Saturday, December 31, 2011

Don't forget about our contest!

Happy New Year!

Just a reminder to everyone - our Christmas bloggerthon is still going on. I need 84 more followers and about 15 more comments before I can give these books away. 
I've had quite a few authors contacting me about book give-aways. 
So let's get moving and finish this contest so we can move on to another one. =)

Friday, December 30, 2011


Curtis Hox

Science fiction and fantasy are not my normal genres of choice. So I'll admit that I began this book with trepidation. The premise sounded intriguing. Book characters bleeding over into normal  life. Being a book lover I HAD to read this.

Wow! I'm certainly glad that I did. This book was well written, fascinating and scary. It took me a few chapters to wrap my mind around what the author was trying to convey. I'm pretty sure this is because I'm not as familiar with the genre. Because after I figured out where it was going it was a super fast read from there. Definitely an author to keep on the radar if this is your genre of choice. I am going to be checking out his other books myself.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Enemy in Blue

Enemy in Blue
Derek Blass

This book reads like a more detailed version of a Law & Order episode. It has the crime that was committed and the details for the first half of the book. Then the second half is about the trial.
It was fast paced, full of relevant details and edge of your seat action.
I really, really enjoyed reading this book. And I know that it's the type of book that my husband will enjoy as well. 

It's obvious that the author has done his research. Most books are about either the police part of a crime or the trial part. This book takes both and weaves it together to create a fascinating story that I wasn't able to put down. Be prepared for some violence and difficult issues, but it's well worth the effort.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Magic Room

The Magic Room
A Story About The Love We Wish For Our Daughters
Jeffrey Zaslow

The author wanted to write a book about the love that we all wish for our daughters to have someday. He also wanted to showcase the relationships between daughters and their parents. Someone suggested he use a bridal store as the back drop for his story. He chose Becker's Bridal in Fowler, Michigan. It's been in the family for three generations. It has seen thousands of brides and has a room called The Magic Room.

The book was so fun to read. I have a daughter so this may have played into it a little bit. The author chose several of the brides and told their stories along with the story of the bridal store. He uses interesting facts and information to show how being a bride and a parent has changed over the years.
Would definitely recommend this book to anyone with a daughter.

Be sure to check out the discussions and more reviews on the BlogHer page.

I received this book free of charge from BlogHer and was compensated for my honest review.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Up Close & Personal with Author - Joseph Rinaldo about his new ebook release, Hazardous Choices

Where were you born and where do you call home? I was born in Danville, Illinois, grew up in Kentucky, and am presently residing in a small town just outside of Nashville, TN.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say? Hazardous Choices:
Surviving life in a violent Chicago street gang through his high school years, Darnell Jackson’s future appears promising. A football scholarship gives him the chance to escape the thug lifestyle.

If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
Darnell: I know I’ve made terrible mistakes in the past, but I want to turn my life around and make something of myself. Please give me the chance.

Do you have plans for a new book? Yes, I have a book in the editing stage right now. It’s called Mountain Meadows Aftermath, and this is the “tag line” for that book: Jeremiah wants revenge for the atrocities inflicted on his mother and his ancestors by the Mormon Church, and the Mormon Victim’s Action Committee molds that young man’s hatred into a sharply honed weapon of righteousness.
  Is this book part of a series? - no

What or who inspired you to write?  I was reading Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks. At the point where he told of getting a one million dollar advance I knew I had to try this writing game. That’s an excellent book, but I knew I could write that well.
 And how long have you been writing? For about seven years now.

Would you like to giveaway a copy of your book on this blog? Yes, I’d be happy to do so.

How did you come up with the title and cover design? Titles just sort of present themselves to me, like a whisper in my ear. I come up with several, my wife and I weigh them, and I make a decision on one. We hired a website and graphic designer to create our cover design. We think it is very dynamic.

Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?  In my book, Hazardous Choices, there is a character who has Down syndrome, a form of mental retardation. I have an adult daughter with Down, and I based that character very loosely on her.

What books have most influenced your writing most and why? I wouldn’t say that any books “influenced” my writing, but the two books I most admire are: The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, because it made soooooooooooooo much money and because there were extreme camps who Loved the book and who Hated the book; Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, because it is just a perfect book, and definitely one I wish I’d written.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet? Yes, Stephen King, because he has basically written the same book over and over for many years, and he is still at it and successful! I’d love to know how he did/does that!

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover? Definitely ebooks because 1) I own a Kindle and love it, and 2) I only write books that become ebooks.

Where do you prefer to buy your books? Amazon Kindle store

Are you a self published (Indie) Author? Yes; I tried to go the traditional route, but I found too many barriers in the way of new, unsung authors.
Have you ever read a book more than once? No. Too many books, too little time.

