Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Catching Fire

I like the book series. I think they're doing a marvelous job with the films. So, of course, I enjoyed this one.

Well, as much as you can enjoy a film about killing others to survive that is.

We've got the cast back. Strong as ever. 

I loved meeting the new characters, esp. Mags. You'll recognize the actress playing Joanna. She's certainly crossed over well from child actor to adult. Her elevator scene had me laughing out loud. Like Fennick too.

The sets and graphics are spot on.

I couldn't sleep the night after I watched it because my mind kept replaying parts of the film. So, yes, it'll keep you up at night.

I actually thought they should've ended the film with Katniss being lifted out of the arena. It sort of had three endings to this film.

Slightly irritated they're doing Mocking Jay is in 2 parts. That second half one is going to be tough to watch. I'm really curious how they're going to do it all.

Are you a fan of the series?



Monday, December 30, 2013

Top Ten Films of 2013

It seemed appropriate to make the same list for the films. Again only ones I reviewed and in no particular order.

1. Breaking Dawn

2. Jack the Giant Slayer

3. Man of Steel

4. Star Trek: Into Darkness

5. The Avengers

6. Men in Black 3

7. The Dark Knight Rises

8. Les Miserables

9. Lincoln

10. Catching Fire (the review is tomorrow)


And my top 5 kids films are:

1. Brave

2. Despicable Me 2

3. Monsters University

4. Wreck it Ralph

5. Legend of the Guardians

What were your favorite flicks this year?


Top Ten Books for 2013

So, I thought since it's the end of the year I'd put up a list of my favorite books I reviewed in 2013. Here they are in no particular order and you should note, that there are several more that I thoroughly enjoyed that aren't on this list but should be. The list can only be so long. Also, note not all these books debuted this year and there's even a nonfiction in the mix. You can look back on my blog for the reviews and links. Happy Reading!

1. Working It Out by Rachel Anderson

2. Pride's Prejudice by Misty Pulsipher

3. Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

4. The List by Melanie Jacobson

5. A Change of Plans by Donna Weaver

6. The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James

7. Austenland by Shannon Hale

8. Family Size by Maria Hoagland

9. All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith

10. From Notting Hill With Love...Actually by Ali McNamara

What were your favorite reads in 2013? What do you recommend I read in 2014?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Abby Road

This is my first read of a book by Ophelia London. She's quite an author.

Abby is a hot mess. A college drop out because her music career took off when her band Mustang Sally went global overnight is enough to mess any 20 something girl up. Then add to that her brother's tragic death and a snot of a manager and it's a wonder this girl isn't already six feet in the ground for taking her own life. Yes, she gets fame and fortune and all that goes with it which isn't always positive. Paparazzi for one. So, I'm completely fine with the mood swings and anxiety attacks Abby is subject to.

Thankfully, she takes a summer off to get her head on straight and falls for the best guy around/ever. But like all good romances, smooth sailing has to come to a halt, relationship falls apart, and Abby has to figure out who she is and what she wants.

Good storytelling. Roller coaster rockin' fun!

This girl knows how to bring on the smexy - the author's word, not mine. I'd love to take credit, but I give credit where it's due. I'm not completely sure on the literal translation of smexy but I think it is a cross between smutty and sexy. This is one where'll you have to be the judge of whether it's clean or not clean enough for you. She gets top marks for serious kissing chemistry. Say 'hi' to weak knees.

But, the characters allude to things happening 'off page' that crosses boundaries for some readers of 'clean' romance, like premarital sex. There's substituted words for swearing and a rude hand gesture as well. As ratings go, I'd lean on the PG-13 side.

You'll have to judge whether that makes it 'clean' in your book or not. For me, it wasn't an issue.

She has also done a great job of conveying the characters emotions and building them as people throughout the arc of the story. There are also some great side characters in here as well. Like the Brit manager for one.

I did think it was funny that we go through a whole book about a rock and roll band singer and not once does she have a concert. Sing, yes. But not a concert.

Oh, and I enjoyed all the Beatles references.

For chick lit, this is good stuff.

Do you have an opinion on 'smexy'?

http://www.amazon.com/Abby-Road-Ophelia-London-ebook/dp/B00B0SBP28/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1384374713&sr=1-1&keywords=abby+road

Touted by the tabloids as the biggest rock star of our generation, Abigail Kelly is used to being in the spotlight. But beyond the glam of Hollywood, her world is falling apart. Still reeling from the death of her brother and wilting under the iron fist of Max, her manager, Abby banishes herself to the secluded beaches of Florida for the summer, thinking some anonymity and sunshine are just what she needs. What she finds, instead, is Todd, an ex-marine eager to embrace life after war. Together, Abby and Todd find the balance Abby’s life has been missing.

That is, until Max resurfaces, demanding Abby return to Los Angeles to record her band’s newest album. As the pressures of public appearances, paparazzi, and late-night recordings start to mount, Abby will have to risk everything or lose the life she always dreamed of.

