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Monday, June 30, 2014

Books We Didn't Finish June Edition


The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham:  Started it because it was narrated by Clare Danes...that wasn't enough of a reason to stick with it.  There were weird
ruminations about things like dirty bathwater.  It wasn't really my thing.

With or Without You by Dominica Ruta:  It was a memoir, but I couldn't figure out what made it remarkable.  It seems like there should be something right?  I don't do memoirs and I don't know what drew me to this one, but it reminded me why I don't read them.

The Murder Book by Andrea Maria Schenkel: The description of it made it sound like it was going to be really awesome.  Then it was all these little back stories of all the
characters....and nothing actually happening.  Totally NOT awesome.  Didn't care for it at all.  Sometimes I don't understand these "International Bestsellers" that come over from Europe, sometimes they're great, but other times I just have wonder who made it a bestseller??


I really had a hard time getting into The Lemon Orchard.  I tried several times to start it but never got past the first 1/4 of the book. then I gave the audio-book a try and I got to the end of the first disc and was still kind of bored.  I also was not into the immigration tack that the story-line was taking.  I guess it just wasn't for me.

I really didn't care for His to Possess.  I have read menage stories before, but this one kind of made me feel icky. I just really didn't like the story-line at all.  It wasn't very believable.

I got to the end of the first disc of Code Name Verity and gave up.  First, I found myself not really following the story.  I felt like ti kept veering off track.  I also had a hard time believing that a anyone being captured by the Nazis would be allowed to write a book instead of being just tortured then killed for information.  Autumn loved it, but I wasn't invested enough to finish.

I will admit, I just didn't get A Corner of White: The Colors of Madeleine.  I got about 25% of the way in and I had no idea what was going on.  I'm all for slow builds, but there was not world building at all.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

4th BLOGAVERSARY



To celebrate we're giving away 4 boxes of books to 4 of our lucky readers!  We both made 2 boxes of random books from our stash.  Because these are big boxes, we have to limit this to US only.  Please use the Rafflecopter entry form below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos

by:   
published by:  Egmont USA
publish date:  January 21, 2014

In attempting to describe himself in his college application essay--help us to become acquainted with you beyond your courses, grades, and test scores--Harbinger (Harry) Jones goes way beyond the 250-word limit and gives a full account of his life. 

The first defining moment: the day the neighborhood goons tied him to a tree during a lightning storm when he was 8 years old, and the tree was struck and caught fire. Harry was badly burned and has had to live with the physical and emotional scars, reactions from strangers, bullying, and loneliness that instantly became his everyday reality. 


Harry Jones begins telling the about how he was terribly scarred as a child.  The scars cause him to be ostracized throughout his childhood.  Despite constant support from his parents and therapists, it isn't until he meets Johnny late in middle school that his life begins to turn around.  Johnny accepts him as he is and Harry starts to become more emboldened.  Johnny and Harry start because it seems like a good way to be "cool" in high school and by their senior year, they're really good.  

The Scar Boys was awesomely good.  I really like male perspective YA.  Harry had a great story to tell and it was told in a fresh way.  I liked the idea of a college admissions essay.  What YA reader doesn't have experience with that?  

I would definitely recommend this one, especially to male readers.  I think this one would appeal to some of the reluctant readers out there too, not wanting to deal with school, the people at school, going to school, just wanting to play music and party all day.  There are "rock star" books out there.  

Friday, June 27, 2014

Review & Interview: The Troublemaker Next door by Marie Harte

Today we have author Marie Harte who is promoting her book The Troublemaker Next Door.  Enjoy her interview after my thoughts on the book,


Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of publication: June 2014

Flynn McCauley never thought he’d be so cliché as to fall for the girl next door. But when Maddie calls him over to help fix her faulty sink, he’s a goner. Too bad the fiercely independent interior designer wants nothing to do with him. Even worse, he’s forced to rely on the advice of his nosy brothers—and his five-year-old nephew!—to figure out how to make her give him a shot.

My thoughts:

The Troublemaker Next Door is the first in a new series by Marie Harte.  While this story mainly focuses on Flynn and Maddie, a couple I loved, it also has a whole cast of great characters as well. I loved the camaraderie among Flynn and his brothers.  They seemed like a group of guys you would want to hang out with.

