girlfriends Let Go.”

I enjoyed this as a stand alone but also am certain the other novels in this series would be just as good as light read. 

I give this book a 4 out of 5.

About the Author: 

Savannah Page is the author of the seven-novel When Girlfriends collection, heartfelt women's fiction that celebrates friendship, love, and life sprinkled with drama and humor.
When she isn't writing, Savannah enjoys a good book with a latte and jazz tunes, Pilates, and exploring her home of Berlin as an American expat.
Currently she's working on two new women's fiction and chick lit series she's excited to share in 2014.

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Views expressed are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway.  A book was supplied for review purposes only and no compensation was received for this post.

Looking for a Some Excitement in your Life?

What is up on the blog today you ask??  Well, today we have another review for another great book.  Another long weekend is almost upon us and Two Children and a Migraine has this great read for you to check out!!  The review with be up later today, but while your here why not check out a sampling of the book below.  Want to buy a copy?  We have you covered there as well!  Check out Savannah Page's site for more information!

“Honey?” I ask as I emerge from the bathroom, clad in a black-lace La Perla teddy. “You already asleep?”
“Out like a light in a few,” Andrew grumbles.
He’s rolled onto his side, one arm propped under his folded pillow. He blinks a few times and blows a kiss my way.
“You and your damn sleeping pills.” I spritz some Chanel Mademoiselle on my wrists and d├ęcolletage. “You’ve hardly been back in town and you’re already back to your boring, busy routine.”
With a flick of the bathroom light, I jump into bed, purposely moving rambunctiously so I might have one or two extra waking minutes with my husband.
Since Andrew returned home from Singapore a couple days ago I haven’t had more than a minute to tell him all about Robin and Bobby’s fabulous wedding. He’s been so busy with “loose ends,” as he calls them, to tie up with the big overseas deal, and I suppose I’m lucky I’ve been able to tell him one, maybe two, anecdotes about the wedding and my time while he was gone.
“Busy day at the office tomorrow,” he says through a short yawn.
I roll my eyes as I fluff two pillows. I place both against the headboard and make a high-pitched sigh as I sink back, upright. “Well, if I’ve only got a few fleeting seconds with you before you fall into a deep sleep, then I want to tell you more about Robin’s wedding.”
I turn towards him and nudge him—softly at first, then more aggressively when he doesn’t respond. “Come on. Don’t sleep just yet.Please. Can’t you spare five short minutes? I’ll make it quick. Promise.”
“I’m really tired,” he grumbles. “I’m sorry.” He blindly worms a hand behind him, reaching back towards me and finally alighting on my leg to give it a few conciliatory pats. “Tell me more ‘morrow.”
I swallow hard and stare at the back of his head, his salt and pepper hair freshly cut and still coiffed, and frustration begins to brew. He had enough energy for the past half hour to sit here and toy with his iPad while I got ready for bed, yet now, once I’m here, it’s light’s out—no moment spared to reconnect, to be husband and wife.
“You really would have enjoyed it, Andrew,” I whisper. “It was a really nice wedding.”
A smile can’t help but tug at my lips as I think back on how beautiful Robin looked, how truly happy and content she seemed. “It was really classy and well done, understated but sweet and—”
“Can you please shut off the light, doll?” Andrew interrupts. “It’s past ten and I’m exhausted.”
“You’re really that exhausted?” I say in a small and dejected tone. I pull the comforter up tighter and tuck it snugly around my waist.
“Time change…big client…fine details…” he rambles in a sleepy haze. “Lights…”
I give a quick huff and cross my arms over my chest. “Oh, Andrew, just give your sleeping pills a second to kick in and then you won’t give a crap about the lights.”
I reach for my copy of Home & Design D├ęcor on the nightstand and shake open to the middle of the magazine, conceding defeat. I stare at nothing in particular—simply something to do as I brood and eventually settle into one of my routine evenings: Jackie with her magazines, Andrew with his Ambien.
“You know,” I say after some festering, “if you’re not going to talk to me and you’re always going to go to bed early, then I should just go out. Go do something.” I look over at him and he doesn’t make a sound, doesn’t stir. “It’s not like you’d even notice.”
Suddenly he mumbles, “I love you, doll.” He pats a hand in my general direction behind him, then lets it fall limp between us, the Ambien working its black magic. “G’night…”
“Goodnight,” I mutter through a heavy sigh.
I move my empty gaze from the magazine to Andrew’s hand.
My eyes fall to his wedding band, and I can’t contain myself. I slowly shake my head, pick up his hand, and drop it in between his slumbering body and the edge of the bed, nearly letting it hang over into the dark, empty space.
“I just don’t know how this is going to work,” I say quietly to myself as I flip through the magazine’s pages. My eyes fall on a spread featuring a gorgeous, aquamarine lap pool that’s splayed across it, with a superficially bubbly couple sitting at the edge, toasting champagne under the moonlit night. I sniff at the thought of how some couples still have a spark.