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version? Shawshank Redemption

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)? Because I am currently re-reading and editing my next release, Mountain Meadows Aftermath, I am taking a break from the Kindle. Editing requires so much concentration and focus, I can’t really devote any of my time to reading for recreation right now.

What book do you know that you will never read? Gone With The Wind. Too long, and I hated the movie.

Are there any new Authors that have grasped your interest and why? I don’t know how “new” she is, but Gillian Flynn is definitely at the top of my list.

Is there anything you would change in your last book and why? No, because once I’ve done all the reading and revising and editing I can, I’m finished with it. It stands on its own, or it doesn’t. At some point, you have to let your little baby bird leave the nest.

Who designed the cover of your book? The man who designed and created my website. He is very creative, and he works well with my ideas about how I’d like the book to appear.

Do you have a book trailer?  No, I haven’t been able to do that yet. Perhaps for future releases. I think it’s a great idea, especially in today’s society where everything is VISUAL.

What are your thoughts on book trailers? I think they’re a great idea, and one I hope to incorporate into my releases in the future.

Do you have any advice for other writers?  Just ignore any advice from other writers, and only listen to the voices in your own head.

What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing? I think I’d call it anti-advice. “Write what you know.” It’s ridiculous. You can’t write what you don’t know, and you have to have the imagination to create new worlds out of your own experiences.

Do you write under a pen name? No. I’m proud to release my books under my own name. Look at what a fiasco it was when Stephen King tried it. He didn’t fool anyone.

Do you ever write in your PJ’s? Hmmmmmmmmm. I think that’s TMI.

What are your pet peeves? People who don’t respect other people’s differences and challenges. Oh, yeah, and other drivers!

Cats or dogs? Cats, definitely, though I’m not anti-dog.

White wine or red? None. Don’t drink.

Coffee or tea? Sweet tea, a southern staple.

Favorite food? Chocolate

Vanilla or chocolate icecream? See answer above

What do you normally eat for breakfast? Don’t eat breakfast.

What are 4 things you never leave home without? Sunglasses, car keys, handkerchief, the love of my family

Laptop or desktop for writing? laptop

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing? Because I have a demanding full-time job, I’m forced to write in the evenings and on weekends at home.

If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you? Marconi, Edison, and the Professor from Gilligan’s Island who can make a radio out of a coconut

One of your favorite quotes – “All things in moderation.” This was actually a joke; a Roman comic playwright said it as a joke, but apparently no one but me gets that!

List 3 of your all time favorite books? Sharp Objects, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Green Mile

List 3 of your all time favorite movies? Pulp Fiction, Star Wars (all of them), Shawshank Redemption

An actor you have a crush on – uh, my wife won’t let me say

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed? Sister Wives (guilty pleasure) – it’s weird and fascinating, kind of like a car wreck

Where can your readers stalk you?

My blog:
My facebook page: haven’t built a new one for the latest release, Hazardous Choices, yet
My Goodreads author page:
Twitter: @jmrinaldo 
Smashwords: nope
Other: LinkedIn:
Is your book in Print, ebook or both? Ebook only right now

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Found this list on a blog -  thought I'd share. If you don't mind, comment and tell me the ones you've read. I'm curious if anyone has read ALL of them.

50 Books to Read Before You Die

The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy - J.R.R. Tolkein
1984 - George Orwell
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
A Passage to India - E.M. Forster
Hamlet - William Shakespeare
A Bend in the River - V.S. Naipaul
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher In The Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Diary of Anne Frank - Anne Frank
Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes
The Bible - Various
The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer
Ulysses - James Joyce
The Quiet American - Graham Greene
Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
Money - Martin Amis
Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling
Moby Dick - Herman Melville
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahams
His Dark Materials Trilogy - Philip Pullman
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
On The Road - Jack Kerouac
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
The Way We Live Now - Anthony Trollope
The Outsider - Albert Camus
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
The War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells
Men Without Women - Ernest Hemingway
Gulliver’s Travels - Jonathan Swift
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest - Ken Kesey
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Divine Comedy - Dante
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

I not as well read as I thought I was. =) Guess I need to get busy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ready Made Family

Book Two in the series and the book I originally agreed to review, but chose to read 2nd so I could keep them in order.

Ready Made Family
A Parkside Community Church Story
Katie Crabapple

This book deals with a friend that's in the previous book. Mary is a single mom with three children. Her husband left her and she's been struggling to keep her head above water ever since. One day her neighbor hints that he's been in love with her for years. In fact, it's the reason he originally began attending her church. He waited a year after her husband left, but now he wants to be a part of her life.