I did like how Maddie and Flynn's relationship developed.  While they initially agree to start out as just bed partners, it was hard to avoid the emotional bond that grew.  It was fun to watch Flynn fall for Maddie hard and fast.  I was really pulling for Maddie to let go of her issues and just go for it!

This looks to be a great series ahead.  I look forward to the next book, How to Handle a Heartbreaker!




Kari& Autumn: What inspired you to become a writer?

Marie: I have always loved telling stories. Initially, telling myself stories was a way to get around being punished. Ground me from TV or reading? I’ll just entertain myself. *grin* I’ve always been dreaming up worlds and plots and characters. Now I’m fortunate enough to do it for a living. J

Kari& Autumn: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Marie: From everywhere. People-watching in an airport or sitting in a coffee shop downtown. Movies, books, music. I love it when I’m invested in someone else’s story, and then my mind wanders and I add this or take away that, then spin in a completely different direction and create my own idea.

Kari& Autumn: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

Marie: Too many to count! I have three releases in July:  Bending the Rules, the last in my contemporary Wicked Warrens series, A Major Distraction, the last in my military Good to Go series, and Mastered, a BDSM box set I’m in with 10 other authors. And not to be discounted, How to Handle a Heartbreaker, my second McCauley Brothers book, releases August 5th!  (I won’t even get into the fall and winter. Whew.)

Kari& Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

Marie: Persephone. She’s queen of the underworld. She gets to live in the dark for six months out of every year, and then six more months in the light. And yeah, I took a liberty because she’s a Greek goddess, but Homer wrote about her, so that counts. J

Kari& Autumn: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Marie: A shark. Top of the food chain, baby! Plus they can smell one drop of blood in a million drops of water, and they have electroreception—they can detect electricity.  So cool!

Thanks for having me.

Marie

About the author:

Marie Harte is an avid reader who loves all things paranormal and futuristic. Reading romances since she was twelve, she fell in love with romance and happy endings and knew writing was her calling. Years later after the Marine Corps, Information Technology, and 60 hour work weeks, her dream has finally come true.

Marie lives in Oregon with her family and is constantly reading and writing.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Eyes on You by Kate White

Author: Kate White
Publisher: Harper
Date of publication: June 2014


After losing her on-air job two years ago, television host Robin Trainer has fought her way back and now she’s hotter than ever. With her new show climbing in the ratings and her first book a bestseller, she’s being dubbed a media double threat.

But suddenly, things begin to go wrong. Small incidents at first: a nasty note left in her purse; her photo shredded. But the obnoxious quickly becomes threatening when the foundation the makeup artist uses burns Robin’s face. It wasn’t an accident—someone had deliberately doctored with the product.

An adversary with a dark agenda wants to hurt Robin, and the clues point to someone she works with every day. While she frantically tries to put the pieces together and unmask this hidden foe, it becomes terrifyingly clear that the person responsible isn’t going to stop until Robin loses everything that matters to her . . . including her life.

Eyes on You is definitely one of those books that sucks you right in.  Robin is finally getting her career back. A successful book and a new TV show have her thinking that life is pretty good.  But someone has other ideas.  Slowly, she starts to feel like someone is following her and watching her.  She starts to get threatening messages and someone drugs her more than once.  The problem is that Robin thinks she knows who is doing it, but no one believes her.  

I thought the psychological suspense was was spot on and could feel the frustration building in Robin as things begin to unravel.  For the most part, I liked Robin's character.  She is ambitious and likable, if a little too trusting.  I just thought she made some incredibly stupid choices throughout the story. She did redeem herself in the end and I was satisfied with her growth.

There were a multitude of suspects in the book.  I was happy that I wasn't able to figure it out early on.  I like it more when I'm kept guessing and was surprised at the identity in the end.  I definitely recommend this one.  It's the first I have read by this author and I look forward to reading more by her.


About the author:

Kate White is the New York Times bestselling author of nine works of fiction—six Bailey Weggins mysteries and three suspense novels, including,  Eyes on You, which will be published in June. For fourteen years she was the editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, and though she loved the job (and the Cosmo beauty closet!), she decided to leave in late 2013 to concentrate full time on being an author. Her books have received starred reviews from a variety of publications and she has been covered everyplace from The Today Show to The New York Times. Her first Bailey Weggins mystery, If Looks Could Kill, was named as the premier Reading with Rippa selection and soon shot to number one on Amazon. (And it’s now being made into an opera!). She is published in 18 countries around the world. Kate is also the author of several very popular career books, including I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: How to Ask for the Money, Snag the Promotion, and Create the Career You Deserve, and Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead but Gutsy Girls Do.

