May Book Club Choice “Memory House” by Bette Lee Crosby

I will be interviewing the amazing Bette Lee Crosby on September 10th, 2015 and she was kind enough to offer an eCopy of this book!!
I have all of her books!! You will adore her!

The Write Review

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Memory House by Bette Lee Crosby

What an enchanting story!  Bette Lee Crosby created a truly engaging storyline, with Ophelia and Annie!   Just what I adore, another wonderful writer to follow!  It is truly a gift when I find a writer that inspires me to read more of their books.

I hope to read all of her books and from what I read at the end of this story, there are a lot of “spin-offs” …so the story lives on!  I was so grateful, as I was not ready for the story to end.  Brilliant ending, by the way!

“Memory House” is the tale of two charming characters.  Annie has been in a relationship with her boyfriend, Michael for 7 years, but it suddenly comes to an end.  Once he moves out, she decides to hop in her car and leave Pennsylvania behind for a little while, in an attempt…

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“Center of Gravity” by Laura McNeill

Center of Gravity

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Laura McNeill is now a favorite author of mine. She had me sitting at the edge of my seat, reading this book everywhere…I hated putting it down. This is a truly gripping story from beginning to end.

Laura McNeill tells this story from the view of each character involved, which made each of them more real. Ava is a woman fighting for her life and two children.

Ava met Mitchell at the school where she worked and his son, Jack attended. Mitchell had lost his wife to a devastating death, and seems to be the perfect man…good looking, hard worker, charming. He seemed to be the perfect mate for any woman. Ava also fell in love with Jack, his 8 year old son…so, after they were married, Ava adopted him. Then, she got pregnant with their son, Sam, who is now 1. They seem to have it all, a beautiful home and a great family life. Until things are no longer great and beautiful!

Mitchell becomes increasingly angry, jealous and mean towards Ava for any reason he feels deemed fit. He does not pay any attention to his children. Ava wants to give Mitchell the benefit of the doubt, and believe it is because he lost his last wife, stressed at work, or stressed with the new staircase going in to the house. She wants to believe that this is just a phase.

Until he moves out and takes the children with him! Now, she knows this is not a phase.

This is where the book takes off because you absolutely cannot look away!

I promise that you will be so enthralled in this story, that the outcome cannot come fast enough! Can Ava save herself and her children from this monster of a man? She has to fight to get her children back, as she does this, she learns more about his past….and, it is all rather disturbing. She is finally seeing the real Mitchell.

Ava states “I will wear their love like armor”…and, she does just that. But, will it be enough?

5 Stars

#GIVEAWAY~Everyone is a Winner!! Help me celebrate Samantha’s New Release!

Up to I DoA Questionable Friendship

My friend and author, Samantha March has a newly released book, and to celebrate, she is offering an eBook copy of her last book, “A Questionable Friendship”.  AND, as a bonus, anyone that enters will receive the first chapter in her newly released book, “Up to I Do”, which I am reading now!!  Won’t you join me!  Go get your copy at amazon.com.

DON’T FORGET TO ENTER YOUR NAME IN THE COMMENTS SECTION TO WIN!

Here is my review of “A Questionable Friendship”! 

WOW!! Bravo! What an amazing story!! What an ending!! I finished the book two days ago, but could not imagine writing a review that would give Samantha March’s story proper justice. I have been savoring the memory of the story from beginning to end, as this is a story that will be left with you. You will carry it in your heart! This I promise you! You will find yourself questioning at least one of your friendships, and wonder if you are doing as these two friends did….you will look at your marriage, your life…everything will look very different. I learned quite a few lessons while reading this story. KUDOS to Samantha March! She sends a powerful message in this story….One we all need to hear.

Let me say that the book is superbly written….it flowed perfectly from the first word to the last. Samantha March is very talented story-teller and I just purchased her other books and look forward to reading them (there are two others available right now) and to all of her future stories. I hope she has one on the horizon…sooner, rather than later.

We are introduced to two Best Friends, Brynne and Portland. They live in Maine. Both are married, Brynne has a four-year-old daughter; to whom Portland is the Godmother. Brynne owns a book store called “EJ Reads”, named after her daughter, Emmy Jo. Portland works at the bookstore just to get out of the house, as her husband Trent is successful enough that she does not have to work. They share vacations, holidays and dinner once a week after which Brynne and Portland catch up on a “Real Housewives” episode, and their husbands, Aaron and Trent play pool or just hang out. They feel they are more like family than just friends.

They met when they were put together as roommates in college, and they are now 25 years old. They trust that they are the best of friends, and believe they know everything about one another. The question is: Are they truly being honest with one another? What makes a best friend?

