Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review: Chez Stinky By Susan C. Daffron



Title: Chez Stinky
Author: Susan C. Daffron
Publisher: Magic Fur Press (July 18, 2013)
Tour Date: June/July 2014
Formats: ebook or print copy (autographed no charge when ordered from authors link- available in US only) international order at local bookstore or Amazon.com

Kat Stevens is a slightly insecure, mostly bored technical writer who likes her cat a lot more than her boss. She hasn’t laid eyes on her great aunt Abigail since she was eight, so she’s stumped when she inherits Abigail’s house in the small hamlet of Alpine Grove.


Kat’s uncomplicated life gets decidedly less so when she discovers the inheritance comes with some hairy conditions: four dogs and five cats that her aunt wanted her to love as her own. Of course, the house smells like a barn–with a touch of antique skunk–and, naturally, has serious roof issues. And that’s before the three-legged cat gets stuck in the wall and the shower goes kablooey.

When Kat meets Joel, an unemployed techie type with no love lost for his sister, Kat looks past his obvious flaws, given his timely and desirable skill set: a talent for fixing things (and his own tools).

Despite out-of-control dogs, cat fights, dust dinosaurs, massive spiders and an old grizzled hippie passed out in the yard, Kat discovers the tranquility of the forests of Alpine Grove starting to seep into her soul.

And why she can’t she stop thinking about Joel?

My Review: 

I went into this book without reading the synopsis on the back.  My first impression was that the book cover left my expectations low.  I was skeptical of the title until I understood what it meant, but at first sight it didn't seem like it would impress.  I began this book at about 8pm on Sunday.....by Monday night I had finished it.  I stayed up well past my bedtime as I was truly intrigued by the characters and just as I was intending to put the book down for the night another twist was thrown in. 

I really enjoyed the read and look forward to reading the next installment.  The charming yet descriptive use of words entangled me in their world.  It was a nice G rated book for a cozy afternoon read. 
 

About the Author: Susan C. Daffron



Susan Daffron is the author of one novel and 14 nonfiction books, including several about pet care and animal rescue. She lives in a small town in northernIdaho and shares her life with her husband, two dogs and a cat--the last three, all "rescues." Her latest book, Chez Stinky (www.ChezStinky.com) is the first of a series of romantic comedy novels that will feature the small town of Alpine Grove.

When she's not writing novels, Susan works as the president of Logical Expressions, Inc., a book and software publishing based company in Sandpoint,Idaho. You can read more about her at her website SusanDaffron.com. 


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Views expressed are 100% of my own and not influenced in any way.  Two Children and a Migraine was supplied a book for review purposes.





Looking For A New Read Just In Time For Summer??

If you have no had a chance yet be sure to check out the great guest post that was featured this morning on Two Children and a Migraine.  Now that summer is upon us and parents and children a like are looking for some great reads I thought it would be great to hear from the author of today's review book Chez Stinky.

I know when writing down your list of books to read you will want to add this book to the list.  Check out the excerpt below and enjoy!