 Find out more about Kate at her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


Kate’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, June 3rd: Jen’s Book Thoughts
Wednesday, June 4th: The Year in Books
Thursday, June 5th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Monday, June 9th: Tales of a Book Addict
Tuesday, June 10th: Drey’s Library
Wednesday, June 11th: A Bookworm’s World
Thursday, June 12th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Wednesday, June 18th: Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Tuesday, June 24th: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, June 25th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Thursday, June 26th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, June 30th: BoundbyWords
Wednesday, July 2nd: Sara’s Organized Chaos

Throwback Thursday: Entranced by Nora Roberts


Author: Nora Roberts
First published in 192 by Silhouette

A baby had been stolen and it was her job to find it--but private investigator Mel Sutherland had run out of leads. She could hardly blame the child's desperate mother for seeking the help of psychic Sebastian Donovan. Though Mel preferred to work alone, she was going to keep a real close watch on the sexy seer—she didn't trust him one bit!

Sebastian knew practical-minded Mary Ellen didn't believe in psychics or witches she just plain had a bad attitude. She also had a pair of legs a man would die for. He had no choice but to help her find the child.

Entranced is the second book in the Donovans series.  You can read my review of the first one here.  While I enjoyed the first one, I liked this one more.  There was a little bit of a mystery and I think that gave it a little more substance.  There was also less "magic". 

I liked the relationship between Mel and Sebastian.  I thought they made a great team.  Mel is a strong independent character and a great match for Sebastian.  I loved how he insisted on calling her Mary Ellen.  It was also a nice twist to have the woman be the uncertain party in the relationship.  I always love that kind of twist.  I can't wait to read Ana's story next!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Hero by Robyn Carr

Author: Robyn Carr
Publisher: Harlequin (Mira)
Date of publication: August 2013

In a moment of desperation, Devon McAllister takes her daughter and flees a place where they should have been safe and secure. She has no idea what is around the next bend, but she is pretty certain it can't be worse than what they've left behind. Her plan is to escape to somewhere she can be invisible. Instead, an unexpected offer of assistance leads her to Thunder Point, a tiny Oregon town with a willingness to help someone in need. 

As the widowed father of a vulnerable young boy, Spencer Lawson knows something about needing friendship. But he's not looking for anything else. Instead, he's thrown his energy into his new role as Thunder Point's high school football coach. Tough and demanding to his team, off the field he's gentle and kind...just the kind of man who could heal Devon's wounded heart. 


The Hero is the third book in the Thunder Point series.  I swear this series keeps getting better and better.  I have probably said ti before about this series, but the thing I am loving the most is the way the author includes many of the past characters.  It's like visiting with old friends.  I know I would love to live in a town like this one.

In The Hero, Devon has run from a commune with her 3 YO daughter.  She has come to realize that her idealistic life is really a prison and she wants to live freely.  Rawley picks her up in the highway and recognizes a lost soul in need of help.  He brings her to Thunder Point where she begins to make a life for herself and Mercy.  There she meets Spencer and their love story begins.

I loved Spencer and Devon together.  I admired Devon's caution about their relationship and commended her for wanting to take things slow.  Despite Spencer's freak-out, I thought they were great together.  But, even more than Spencer and Devon's relationship, I loved the bond that Devon and Mercy formed with Rawley.  We get to see more of his true personality in this book.  The way he took to being a "grandpa" was super sweet.

There's a lot of story-lines packed into this book, so you definitely don't want to miss this installment.  I have The Chance in queue on my TBR list.  I can't wait to read Eric and Laine's story!



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Closed Doors by Lisa O'Donnell

Author: Lisa O'Donnell
Puiblisher: Harper
Date of publication: May 2014

In this tense and brilliant tale from the national bestselling author of The Death of Bees, a young boy on a small Scottish island, where everyone knows everything about everyone else, discovers that a secret can be a dangerous thing.

Eleven-year-old Michael Murray is the best at two things: hacky sack and keeping secrets. His family thinks he’s too young to hear grown-up stuff, but he listens at doors—it’s the only way to find out anything. And Michael’s heard a secret, one that may explain the bruises on his mother’s face.