Get Some Inspiration from Savannah Page Author of When Girlfriends Let Go

Among the questions most asked when I share with someone what it is that I do one is both a personal favorite and fun one to answer, and a bit enigmatic. (The question is as enigmatic as the answer, but I try to do my best.) “How do you come up with all your stories?”
Every author is different and have their own methods, and the paths they take to reach each of their stories can vary greatly from one to another. There isn’t one set group of ingredients to penning a novel, but there is a particular key component that I rely on for each and every book I write: Unexpected Inspiration.
As I sit down to start a new novel I set out to write from the heart, to tell a story that is honest. I write the book that I want to read. In order to do this I need that first shot of writer’s fuel: to be inspired by something that I know (I need inspiration from something true and something I’m emotionally invested in). Of equal importance, however, is the Unexpected Inspiration, and on this I rely throughout the entire writing and editing processes. Unexpected Inspiration is found in the most minuscule of places and things, and usually when I’m not even looking. 
Take When Girlfriends Let Go for instance. The real-life and emotionally-tied inspiration, if you will, that sparked this novel and the entire series, is the very friendship I have with my own network of girlfriends from college. We’re an eclectic group, now living all over the globe (from Oklahoma to Germany), but our friendship prevails. I found it fascinating that such a varied group of women came together as friends and still remain close all these years later. From there one novel after another just spilled forth.
Of course, I needed more than a network of close girlfriends to inspire me, and with When Girlfriends Let Go I found Jackie’s story in some of the quirkiest of places. (Alighting on these inspiration pockets is one of the most fun parts of writing!)
Classical music, solo piano, jazz, and heck, elevator music at times, is what I usually tune into when I’m writing. I adore Chris Botti, and while doing a bit of a Pilates cool down (I admit, I’ll listen to this kind of music all day along) I was listening to his track “All Would Envy.” The image of a young trophy-like wife and an older man immediately got my mind running. Clock striking midnight…young girl wanting to party while older husband drifts off to sleep with some sleeping pills…fancy cocktails…fancier parties…fanciest of designer dresses… I quickly forgot all about what was to be a relaxing Pilates session. I jotted these ideas down, establishing Jackie’s character and rough story well before I even started the first novel in the When Girlfriends series.
Episodes of Mad Men with Roger Sterling got me thinking about Jackie’s husband Andrew. Walking around Lake Union in Seattle sparked more inspiration, as did retro furniture artfully displayed in a shop window, a Michael Kors magazine that arrived in the post, the aroma of a cup of hot black coffee one morning, the uplifting and comical spirit old episodes of Sex and the City can do for a girl, and several afternoons of writing, editing, and people-watching in a French patisserie next door.
Unexpected Inspiration, however tiny a kernel or large a hot air balloon it may be, is everywhere! So when I’m asked “how do you do it?” I really can’t help but think that the story is all around me, and I’m a conduit of sorts. I’ll piece together the inspiration I gather to tell the best story I can—the story I want to read and share, that is as honest, feels as real, and is as entertaining as I can possibly make it.
Then, I move on and do it all over again. And I plan to do this for many more years. It’s a passion, it’s fun, and connecting with readers and getting to share my work with them is a real thrill. And, whenever asked what I do, I can’t help but sneak in the response: “Only the best job in the world!”
Thank you for inviting me to guest post, Jayda, and for joining me on my Chick Lit Plus tour! Thank you for reading, lovely readers. I hope you’ve been having a great summer and enjoying some fantastic books!

Psst. If you want to meet the girls in my When Girlfriends series the first three novels are on a limited-time 99 cent sale at Amazon, B&N, iBookstore, and Kobo: When Girlfriends Collection, Books 1-3. Save a few bucks, have a few good reads, and celebrate female friendship!

And don’t forget to enter to *WIN* some fun prizes here via Rafflecopter, including some fabulous GIFT CARDS! Entries are super easy.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Self Publish or Not? Find Out Why Author Karyn Rae Choose Her Path


Why I chose to self-publish.