Ophelia London’s ABBY ROAD is a love letter to music—both the kind you cherish and the kind you create—as well as a beautiful love story that proves even when everyone in the world can recognize your face, the only people who matter are those who can see inside your heart.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pacific Rim

If there was a one line pitch needed to describe this film to sell it to a studio, it would be:

Independence Day meets Transformers

I don't think I can say it any better.

Good graphics. Some good side characters. No one I recognized, but that was fine. Solid acting given what was required. Decent writing. Everyone has solid motivation for what they do. Predictable plot line.

Worth a view? Yes.

Worth a buy? No. I'd rather watch Independence Day or Transformers instead.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Echo in Time: Erasing Time #2



Echo in Time 
Erasing Time #2
by C.J. Hill  (Pseudonym), Janette Rallison 
Paperback, 400 pages
Expected publication: December 23rd 2013
by Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN 0062123963 

Book Summary: Echo in Time delivers on "the possibility of an equally thrilling sequel" (Kirkus Reviews) to Erasing Time.

After being pulled 400 years into the future, twins Taylor and Sheridan have found some refuge from the government of Traventon, which used the dangerous Time Strainer to yank the girls from the past. Yet the threat of the dangerous technology still looms. Taylor and an ally, Joseph, are selected to go on a mission to destroy the time machine and weapon. But their actions before they do may have major consequences for the future and the past.

Action-packed and romantic, this futuristic sequel to Erasing Time is perfect for fans of dystopian and sci-fi novels such as The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and Matched by Ally Condie.

About C.J. Hill: CJ Hill is a pen name for a YA author who is best known for writing romantic comedies. (Slayers will be her 18th published book.) Her writing has shifted away from the romantic comedy genre, so her editor thought a pen name would be a good idea. (New books will include: dangerous dragons, time travel to dystopian worlds, and flesh-eating beetles.) Since the publisher refused to let her have the pseudonym : The Artist Formerly Referred to as Princess, she chose a name to honor her mother. CJ Hill was her mother's pen name, or at least it would have been if her mother had published. Her mother wrote a few children's books and a middle grade novel but was taken by cancer before she had fully learned the craft.

Most writers' first novels aren't publishable. CJ Junior's first novel wasn't, but somehow was published anyway. Now, even though it is out of print, it remains forever available on Amazon, where it taunts her with its badness. This was another good reason to use a pen name.

CJ Hill has five children, three of whom like her on any given day depending on who is in trouble. She has lived in Arizona for the last half of her life, but is still in desert denial and hopes that one day her garden will grow silver bells and cockle shells or maybe just tomatoes.

 
 
Purchase link AmazonRafflecopter Code <a id="rc-b8f1a457" class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b8f1a457/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><script src="//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js"></script>



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PS Erasing Time by C.J. Hill is currently $0.99! Grab it too!

http://www.amazon.com/Erasing-Time-C-J-Hill-ebook/dp/B007HBLOAU/ref=pd_sim_kstore_3

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Portrait for Toni

A Portrait for Toni is the first full length novel I've read by Annette Lyon, although she's published several more works.

I'm sure I'm in the minority here when I say that I struggled to get emotionally attached to the characters. The reveal of Carter's deeper than friendship feelings came too soon for me and so he spent the book pining and frustrated, but I sympathized with his plight. Who hasn't been through the torture of loving someone who doesn't love you 'that way' back? (If you haven't then count yourself fortunate.)

Toni has her own issues and I have nothing negative to say regarding the eating disorder content because I thought it was handled truthfully and well done, but I spent the book wanting to smack her upside the head so she'd clue in to what was really going on with her body and with Carter.

The writing and grammar are solid. No point of view issues or anything technical to criticize. It's strong writing. It just didn't captivate me and bring me into the story emotionally.

I'm certainly not writing off Ms. Lyon as an author I'd read because I've read some of her work in other publications and enjoyed it. That being said,

Does anyone have another book by Ms. Lyon they'd recommend?

http://www.amazon.com/A-Portrait-Toni-Annette-Lyon-ebook/dp/B00EZFOM7S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383358208&sr=8-1&keywords=a+portrait+for+toni

Toni has no idea what she’d do without her best friend, Carter. Who else would she be able to vent to about her parents, her job at the dance studio, or her latest relationship woes? When Toni’s father lands in the hospital, Carter, as always, is there for her.

That is, until he starts questioning Toni, saying he thinks she has an eating disorder. Then she starts dating Clint, the hot new guy at the studio, and somehow that puts a deeper wedge between her and Carter. When she’s hospitalized after an on-stage collapse, and Carter stupidly starts in with advice about food and weight, she sends him away—then instantly regrets it.

One night after a performance, Toni tries to mend the hurt between them. Instead of finding Carter, she stumbles onto proof that he has feelings for her that go way beyond those of a friend. Toni is left with the very real prospect of losing Carter forever, unless somehow she can return his feelings—but that’s impossible.