This was another short story. And again I thought it was cute and enjoyed it, but felt that it moved very quickly. A normal relationship probably wouldn't progress this quickly. Both books never mentioned the female character saying they loved the guy. Both thought they were undesirable in some way and were surprised that the guy would like them. This bothers me a bit.
But overall, I enjoyed the story and am looking forward to reading the 3rd book when the author finishes it.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

A Bride for Pastor Dan

When I agreed to review a book for this author she told me that her first book in the series was also available for review. It's Christian fiction. I HAD to say yes. =) So this is the first book. The second book and it's review are following close behind.

A Bride for Pastor Dan
A Parkside Community Church Story
Katie Crabapple

Anna thinks she's plain and probably won't ever marry. She's stuck in the nursery and children's divisions and hasn't heard a sermon in months. So she hasn't met the new single pastor that everyone is raving about. But once she meets him - it's full steam ahead.

I don't think I've ever read a story that went that fast. Granted it's a very short story so quite a lot must be packed into it if you want a couple to meet and marry (or at least be engaged) before the story ends. The story was very cute, but once they'd gone on their first date it felt like it was a rush to the end. There were a few grammatical errors and a couple of places that the conversation felt a tad forced. But all in all it was a cute story and I'm looking forward to checking out the next book in the series.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

The Christmas Singing

This book was part of a coupon that I blogged about earlier. There are still a few hours left to use the coupon. It is for any book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Company.
Check out my blog post for the coupon code. It ends tonight.

The Christmas Singing
Cindy Woodsmall

Mattie is a single Amish woman owns her own bakery. She left her home and moved to her brother's town after a misunderstanding with her boyfriend. But she's a bit absent minded and accidentally burns her store down. She returns to her hometown to find out that her relationship with Gideon (her ex-boyfriend) isn't what it seemed. Now she must decide what direction her life is going to take.

I enjoyed this book. I've read several other books by Cindy Woodsmall and have enjoyed them all. I was not a huge fan of Amish fiction, but she has changed my opinion. The author has a pleasant writing style and the stories are always fun. The characters are real and the Christian message is strong without being over powering. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.

I received this book free of charge from WaterBrook in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Whither Thou Goest I Will Go

Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go
Naomi Dathan

Jemima and Seth, with their son Charlie, leave the comforts of home to settle on a Nebraska farm. Jem left a spoiled young lady. But prairie life has a way maturing people very quickly. Jem has to choose whether she's going to stick by her husband and go where he goes, or choose to go home to her dad.

This book was very well written, although heartbreaking at times. It's so easy to sit in my comfortable chair and read about the harshness of life in the 1800s. But to imagine losing a loved one because of a storm or having to chose whether to stay at the farm or move back to town that has nothing for you. Many people chose to stay, but quite a few just couldn't handle the stresses and constant worry.

The slight negatives - Jem's complaining and Seth's unbending and refusing to discuss things really got on my nerves. Although I'm sure it's a true rendition of many marriages it was grating.

It's a good book and I'll certainly be checking out the author's other books.

I received this book free of charge from Logos in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


I am participating in a blogger give-away with Tyndale House Publishing. They have given me the following book to give away on my blog to one of my followers. Please leave a comment to be entered to win.

Night of the Living Dead Christian

I'm in so many contests and blog tours that my head is beginning to spin.
So I'm going to make this very easy. Be the first person to comment (besides the author comment that is already there.) and I'll mail you the coupon for the free book. You must comment on the post about the book - NOT on this post.
It's that easy!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Accidental Bride

The Accidental Bride
A Big Sky Romance
Denise Hunter

Shay was left at the alter by Travis years ago. Now she finds herself accidentally married to him after a mistake during a wedding reenactment. Travis offers a proposal that will help her keep her ranch. But will she be able to keep her heart?

This was such a fun read. It's a romance, so you know how it's going to end. But getting there was a really enjoyable read. The interaction between the couples was interesting and the premise for the story was a neat idea. I really enjoyed reading this story and am now wanting to check out the author's other books.

I received this book free of charge from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Night of the Living Dead Christian

I am participating in a blogger give-away with Tyndale House Publishing. They have given me the following book to give away on my blog to one of my followers. Please leave a comment on this blog post to be entered to win.

Night of the Living Dead Christian

The author stars in this book as the "normal" neighbor with werewolves, vampires, zombies and other crazies all around him. He thinks his job is to save them and somehow help them become human again. But it's not working out quite as he had planned. And in all of his "saving" his family is feeling neglected.

I was asked to review this book for a contest. I'll be honest, I wouldn't have picked it out myself. I'm not a fantasy fan normally. But when I picked up this book I was pleasantly surprised. It's not your typical vampire/zombie type book. After all, it does say Christian at the end of the title.
The reading world seems to be in a frenzy for zombies, vampires and werewolves. The author took this obsession and turned it into something beautiful.

The allegory is well written and humorous. The plan of salvation is quite subtle at first, but begins to really shine through at the end. It doesn't end perfectly; because life isn't perfect.
It's definitely something I would recommend and I'm glad that despite my reservations I agreed to participate in the contest.