This is part of the scene where the main character, Kat, is at work in her office and gets a phone call letting her know she has inherited a house in the small town of Alpine Grove.
~~~
“My name is Larry Lowell and I’m a lawyer in the town of Alpine Grove. I’m afraid I have some bad news.”
Kat nodded. How could this day possibly get any worse? “What news?”
“Your great-aunt Abigail has died. I’m very sorry for your loss.”
“Aunt Abigail? Really?” Kat flashed on a memory of a thin white-haired woman wearing a floppy peasant skirt.  “Wow, I haven’t seen her in years and I think my mother lost track of her. What happened?”
Larry cleared his throat and said quietly, “I’m not entirely sure of the precise details, but I know she was ill. She was an ‘unusual’ person, but smart and funny, even right before she passed away. I talked to her just a few weeks ago. She came into my office to talk about her estate.”
Kat raised her eyebrows, “Her estate?”
“Yes, you are named the principal beneficiary of her estate. You have inherited all of her assets up here in Alpine Grove.”
“Assets? What exactly do you mean by assets?” 
Larry cleared his throat again. “She has a home up here, but it’s not in the greatest shape at the moment. With a little TLC, you could fix it up. However, there are a few stipulations, as well.”
What was this? Twenty Questions? Getting information out of this guy could take a while. Fortunately, as a technical writer, Kat had years of practice extracting information from recalcitrant people.
“Mr. Lowell, what exactly do you mean by ‘stipulations’?” 
“It seems, Ms. Stevens, that there are some animals residing on the property. Abigail loved her babies, as she called them, and she wanted to make sure that they would be well taken care of after she was gone. She remembered that you love animals, and that’s why she wanted you to be their new mom as she would say.”
Their mom? This guy had to be kidding. Maternal she definitely was not. “So Mr. Lowell, what type of animals are we talking about here? I mean, I don’t know anything about cows or chickens or ducks or anything. I have one cat and I live in a 950-square-foot apartment.”
“Please call me Larry. We’ll probably be talking to each other a lot over the next few weeks. It would be best if we could meet in person. Would you like to set up a time to talk about this matter and go over the details?” 
“Okay Larry. You can call me Kat. So how many animals are we talking about?”
“Abigail had four dogs and a number of cats. When I went to the property, I don’t think I actually saw them all, so I’m not entirely sure. But we think at least five cats. Abigail left detailed descriptions of the animals, but people had a habit of dumping stray cats out at her place when they no longer could take care of them, so I may have missed some outside barn cats.”
Once he finally spit it out, Larry could share some serious facts. After digesting the lawyer’s information dump for a moment, finally Kat said, “I think you’re right. We should talk about this in person. Could you give me directions?”
Larry related how to get to his office in Alpine Grove and agreed to meet Kat on Saturday afternoon. They would then drive out to the property. He promised to explain the rest of the details when they met.
Kat hung up the phone and stared blankly at her Half Dome poster again. Her quiet and slightly boring life was about to get a lot more complicated.


Come back later today to check out the review!

15 Books That Stick With You

by Susan C. Daffron

As part of the blog tour for my novel Chez Stinky, Jayda asked that I do a guest post on my five favorite books. But I confess, I had trouble narrowing it down to only five books.

Like many authors, I love books and I read a lot, so I went back and checked a list I did before to see what I said. It was one of those Facebook things that went around a few years ago. The idea was to list fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. The list is the first fifteen books you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

The list still works for me and because I'm a bookaholic and can't limit myself to just five books, here they are along with a short explanation of why they were memorable.

1. Little Women - L.M. Alcott
I read this book multiple times when I was a kid. I totally wanted to be Jo off writing adventure stories in her garret.

2. Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - R. Pirsig
The first time I tried to read it, I got nowhere. Then I tried again and loved it.

3. Gone with the Wind - M. Mitchell
My aunt introduced me to the movie version of GWTW and I later read the book.

4. The Razor's Edge - W. S. Maugham
One of those books that sounds like it would be dreaded by English majors everywhere, but amazingly relevant, even though it's old.

5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - B. Smith
I loved this story, partly because it's one of the few books where the main character is a bookish introvert.

6. Trumpet of the Swan - E.B. White
Tied with Charlotte's Web as one of my fave children's books...

7. The Secret Garden - F.H. Burnett
I re-read this on Kindle not too long ago. Dickon remains a great character.

8. Way of the Peaceful Warrior - D. Millman
Many of the messages in it resonated with me because of where I was at that point in my life.

9. Early Ann Rice (Interview with the Vampire/Vampire Lestat)