Isn’t it?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Copied



COPIED

Author: S. M. Anderson

Publisher: Curiosity Quills

Release Date: December 11

Genre: YA Science Fiction Target Audience: 14 and up Distributor: Ingram


Book Blurb:  Adopted off the black market, Alexander Mitchell, has no idea his DNA is copyrighted and property of military weapons giant Texacom Defense. Nor that his DNA is being used to develop an army of clones. When the company discovers he was not properly disposed of 17 years ago, they send an assassin copy, BETA23, to terminate Xan and cover it up

After he narrowly escapes BETA23’s first attempt, Xan teams up with Lacey, a genetically engineered genius he’s surprised to find common ground with— only they’re awkward together. Half of the time she stares at Xan like the science project he is and the other half…let’s just say Xan can’t keep his eyes off her lips.

When they manage to capture a company copy by luck and sheer stupidity on Xan’s part, Lacey is determined to see the good in their prisoner to the point she believes BETA23 can be persuaded to give them the intelligence they need to keep the company forever off Xan’s back. Xan’s not sure if he can trust the darker version of himself, not when it means gambling with the lives of his family and the possibility of losing Lacey.
 


Best of luck to Ms. Anderson on her novel!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

White House Down

If you like your movies action packed with a touch or humor, this is one to add to your list.

The premise is a little far fetched but we don't watch action movies for that reason. although the writers did a good job of making this one as believable as possible. Actually I wondered during the film if you could take over the White House this way. Hope the SS reviewed their procedures after this came out. I also wondered how they got some of the shots they did. I can't imagine the White House allowing them to film on site. The security mixed with the pyrotechnics would put anyone's heart and mind into logistical overdrive trying to protect the real president.

We watch action flicks to see the good guys/underdogs get cut up, blow up stuff and watch them out smart the bad guys.

I wasn't surprised that Mr. Channing lost his shirt early in the film. I did like that Mr. Foxx kept his coat and tie on for most of the film and his character's fascination with Lincoln. You'll recognize the daughter as Ramona from Ramona and Beezus. This also has a great humorous bad guy. He runs the computers. You'll see. His character is just fabulous!

So, if you like films like Red or Die Hard, etc. your in luck.

Worth a view: Yes.
Worth a buy: I'm seriously considering it. I'd watch this one over again.

Got a good action flick to recommend?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Shadows of Valor

Ah, a historical romance set in medieval England. Sigh. I love to flip back and forth between historical and contemporary romance books. It makes both genres that much more enjoyable when you break them up occasionally.

Shadows of Valor by Elsie Park seems to be her debut novel, at least Amazon doesn't list any other books on her author page. If I'm wrong, feel free to correct me.

Ms. Park takes us back in time to merry old England and into the life of Elspeth a young woman who's written herself off as eligible marriage material due to the scars she secured as a child attempting to rescue her parents from their burning home. She doubts her self worth, despite being a 'strong' woman as she serves the community as an herbalist and midwife from her uncle's estate. She's carried a torch for Sir Calan most of her life, but has rarely seen him since he rescued her from the fire. When he reappears courting her beautiful cousin, it seems love is not to be. But then, this wouldn't be much a romance.

Thank goodness for the Shadow!

Storyline wise, you can see many things coming from a ways off, but that doesn't take away from the charm of the story or the lip biting that ensues as you journey to those plot points ahead. We have villains ugly and beautiful, knights, tournaments and songs.

The songs are impressive, especially as they are all original (if I read the back of the book right) and there's even music for one of them at the end! A writer who is also a songwriter and musician is my kind of girl!  I'd love it if she added the music for all three songs in subsequent editions. (I think there were 3.)

We get the flavor of the setting and clothes from the great descriptions that aren't bogged down in history. In fact, Ms. Park manages to explain to us future folk some of the items we aren't familiar with in present day without pulling us out of the story or wondering if we should pause to go look it up on Wikipedia.

A story well told. I'll be looking forward to her next one.

Do you have a good historical romance to recommend?

http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-of-Valor-ebook/dp/B00F1FRB2O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383244757&sr=8-1&keywords=shadows+of+valor

Through the muddy, mired streets of medieval England, The Shadow is a man shrouded by legend and fear. He is the enforcer of justice for King Edward, a man who has set an unreasonably high export tax to the point that smuggling now taints his kingdom.

The Shadow, who is really a simple man known as Sir Calan, is tasked with capturing the smugglers. Although talented and just, Sir Calan struggles to keep justice from becoming ruthless revenge and wars within himself to keep his actions in check.

While journeying to Graywall, Sir Calan learns of a deadly plot against Lord Shaufton. In an effort to unveil the evil that lurks behind the city’s walls, The Shadow takes on his original guise as Sir Calan and enters a pseudo courtship with Lord Shaufton’s daughter.

However, it isn’t Lord Shaufton’s daughter who stirs Sir Calan’s buried emotions, but Elsbeth, Lord Shaufton’s niece. Elsbeth seems to be the only one who can heal Sir Calan’s troubled soul, but she has a story of her own.