When the whispers at home and on the street become too loud to ignore, Michael begins to wonder if there is an even bigger secret he doesn’t know about. Scared of what might happen if anyone finds out, and desperate for life to return to normal, Michael sets out to piece together the truth. But he also has to prepare for the upcoming talent show, keep an eye out for Dirty Alice—his archnemesis from down the street—and avoid eating Granny’s watery stew.

I liked The Death of Bees enough to want to read more by this author.  So when I saw Closed Doors, I was hoping for a good read.   It is a unique look at family secrets and the impact that they have on not just the family members, but the people outside that circle.  I kept waiting for a tense book.  But it just never came for me.  I felt like the book dragged in places, but that may be because of who was narrating the book. 

It's told through the point of view of an eleven year old boy. So the events that he describes are very innocent, sometimes confused and often boring. I felt like this was really more of a coming of age story.  My heart really broke for Michael as he ends up growing up way too fast.  When he learns the truth of what happened to his mom, his relationship with her changes in a heart breaking way.

I did like how the book ended and was satisfied with the conclusion.  While I liked the book, I can't say I loved it.  I think this is one that you have to try out for yourself.



About the author:

Lisa O’Donnell won the Orange Screenwriting Prize in 2000 for her screenplay The Wedding Gift. Her debut novel, The Death of Bees, was the winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize. She lives in Scotland.

Visit Lisa at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Lisa’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, May 20th: she treads softly
Wednesday, May 21st: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Monday, May 26th: Book Hooked Blog
Thursday, May 29th: Love at First Book
Monday, June 2nd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, June 2nd: Sweet Southern Home
Tuesday, June 3rd: Book-alicious Mama
Wednesday, June 4th: A Bookworm’s World
Thursday, June 5th: Book Loving Hippo
Monday, June 9th: 5 Minutes For Mom
Tuesday, June 10th: Lit and Life
Thursday, June 12th: BoundbyWords
Friday, June 20th: Drey’s Library
Monday, June 23rd: Books à la Mode
Tuesday, June 24th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, June 23, 2014

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

by:   
published by:  Harper Collins
publish date:  March 18, 2014

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, who she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her archnemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger). But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission.

The Fault in Our Stars is insanely popular right now.  I think a lot of fans may be looking for another book to read when they're done with it, and this book will fill that need.

When Alice gets diagnosed with leukemia, she doesn't think she has much time to live.  She is going to use her time getting revenge on everyone that has ever done her wrong.  She decides to manipulate her childhood friend Harvey into doing her dirty work, but doesn't realize how close they will get during the course of her illness. Then, much to everyone's, including Alice's, surprise she gets better.  So Alice will have to face everyone she has spent so much effort getting back at.  She will also have to come to terms with her feelings for Harvey in the real world.

Side Effects May Vary was a really powerful book.  At times I couldn't understand why Alice was so angry, why she couldn't just let go of all her hurt feelings.  On the other hand, I could sympathize with her crazy plans to want to right all the wrongs before she died.  I really liked the portrayal of the relationship between Alice and Harvey.  That might have been one of the most honest YA relationships I've ever seen written.

Great debut from Julie Murphy!  I would definitely recommend for the YA readers and fans of The Fault in Our Stars.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Doing Harm by Kelly Parsons

by:   
published by:  St. Martin's Press
publish date:  Febraury 4, 2014

Steve Mitchell, happily married with a wife and two kids, is in line for a coveted position at Boston's University Hospital when his world goes awry. His over-reaching ambition causes him to  botch a major surgery, and another of his patients mysteriously dies. Steve’s nightmare goes from bad to worse when he learns that the mysterious death was no accident but the act of a sociopath.  A sociopath he knows and who has information that could destroy Steve’s career and marriage.  A sociopath for whom killing is more than a means to an end: it’s a game.

Steve Mitchell is rockin' and rollin' in his medical career.  He's at the top of his game.  Then, all of the sudden, everything that can possibly go wrong does.  He's being blackmailed, his marriage is falling apart, his patients are sick and dying, and while he knows who is doing it, he can't stop it.  Someone close to him is causing all this mayhem to advance a cause that only their twisted mind can rationalize.