            Every writer/author has their own path, and I firmly believe that path is present before birth. Each present moment in life, whether good, bad or mundane is constantly shaping us for all future moments we have yet to live. By the time our adult feet are wet with some life experiences, we have hopefully mastered the art of looking over our shoulder to remember the lessons of the past, while continuing to look ahead and applying those lessons to the future. Self-publishing isn’t something I planned on doing. Starting my own publishing company (Karyn Rae Publishing) never even crossed my mind, but when the opportunity arose, I’m grateful I took a moment to turn around and look back.
            I didn’t know I wanted to be an author until my thirty-fifth birthday. I literally woke up one day and decided to write a book. I’d been searching for a particular story in other books, each time a little disappointed when finishing another book and feeling unfulfilled. As a stay-at-home-mom, I read books to escape the crying, fighting and servitude that comes with the job, so that’s the book I decided to write. The Achilles Heel won’t change your life, but it will help you escape it.
            From the first chapter to publication day, The Achilles Heel took a year and a half, and I loved every moment of it. Writing from ten o’clock at night until two o’clock in the morning, I finished the first draft of my novel in six months.
            Like most first time authors, I got caught up in what I thought was my final product and queried agents too early. Two agents out of New York said yes! My excitement was short-lived when they BOTH began telling me how I needed to change my story. After our first contact, one agent rethought her offer and immediately changed her mind on my story. The other agent gave me a list of things I needed to change before we could even begin. Her main complaint, switching back and forth between two separate POV’s, and the confusion it would cause the reader. Ironically, that’s the main compliment I now get from readers. I said, “Thank you, but no thank you. I’m going to pass on your representation.” Crazy right?
            After tons of research, I scoured the internet for an editor, while simultaneously revising my story. I thought I’d found a great one. Here’s where the story gets interesting.
            She was a published author with a publishing company, and agreed to edit my manuscript in three weeks’ time for a set fee. I spent the next four months waiting for those edits. She had not only stolen my money, but made me feel like a novice each time I questioned the status of those edits, and going as far as threatening to dump my book on the internet if I bothered her again. However, during those four months I thought my manuscript was being edited, I learned about the business of self-publishing. Today, I’m grateful to her for distracting me from my novel long enough to immerse myself in the business aspect of books.
            Fortunately, she has been the only person to rip me off and everyone else- from cover designer to current editor- have been amazing. After my book was edited, I was offered representation from another publishing company, but I was already hooked on the power of self-publishing.
If you want to try and make a million bucks right out of the gate, change your story to what someone else tells you your readers want, work on a given deadline and maybe see your book in Barnes and Noble one day, then the traditional route is for you. If you are able to accept a gradual incline in book sales, make your own deadlines, put in the constant research required to understand an ever-changing billion dollar business and maybe never see your book in a chain bookstore, then self-publishing just might make you happy.
Writing a book is a crazy idea. Self-publishing is a full-time job. You aren’t just publishing a book; you’re launching a world-wide brand. If you can live with being an author as only a dream, then don’t try and become one; it’s not worth the time, money and sacrifice. But, if you have a great story, and you’re willing to fight for that story, then I say go for it!
The bottom line, and something I remind myself on a daily basis, is that we are all long-shots. America was built on long-shots, so why not you and me?

 Grab a copy of THE ACHILLES HEEL

Book Review: The Achilles Heel by Karyn Rae #50BookPledge

About the Book:

Annie Whitman’s ordinary Midwest life is shattered with the sudden death of her husband Jack. Thirty-five and failing at life as a widow, she turns to the comforts of vodka in an attempt to camouflage the cold sheets of an empty bed. The necessary inebriation helps her to cope with Jack’s death, but proves to be a deterrent in recovering any sense of normalcy. After spending several months at the bottom of a bottle, Annie stumbles upon a lockbox in the crawl space of her basement. Opening this box also opens her eyes to the likelihood that Jack Whitman might not have been the honest and doting man she married. 
Annie embarks on a mission to the Virgin Islands to uncover the truth about her husband’s past and seek safety from her brother-in-law, who seems to be the captain of his own sinking ship. While settling into paradise, she meets the wickedly handsome, but surprisingly reserved Kessler Carlisle, who is struggling with his retirement from country music superstardom. With Kessler’s help, Annie discovers the heart’s uncanny ability to heal, and the possibility that dead men don’t always keep their secrets-even if they’re buried in the Caribbean waters of St. Croix. 
The Achilles Heel delves into the formidable fact that everyone harbors darkness, and some will go to the depths of the ocean to keep their secrets hidden.