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cover Reveal for Blood Crown by Ali Cross

Ali Cross' new book Blood Crown is coming out in Feb. Read below all about this awesome author and her new book! May the sales be ever in your favor Ali!

About Ali Cross: Ali Cross is the sensei of Novel Ninjutsu where she holds a black belt in awesome. She lives in Utah with her kickin' husband, two sparring sons, one ninja cat, one sumo dog and four zen turtles.


Ali is the award-winning author of young and new adult fiction and moonlights as Alex Cross when she can write wild middle grade adventures set in the faraway places of her imagination.

Social media links:






Tumblr/Pinterest/Etc: http://desolationdiaries.tumblr.com/

Indelibles (indie authors): http://indeliblewriters.blogspot.com/

Emblazoners (middle grade authors): http://emblazoners.com/


About BLOOD CROWN: Serantha is the daughter of the Emperor of the West, who rules over the remnant of humanity who escaped a dying Earth and took to the stars a thousand years ago. With no habitable planets found during their exile, the android Servants who were supposed to care for them rose up, took the name of Mind, and murdered her father. Now the androids amuse themselves by forcing humans like her into mindless drudgery. But flashes of memory hint that Sera is no ordinary human.


On the other side of the galaxy, Nicolai, Son of the East, has abandoned his crown and joined the rebel forces in the war against the Mind. Humans have no real chance... unless the enhanced DNA developed by the Blood Crown scientists can unlock mankind's potential. When Nic and Sera are united, they discover their true potential--and together, humanity just might have a chance. But there's a legion of androids and nine years of mistrust between East and West... and coming together will require more than they ever expected.

Release date: February 20, 2014

Buy links: coming soon!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Planes

This is Cars in the air. Not a big surprise as that's just what the previews indicated it would be.

Worth of view: Once. From a Redbox.

Worth a buy: No.

It's cute. Has a few fun moments. But, really it's just Cars & Cars 2 told with planes. Not much new information there.

The documentary on the research for the movie is worth a view.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Working It Out

Working It Out by Rachael Anderson is another fun RomCom read with great characters.

We've got a smart strong girl, a dare devil guy, a brother in a wheelchair, a friend's sister and a bachelorette auction. What is not to love about this set up?

Lots of back and forth with the emotions, the kisses, the fear of losing the one you love. Enjoy having your heart strings tugged right along with the couple.

Storyline flows well and dialogue is spot on.

A good read. I'm a fan.

It's amazing how many good writers there are out there! Don't waste time with the mediocre ones. Read the good stuff.

Has anyone read any of her other books?

http://www.amazon.com/Working-Out-Romantic-Comedy-ebook/dp/B00DYFWZQ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383185250&sr=8-1&keywords=working+it+out

A chance encounter . . .
Grace Warren's life is safe and predictable--exactly the way she likes it. But when she gets roped into going to an auction to help out a friend, everything changes. She meets Seth Tuttle--a guy who unexpectedly kisses her then disappears, leaving her flustered and upset. If she never sees him again, it will be too soon.

A chance for love . . .
Weeks later, when Seth limps into Grace's rehab clinic post surgery, he's every bit as frustrating and annoying as she remembered. Yet there's something about him that makes her second-guess her carefully placed boundaries even though he's everything she's sure she doesn't want in a man. But maybe Seth is exactly what Grace has needed all along--assuming she's willing to risk safe and predictable for a chance at love.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pride's Prejudice

I love Jane Austen and I love this book by Misty Dawn Pulsipher!  It is a fun RomCom take on the classic Pride and Prejudice. Love the characters, the change up of the names and situations.

The writing, besides being believably fantastic, is what I would call steamy clean (or is it clean steamy?). For a novel you'd typically label as the bedroom door 'shut' we're in and out of a lot of bedrooms, not to mention the sleeping bags, but still there's really nothing going on in there but sleeping and a few kisses. Just struck me as funny.

Love all the twist ups!  (Did I mention that already?)

Okay, I'm gushing, I know. I think you get the point. I'd definitely read this one again. I need to go back and take notes on how to write steamy clean.

So glad this one came into my Austen loving hands! The rumor is Ms. Pulsipher may attempt another Austen twist up. I sure hope so! It will instantly go on my Nook! Plus, I'm hopeful about meeting this awesome author in the near future.

Anyone else got a good Austen knock off they recommend?

http://www.amazon.com/Prides-Prejudice-ebook/dp/B00CYQDTVK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383183845&sr=8-1&keywords=pride%27s+prejudice#_

Beth Pride really can’t stand William Darcy: he snubbed her at the Hartford College Children’s Benefit Auction; he has an infuriating propensity for pushing her buttons; his actions are frequently at odds with his words; and even his melting chocolate eyes and impressive physique don’t quite make up for his deficient personality.

Beth’s plan to avoid William backfires when her roommate falls for his best friend. As the unlikely duo are thrown together time and again, Beth begins to second guess her earlier assumptions about William.