I loved a quote from the book, “We never learned how to be grownups with each other”!! Makes you think doesn’t it!! I bet you have one (or more) friends that you walk this fine line with…..You will certainly think of at least one. You will wonder why you prefer to walk around acting like your life is so perfect, when there may be flaws…and you may need help with something. What makes us want our friends to look at us through rose-colored glasses?

They each try to not “bother” the other with their true issues: The issues that a best friend should be available to help with or at least listen. They each feel the other has a perfect life. Yet, neither of them does. This story still has me reeling with thoughts. Would things have been better for each of them if they were more open with one another…

5 Stars.

Interview with Samantha March, author of 4 novels, including the newly released “Up to I Do”

marchsamantha

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?

When I was about 9. Seriously. I have it written down in my childhood memory books that when I grow up, I want to be an author J 

Q:  As you gear up for a Book Release, what is the most exciting part(s) for you?

The most exciting part is probably seeing the reviews and feedback. It’s also the most nerve-racking part! But it’s so fun to see how readers connect with the characters.  

Q:  I love all of your covers.  Are they hard to choose, design?

Kind of! It’s hard because you want it to be perfect and reflect the book and the story the best you can. My latest novel features a personal wedding photo of mine, which was an idea I had when the book was first being plotted. I love how it turned out! 

Q:  Will you always write about strong female bonds?  Is that your favorite topic to explore?

It really is my favorite topic to explore. It’s utterly fascinating to me, and I really think it will be a big focal point in my future novels. That and love…because who doesn’t love love J 

Q:  You have just released your 4th novel, have you started your next big story?

I have! Book 5 has been plotted since early this year and I have a few scenes written so far! 

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style?  

I really think Emily Giffin, and she is the author that really pushed me into finally start writing after I read Something Borrowed. I love the topics she explores in her books, in particular Something Borrowed and Something Blue. 

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write? Set the scene for us….

I have an office in my house with a nice big desk…and a chair that I share each morning with my Vizsla puppy! Typically I write in the morning, before I let the stress of my to-do list really start to bother me! I have a word count goal each day that I achieve that helps keep me on track! 

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books?

Emily Giffin, Sarah Pekkanen, Jen Lancaster and Sophie Kinsella!  

Lastly, Book or eBook?

eBooks solely because of my job as a book reviewer – it makes my schedule much easier!

#SRC2015 ~ “The Year My Mother Came Back” by Alice Eve Cohen

the year my mother came back(I was given a copy for this book for an honest review)

Alice Eve Cohen is back! I read her first memoir “What I thought I knew” for Elle Magazine back in 2009, and it won the Elle Grand Prix Prize for Best Non-fiction that year. Receiving her next memoir was quite a gift!

She writes about connections between Mothers and Daughters that will leave you reaching for your Mother or Daughter. The writing itself is beautiful, so beautiful; in fact, that you are vividly drawn in to her story. When her Mothers hand touches hers, you can almost feel it yourself.

31 years after the death of her Mother, Alice is being hit from every angle again! Being diagnosed with Stage Zero Breast Cancer brings back a lot of memories of her Mother, Louise. Her Mother was also diagnosed with Breast Cancer at the same age Alice is now (47). Her mother beat the cancer only to lose her life when she had a stroke ten years later.

Alice and her husband, Michael have two daughters. Julia was adopted before she gave birth to her daughter, Elaina. Both girls are entering very important stages in their lives. Alaina needs surgery to repair the length of her legs, and Julia is about to go off to college, but wants to find her birth mother beforehand.

As Alice begins treatment for her breast cancer, her Mother comes to her. She sits with her, holds her hand, and talks to her….reminds her of their bond.

This is a brilliant story of love, and the relationships between Mother and Daughter. You will never look at your Mother or daughter the same.

I dare you not to be moved!

5 Stars.

“What I thought I knew” by Alice Eve Cohen…(flashback to 2009)

What I thought I knew

Please note: Original post with Elle Magazine

When married to her first husband, Alice was diagnosed as infertile due to having a 2-horned uterus. Being happy and settled by the age of 44 was the perfect scenario for her. She had an adopted daughter named Julia and an adoring fiancé, Michael.

When Alice started having symptoms of an illness that would consume her life with visits to several doctors, she was diagnosed with so many illnesses that would be less obvious than being pregnant. She was told she was in early menopause and put on estrogen therapy, told her belly was getting larger due to the loss of muscle mass at her age, and the possibility of an abdominal tumor. It was during her test to confirm the tumor that they discover she is 6 months pregnant.