Book Excerpt:


       We stood underneath the stage feeling the ground shake- the floors pulsing and vibrating in a rhythmic, stomping pattern. The noise was deafening, like a freight train rolling at full steam right over our heads. This was the final concert of a six month long, twenty-two city tour. The band huddled together backstage for what, unbeknownst to them, was going to be my final show- ever. Drew, my drummer, gave the pep talk tonight about living in the moment and doing our best, like our lives depended on it.
“Those people out there worked all week and spent their hard earned money to come see us play here tonight, so don’t any of you fuck it up for ‘em!” he yelled over the crowd screaming in the stadium. “It’s the last show of the tour, so let’s blow their fuckin’ minds! All right? Now, everybody get your hands in and let me hear it on three.”
Six hairy, snarled, middle-aged, yet talented hands stacked one upon the other as we all screamed “boo-yah,” while throwing them up in the air.
I had to laugh. Drew was never much of a poet, but he could give one hell of a pep talk.  Our usual routine for this tour was to have the band already set up and out on the stage before I made my grand entrance, but for the finale we’re making a change. Tonight we’re all taking the stage together; one family, one band of brothers, one last time. We crowded onto the pitch-black elevator, collectively took in a deep breath, and then I flipped the switch. As soon as the crowd saw us rising up from the floor, it was on, for all of us.
We always start out with a few favorites to get the crowd pumped up. They responded exactly how we had hoped; everyone went ape shit. Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City is one of the best places to do a show; Midwestern folk who love country music and know how to throw one hell of a party. Fans started arriving in the stadium parking lot at nine o’clock in the morning, and the opener wasn’t set to go on until six in the evening. People who love to spend an entire summer day baking on the black asphalt in the scorching sun, fishing out beer cans from the truck bed cooler, and smoking BBQ, just waiting to hear some live music, are my kind of people. I’m glad this is the spot for the final show- my final show.
During the first set as I looked out into the audience, I could see about ten rows in front of me from anywhere on the stage. I used to always look for the most beautiful girls, and inevitably, I would spot a couple in every city. I’d send my roadie out to the seats to ask them if they wanted to come backstage to meet me and the boys, have some drinks, and party for a while. This was an extremely useful tactic in no-strings attached one-nighters, and there were many, many one-nighters. When I was younger I was so proud of myself, thought I was the shit, a real big deal that all these girls wanted to sleep with me. A few years ago, I finally realized our night together was just a story to tell their friends or an article to sell to the tabloids. I don’t regret the girls or mistakes I’ve made because they’re part of my journey that’s led me to this point, but I’m ready to move on now. 
Tonight there’s a group of six women having a ball together. I’d say they were mid-twenties, sitting in the third row, all of them singing along and cheers’sing each other after every song. I sent Randy out to schmoose on them during the set break and ask them if they’d like to come backstage after the show. That invite certainly revved up their engines, because I got all kinds of “fuck me” eyes during the second set.
A sixty foot screen flanks each side of the stage allowing a front row view from any seat in the stadium. This only amplifies my seduction of the crowd when Lacy, my camera girl, fills it full with images of just my ass- sixty feet (one-hundred and twenty if you count both screens) of my ass over and over again. I get it though, whatever sells tickets. My schedule over the last five years had become less about the music and more about the money my image brings in. Singer/songwriters, authors, actors, and anyone in “the business” have been bitching about this for decades. I went to Nashville to be a songwriter, and fifteen years later I’ve become sixty feet of ass in tight white jeans.
I always told myself, that when this dream of mine became too mechanical and I couldn’t give every part of myself to the fans, I’d hang it up. It’s been a great ride and only a handful of people have been with me from the very beginning. Those are the people who deserve all of me; they’ve earned it, but I can’t give one hundred and twenty percent anymore. Don’t I deserve a normal life again? I’ve earned that, too.
As the last song of the encore performance wrapped up, the spotlights put on a magnitude of a show and the fireworks shot up into the sky like rockets in flight. The crowd howled with gratitude for a job well done. Anyone who has ever had major success in business, particularly in finance, says, “Buy low and sell high,” and that’s exactly what I’m doing here tonight. I worked my ass off playing dive bars and LSU frat parties for years, eating at Taco Bell and Popeye’s Chicken whenever I could afford it, and excited I had made the money to do so. Now, I’m playing in a sold out arena with fans screaming my name, singing my songs, and girls still wanting to come back stage to meet me.
Yeah, I’d definitely say I’m high.