Will Pride’s prejudice keep her from a happy ending, or will Beth discover that first impressions aren’t always what they seem?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Last Airbender

This movie was painful to watch. The writing was not good. The acting was possibly even worse. I wanted to turn it off after the first 15 minutes. But I gave it to the end in hopes that just perhaps my initial reaction was unjustified. Sad, to say, it wasn't.

It's no wonder this film bombed at the box office or why there won't be any sequels.

To be fair, I haven't read the books or seen the tv series. Perhaps they are better. However, this film did nothing to give me a desire to bother with them.

I couldn't even get excited about the special effects because it was so miserable.

Worth a view? No.

Worth a buy? No.

Go see something better!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Afterparty Spotlight and First Three Chapters Giveaway!


About AFTERPARTY: A toxic friendship takes a dangerous turn in this riveting novel from the author of Where It Began.

Emma is tired of being good. Always the dutiful daughter to an overprotective father, she is the antithesis of her mother—whose name her dad won’t even say out loud. That’s why meeting Siobhan is the best thing that ever happened to her…and the most dangerous. Because Siobhan is fun and alluring and experienced and lives on the edge. In other words, she’s everything Emma isn’t.

And it may be more than Emma can handle.

Because as intoxicating as her secret life may be, when Emma begins to make her own decisions, Siobhan starts to unravel. It’s more than just Dylan, the boy who comes between them. Their high-stakes pacts are spinning out of control. Elaborate lies become second nature. Loyalties and boundaries are blurred. And it all comes to a head at the infamous Afterparty, a bash where debauchery rages and an intense, inescapable confrontation ends in a plummet from the rooftop...


Buy Links:





 
About Ann Stampler: Ann Stampler was the mild mannered author of literary picture books when she broke out, tore off her tasteful string of pearls, and started writing edgy, contemporary young adult novels set in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and writer’s-helper rescue dog – without whose compelling distraction she would have no doubt penned dozens of novels by now.

 Social media links:

Twitter: @annstampler


The writing life blog: www.annstampler.com/ya

Novel in the Oven: Really Bad Writing Advice (among other things): www.annstampler.blogspot.com

 
Book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15751652-afterparty


Tumblr/Pinterest/Etc:


The LINK to the first three chapters of AFTERPARTY by Ann Stampler: http://www.scribd.com/doc/183272047/Afterparty-by-Ann-Redisch-Stampler-Excerpt

 

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Own Mr. Darcy

For those of us who love Pride and Prejudice and all things associated therewith, as women we all secretly long for our own Mr. Darcy and look for those Darcy characteristics in our beloved companion.

Karey White takes this idea and runs with it. Poor Lizzie is totally stuck on the idea of waiting for her own Mr. Darcy to appear and make her life romantically complete, in the meantime ditching every guy who comes her way after a mere date or two because he just doesn't measure up to the Matthew Macfayden version. (We could go into a whole discussion on Colin Firth versus Matthew Macfayden but we simply don't have the room or the time here on this blog! Personally I'm happy with both of them.) Her BFF cuts her a deal to go on 10 dates with the next go who asks her out (Chad) and Lizzie reluctantly agrees. Naturally, like 2 dates in, Matt Dawson, the real life Matthew Macfayden Mr. Darcy walks into the life and all things crazy ensue.

Personally, I spent the whole book waiting for Lizzie to get her head on straight and see that Chad was the best/perfect guy for her. I secretly pined and waited. I won't spoil the ending for you.

I thoroughly enjoyed the torture Ms. White put Lizzie through in deciding between these two men. The characters and dialogue are strong and if you are looking for a master class on how to describe food and clothing, Ms. White is your girl. I had to guess on some of the words because I was too lazy to look them up, but I could guess the gist pretty well from the context.

A fun rom com read.

Anyone have another stellar Pride and Prejudice knock off they recommend (that doesn't include vampires or other 'magical' elements)?

http://www.amazon.com/My-Own-Mr-Darcy-ebook/dp/B00DY6QP3I/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1382466752&sr=1-1&keywords=my+own+mr.+darcy

After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough.

Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Now You See Me

Solid cast, solid concept, great visual effects, well paced, lots of fun.

This movie keeps you guessing until the end. Who is orchestrating it all? Will all the tricks work? How do the tricks work? Is the Eye real? Will the magicians escape?

You'll just have to watch it to find out.

Worth a view? Yes!

Worth a buy? Possibly. I'd certainly watch it again.

Do you have a fave magic movie?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Longing For Home

Longing For Home is the second book I've read by Sarah M. Eden. The first was Seeking Persephone which I thorough enjoyed. So, I had promising expectations for this book and wasn't disappointed.

We follow Katie, lately of Ireland, into the small town of Hope Springs, Wyoming to take up the position of a housekeeper, only to discover she's right in the middle of a town feud: Irish against non-Irish. Her Irish heritage gets her immediately fired by Joseph Archer and that's only the beginning of her troubles. On her already burdened shoulders is placed the hope that she can win the feud for the Irish. There's also her heart breaking past hanging over her and a guilt she can never remove. Then there's the problem of Tavish and the pull he has on her heart. Problems follow Katie wherever she goes, but Hope Springs didn't get its name by accident.