Anne Rice's descriptive ability is amazing. Although I've never been there, I almost felt like I'd visited New Orleans after reading some of her books.

10. Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling
The series got dark toward the end, which I liked less, but I read them all.

11. Wizard of Oz (the series) - L.F. Baum
My uncle gave me the complete set of the Wizard of Oz books when I was a kid and I read them all.

12. You'll See It When You Believe It - Wayne Dyer
One of those books that makes you realize that how you look at the world can make a huge difference in your life.

13. The Lorax - Dr. Seuss
My introduction to environmental issues. Don't be the Once-ler.

14. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
For every teenager who has felt misunderstood. (I certainly felt that way.)

15. Janet Evanovitch Stephanie Plum books.
When you need a laugh! Janet is the master of hilarious descriptions. All readers undoubtedly have an image in their mind of exactly what Lulu looks like, for example.


Be sure to check back later today for the review of Chez Stinky on Two Children and a Migraine

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Review: Tax Cut By Michelle Lynn Siegfried



  • Series: Jersey Shore Mystery Series
  • Paperback: 258 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (January 3, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1494215330
  • ISBN-13: 978-1494215330

      "I saw him," she said. "He handed an envelope filled with money to the tooth fairy."
      The ramblings of eighty-nine-year-old woman with dementia.  The government employees are used to her regular phone calls and dismiss the crazy old lady; but the new municipal clerk, Chelsey Alton, isn't so sure the woman is off her rocker.  Something's amiss in the Village of Coral Beach, a small, New Jersey shore town community, and Chelsey's determined to find out what it is.
     The former clerk of Coral Beach, Vinny Buttiglieri was murdered and dead bodies keep popping up all over town.  Between being a single mom to a temper tantrum throwing two-year-old, bosses who humiliate her in public, the dead bodies, and a man named Mike Nero that is stalking her, she has her hands quite full!
     Chelsey recruits her good friend, Bonnie, a voluptuous woman with an off-color sense of humor, to assist her on a few recon missions. The deeper they dig, the more they put themselves in danger, becoming entangled with sinister mobsters, criminal activity, and government corruption.
     Not everything is as it seems. Chelsey thinks she's doing the right thing, trying to uncover the truth and protect herself at the same time, but can she save herself when she becomes entrenched too deep in this Jersey shore mystery?


My Review:

This read kept me entrenched on the Jersey shore world.  The descriptive nature of the author built the world around me and I easily imagined I was there.  The characters were very colourful and the plot twists kept coming keeping the mystery alive.  Tax Cut was definitely an entertaining read and one that I would recommend.  No matter if you are looking for something to take to the beach or for some well needed personal time it will fufill your needs!  I look forward to reading other book by Michele Lynn Siegfried in the future!

I would rate this book stand alone as a 3.5 out of 5.



About the author: 

Michele Lynn Seigfried is an award-winning novelist, a children's author and illustrator and a public speaker who was born and raised in New Jersey. Her background as a communication major and art minor, and her 15 years of experience working in government mix together to bring you creative and fun novels and books.
Connect with her on her website www.michelelynnseigfried.com

 If you would like to experience this book for yourself, then look no further! 
To Purchase Tax Cut (Jersey Shore Mystery Series #2): Amazon  or  Barnes & Noble

While you are at it why not buy book #1 as well!  To Purchase Red Tape (Jersey Shore Mystery Series #1): Amazon or  Barnes & Noble

“I saw him,” she said. “He handed an envelope filled with money to the tooth fairy.”
      The ramblings of eighty-nine-year-old woman with dementia.  The government employees are used to her regular phone calls and dismiss the crazy old lady; but the new municipal clerk, Chelsey Alton, isn’t so sure the woman is off her rocker.  Something’s amiss in the Village of Coral Beach, a small, New Jersey shore town community, and Chelsey’s determined to find out what it is.
     The former clerk of Coral Beach, Vinny Buttiglieri was murdered and dead bodies keep popping up all over town.  Between being a single mom to a temper tantrum throwing two-year-old, bosses who humiliate her in public, the dead bodies, and a man named Mike Nero that is stalking her, she has her hands quite full!
     Chelsey recruits her good friend, Bonnie, a voluptuous woman with an off-color sense of humor, to assist her on a few recon missions. The deeper they dig, the more they put themselves in danger, becoming entangled with sinister mobsters, criminal activity, and government corruption.
     Not everything is as it seems. Chelsey thinks she’s doing the right thing, trying to uncover the truth and protect herself at the same time, but can she save herself when she becomes entrenched too deep in this Jersey shore mystery?



I was supplied a book for review purposes and I was not compensated in anyway for this post.  All views expressed are 100% my own!