About the Author:

Karyn Rae is an emerging Romantic-Suspense author. Her debut novel, The Achilles Heel was released in May 2014. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, and the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild. Karyn resides in Missouri with her husband, son, daughter, and chocolate lab- Augusta Mae.
The first part of Karyn's life was spent in the South, and the last fifteen years have played out in the Midwest, but she's still holding on to a shred of her Southern roots. She is a wife, mother, daughter, and sister who has made it her mission in life to carve out a career for herself, while keeping the husband and the children happy.

My Review of the Book: 

I am starting to think I am on a roll for great summer reading!  The Achilles Heel was another book that I really enjoyed.  I have to admit when I first started the book I was not sure how much I was going to like it.  I had read what the book was about and I had saw the cover and I was trying to put together the two characters separate lives and figure out how these two people could mesh together in a book.  However, that ended up being what I loved about the book.  They were on two totally different life paths and seemed so different, but it was great to see how being different does not necessarily mean it is a bad thing, especially when love is involved.  I also have to say from the beginning Kessler was always a favorite of mine and I have to admit it is because I loved the strong women in his life.  Be sure to grab yourself a copy!

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

Monday, August 25, 2014

Book Review & Giveaway: Losing Him, Gaining You by Corbin Lewars

About the Book:

Losing Him, Gaining You is a refreshingly honest and uplifting guide through divorce. Based on research and her own experience, Corbin Lewars coaches her readers through tough territory with a direct, straightforward step by step approach to divorce. With inspiration and a large dose of humor, Corbin offers a way forward that will help others trust themselves and make wise choices for their new life.

Book Excerpt:

(from the introduction)

I wrote this book with the hope that I could help ease the decision for other women by sharing my experience as well as the experiences of others. I talked to numerous women, and some men, all of who were in the midst of divorce or recently divorced. With time, almost all of the people I talked to were able to make positive changes in their life. Many of them excelled in their careers, gained confidence in themselves and their abilities, and raised kids who have thrived in two homes. Substantial research has shown that the key to children’s psychological well-being is the level of conflict between the parents, not whether the parents remain married.2 Divorce itself doesn’t harm children— angry, resentful, unhappy parents harm children. Bitterness harms everyone. I hope these stories will allow you to believe you have options and hope as well.

Divorce is not a decision to be made lightly. Feeling confused, ambivalent, or even trapped is common. This is part of the process, and it can’t be rushed. And if you decide to stay in your marriage, fabulous. Divorce is a private decision that everyone needs to come to on their own. This book doesn’t recommend divorce; rather, it aims to guide you through the emotional process of divorce if you’ve chosen that path.

Although I consider this book to be primarily for women considering or going through divorce, almost every man and woman I know in my age range (early forties) is evaluating their lives. An area they often struggle with the most is the loss of self. “What do I like to do in my free time? Do I even have free time? Is this the career I want? Is this the relationship I want? If I could change anything, what would it be? Have I lost a part of myself? If so, can I get it back?” are questions I hear from married and single people alike. We’re asking ourselves these questions at mid-life with the hope that if we made mistakes, we don’t continue doing so, and that our remaining years are content ones. Many of us will make the needed changes without getting divorced. But some of us don’t feel that is possible. That shouldn’t stop us from asking the questions, though. Although reviewing our lives and relationships is difficult, ignoring or denying problems is never a good solution. The problems and unanswered questions don’t go away. We just exert a lot of energy hoping they will. 

I’m guessing you lost more than your husband in the divorce—you lost part of yourself. And my goal is to help you get that back (not the husband part). I will encourage you to reconnect with parts of your personality that you miss. Your friendships, career, home, parenting, body, sexuality, and finances are examined here to determine what is working for you and what isn’t. And if it isn’t working, you can explore ways of changing it. If it is working, let’s celebrate that!

We’ll also explore and validate the stages of grief. Staying in one stage of grief is detrimental. Allow yourself to feel all of your feelings, but if you get stuck in any one emotion, seek help. I discuss how to own your part in the divorce without blaming yourself entirely. (Your ex doesn’t get all the blame, either.)  And you’ll learn how to trust, cherish, and focus on yourself, your growth, and your healing instead of focusing on the past or on others. The goal is to make you whole, rather than try to fill a hole with someone or something else.

I hope this book can offer camaraderie and guidance in what can be an isolated time in your life. My married friends were very supportive, but they didn’t understand firsthand what I was experiencing. Befriending other divorced women was and continues to be my lifeline. If you don’t have the energy to do that yet, maybe reading this book can help you feel less alone. Many women have blazed this path before you. Let them help you along the way.