Any woman’s life would be turned upside down if they found out they were pregnant under the circumstances of not having prenatal care, let alone knowledge of the pregnancy. Even though a “Mother’s love is unbreakable, even when you are not sure it exists yet” she still have doubts about keeping the child. She is depressed, unsure of herself, and scared to death. Mostly, she has a sense of guilt due to all of the tests she had taken in the past 6 months that could have harmed their child and taking the estrogen, which could cause irreversible damage to the fetus. Being 44 she was already in a high risk pregnancy category. How do you decide what would be best for your child, when you just found out about them and there is a chance they would be born with illnesses or birth defects? With Michael being adamantly against both abortion and adoption they reach the most difficult choice they will hopefully ever have to make. They decide to have the child knowing it was the right thing to do for all concerned.

They have a gorgeous little girl that they name, Eliana. She has Russel-Silver Syndrome, which makes her have an aversion to eating, dwarfing and legs that are not the same size. She would need a lot of care, therapy and surgeries, but most of all she needed love. She received and gave love to the family she was born in to. Their world was made a better place because of her. Gifts come from everywhere when you least expect it, so always expect the unexpected.

5 Stars.

#SPOTLIGHT: “Up to I Do” by Samantha March (LOOK AT THIS COVER!!!)

Up to I Do

Emerson Sinclair, twenty-seven year old hotel heiress, has said yes. With just over a year to plan her extravagant, over the top nuptials to Logan Worthington, it’s all hands on deck with the wedding plans. A Sinclair marrying into the Worthington family is the talk of their small New Hampshire town, and ideas include filming the wedding for a TV segment. But as the items get checked off the list, plans start to go … not as planned. From not getting a designer dress to a selfish bridesmaid and unaccountable best man, Emerson is afraid her wedding will be more a joke than anything.
When both her mother and sister seemingly begin to lose interest in her wedding plans in favor of their own personal lives, Emerson fears her big day will turn into the forgotten wedding. With the pressure to pull off a beautiful and elegant event that everyone expects from their respectable families, Emerson starts to forget the reason why she is saying I Do in the first place.
But her spirited Grams is there to make sure neither happens. With her help and guidance, Emerson not only has her wedding plans back on track, but she remembers the reason why they are going through the stress of wedding planning – because at the end of it all she gets to marry her true love, and marriage is defined by more than a wedding.

#GIVEAWAY ~ Interview with Wanda Wyont, author of “Barkley’s Great Escape”!

Wanda WyontCOMMENT BELOW TO BE ENTERED INTO THE GIVEAWAY!

  1. When did you know you wanted to write a children’s book?

Annie, I have always been a storyteller. From the time I was a young girl, I wrote short stories. I use to say that I wanted to be an author. But with the demands of family and career, my dreams got put on the back burner. As a former college instructor, I taught Children’s Literature many times. During a class, I mentioned my own dreams of becoming a published author. One of my students challenged me to get my story published. I took her advice. A short time later my first book, Sunbeam, became a reality and it helped me get my second book published.

I knew that I needed to write Barkley’s Great Escape, after my daughter’s dog got into a neighbor’s swimming pool and nearly drowned. (The book is based on a true story). As a former early childhood instructor, I was aware of the high numbers of drownings among children. While I think the book is fun and entertaining, the message of water safety is not lost on the reader. For many young pre-readers, an adult will be reading the book. Hopefully, parents and teachers will use Barkley’s Great Escape as a tool to expand conversations about water safety. I shared the book recently with a group from the YMCA. The director told me that the story was right on target. It pleased me to hear that.

  • Are you planning any other books?

Yes. I have my third manuscript written. It is about several animals with special needs. As they adjust to their handicap, they discover rewarding jobs for their lives. The message in this book is for all children to recognize that a special need should not limit them from their goals.

I will submit the manuscript after my publicity period has slowed down for Barkley’s Great Escape. In addition to book signings, I am currently visiting libraries, colleges, schools, and child care centers. I have a presentation on the writing process that I share with elementary schools.

  • If yes, will they all involve a “safety lesson?”

I hope that all of my books have multiple lessons including safety. But, my third book will focus more on overcoming hardships. It is a positive story that I think children, parents, and teachers will like. One commonality of all of my books is that the leading characters are animals. I love animals and I think we can learn from them. Also, children identify with animals. They are uninhibited around animals. Recently, I was sharing Barkley’s Great Escape, at an elementary school. A second grader jumped up and announced that he had kissed his dog on the nose, too. I loved his spontaneity and the fact that he related to one of the characters.

  • What is your favorite children’s book, other than the one you wrote?

I love many children’s book. For young children, I like to read Mother Goose books. The rhyming words build phonetic skills. ABC books are important for young readers as long as the objects make sense. In other words, I like to see a picture of a rabbit to represent the letter “R” instead of using a picture of a rabbit to represent an “H” for hare. An adult should examine the ABC closely to make sure that the pictures coincide with the letter.