$25.00 Store Credit US #GIVEAWAY




Welcome to the Minions, Owls, and Bunnies- OH MY! Giveaway. Hosted by:
Mommy By Nurture and Sponsored by Hats and Knit Knacks Etsy Store!



How Hats and Knit Knacks Came To Be
Jill started crocheting when her son was born. She started making hats and blankets for the children and her family and soon realized she had more than she could ever use. That is when her Etsy store opened!

Made with love, not by machine! To find out about the love and quality put in to all items made by Jill from Hats and Knit Knacks, please check out our Review

Now on to the fun! One lucky fan is going to win $25.00 store credit to shop at Hats and Knit Knacks Etsy Shop. You can use it to choose a hat of your choice or put towards other beautiful items Jill has to offer! They make beautiful newborn and children's photo props. Choose your sizing for the perfect fit!

You can gain multiple entries with the Giveaway Tools below. Come back daily to get the daily entries after you finished them all! This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older at the time of entry. One person per household may enter. Winner will be contacted through email and has 48hrs to respond or another winner will be chosen. Prize fulfillment is the responsibility of the Sponsors listed and not that of the participating bloggers. All FTC Regulations apply. Your information is private and will only the winner's information will be provided to Mommy By Nurture and the Sponsors to reach the winner and ship the prizes in this giveaway.

I have been told many times that it only takes 1 entry to win so what are you waiting for??  The items she creates are adorable and without a doubt made with love!  Be sure to enter below and GOOD LUCK!


Sometimes Life Does Not Turn Out The Way You Plan, That Does Not Mean You Need To Forget Your Dreams!


I know I have mentioned before, so please excuse me if I sound like a broken record. ;-)  I love what social media has done with bringing artists and writers together with their fans.  So much more interaction can happen between people you might not have ever had a chance to interact with.  I would have to say outside of reading books my second thing I love it getting to know the author outside of the books.  As I mentioned earlier today Two Children and a Migraine will have the review up for the latest book by Michele Lynn Seigfried, but before you check out the review read below and get to know the author a bit!


First of all, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today and letting me give you a little insight into my life!

I’m not exactly sure where or when my writing journey started. It could have been when I wrote that poem in grammar school about a girl I didn’t like. It went something like:

            Her nose is set at ninety degrees
            She’d blow out the sky with just one sneeze
Or maybe it was in high school, in my creative writing class, when I wrote Ode to Washing Machine:

            This is how it goes…
            I think of those days when we washed clothes
            Until it blew up under our nose
            It makes me sad from my head to my toes
            I remember sudsy water that flows
            And the back end, with the sexy hose
            The way it shook on its highs and lows
            That washing machine we chose

I’m not so sure my teacher found my work as amusing as I did. Many poems and essays later, I found myself not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up and at a loss for what to declare as a major in college. I loved art, but didn’t want to become the art teacher that my mother wanted me to be. I went into college “undeclared” and took an array of classes—art, television, acting, math, science, history, public speaking, stage building, world religions, women’s studies—and nothing seemed to “fit.”

I then took a creative writing class, where my teacher singled me out to read my assignment about siblings out loud. It told the tale of how I would threaten my little brother with flushing his chameleons down the toilet or sucking him up in the vacuum when he had gotten on my nerves. After all, what’s a big sister for? My classmates chuckled at my sense of humor.

It was probably then I discovered that I’m funnier on paper than in real life. I don’t have the “delivery” skills required to be a comedian. So, I settled on being a communication major, mainly because it didn’t require me to take any more math, science or history classes. I also chose to minor in art.

Being a communication major required a lot of writing. Term papers, though less creative, scored me A’s in my classes. It was one of my favorite professors, Dr. Byrne, in May 1990 that used three little words that had a big impact on me. “You can write!” On another paper I had written, that same professor wrote, “Get out of here and go do something! Nothing will hold you back unless you let it.”

Unfortunately, I did let it. I had bills to pay and the first job I landed out of college at a local newspaper didn’t pay much more than minimum wage. I got some experience under my belt and moved on—to an advertising department in a pharmaceutical company, where I could write some copy and use my skills as an artist, designing ads.