Check out the author video to learn more about this book.

I received this book free of charge from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Road Trip

The Road Trip
Sidecar Adventures with God
Jo Lynn Crozier

Liz wakes up one morning from an amazing dream. It involves a road trip with the Lord. He takes her to tons of different places that explain why people are in certain situations in life (financial straits, selfishness, greed, being too comfortable, etc.) and then He explains how to get out of them.

After each section of the dream, the author explains what that part of the dream meant to her and backs up her thoughts with Bible verses. I suppose you would call this an allegory of sorts.

I enjoyed this book. It seemed a bit silly at times and took a while to really get into. But the author's thoughts were insightful and thought provoking. Some might not care for the way the thoughts were presented. But I was able come away with some great thoughts, so liked it.

I received this book free of charge from Shelton Interactive in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


James W. Lewis

This book deals with three different people trying to figure out dating. Add the interracial part and it gets a bit more complicated. They all intersect a bit with mutual friends, but their stories are told in separate chapters.

The story was a very fast read. I read it in one evening. It certainly isn't a book that I would have chosen to read, but I didn't hate it. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. It didn't really answer any questions or seem to solve anything. It just told the story of interracial dating from each perspective. The writing style was a bit cheesy or overdone in places, but since it was a "fluffy" style it wasn't too hard to read. In all honesty, I'm not sure if this will appeal to a broad audience. But for a few, this book will be a really great read that they can relate to.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Dead is the New Black

Dead is the New Black
Christine DeMaio-Rice

Laura is an amazing pattern maker with a crush on her boss. She arrives at work one morning to find him standing over a dead body. The cops think Jeremy killed his financial backer, but Laura just can't picture the man of her dreams doing something so terrible. She sets out to do a little investigating on her own and gets in way over her head. There isn't one person in her life who turns out to be what she thought they were, including her family.

This story was well written, fast paced and fun. I know almost nothing about the world of fashion. But the story was told in a easy to comprehend way. I never felt lost in a world of technical jargon.

The characters were real and Laura was very likeable. The author was able to keep me guessing about the murder because so many of the characters were unlikable. I liked the realness of the relationship between Laura, her mom and her sister.

Definitely a fun murder mystery that I would recommend to my friends.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Author Interview

Check out our newest author to the blogger contest.
She's just joined the contest and agreed to an interview with me.
I'll be updating her book info pretty soon.

Hi Aida, where were you born and where do you call home?
I'm an east coast girl, all the way -- I was born in New Jersey but live in a suburb of Philadelphia not far from Media, Pennsylvania, where Between Seasons, my first novel, is set. I'm a firm believer in writing what you know, so all my writing involves settings I'm familiar with.

If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?

They probably tell me to let them sleep (I have a tendency to write constantly until I finish things)! Patrick, the main character in Between Seasons, would likely yell at me for killing him off in the opening paragraph of the novel. Granted, I think it worked out okay for him in the end. :maniacal laughter:

Do you have plans for a new book?   Is this book part of a series?
Between Seasons is the first novel in a two-book series, although I had a dream the other night that I changed the ending of the second novel and made it a trilogy. I suppose I could do that if it feels right by the time I finish North of Frost, which is the title of the second book. Right now, North of Frost is about 20% finished, so I have some time yet!

Would you like to giveaway a copy of your book on this blog?
Absolutely! I'm happy to offer up an electronic copy of Between Seasons (Kindle, Nook, or PDF format).

How did you come up with the title and cover design?
The title came when I was about halfway finished with the novel. I tend to be really bad at naming things -- in fact, I make one of my critique partners name just about everything I write. However, with Between Seasons, the name of the novel was part of the dialogue in the book, and it fit the mood and theme pretty well, so I opted to use it as the title. As for the cover design, I toy with graphic design a bit, and I prefer simplicity when it comes to book covers. I chose the fonts before anything else because I think fonts really say a lot. The photo was one I found when I was haunting stock photo sites. Just like the title, it really fits the mood to me.

Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?
Oh yes. Jules, Sara Oswald's sister, is based on someone in my life . . . but I doubt she'd recognize herself, though, because people like are rarely that self-aware. And, of course, Patrick himself is based on the ghost who lives in my house -- not the plot, mind you, but just what I've imagined what he might have been like in life.

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
I have an iPad and read books on it when I travel, but as a rule I'm a firm lover of physical books. Whether it's paperback or hardcover, I don't care. I like the smell and heft of a book, and I appreciate the craft of a well-made book. I have two prized possessions: my signed copy of Mary Roach's Stiff and a miniature book from artist Mark Ryden's BLOOD exhibit. I get that digital books are easy to get your hands on and they take up less space, but I guess I'm just old school.