One of my favorite books is Miss Fannie’s Hats by Jan Karon. It is a great book and one that I love to share with a large group of children. It has a spiritual lesson about giving. I collect hats and this book provides a perfect opportunity for me to use my collection of hats. I take hats on and off throughout the story. This story gets the audience engaged!

  • Were you inspired by anything in particular?

In the case of Barkley’s Great Escape, I was inspired by Barkley to write about his experience. I felt compelled to write about water safety. I was hopeful that the adult readers would be reminded to keep gates locked and to be vigilant about other bodies of water. I use the opportunity to talk with groups of children about being safe around water.

After retiring from my position at Gaston College, I knew that I had the time to pursue my love of writing. My biggest inspiration was my grandfather. He lived to be 107 years old. He was driving his tractor and planting a garden at age 100. He visited the nursing homes in his area and shared stories. It never occurred to him that he was probably older than the residents. At age 65, I now have the time to write. I am inspired everyday by animals and people. I hope that I’m writing at 85.

  • How long did it take to write this story?

From the time I began writing until I was ready to send a proposal to the publisher, it took around three months. I write stories without regard to grammar or punctuation. After I get my thoughts down, I began the arduous task of cleaning-up and editing my writing. Once the manuscript meets my approval, it is time to share it with others. I like for others to read it for word flow and to begin looking for any errors. I read it to groups of children. I share it with librarians for their opinions. I make adjustments during this time based on other’s feedback.

One of the last individuals that looked over the story was a college English Instructor. She went through it looking for any errors..

There were some suggestions that I did not heed. For example, I have a few challenging words in my book. Several manuscript readers mentioned replacing the words with easier text. But, I don’t agree with the view. It is important for children to stretch their vocabulary. I would expect the adult reader to point out the words and clarify the meaning. As I read the story, I stop and say what you suppose the word “miffed” means? The children usually answer me correctly.

  • When and where do you do most of your writing?

With my laptop, I can be mobile. It is a luxury knowing you can work anywhere. I do have an office that provides a quiet space. I wrote Barkley’s Great Escape at my desk. However, the manuscript that I am working on now has required some research. I’ve visited several equine therapy facilities. I asked questions and take some pictures. Friends have invited me to stay overnight at their equine ranch in their bunkhouse. Hopefully, I can capture the feel of the environment as I add the finishing touches to the story.

It has been a pleasure responding to these questions. I hope that your readers will visit me on my website at www.wandawyont.com. I would love to hear from them. My book is available on my website BarkleysCompany, Amazon, and BarnesandNoble. (I will be glad to sign and inscribe a name for book orders coming from Barkley’s Company.)

Barkleys great escape

#SPOTLIGHT~”The Witch of Bourbon Street” by Suzanne Palmieri is available NOW!

witch of bourbon streetA series of murders in 1902 has left the Sorrow Estate abandoned by everyone but the ghosts of the dead. But Frances Green Sorrow was born with the “signs” that she can finally set them free. She lives an ordinary life, filled with its own struggles in the Louisiana bayou, but when her son goes missing, Frances is forced to return to her family’s haunted past, and finally learn the truth.

“The Lives Between Us” by Theresa Rizzo: You will be Moved!!

the lives between us

Take Jane Green and Jodi Picoult and mix them together, you would have Theresa Rizzo!!  Spectacular writer, Astounding story!!

“The lives between us” is about the controversial topic of Stem-Cell use, and creating embryos for the purpose of taking their stem cells.  I am always touched when an author can write about a tough subject with such heart and kindness.  Theresa Rizzo definitely has this talent.

We are introduced to Skye Kendell, a super loving Aunt to a child named Niki…right at the brink of Niki’s illness possibly taking her life.  Niki was desperately in need of a Heart Transplant.  The story begins with Niki in the hospital for a surgery to extract bone marrow, and Skye shows up to have a “sleep over” at the hospital.  I was so in love with Skye at this point; because like her, I do not have any children and my nieces and nephews are my true loves.  I could see that Skye loved Niki with the same fierceness I love my nieces and nephews.  It is about time I read a book where the Aunt is the main character.

Niki’s parents Faith and Peter are stuck with a few difficult decisions, beginning with saving their daughter, Niki.

Senator Hastings is against the use of stem cells for any use and Skye makes it her personal mission to take him down.  In the process Skye meets Mark Dutton who works for the Senator, and they begin a relationship that is going to change her life forever.

This story was very thought provoking.  Your heart will break.  You will be mad at certain things.

You will be moved!!

5 Stars.