Doing Harm was exciting and very tense.  It had one or two really good "wow" moments that were totally unexpected.  The characters were very well developed.  I particularly liked Luis, a resident doctor and ex-Marine that Steve eventually confides in.  

This was an amazing medical thriller.  I was upset that this genre had lost a great in the last year when Michael Palmer died.  However, discovering Kelly Parsons has made me feel a lot better about the future of this little niche in the book world.  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Midsummer's Eve Hop


For the full list of participating blogs click HERE

We will be giving away 4 prize packs.  4 winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter.  US addresses only!  To enter please see the Rafflecopter entry form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I Dream of Danger By Lisa Marie Rice

Author: Lisa Marie Rice
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: July 2013

When Nick Ross disappears from Elle Thomason's life, she is certain she'll never see the man she loves again—except in her dreams.

Ten years later, as a respected researcher breaking new ground in psychic phenomena, she sends a desperate call for Nick's help. One by one, her colleagues have started disappearing . . . and Elle knows she's next. An elite soldier, Nick never meant to hurt Elle, duty kept him away—and then she vanished. Now troubled by unusually vivid, disturbing dreams of Elle in danger, Nick will rescue the only woman he's ever wanted and bring her back with him to Haven. Though powerful men are after Elle and her special abilities, Nick will die before leaving her side again.


I Dream of Danger is the second in he "Ghost Ops Series".  I reviewed the first one, The Heart of Danger,back in April.  I was hoping to like this book more than the first one, but instead I found that I didn't enjoy it nearly as much.  It was just OK for me. The one thing that I did like about the book was that Nick and Elle's story isn't told through flashbacks.  Instead, it starts 10 years in the past.  We get to see how they met and how they ended up getting torn apart from each other.  I liked the linear aspect of the story instead of getting their back story in pieces.  


Nick and Elle were OK.  I thought that they got together a little too quickly for me once Nick finds her again.  Elle didn't have much will power. I'm not sure I bought Nick not being able to find her for the amount of time it took him to.  With all of their technology, it should have been a piece of cake.  I was also a bit disappointed that author set up the same "loss/resurrection" scenario with this couple in the end.  She already did it with Mac and Catherine in the first one.  


The story was a bit repetitive and went over the same material about Haven and its residents one too many times.  It ended up making the book longer than it needed to be.  I'm hoping that the author will tighten things up more in the next book and not go over the same ground again.  The ending was a bit of a cliffhanger and I do look forward to Jon's story next in Breaking Danger, which comes out later this year.




Thursday, June 19, 2014

Blog Tour: Joint Review: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Author: Emma Healey
Publisher: Random House
Date of publication: June 2014

'Elizabeth is missing' reads the note in Maud's pocket in her own handwriting, and the one on the wall.

Maud's been getting forgetful. She keeps buying peach slices when she has a cupboard full, forgets to drink the cups of tea she's made and writes notes to remind herself of things. But Maud is determined to discover what has happened to her friend, Elizabeth, and what it has to do with the unsolved disappearance of her sister Sukey, years back, just after the war.

A fast-paced mystery, an unforgettable voice: you will laugh and cry but you'll never forget Maud.


At first, I was a little wary of this book.  It's told from the point of view of a woman with a form of dementia.  Her ramblings seem random and confused most of the time.  But as she tells stories of her past, we begin to see clues as to what happened to her sister 70 years before.  The mystery was interesting and has a satisfying conclusion

What resonated with me most was how heartbreaking Maud's life is now.  Her confusion and memory loss make her life a little chaotic and really sad.  I also felt for her daughter and grand-daughter as they try to learn to live with her disease.  I ended up really liking this book.  It was a unique idea and a great debut!  I look forward to reading more from this author!

I wasn't really a fan of this book.  While I can appreciate the author's talent in taking this inventive approach, I didn't particularly care for it.  I think it comes from my own life experiences in dealing with elderly people with dementia.  I don't want to read about it in my pleasure reading.   

I was impressed with Emma Healey's ability to reel out the story through Maud's seemingly repetitive ramblings.  So, while I didn't connect with this book, I will seek out her future writings.  



About the author:


Emma Healey holds a degree in bookbinding and an MA in creative writing. Elizabeth Is Missing is her
first novel. She lives in the UK.