Where do you prefer to buy your books?
When I'm feeling lazy, I buy from Amazon, but when I'm able I like to support small, local bookstores. There's a great shop in Chestnut Hill (a neighborhood in Philly) called Big Blue Marble that's really great. I'd love to have a book signing there one day.

Have you ever read a book more than once?

Absolutely! I have read A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving so many times I can probably recite the entire novel to you. I've also read most of Kurt Vonnegut's and James Morrow's books at least three times each as well.

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
Jaws. Oh, and Salem's Lot. The book of Salem's Lot was scary, but the movie scared the crap out of me when I was a kid.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
I'm in the middle of reading Sleight by Kirsten Kaschock (a novel from Coffeehouse Press), and it's in paperback.

What book do you know that you will never read?
I have tried to read The Elegence of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery at least five times and have never been able to make it past chapter one. I gave up.

Are there any new Authors that have grasped your interest and why?
Hmm. I'm not sure if they're really new, but they're new to me: Ilsa J. Bick, Melina Marchetta, and Monica Drake are all really great, and I had no idea who they were before this year. Marchetta has written one of the best YA novels I've read in years (Jellicoe Road) -- the plot was incredibly well-done. I read Bick's book, Draw the Dark, when I was contemplating trying my hand at YA horror, and I love that she's not afraid of an unusual ending. Monica Drake is an amazing writer. I loved her novel Clown Girl -- it worked on so many levels, and it was so emotionally satisfying.

Is there anything you would change in your last book and why?
No. I'm pretty happy with it, and I'm really enjoying telling more of Patrick and Sara's story. The second novel gives a bit more of the how and why of what happens in Between Seasons, so it's always fun to be the god of my own world.

Who designed the cover of your book?
I did. I'd hire a designer if I wanted something more complicated, but Between Seasons and its sequel require simple and clean -- and that's something I can do.

Do you have a book trailer?
I don't. I've been thinking of teaching myself to make one, but it might be too complicated for my meager skills. I'm not 100% sold on their usefulness, though. They're nice and all, but do they really help sell novels? I don't know.

What are your thoughts on book trailers?
Hah! Well, aside from generally wondering if they're useful, a well-done trailer is pretty to look at.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing!! Writing is one of those things where you're convinced that everything you write is horrible most of the time, and it's easy to give up. But giving up means you'll never improve. Write, write, and write some more!

What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing?
Rejection by an agent or a publisher is not a measure of quality, nor is it a statement about the marketability of your work. Novelists like Kurt Vonnegut and Tom Robbins would likely never have gotten picked up by agents in today's market because their plots are really unique, and there's a real fear of straying too far left or right of the center. 

Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
All the time. Writing is my career (I'm a freelance writer), so nearly every day involves me writing in my pajamas.

Cats or dogs?
Both! I have both.

Coffee or tea?
Both! I drink both equally . . . maybe that's weird, but I'm an equal opportunity beverage girl!

Favorite food?
At the moment, I would say bread -- my favorite bakery has these killer loaves of rustic bread studded with kalamata olives. Served up with really good olive oil and a bit of balsamic vinegar? And now I'm hungry . . .

Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?
Chocolate. Preferably from Cold Stone Creamery and mixed with cherry pie filling and brownies.

What do you normally eat for breakfast?
It depends on what I have in my house. My two favorite breakfasts are cranberry scones with clotted cream or poached eggs and toast.

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
My driver's license, my Blackberry, my keys, and a bottle of water.

Laptop or desktop for writing?
Laptop. I like to be mobile.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Most of the time I write on my couch, but I also have a favorite coffee shop that I work at a lot. They have amazing soup and coffee! Since I'm a freelancer, I write whenever I have time, which can range in time throughout the day.

One of your favorite quotes -
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." -- Albert Einstein

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?

I'm kind of digging Grimm, but I will admit to being a huge nerd for The X-Files. I still watch old episodes at least once or twice a week.

Where can your readers stalk you?
Feel free to stalk me on Twitter at @aidabrassington, at my website (, or on Goodreads (

Is your book in Print, ebook or both?
Both. I'm also looking into releasing it as an audiobook.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me and allowing us a glimpse into your writing word.  Tima
No, no -- thank YOU!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Savage Rage

Savage Rage
Brent Pilkey

Jack has been transferred to another division after his partner is killed in the line of duty.
It's supposed to be a quiet division with little happening. But a very sick person is on the loose in his old district and Jack gets pulled back into the thick of things.

The book is about a evil criminal and the police officer that is going to bring him down. But it's also about how hard life can be when chasing crime. Not only for the officer, but for the family members as well.

I haven't read the first book, but it didn't seem to matter. This book started out strong and stayed that way till the end. The author has an amazing writing style and is really able to bring the characters to life.

The subject matter is a little dark, as expected. I had to put the book down a couple of times and read something more light-hearted before returning. But it was well worth it. Definitely a must read for a crime novel fan.