About the Author:

Corbin Lewars is the author of Creating a Life: The memoir of a writer and mom in the making, which was nominated for the 2011 PNBA and Washington State book awards. Her essays have been featured in over twenty- five publications as well as in several writing and parenting anthologies. For the past fifteen years she has worked with other writers as a developmental editor, coach and writing instructor. She lives in Seattle, WA with her two children and very large cat. 

Review of the Book:

If your in a troubled relationship and feel its time for it to end or if your just getting out of one I definitely do recommend getting a copy of Losing Him, Gaining You.  Though keep in mind the book is perfect even if your still married and want some help to find yourself again.  As women we tend to give a lot of ourselves in our relationship and when that relationship changes we feel lost.  Corbin Lewars has tons of great wisdom within the front and back cover of the book.  Divorce is on the rise and I believe if more turned to books like this one then many marriages might still be together.  Many are just unsure what to do and who to talk to and this causes them to feel alone.  Buy a copy for yourself and share.  Whats better then helping yourself grow?

A book was supplied for review purposes only and no compensation was received.  Views expressed are 100% those of Two Children and a Migraine.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Book Review and #Giveaway: Bloodpledge by Tima Maria Lacoba

  • Series: The Dantonville Legacy
  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 31, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1499735782
  • ISBN-13: 978-1499735789
Bloodpledge continues Alec and Laura’s story from Bloodgifted. Having undergone the Ritual and induction into the vampire community, Laura— the prophesised Child of Light and Darkness and last of the Ingenii—takes her place as Alec’s consort and First Lady of the Brethren. But resentment and anger grow at Alec’s privileged position as daywalker. Among a powerful few, alliances are made and conspiracies formed, threatening a war that could destroy them all and endanger every human on Earth—creatures who would do anything to prevent the curse from ending. Now Alec and Laura must invoke the Pledge, an ancient ceremony that enforces Brethren loyalty to the Principate. When Laura’s ex-boyfriend, Detective Inspector Matt Sommers, turns up with a threat that could expose Alec, the battle for their world and their lives begins.

Book Excerpt:

People were about—strolling to cars, or loading shopping bags into back of them. I couldn’t unsheathe my sword here. As if he sensed me following, Stockton stopped, turned and looked back. I ducked behind one of the concrete pillars. I heard him sniff. Had he caught my scent?
In a sudden burst of speed, he took off. I gave chase, but he kept to the populated streets, heading for the centre of the city—Hyde Park. Although lit by tree lights, there were many dark spots where Brethren could feed uninterrupted. If that was his intention, I was about to spoil it for him.
As I unsheathed my sword, I became aware of another, darker presence—Rasputin.
In the shadows of the giant Morton Bay fig trees I stood, until I spied him on the stone seating that ringed the Archibald Fountain. A laughing group of humans passed, and his eyes narrowed into slits.
My hand tingled as I ran my thumb along the hilt of my sword.
He was choosing his prey. His hands, mere stumps covered by the black gloves he wore, rested on his lap. He would have difficulty grabbing his prey, unless Stockton helped. I smiled when I thought of the way he’d lost his hands and my chest swelled with pride—my Laura.
Stockton strode up to him.
They would be unaware of me; unaware of being observed until I strode into their midst. The Serpent Ring blocked their senses.
Now, I thought. I can take them both out.
My scalp prickled as Stockton said, ‘Is he here?’
Rasputin grinned and his gaze seemed to pinpoint exactly where I stood. ‘Yes. I can feel him. The others?’
‘Sacrificing themselves for you.’
‘As they should.’ He laughed.
Leading Marcus and Terens on a chase, I’ll be damned. I gripped the sword tightly, took stock of my surroundings—no humans around, and the moon behind clouds.
‘Come out, Princeps. Let’s face one another,’ Rasputin said.
How the hell did he know? The Serpent Ring on my hand flared for an instant, and I didn’t need to look to know its eyes had turned black. My senses tingled as I picked up the presence of at least a dozen Brethren—not Principate supporters.
A trap, and I had walked right into it.
My review:

 In this second book Bloodgifted in the Dantonville Series the story deepens the characters Laura and Alec plus you get to meet many new characters.  The familial bond is growing between Laura and her real "parents".   The ever keen but intrusive eye of Matt kept me wondering where he would fully fit into this complicated story.  I enjoyed the many more turns in the tapestry of this fantastic world.  I would not consider this book a stand alone as I felt much of the original terminology and characters were introduced in book one would not make sense to someone picking up this book first.  I would give this book a 4 out of 5.