Love this girl. Both Katie and Ms. Eden. Katie is fiery, determined and just a bit broken. Perfect for a heroine.

Enjoyed all the Irish brogue and proverbs rife in the dialogue. Fun to hear about the Irish music. The environment is wonderfully crafted and the opportunity to enter Katie's world and heart is a tragic delight. These characters are alive and real and jump off the page.
Take a walk through Hope Springs and enjoy Longing For Home.

This can be read as a stand alone book, but I did notice a sequel is scheduled for next year. I do hope it comes out. I wish Ms. Eden good health, but should these prove to be her last books for a while, I'm grateful for all the words she's given us to enjoy. She's truly a talented and delightful writer and person.

Which of Ms. Eden's books do you recommend I read next?

http://www.amazon.com/Longing-Home-A-Proper-Romance-ebook/dp/B00DOAJ522/ref=pd_sim_b_5


“An engaging and heart-warming story.” —Julianne Donaldson, bestselling author of Edenbrooke
Though she was only a child during the darkest days of Ireland’s Great Famine, Katie Macauley feels responsible for the loss of her family’s land and the death of her sister. Now a woman grown, Katie has left Ireland for America and the promise of earning money enough to return home again and plead for her family’s forgiveness. She arrives in Hope Springs, Wyoming Territory, a town sharply divided between the Americans who have settled there, with their deep hatred of the Irish, and the Irish immigrants who have come searching for a place to call home. Her arrival tips the precarious balance, and the feud erupts anew. Even in the midst of hatred and violence, however, Katie finds reason to hope. Two men, as different as they are intriguing, vie for her heart, turning her thoughts for the first time toward a future away from Ireland. Katie must now make the hardest decision of her life: stay and give her heart a chance at love, or return home and give her soul the possibility of peace.



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Great Gatsby

I read this book and saw the Robert Redford version of the film in high school and really don't recall too much of either other than I wasn't all that impressed.

So, while I didn't expect to be impressed with the story with the new Baz Luhrmann production starring Di Caprio, I did expect to be impressed by the sets, costumes and music and on those points I wasn't disappointed. He makes visually stunning movies. Totally Wow!

I can't say anything bad about the acting because the cast is so fabulous.

Is it worth a view? Yes.

Worth a buy? It's not one I'd watch over and over.

Actually, come to think of it, I have trouble watching any of Luhrmann's films over and over. They are just so emotionally deep. Except I didn't cry over anyone in this. Again, I think that's the story, not the presentation.

I'm always wanting Gatsby to get over Daisy and move on to someone else.

Do you love Gatsby?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Spy for a Spy


We're celebrating the launch of Spy for a Spy, sequel to I, Spy! Read on to get a cool spy tip for your daily life, free & discounted reads, and enter to win some great prizes! You can also find Spy for a Spy at the special $3.99 launch discount on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and JordanMcCollum.com!

About the Book

Canada is probably the last place you’d expect to find an American spy. And it was the last place CIA operative Talia Reynolds expected to run into fellow operative Brand Copley. AKA her new boss. AKA her ex-boyfriend.

Just the guy every woman wants to face in the middle of planning her wedding. Once again, Talia’s lying to the man she loves, but this time, to protect his heart.

After Brand takes over Talia’s latest case and steals her newest agent, he assigns her to spy on her old boss—who’s suddenly giving her every reason not to trust him. With only weeks until the big day, planning falls by the wayside as she goes into damage control mode. But when Talia discovers Brand’s real motives, fighting him is the only option, no matter what the personal and professional cost.

More about Spy for a Spy | Add Spy for a Spy to your Goodreads to-read list!

Hone your spy skills

Spy skills can come in handy in the most unusual situations, like this one . . .



Further hone your spy skills by reading Spy for a Spy!

About the author


An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can’t resist a story where good defeats evil and true love conquers all. In her day job, she coerces people to do things they don’t want to, elicits information and generally manipulates the people she loves most—she’s a mom.

Jordan holds a degree in American Studies and Linguistics from Brigham Young University. When she catches a spare minute, her hobbies include reading, knitting and music. She lives with her husband and four children in Utah.

Join the party & enter to win!

As part of the debut of Spy for a Spy, Jordan is co-hosting a launch party with Julie Coulter Bellon, author of Pocket Full of Posies. Join us November 12 on Facebook (Jordan's and Julie's pages) and Twitter (follow Julie and Jordan) for drawings throughout the day, and enter to win more fabulous prizes here!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Special deals!

Spy for a Spy is a sequel to the novel I, Spy, available for 99¢ at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Jordan's site this week only!

To save her country and her secrets, CIA operative Talia Reynolds will have to sacrifice the man she loves. More about I, Spy.