I received this book free of charge from in exchange for my honest review.

Coupon for Christian fiction

If you are interested in Amish Christian fiction then this post is for you.
I just signed up to review 
The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall.
I will be posting a review within the next couple of days, but wanted to let you know about a coupon that you can use to purchase the book (or any other book) through WaterBrook Publishing.
Click on either link provided above and use the coupon CHRISTMAS11 at checkout to receive 30% off and free shipping. The coupon expires on the 20th of December so make sure to check out their books and order something for yourself for Christmas. =)

For more information on the book you can read an excerpt from the first chapter here.

Here Burns My Candle

Here Burns My Candle
Liz Curtis Higgs

Possible spoiler alert!

Lady Elisabeth wasn't always a lady. She was a merchant's daughter before she married Lord Donald and went to live with his mother, Lady Marjory, brother and sister-in-law. She has secrets that she won't tell anyone. But her husband's secrets of infidelity are becoming common knowledge. 
The country is at war and the family must choose which side to support. For some it will be a fatal decision.

This book is very well researched and written. It took me several chapters to become engaged, but then it became a bit more interesting. The story is a more modern (set in the 1700s) version of Naomi and Ruth. At least I began to recognize some similarities towards the end book. I am assuming there is another book telling the story of Lady Elisabeth after she returns to her mother-in-laws home town.
A very well written book, but certainly not one of my favorites.

I received this book free of charge from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, 
Diann Hunt & Denise Hunter

Four best friends hatched a plan to save the town of Smitten when the mill closed down. This is a sweet romantic tale of how love and faith saved a town and it's people.

I really enjoyed reading this novella. Even though each of the four stories were written by different authors, it flowed together very smoothly. I appreciated the way each woman's faith was shown. The authors sort of mirrored the characters after themselves and I loved how they added little details to the story that made it more personal to them. Each woman was different and yet they were able to come together and put their faith into action to implement something beautiful and successful.

There are discussion questions and an interview with the authors at the back of the book.
A very cute story that makes for a fun, fast read.

I received this book free of charge from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.

the Very Thought of You

the Very Thought of You
Rosie Alison

Anna is evacuated to the country when England goes to war. She arrives at the Ashton estate and meets Thomas and Elizabeth. The book tells the stories of both families. It begins with a history on the Ashton estate and then jumps back to when Anna comes to live at the estate with the other children.
It's a story of love found, love lost and love never realized.

It seems to portray the years during the war accurately (although I probably wouldn't know if it didn't). It gives a sense of the gloom and despair that the residents felt during the years of separation during the war. Several reviewers called this a romance story. I suppose if you added the word tragic it might apply. It certainly isn't a romance story that I'd want to live out. 

I would liken this story to Sarah's Key. It was a well written story and one I can easily see becoming a best seller. But it's so sad that I'm just not sure how to rate it. I alternately loved and disliked this book. I loved it because of the style of writing. It's hard to tell that this is the author's first book. But I hate sad and therefore disliked the book. But any book portraying a war era is bound to have at least some sad elements. So I would recommend this book because it's so well written and by a new author.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Emma Donoghue

Jack's entire life consists of Room, his mother and the things that Room holds. He's just had his fifth birthday and is learning that there is a world out there that he didn't know existed.

This is one of the best books that I've read in a long time. Considering the amount of books I read weekly that is really saying something. The story felt so real and the characters really jumped out.
I felt the pains, joys and stresses of the two main characters.
The story is written from the viewpoint of the five year old and this keeps the story from being too dark, which I appreciated as a mother of a five year old boy.

Some of the people in my book club complained about it not being realistic in a couple of places. I guess I didn't notice until it was pointed out. But even once I noticed it just didn't seem to matter. It IS fiction and the story moved so quickly, especially in the beginning, that I didn't pay much attention to the tiny details.

This book is a wonderful book for book clubs, individuals and parents. It makes you appreciate the blessings in your life without being depressed.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Daisy Field

The Daisy Field
Amy Sutton

Lily is a lonely elderly lady and Presley is a foster child in an unloving home. A love of flowers and music draws them together. But life either of their homes is not the best, nor are they in the best part of town.

This is a beautiful story about love, acceptance and miracles. The story caught my attention at the very beginning and kept me interested the entire time. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. The characters are so likeable, especially Presley. I enjoyed the way the author highlighted the love between children and the elderly and the benefits to both age groups.
The ending was sweet and probably not realistic, but so fun. I liked this book so much that I recommended it to my book club.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Run Barefoot Run Healthy

Run Barefoot Run Healthy
Less Pain More Gain for Runners Over 30
Ashish Mukharji

I was over at Goodreads looking at the giveaways and saw this book. I had to enter. One of my book clubs had just finished reading Born to Run and since I'm a runner the subject is very fascinating.