About the author:

Hi, I’m Tima Maria, and I write vampire books, but not just any vamp books – mine are Roman soldiers cursed by a Pictish witch in the 3rd century.
So, how did I start this series? In a previous life (before I started writing) I was a practicing archaeologist and historian, specializing in Roman Britain. Later, I took up high school teaching, as It gave me the opportunity to take my students on overseas excursions to visit the amazing archaeological sites they’d only seen in books.
Then one day, I surrendered to the itch of writing. After many years reading and correcting my students’ creative writing tasks and essays, I decided it was time to write my own. I couldn’t hold it in any longer.
Bloodgifted is the result.
In 2011, it was shortlisted in the Atlas Award – sponsored by a boutique Brisbane publisher – and eventually came fourth.
In 2012, it was listed among the top ten in the Choclit, Search for an Aussie Star Competition.
In 2013, I was offered a publishing contract, but declined in favour of going indie. I liked the idea of being in charge of my own creation.
Bloodgifted is just the start of a three part series I’ve entitled, The Dantonville Legacy. Later, I intend writing individual books on the other characters in the series, for they all have their own story.

Currently, I live on the Central Coast, an hour’s drive north of Sydney, surrounded by wooded hills, possums and seed-dropping rosellas. Between bouts of writing, I teach English and History, enjoy long walks while dodging the nesting magpies and plot the next series of books I’d like to write.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tima Maria Lacoba Interviews Alec Munro! #DantonvilleLegacy

Those who have read the first two books in my Dantonville Legacy series—Bloodgifted and Bloodpledge—have asked me to try and get an interview with the delectable Alec Munro, Princeps of the Brethren in Sydney. So I put out a call to my Dantonville Street Team, and asked them to come up with some questions for the good doctor—I needed ten.
They supplied me with so many it was hard to choose between them, and I ended up with eleven.
Here’s the interview:

My readers are interested in learning more about you Alec, and they’ve sent me a list of questions. Mind if I ask them?
(Alec smiles broadly. We’re in his apartment, and he’s lounging on the sofa holding a cup of espresso.) Ask away!

1. Apart from Laura, what is your favourite blood type?
I have no particular preference in blood, although each type has its own flavour. But if given the choice, I'd say O positive.

2. Is that Laura's blood type?
No. Hers is unclassified. That's what makes her blood especially unique—and tasty. (He gives me a wink and sips his coffee.)

3. Do you think vampires should go public?
I don't believe the human world is ready for such a revelation—it would only cause panic. We also have our own laws and parameters. Were we to "come out" there'd be the danger we could be forced to submit to human laws, and that simply wouldn't work. The less humanity knows of us, the better.

4. Looking ahead several hundred years, what do you think the future of the Principate might be?
(He stares out the window at the panorama of Sydney Harbour.) Good question. I hope to maintain it indefinitely. Without the boundaries imposed by the Principate, certain rogue elements among my kind would use it to indulge their—(he pauses and looks at me)—wilder side. That can't be allowed to happen. You of all people know the Principate must survive. 

I nod and ask the next question.

5. What are your thoughts on human-vampire relationships?
So long as both parties are consenting, I have no problem with it. Most Brethren have human lovers, who are also their donsangs—willing blood givers. It works well. 

6. Favourite cinematic vampire - Robert Pattinson or Christopher Lee?
(He rolls his eyes) Next question. (Oh, c'mon, I prompt.) Ok, for you—perhaps Christopher Lee would come the closest to some I know. But that other one, the sparkly one … (he laughs and waves his hand.) Next question.

7. What's your favourite pastime when you're not trying to protect the woman you love? 
Protecting Laura’s a full time occupation. All of my kind long to possess her, so you might say she is my pastime, especially our … private times together. (A mischievous smile lights his face.) 

8. All the vampire stories and books suggest a your kind has an innate instinct to kill and enjoy it, like a predator. Is that true? Is it hard to stop feeding from a human before you've taken too much?
Yes, it's true, about the hunting instinct, but that doesn't mean it can't be controlled. (He leans forward and stares at me). We were all human once and that remains, in varying degrees, in all of us and must never be allowed to die. We don't need to kill in order to satisfy our hunger—only juveniles who are still learning to control their craving find it difficult to stop, and then make themselves sick. For a mature vampire to do so (he grimaces) is an act of bastardry! 

9. Name three qualities a woman must have to catch your attention?
(He raises his eyebrows, then smiles) Laura's already caught mine. Next.