Find out more about Emma at her website and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


Emma’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, June 10th: Anita Loves Books
Thursday, June 12th: Doing Dewey
Monday, June 16th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, June 17th: Always With a Book
Wednesday, June 18th: Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, June 19th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, June 23rd: Kahakai Kitchen
Tuesday, June 24th: A Bookworm’s World
Wednesday, June 25th: Ace and Hoser Blook
Thursday, June 26th: BoundbyWords
Monday, June 30th: Book-alicious Mama
Tuesday, July 1st: Time 2 Read
Wednesday, July 2nd: Tina’s Book Reviews
Thursday, July 3rd: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Monday, July 7th: Tales of a Book Addict
Thursday, July 10th: 5 Minutes For Books

Blog Tour: Out of Bounds by Dawn Ryder

Today, we have author, Dawn Ryder who is promoting her book, Out of Bounds.  Enjoy her interview after my thoughts on the book.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of publication: June 2014

Power may be best when it's shared...

He's used to dominating...
Tarak Nektosha is a self-made man, against all odds. He accomplished that by making sure he's the one in charge, both in the boardroom and in the bedroom.

She's taking her power back...
Sabra Donovan has ambition to spare and energy to burn. So what if her last lover was a disappointment? She's never going to be anyone's plaything ever again.

Sabra's outstanding performance at a corporate photo op attracts Tarak's attention, and the lines begin to blur. What happens when the one on top surrenders and the one used to obeying begins to call the shots?


My thoughts:

Out of Bounds is definitely a very hot and steamy novel.  I did like the chemistry between Tarak and Sabra.  Their struggle to fight their feelings because of their work relationship made the tension between them even more intriguing. I was hoping that they would have their HEA.

The only thing I didn't like about the book was the attempted at a Dom/sub relationship.  I felt like it was kind of a half attempt and was never fully developed.   I think that the story would have been fine with out it.  Tarak was a great alpha male and Sabra was a strong match for him.  I felt like she was too strong willed to be a true sub.

Despite that, I enjoyed this book and do recommend it.  I hope that she will write Nartan and Celeste's book next! 


Kari& Autumn: What inspired you to become a writer?

Dawn: Being a child of the era of no GameBoys, 13 channels on the television and my Mom only allowed us one hour a night anyway, vacations were camping, so that left me my imagination. I went to Campfire storytelling and loved it. We sang all those songs…and cringed but loved it. My imagination has always gone a hundred mile per hour, so having something productive to do with all my characters is actually really grand.

Kari& Autumn: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Dawn:Anywhere and everywhere. I can be listening to a history channel special and an idea will begin forming. Amidst all those dry facts, there were people, I wonder what their story was.


Kari& Autumn: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

Dawn:Next up for Dawn Ryder is ‘Filthy Rich’. Look for it in February of 2013. For Mary Wine, August, The Highlander’s Bride Trouble.

Kari& Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

Dawn:Too many to name. I adore reading and have my collection of keeper books.

Kari& Autumn: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?


Dawn:A Blue whale. I really don’t like scuba gear, so it would be great to get to see the oceans!

About the author:

Dawn Ryder is the erotic romance pen name of a bestselling author of historical romances. She has been publishing her stories for over 8 years to a growing and appreciative audience. She is commercially published in mass market and trade paper, and digi-first published with trade paper releases. She is hugely committed to her career as an author, as well as to other authors and to her readership. She resides in Southern California.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Interview and Spotlight: The Cook's Temptation by Joyce Wayne



Today, we have an interview with author Joyce Wayne.  She is promoting her latest book, THe Cook's Temptation. Make sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post!

Publisher: Mosaic Press
Date of publication: February 2014

Joyce Wayne brings to life the complexities of Victorian life, first in County Devon and then in London’s East End. The ‘big picture’ is about one woman’s life, class conflict, religious intolerance, suspicion and betrayal. The central figure is Cordelia, a strong-minded Jewish woman who is caught between her desire to be true to herself and her need to be accepted by English society. Cordelia Tilley is the daughter of a Jewish mother and an Anglican father. Her mother has groomed her for a life in English society while her father, a tough publican, has shown no tolerance for his wife’s social climbing or the conceits of their perspicacious daughter. Cordelia’s mother dies from typhoid fever, she tries to run the family ‘s establishment, she falls prey to a local industrialist, she gives birth to a son, she is tormented by her husband and his family. Finally, she is rescued by suffragette friends and sets off to start a new life in London.The Cook’s Temptation is about a woman who is unpredictable, both strong and weak willed, both kind and heinous, victim and criminal. It is a genuine Victorian saga, full of detail, twists and turns, memorable scenes, full of drama and pathos.
Praise for The Cook’s Temptation