The book is all about how to run barefoot and get rid of the countless injuries that seem to plague the running world. It's written clearly, in slightly larger print, and has tons of pictures and drawings.
The book has illustrations and references to back everything up. It's not confusing and actually very convincing. I would highly recommend it for any runner out there, especially those heading into their 30s. I'm not sure I'm ready to go barefoot, but will definitely be looking into some minimalist shoes when it's time to purchase new ones.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Call of the Christmas Pecan Tree

The Call of the Christmas Pecan Tree
Edna Stewart

A small town city council decides to cut down an old pecan tree. The town people are upset and set about trying to save the tree.

The book was written in a flowing way that reminded me of poetry. It jumps all over the place from topic to topic, person to person. The tree is given human characteristics, as well as other non-human things.
I'm not a huge poetry fan so that may be the reason I couldn't seem to follow the story. It jumped topic so often that I was left confused for the entire book. There are quite a few spelling and grammar errors that also make the story difficult to follow.

I received this book free of charge from Dorrance Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shooting Star

Shooting Star
The First Attempt By A Woman To Reach Hawaii By Air
Richard DuRose

Mildred Doran wanted to be the first woman to reach Hawaii by air. A school teacher and an aviation enthusiast she decided to make the flight to Hawaii during the Dole race in 1927. The publicity was astounding, but the race and it's participants soon forgotten.
A sentence at the end of the book sums it up very well.
"No matter how spectacular, we do not remember a "Shooting Star" for long. Nor, has the public remembered Mildred Doran. I hope this book will make a difference.

I'm not a huge fan of history books so wasn't sure what to expect. The book was full of facts and details about the Dole race, but it didn't get bogged down or become boring. I appreciated the fact, that while written by her nephew, it was factual and not filled with sentiment and guessing.  My husband, a pilot, naturally enjoyed the book more than I did. But it was a good book and will make a great addition to our library.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wilderness Heart

Wilderness Heart
Jacqueline Hopkins

Lyn is a trail guide at her father's company. She takes hunting groups out into the woods and helps them bring home elk, bear, etc. Almost every trip she deals with male egos who don't want to admit that a female can be a good guide or hunter.
On her next trip she meets the most frustrating man to date. Nic's good looking and sets her heart racing, but he can't stand the sight of a female on a hunting trip. But his money can't be refunded and he's not really there to hunt anyway. So he grimaces and begins the hunt.
Lyn and Nic clash almost the entire time, but soon the sparks are more of the relationship type instead of the fighting type. Lyn feels that Nic wants to change who she is as a person and this causes conflict. It doesn't help when she finds out that he's lied to her about who he is and why he's on this hunt.

I liked reading this book for the most part. The pluses for the story - The story line was unique. the story moved quickly and the characters were interesting. The facts about the Idaho mountains made them come alive in my mind. The negatives - There were quite a few grammar and spelling issues and the dialogue between the characters seemed very stiff and forced at times. Somehow this made the story feel choppy. I also didn't care for the details during the sex scenes. It seemed a bit over the top.
In summery I liked the book, but I didn't love it. For a first book I think she did a great job. I will probably read another book by this author in hopes that her skills grow as she writes more.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shadow In Serenity

Shadow In Serenity
Terri Blackstock

Carny grew up traveling with the circus. She learned at an early age to con people out of their money. But she grows tired of the games and running and decides to plant roots in a town named Serenity.
Logan comes to town spinning dreams and charming Serenity's citizens. But Carny can spot a con a mile away and isn't letting him steal from "her" town.

Change is hard. Both Logan and Carny find out that God can help and no matter what the fault He will forgive and make new. It was a new look at how God can take anyone and restore them in His image.

This book was different from anything I've ever read. It was real, refreshing and fun. The story line is unique and real. The characters, despite their faults, make you fall in love with them.
It's been a while since I've read anything by Terri Blackstock. But that is about to change. This book was not what I was expecting and the change was refreshing. Definitely a must read in the world of Christian fiction.

I received this book free of charge from Shelton Interactive in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 14, 2011

If We Dare to Dream

If We Dare to Dream
Collette Scott

This is one of the books in the blogger contest. Check out my Christmas contest page for instructions on how to win this and many other books.

This is book I in the Evans saga. It follows Jamie, the youngest and only girl in a family of five. A chance encounter with someone will change everyone's life forever. It's hard to imagine that just a small act of kindness or a short conversation can be someone's saving grace.
Jamie very briefly meets a man at a bar on her last night in town. She's headed out the next morning to begin her new life. He will be charged with murder the next day.