Also, as a free gift this week, Jordan is giving out free e-copies of a prequel novella, Mr. Nice Spy, on Amazon and her site!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Carol of the Tales




Carol of the Tales and Other Nightly Noels: An Advent Anthology, Volume 2


Christmas carols capture the spirit of Christmas, and Carol of the Tales and Other Nightly Noels brings beloved carols to life like never before. Throw your cares away with the tales from sweet silver bells. Find out how Santa Claus dabbles in time travel, and feel the redemption of a dying wife's parting Christmas gift. Experience all this and more in these heartfelt, entertaining tales donated by a team of authors from across the country, working together for a good cause. The proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated toward Autism research and advocacy.

Anthology authors include: Shirley Bahlmann, C. David Belt, Rebecca Carlson, Loretta Carter, Madonna D. Christensen, Danyelle Ferguson, C. Michelle Jefferies, Theric Jepson, Ryan Larsen, Angie Lofthouse, Betsy Love, J. Lloyd Morgan, Janet Olsen, Teresa G. Osgood, Brian Ricks, Jennifer Ricks, Peg Russell, and Michael Young.

Carol of the Tales is the 2nd book in the Advent Anthology series. Both anthologies are available in paperback and Amazon Kindle
formats from Amazon.com. 


Purchase “Sing We Now of Christmas”: http://amzn.com/1479266248
Purchase: “Carol of the Tales”:  http://amzn.com/1484145526

To kick off the release of the second anthology, a Christmas
concert will be held at American Fork Junior High on December 7th,
2013. The concert will feature the Saltaires Barbershop Chorus. All proceeds from this concert will be donated to charity as well.
Purchase: Tickets for the Concert: https://tickettool.net/en/index/eventpopup/b54dab4bd0a13fa6975068f4784dfaa5

Blog Tour Giveaway!

Use the rafflecopter below to enter to win wonderful prizes, such as tickets to the concert and copies of the anthology. 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Other Blogs on the Tour:



Www.notesfromthewritingchair.blogspot.com
Www.causeisaidso.me
www.queenoftheclan.com
www.JohnWaverly.com
http://iamareader.com
http//:lisaswinton.blogspot.com
moniquebucheger.blogspot.com
http://mariahoagland.blogspot.com/
http://www.annadelc.com/blog
http://jlloydmorgan.blogspot.com/
www.franklycreative.blogspot.com
http://www.writermike.com
http://fringies.blogspot.com
http://www.saythiswrite.blogspot.com
http://debbie-peterson.blogspot.com/
http://thmazing.blogspot.com
www.renaeswritespot.blogspot.com
http://shelliproffitthowells.com/amusings/
http://www.annadelc.com/blog
www.meritaking.com
blessedinweakness.com
lynndparsons.blogspot.com
http://lisaswinton.blogspot.com
http://stephaniereadthat.blogspot.com/
www.renaeswritespot.blogspot.com








Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wuthering Heights

I've never been a Bronte fan. I've read Jane Eyre and seen the film (although not the most recent one) and I just don't get the style of writing.

Many long years ago I scraped through the first 10 pages of this book and then shut it forever.

So, when I finally finished Season 3 of Downton Abbey *sob* there was a 1998 copy of Masterpiece Theater's film version of Wuthering Heights inside the case. I grit my teeth and sat down to watch it, while I folded laundry of course. I hoped by watching this classic I might gain some interest or insight to the Brontes but it wasn't to be.

It was painful. I couldn't get myself to care about any of the selfish characters in the story and didn't shed a tear when anyone died. What does Cathy see in Heathcliff? So don't get it.

I don't know if any of the other versions are any better, but since the story won't change, I doubt my opinion would.

The best thing about this film was Matthew Macfadyen, except he's only in it for about 10 minutes max.

Worth a view? No.


My apologies to you lovers of Bronte and their books. I don't think I'll ever be a fan.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tips for NaNoWriMo

A few quick tips for those of you participating in NaNoWriMo this year:

1. Commit and sign up

2. Outline

3. Divide up your daily word count for the month

4. Write in small time increments

5. When you hit your word count goal for the day stop writing

6. Sprint

7. Get support from fellow writers and the people in your home

8. Let some things slide

9. Trim your nails

10. It's okay if you fall short of the 50,000 words in 30 days!

Good luck! I'm cheering for all of you!!!

Blackmoore

If you loved Edenbrooke, then you won't be disappointed by Blackmoore and will love it just as much, perhaps even more.

As a romance writer, I bow in admiration to Julianne Donaldson's mastery of her craft. I don't know what her past history as a writer is, but I know few writers who can knock it out of the park with their first book like she did with Edenbrooke. I was curious if she could do the same with Blackmoore. She totally did.

Blackmoore has a different voice and tone than Edenbrooke. Where Edenbrooke was playful with lurking danger, Blackmoore is more serious and wild. The writing of the book takes on the flavor of it's moor environment: bleak, windswept but undeniably beautiful in it's own way. I'm not doing justice to the writing. I'm not sure I can. I think reading it is your best option to understand the point I'm trying so unsuccessfully to illustrate.