10. Are there certain qualities a human must possess to be worthy of being turned into a vampire by you?
Ah, now there's an interesting one! Personally, I wouldn't want to turn anyone. Living in the darkness is hard enough, without having to deal with the craving for human blood. It is a struggle. Weaker natures give in too easily and should never be given the choice—they become the rogues I end up having to dispose off. If, and I emphasis the word, I had to turn someone, they would have to be of a noble character with a high regard for humanity. 

11. Seeing as you've travelled around the world, where is your favourite place?
Sydney. It's home for me. 
Now if that's it (he finishes his coffee and rises from the chair), I've got work to do.

Thank you, Alec.

Book Review: Bloodgifted by Tima Maria Lacoba

  • Series: Dantonville Legacy
  • Paperback: 434 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1477419209
  • ISBN-13: 978-1477419205

What’s a girl to do when she learns she’s descended from a vampire? Being unable to age is only the beginning… Laura Dantonville is a Primary school teacher with one wish—to marry her boyfriend, Detective Matt Sommers. When her aunt Judy reveals a frightening family secret that explains her rare genetic mutation, it threatens to propel her into a dark underworld where her true family waits. Laura’s future with Matt hangs in the balance. Alec Munro never wanted to become guardian to a Dantonville regardless that her blood is coveted by his vampire-kind. But his sire, Lucien Lebrettan, gave him no choice. Now he’s faced with not only protecting the girl, but fathering a child with her in order to end his servitude—and a centuries-old curse. … which some among his kind will do anything to prevent.

My review: I have read my fare share and than some of paranormal books.  I admit the first chapter of Bloodpledge was slower as the writing style seemed less descriptive than I was used to in other books.  I was captivated by the storyline and continued to read, quickly adapting to Timas' writing style.  I breezed through the book in less than 24 hours and thoroughly enjoyed the entire story.  The passion built between Alec and Laura is hot and the strange, but realistic behaviours of Matt completely enthralled me.  The plot twists kept coming and unraveling more secrets and more excitement. I was very excited to read this novel and look forward to reading more of this series! I would give this book a 4 out of 5.

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

Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: Not Quite Dead by Lyla Payne

  • File Size: 562 KB
  • Print Length: 371 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1497319935
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
A broken engagement sends Graciela Harper crawling back to Heron Creek with her tail between her legs, but finds the sleepy little town too changed to set her life right. Not even her budding drinking problem can obscure her Gramps’s failing health, or erase the mental picture of her first love happily married to her childhood best friend. To top it all off, she’s having a heck of time convincing the town’s dashing young mayor of her unfit-for-dating status.

When the ghost of 18th century lady pirate Anne Bonny starts insisting on a near daily audience, Graciela has to confront something else she never expected—being certifiably nuts at twenty-five years old.

Her brand new "I don't give a crap" attitude makes it easy to dismiss the mysterious threats that seem to be tied to her search for more information on the long dead pirate, but when her family becomes a target, Gracie knows she needs to find out why the ghost insists on being a constant, reeking companion.

If Graciela can put aside her prejudice against people without a pulse, she may discover that Anne Bonny’s problems are intricately linked with her own. The past harbors answers could help the cantankerous spirit find closure, but she is, after all, already dead. If Graciela doesn’t move fast, she might find herself doing the haunting, instead of the other way around.

My review: I found this book awesome! I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions and reactions.  Plot twists aplenty and love story intertwined this book kept me intrigued well into the night in order to discover the truth.  I would give it 4 out of 5.

About the Author:

Lyla Payne has been publishing New Adult romance novels for a little over a year, starting with Broken at Love and continuing with the rest of the Whitman University series. She loves telling stories, discovering the little reasons people fall in love, and uncovering hidden truths in the world around us - past and present. In her spare time she cuddles her two dogs, pretends to enjoy exercising so that she can eat as much Chipotle as she wants, and harbors a deep and abiding hope that Zac Efron likes older women. She loves reading, of course, along with movies, traveling, and Irish whiskey. Lyla's hard at work, ALWAYS, and hopes to bring you more Whitman University antics and at least one more Lowcountry ghost tale before the end of the year.

Lyla Payne is represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

If you want to know more, please visit her at

If you're a fan of Young Adult fiction--science fiction or otherwise--please check out her work that's published under the name Trisha Leigh.

Views expressed are those of Two Children and a Migraine and have not been influenced in anyway.  A book had been supplied for review purposes.  No compensation has been received for this post.