A few job moves later, with my sole focus being to get myself out of debt, I found myself far away from writing and art, working in government. I can assure you that being a government employee was certainly not what I thought I’d be doing with my life. Yet, that’s where I ended up because it paid the bills. I did, however, find that I liked being a municipal clerk, even if it wasn’t what I had initially set out to do. It’s been my career for the past 16 years.

I had often thought about writing a book oven the past ten years, but lacked the know-how and motivation to find a publisher. Then I discovered self-publishing and went for it. In combining my love of art with writing, I’ve published four children’s picture books in addition to my two mystery novels so far.

I think what I love the most about writing is the sense of accomplishment I feel when I hear that other people are enjoying my work. If I can give someone a small escape from reality, make them laugh, and have them walk away with a smile, then I feel I’ve done something good and my talents aren’t going to waste.

If I have any advice to give to anyone out there, then I’d have to refer back to that line from my former professor, “Nothing will hold you back unless you let it.” Do yourself a favor and don’t let it. You won’t ever regret trying to do something you’ve always wanted to do.

Day & Night Teething US #Giveaway


Welcome to the Day & Night Teething Giveaway!
Hosted by Mommy By Nurture and Sponsored in conjunction with Spark of Amber.

About Spark of Amber
Spark of Amber offers beautiful and authentic Baltic Amber necklaces and bracelets for teething. They also offer an array of other products such as earrings, rings, and pendants. Only bringing you the best from Lithuania and the Baltic Regions. 


If you are unfamiliar with Amber teething jewelry, you should check out this REVIEW OF SPARK OF AMBER NECKLACE from Mommy By Nurture. Also available is a review on the Balm! Baby Bye Bye Teething- Hello Sleep! 

Now on to the fun part! One winner will win both items featured: Their choice of a "It's a Boy" or "It's a Girl" Amber teething necklace along with a 2oz bottle of Balm Baby! Bye Bye Teething, Hello Sleep! A RV of $32.00, items will ship separately from each sponsor. 

You can gain multiple entries with the Giveaway Tools below. Come back daily to get the daily entries after you finished them all! This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older at the time of entry. One person per household may enter. Winner will be contacted through email and has 48hrs to respond or another winner will be chosen. Prize fulfillment is the responsibility of the Sponsors listed and not that of the participating bloggers. All FTC Regulations apply. Your information is private and will only the winner's information will be provided to Mommy By Nurture and the Sponsors to reach the winner and ship the prizes in this giveaway. Giveaway will accept entries from 9AM EST 6/24/14 through 1AM EST 7/9/14

If you are having a baby, know someone having a baby or have a little one that is teething then this is the perfect contest for you!  I remember going through the teething phase when my girls were young and I wish something like this was available for me to enter!!  Good Luck!




Check Out Tax Cut By Michele Lynn Seigfried

Later on today Two Children and a Migraine will have a review up for the new book by Michele Lynn Seigfried.  Check out below for an Excerpt of Tax Cut.

I sat down and booted up my computer. I took a sip of my coffee and suddenly heard laughing. “Who’s laughing?” I asked Bryce.
“I don’t know, sounds like a party in the next office.”
“I guess we weren’t invited!”
I heard some hooting and hollering.
“Geez,” Bryce said. “Sounds like a bunch of animals.”
I tried to ignore the noise, and I turned my attention to my computer, which finally seemed to come alive. I went to click on the mail icon, when suddenly, a box opened up. Much to my shock, it was a video of Winifred, in all her wrinkled glory, doing some weird shimmy, sans clothing. I heard Bonnie screaming from the next office over. “Ah! My eyes! My eyes! I can’t watch this!”
It was like watching a train wreck. I couldn’t take my eyes off the computer, watching the horrific scene unfolding before my eyes. Winifred grabbed a scarf and ran it back and forth between her legs. I made a face and said, “Eww!” I heard Bryce say, “What the heck?” Then I heard him laughing hysterically.
Bonnie came busting into my office. “I’m scarred for life!” she exclaimed. “How the heck did that video get in here?”
I turned my head slowly to look at Bonnie.
“Nero,” we both said at the same time.
“Do you really think he did this?” Bonnie asked.
“I know he did,” I said.
“There’s got to be something illegal about this. Are you going to tell on him?”
“No.”
“Why the heck not? This is your chance to get rid of him for a while. All he does is harass you.”
“I think I’d like to keep Nero around for a little while longer.”
“Seriously?”
“I know,” I said with a roll of my eyes. “But what choice do I have? He’s an expert with computers; you can see what he did with this video. I can only hope he can catch Marc doing something as well.”
“And if he does? How is that going to hold up in court? I think videotaping someone without their knowledge is illegal or at least getting them on audio without their knowledge is. I’m not sure.”
“I haven’t exactly figured all of that out yet.”
Bonnie gave me a look.
“Trust me,” I said to her.
“Ooookaaayyy,” she said with a raised eyebrow.
We both glanced back at my computer. Someone else was entering the picture…a man…shaking his manhood like he had someone to impress.