“Joyce Wayne’s debut novel, The Cook’s Temptation, has the stately bearing of a nineteenth century novel – the mercilessness of Thomas Hardy, the black allegory of Nathaniel Hawthorne, the tense marriages of George Eliot. It is a story of how people become what you blame them for being.” – Ian Williams, poet and fiction writer, short listed for the 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize

Kari & Autumn: What inspired you to become a writer?

Joyce: Since I was in middle school, I’ve been reading historical novels.  The local librarian in my hometown knew me and put aside new historical fiction that came into her library.  Those narratives, historical research combined with imagination, stuck with me into adulthood.  I’ve always wished to write a novel, having worked as a journalist for many years.  Journalism is fine, but not really the kind of writing I yearned to pursue. It was more like teaching math when I preferred to be teaching literature.  Finally in my fifties, I found the courage and the time to write fiction. It took five years to complete The Cook’s Temptation.

Kari & Autumn: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Joyce: I’m an observer, as are most writers. The idea for The Cook’s Temptation came from the media coverage about new super bugs that are appearing in our hospitals and clinics.  I began thinking about what it would be like to carry a superbug in Victorian times, my favorite period.  How would a person be treated who was considered contagious before there was medication to deal with infections?

Kari & Autumn: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

Joyce: Right now I’m working on a novel set in the 1940s.  It’s a spy thriller and it is about Canadians in Ottawa, the federal capital of the country, who were spying for the Soviet Union during and after the war.  If you’ve been watching The Americans on TV, the series about sleeper spies in the U.S. during the cold war, you’d be interested in my new novel.

Kari & Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

Joyce:  I’ve always loved Dorothea in George Eliot’s Middlemarch.  She is so earnest; she tries so hard to please and yet remains her own person.  At an essential level, Dorothea remains true to her convictions. Middlemarch is my touchstone, the book and characters I return to over and over again when I am perplexed. Dorothea is my guide for the perplexed.

Kari & Autumn: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Joyce: I’d be a raccoon.  Outside my house, I can hear them and sometimes see them at night, scouring the neighborhood for treats.  They always appear to be so mischievous and they manage to survive on ingenuity in their own urban neighborhood without going too far afield. I admire their pluck.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter @joycewayne1951


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About the author:

Joyce Wayne has an MA in English literature, has taught journalism at Sheridan College, Oakville,
Ontario, for twenty-five years, and lives in Toronto, Ontario. She was a winner of the Diaspora Dialogues contest for fiction and the Fiona Mee Award for literary journalism. She is the co writer of the documentary film So Far From Home (2010), a film about refugee journalists persecuted for their political views, and various of her other works have been published in Parchment, Golden Horseshoe Anthology, Canadian Voices, and TOK6.

For more information please visit Joyce Wayne’s website. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads. She is happy to participate in Books Clubs by phone and Skype.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Joint Review: The Bird Box by Josh Malerman

by:  Josh Malerman
published by:  Ecco
publish date:  May 13, 2014

Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.  Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?


I was really impressed with this first book by Josh Malerman.  This book had me hooked from beginning to end.   The tense atmosphere is what sold me on this one.  I think I was hanging on the edge of my seat the entire time.  The one thing I didn't like is the fact that there was no explanation as to what the creatures were.  Or if, indeed, there were any creatures to begin with.  At times, it seemed like it was a mass hysteria kind of event.  However, I suppose that gives the reader something to ponder over.  



Unlike Autumn, I was a little hesitant to like Bird Box at first.  I didn't understand why Malorie doesn't have names for her kids.  Calling them "Boy" and "girl" got to me.  But, as the story progressed, I found myself getting suck in more and more.  This book is definitely creepy and big on tension.  I liked how the story unfolded by waffling back and forth between the past and the present.  One thing about the book is that it really makes you think about eyesight and what it would be like to have to survive in the dark.  I'm not sure I would be that brave.  This is a great debut and one I highly recommend.  I think this author has a bright future and I look forward to seeing what he has in store for us next!