Collette Scott delivered another great book. This is her third book and I enjoyed it as much as the first two. I don't want to spoil it for anyone so I'll try to be vague. The main characters were fun and easy to like and relate to. The story flowed very smoothly and while I knew almost from the beginning who the murder was, it didn't detract from the book at all. In fact, I'm not even sure it was supposed to be a secret. The main part of the book for me was not trying to figure out who the killer was, but watching how the characters dealt with the issues they were handed.
 It was a great book and I can't wait to read the next book in the saga, due February 2012.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

5 Stars

Every time I read a book for a review I'm given the difficult task at the end of trying to decide what to say. Sometimes my feelings are strong enough that it's easy to find things to write about. But other times I'm trying very hard to find a way to let the reader know that I didn't care for the book without being hateful to the author. To me, that is the most difficult task. How do I give the reader a clear view about what the book is about without being inconsiderate of the time and effort that was put into writing the book. I might not like the book for various reasons, but it is very likely that there are other people who will love or at least like it. So my task is to state the reasons why I liked or disliked the book in a way that will allow others readers to make an educated decision for themselves without slandering the book or author.

My second difficult decision is about how to rate the book. Amazon has a rating system of 1-5. 
5 = loved the book, 
4 = liked it,
3 = it was ok, 
2 = didn't like it,
1 = hated it.
I have read books that I liked only because I could see that they were amazingly well written and could become a classic. But as enjoyment in the actual story - hated it. So what am I supposed to rate the story as? It was brilliant writing on the part of the author. But I hated the story as a personal opinion.
Or what about a story that is so poorly written that I cringe through out the entire book. But I enjoyed the story line so I plowed through because it was such a good "story"? A book I reviewed recently was well written and the premise for the story was great. But I hated the characters. They annoyed me to death. The book was labeled as a certain genre and yet was not.  So I liked the book okay, but certainly didn't love it. It was so hard to pick a rating. If I was rating on how well the book was written as far as writing style or editing = five stars. If I was rating on how the book captured my attention = two stars. 

And what about a genre that I don't like? The book can be amazing, but because I dislike the topic my rating would actually be low. So should I warn the authors about this before? Or is that a chance they take when they send out reviews?

I try to gauge how I feel as I finish each chapter. And then I write my review based on my impressions as I read the book. I also try to give it a higher review for quality writing despite my like or dislike of the genre. But I'm not sure if this is what Amazon had in mind.

Just some thoughts from the mind of a reviewer. My guess is we all struggle with this from time to time. At least I hope so. =)

Love on the Line

Love on the Line
Deeanne Gist

Georgie is a telephone operator. She's proud of the fact that she has a job and a home and doesn't have to be married. She can do ANYTHING a man can do.
A local gang is getting out of hand and Luke is sent in to act as a telephone man while he tries to infiltrate the gang.
Georgie doesn't take well to being told what to do and doesn't appreciate a man in her business.

The book was well written and had quite a few interesting details about the job of a telephone operator during that era. The characters were well developed and the story line flowed smoothly.
I think my main complaint would be a personal opinion. I didn't care for the way Georgie's obsession with birds seemed to color her view of literally everything. She was unthinking and unkind at times in defense of her birds. It was a bit of a surprise to dislike the main characters. I would have thought the author would want everyone to like them and I was left with a bad first impression of Luke and never really cared for Georgie. The story changed a bit towards the end. The pace sped up and became more interesting and the main characters lost a bit of their obsessions.
I think the other thing that surprised me was that this book was labeled as Christian fiction. I saw very little to make me think it was Christian. A few things were mentioned, but nothing like I would expect from a Christian author.

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

An Amish Wedding

An Amish Wedding
Kelly Long
Kathleen Fuller
Beth Wiseman

This is a novella by three different authors; all set in the same Amish town. I'll let you read the book descriptions for each story since it's three stories instead of one. But each story is sweet and involves a couple in the Amish community. It's romantic, faith-filled and simple.

I enjoyed the book. The stories were simple and had a very predictable outcome. But each story taught a lesson about life, such as patience, faith and love. Anyone who enjoys Christian fiction or Amish fiction will enjoy reading these stories.

I received this book free of charge from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest opinion.


Melissa Cameron

Avery is a young woman working for a newspaper. She wants to get married, settle down and buy a house. But her boyfriend of eight years doesn't want to be "tied down". So she buys the house herself and now has to decide whether Ethan is worth the time or if she should move on. But it really isn't as simple as she thought it would be. Envy isn't pretty!
Envy is a very fast paced, on the edge of your seats type of book. Without giving anything away - it has a bit of mystery or intrigue woven into a romance story. It certainly isn't your typical chick lit.
I enjoyed the book and couldn't put it down once I started. There were a couple of times that I wished the characters could have been more developed or the story more clear. It mentions Avery's past very vaguely and I wondered if it was just a mention or perhaps I should have already known about it because of a previous book. But all in all it was a great book and I'll be checking out the other books by this author.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.