“Ugh! That’s freaking gross…that’s John Paparazzo!” Bonnie declared. “Ah! This is a scarier rendition of Sigmund and the Sea Monster!”


Be sure to check out the review later today!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

#Giveaway: Isolation by Denise R. Stephenson

Next month you will get to see what Two Children and a Migraine thought of Isolation, but right now any of my US followers have a chance to win a copy.  There are 5 copies to be won, so be sure you enter in for your chance!!  Good Luck!




Publisher: Mill City Press (April 15, 2014)
Category: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Political Thriller, Medical Thriller
ISBN: 13: 978-1-62652-760-7
Available in: Print and ebook, 383 Pages
Isolation depicts a bleak but recognizable future in which the fear of contagion reaches a fever pitch as a bacterial epidemic catapults the US into an apocalyptic crisis.
Touch is outlawed. Mothers like Maggie bind their infants’ hands, terrified they might slip fingers into mouths. Gary, a Sterilizer, uses robots to scour the infected, avoiding all contact with human flesh. Trevor, the Chief Enforcer, watches, eager to report any and all infractions.
One inadvertent touch will change all of their lives.


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Saturday, June 14, 2014

RUMSPRINGA’S HOPE | Kindle Giveaway from Beth Shriver

Don't miss the first book, Rumspringa's Hope, in Beth Shriver's new Spirit of the Amish series.
Beth is celebrating the series launch with a Kindle Fire Giveaway!




rumspringashope-400-click

One winner will receive:



  • A Kindle Fire

  • Rumspringa's Hope by Beth Shriver


Enter today, but hurry! The giveaway ends on June 22nd. Winner will be announced June 23rd on Beth's blog.







Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Beth's blog on June 23rd to see if you won.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Get Happy and Enter for Your Chance to #WIN #jenniferfalls



Here’s where the story begins …  After Jennifer Doyle lost her high-paying executive job, she also lost her condo, her beach house, and all her other possessions and was forced to move back into her mother’s house with her disgruntled teenage daughter. Now she has to endure the indignity of working as a bartender for her brother.  Jennifer seeks help from an old friend and colleague who went to Harvard. The friend suggests that she speak to one of her Harvard classmates, Amy Newmark, at Chicken Soup for the Soul.  Amy, having held a variety of high-powered positions in business, and having published thousands of stories from people going through tough times becomes a mentor to Jennifer as she reboots her life.

Stay tuned and don’t forget to catch season premier of Jennifer Falls on TV Land every Wednesday at 10:30/9:30c
 


Need a boost? Everyone needs a little pick-me-up once in a while.  Then on top of this great new show that will bring you a little happiness, I also have another new app from Chicken Soup for the Soul you must check out!!
 This app provides tools, wisdom and inspiration that can help anyone on the road to creating a happier, more fulfilling life. Greater happiness is just around the corner for you with great advice, tools and examples from real people sharing their personal stories with you, plus our supportive community and lessons designed to help you have a more meaningful life.

Happy people create more happiness, and are proven to achieve more and have better personal relationships. In Chicken Soup for the Soul: Get Happy, you learn by example so you can draw your own map to happiness! Start your journey by reading and listening to stories about the different roads other people have taken to happiness from many of our bestselling books. You’ll be inspired by ordinary people having extraordinary experiences. Answer Soul Work questions to help you find the silver lining in your own challenges. Finally, share your insights by participating in our community or, if you prefer to keep your thoughts private, in your Journal. 


In honour of this great show and great app, I am lucky to be able to share with my readers the chance of this great giveaway!!  One of my readers will win a Jennifer Falls Citrus Zinger water bottle and Chicken Soup for the Soul: From Lemons to Lemonade. 


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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Book Review: A Season of Change by Lynette Sowell




About the Book:


An Amish widower finds love in unexpected places.
Amish widower Jacob Miller believes it was a mistake to visit the Amish village of Pinecraft for winter vacation, especially after his daughter is struck by a car. Stranded in Sarasota until his daughter recovers, Jacob grows increasingly wary of events that unfold in his unfamiliar surroundings---including the strange curiosity of Englischer Natalie Bennett.
Natalie never thought her circus career as an aerial silks artist would end with a blown-out knee at the age of 25. She also never knew her late mother had a secret---that she was once Amish.
When Natalie meets the Millers at the Sarasota hospital, she is attracted to their warm hospitality and simple ways---and soon wonders if they can help her find her mother's family. As Jacob and Natalie fall in love, their worlds collide. Will their differences tear them apart? Or will their love be strong enough to blend their clashing cultures?