I loved the heroine. Kate wants to flee her family and with serious good reasons. She has locked up her heart to spare another pain. If I was still a nail biter, I'd have chewed them off in the first few chapters. Ms. Donaldson sweeps us into the book and into Kate's heart with seeming little effort. Another mark of a great writer. Plus her descriptions of eyes are incredible. I don't know how she came up with so many ways to describe them. A master class.

My heart ached all the way through the book for Kate and Henry, but I couldn't put it down. I had to know how it would end, which I wouldn't dream of spoiling for you.

Look, if you can't guess from my gushing. I loved it. It easily goes on your 'must read' list for 2013.

What will this brilliant woman write next? And will we have to wait 2 years for the next one? Did you find Blackmoore equal to Edenbrooke?

http://www.amazon.com/Blackmoore-ebook/dp/B00E8IIWDM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381092464&sr=1-1&keywords=blackmoore+by+julianne+donaldson

 Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never to marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain sooner rather than later and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?

Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Big Announcement!

I've been looking forward all year to participating in NaNoWriMo and deciding between two books I want to write, but sadly I won't be writing my 50,000 words in 30 days this year. There are two reasons why:

1. I'll be gone to Florida for 10 days for Thanksgiving. That combined with not writing on weekends only left me 16 days to write, and while I managed it in 22 days last year, even I'm not that crazy!

2. I've decided to launch my first novel FALLEN ANGEL on FRIDAY, FEB 7th, 2014!

The best time to launch a romance novel is February when we celebrate Valentine's Day, right?

So, I need the month of Nov to make one final pass at the manuscript and get it ready to load, set up a blog tour, and finalize the art work so I can be ready to send out ARCs in Dec to those on the blog tour, etc.

It's a big undertaking that I'm both nervous and excited for!

I've paid close attention the past 3-4 years to all my writer friends who have published both traditionally and indie and have seen the pros and cons of both. I drafted query letters and prepped manuscripts and even got rejections all of which I felt brought me that much closer to being a 'published' author.

What really put my goals in perspective last month were two things:

1. Just before I left for Midwest Storymakers my hubby and I had lunch. He asked me (paraphrased): "You've got 3 finished novels. What are you going to do with them? When are you going to get them published?"

2. I spent the Midwest Storymakers conference pondering: What are my goals with my novels? To be an international bestseller? (not likely) national bestseller? (again not likely) land a movie deal? (my fave fantasy), fame and fortune? (no thanks) to write and produce a good product? BINGO!

Plus, I realized, even if I landed an agent/publisher today, my book likely wouldn't come out for another year or two. Fallen Angel has already languished on my computer for far too long. Ring on Her Finger is almost ready to go. The Make-Out Artist needs editing and then it's ready too.

Self publishing fits my goals. Write a good story, edit it to within an inch of both our lives, then deliver a clean and beautiful copy for the world to read.

Make $10 bucks to celebrate with ice cream paired with an incredible brownie and fudge sauce. LOL!

I applaud and support my fellow authors who publish traditional and indie. I hope they'll be just as  supportive of my decision and my work.

So, here's to big decisions and big announcements!

Is anyone out there excited too?

Fallen Angel Blurb

When her angelic beauty, famous voice and precious memories are wiped out by one a motorcycle accident, a rising opera star must choose between the fiancé she cannot remember and the man who fell in love with her at first sight.

 In Fallen Angel, Antonio Tonon does not believe in love at first sight until he sees her fall into a street in Milan and get hit by a motorcycle. Compelled to know who she is and if she can return his affection, he becomes her hospital volunteer only to learn that the accident erased her memory. But the road to love is obstructed by her tyrannical mother, Renatta’s fiancĂ© (Marcello), and Antonio’s own lower social status. Forced to redefine his ideas of honor, love, and family, Antonio must find a way to marry Renatta before she bends to the will of her mother and resumes her place on the opera stage. If he fails, Renatta will wed Marcello and sentence Antonio to a lifetime of loneliness, for love at first sight never happens twice.




Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Total Recall

This is the remake of the 1980's version and stars Colin Ferrell, Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale. I watched it off TV so if the original was more than PG-13 I only watched a PG-13 version of it.

It's rated that way for violence, language and a few shirts left off.

It has an Inception vibe to it and I was never totally sure whether the entire thing was made up and inside his head or some of it was real and some was made up. Totally mind boggling that way.

My previous exposure to Colin Ferrell is total villain so seeing him play the underdog was a nice change. Good to see that the has more than one mode of acting.

In a fight, I'd always pick Kate Beckinsale over Jessica Biel. That girl has some moves!

The graphics and action are over the top non stop with very few breathers in between so be ready. That's not a bad thing.

Storyline is plausible, minus being able to pass through the core of the earth. I think if we could do that we'd just be able to leave the planet.

Also a nice cameo by the guy who plays Sulu in the new Star Trek franchise.

Worth a view: Yes.

Worth a buy: No. It's not one I'd watch over and over again but a good way to pass a weekend night.

Did you see it? What is your opinion?