About the Author:

Lynette Sowell is the Carol Award-winning and ECPA best-selling author of more than 15 titles, including Season of Changeand Tempest's Course. When Lynette is not writing, she works as a medical editor and part-time newspaper reporter. She makes her home in Copperas Cove on the doorstep of the Texas hill country. 


My Review of the Book:

This is the first time that I have read any books by Lynette Sowell, but I have to say what brought me closer to the book was the cover.  I loved the design and placement of the images that I felt if that much work went into the packaging of the book I was excited to find out what the book itself was like.

Is it a surprise then to say I was just as impressed by the words within the book??  I have not read a lot of Amish stories so this was a new and refreshing genre to escape into.  I also found it was quite educational.  I learnt a lot about a lifestyle that I honestly really do not know anything about! You are never too old to learn new things and what makes learning better is if it is so entertaining you can not put it down.  

I adore love stories and following Natalie and Jacob's unfold was so entertaining.  There were times within the book that I felt that everything was going against them and love maybe was not the answer.  However, it is nice to see that no matter what difference and problems people go through in their relationship if they truly want to be together and are willing to do the work they  can anticipate a great reward!  

Go grab yourself a copy and feel free to read some more reviews here!



Views expressed are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway.  I was supplied a book for review purposes and not compensated for this post.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Book Review: Hold Her Down By Kathryn Biel #50BookPledge

About the Book:
Elizabeth Zurlo is lost. She's a wife, a mother, a teacher, a PTA volunteer—but somewhere along the way, she's lost herself. Depression and despair can lead to desperate measures and when she is pulled back from the brink of suicide, Elizabeth slowly tries to rebuild her marriage and reclaim her life. Just as she has finally started to put herself back together, a scandalous novel rocks her small town ... and costs Elizabeth her social standing, friendships and ultimately, her marriage. However, the man who seemingly destroyed Elizabeth's life, helps her realize who she is and what she needs to do to become the woman she's not only capable of being, but the woman she used to be.




About the Author:
Kathryn Biel hails from Upstate New York and is a spouse and mother of two wonderful and energetic kids. In between being Chief Home Officer and Director of Child Development of the Biel household, she works as a school-based physical therapist. She attended Boston University and received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The Sage Colleges. After years of writing countless letters of medical necessity for wheelchairs, finding increasingly creative ways to encourage the government and insurance companies to fund her clients' needs and writing entertaining annual Christmas letters, she decided to take a shot at writing the kind of novel that she likes to read. Her debut novel, GOOD INTENTIONS, was released in 2013, and her second novel, HOLD HER DOWN was released in 2014. Her musings and rants can also be found on her personal blog, Biel Blather.

My Review of the Book:

I personally believe that if you are a mom and/or married you can relate to this book.  I know so many moms, myself included that love doing things for our family.  You get busy cooking, cleaning and taking care of all of your families needs, but somehow along the line you forget a bit about yourself.  Although, I have to say I have never been in the situation as an adult of being so lost that you feel desperate for a way out.  I have however, been in a situation where I have been envious of other women around me who seem to be managing it all so easy.  It might be just that it appears their kids listen better or they seem to have more energy, better sense of style while still managing to maintain their family.  As a women you see it as though there is something you are doing wrong and your own imperfections.  These women might appear that they are living the dream life, but as it was shown in Hold Her Down reality is being a mother is just living life within a larger scale high school.  All the women will have some sort of struggle and it is important to remember it is just an illusion that they do not!

I loved the message of empowerment from Hold Her Down.  The main character, Elizabeth's journey is really quite inspirational.  She is easy to relate to and loveable all the while coming across as 100% human.  She is a women that you would love to be friends with as she is real in every sense of the word.  She has flaws, struggles and weaknesses, but she is also a protector, beautiful and caring.   I really did love this book and look forward to checking out other books by Kathryn!


Buy the Book!




All views expressed are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway.  I was supplied a book for review purposes and not compensated for this post.

 










Views expressed are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway.  I was supplied an ebook for review purposes only and not compensated in any other way. 

Tips From an Author on Staying focused When Writing

 Being a blogger I have days when my brain just does not know what to write or where to even start.  I always wondered how authors do it and love that I am able to share some of the tips with my readers that work for the author of Hold Her Down!  I will be posting my review later today so be sure to check it out! In the meantime why not check out the following tips from Kathryn R. Biel.


Hi all and thanks to Jayda at Two Children and a Migraine for allowing me to guest post today. Today, I'm writing about writing. More specifically, I'm writing about how to stay focused on writing. When presented with this topic, I had a moment (or three) of panic thinking, "Oh crap, how do I stay focused? I can't stay focused. Where did I put my coffee? Oh, look the cat is being cute! 

If you're anything like me, focus is a luxury right up there with going to the bathroom by myself—it doesn't happen very often. In spite of that, I've managed to get three novels written, so I guess I must have found something that works. Here are some strategies that seem to be working for me:

·         National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo): This is a challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It happens to be the month of November, which is kind of crappy with the holidays and all, but having that goal and deadline was a huge motivator for me. You sign into the website and post your word counts. There are nice bar graphs that show you your progress and tell you all your stats. I love stuff like that and NaNo 2013 helped me get my third novel mostly written. Because I had a goal and deadline, I made time to write.

·         Writing sprints: There are a lot of online groups that do this. Basically, a time is set (usually about 20 minutes) and you write for that time, posting your word count at the end. This is great for busy people, especially those with the EDJ (Evil Day Job). The idea of writing for hours can seem daunting. Writing for 20 minutes seems so much more manageable.

·         Set realistic goals. I am always amazed at these authors who crank out 10,000 words a day, EVERYDAY. I don't know how they do it (especially when they are still on social media a fair amount). Figure it this way: a novel should be 80,000-100,000 words long. Based on the NaNo goals, writing 50,000 words in 30 days puts you at needing to write 1,667 words per day for 30 days. At that rate, you can write your novel in about two months. If you can do three to four 20 minute writing sprints (at 500-600 words each) per day, you can accomplish writing a full length novel in about a two month time period. You do not need to write your novel in three weeks. If that pace is too high, give yourself a realistic goal for your life. Perhaps 1,000 words per day. But set the end bar so you keep focused.

·         This advice I got from my friend and author, Dennis Mahoney (who may have gotten it from Neil Gaiman). Finish what you are working on, no matter how crappy it is. A finished crappy novel is better than several unfinished works. I used this advice when writing Hold Her Down. I was about 20,000 words in and stuck. I started writing another novel and got about 15,000 words in. Dennis asked the question, "Can all the things in both novels happen to the same character?" Yes, yes they could. That was what I needed to pull it all together and get over that hump. When tempted to jump around, ask yourself if all those things can happen to your current character. If not, write them down for later on and finish your current work.

·         Write stuff down. I keep a notebook next to my bed and in my car. If an idea strikes me, I write it down. Then, when I'm writing, I look at the notebooks for prompts and hints, especially when I'm stuck. When trying to carve out writing time in a busy schedule, there is nothing more frustrating than staring at your screen thinking, "I know I had a good idea for this, but now what the heck was it?"

·         This sounds so basic that it is stupid, but trust me, it will help. Disconnect your internet when you are writing. If you only have a short amount of time to write, it is so easy to get sucked into Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest. Before you know it, poof—your writing time is gone and all your have is eight more cake recipes that you'll never have time to try. Now, sometimes I need the internet when writing. I need to look things up or I do want to search Pinterest so I can find an outfit for my character to wear. But just be prepared that you will not have the word counts at the end of the session. There is no need to have Facebook or Twitter open when you are seriously trying to write. Also, I cannot write with the TV on. In order to have a writing career, I've given up watching most TV shows. It has not been much of a sacrifice, even though I am a former TV-addict.

·         Read. It is hard to read when I'm writing, but reading a good book motivates me to want to write better. I want to be as good as that author. Also, reading bad books motivates me to get my book done, because if that person can get their book out there to the world, then so can I.

I hope these tips are somewhat helpful in helping you to get writing and stay writing. Remember, every book was written one word at a time. Just keep writing words and it will happen.




No compensation was received for this post, but a book for review purposes.