The Creed Legacy by Linda Lael Miller

The Creed Legacy


About the Book:

Rough-and-tumble rodeo cowboy Brody Creed likes life on the move. Until a chance encounter with his  long-estranged twin brother brings him “home” for the first time in years. Suddenly Brody is in Creed territory—at thirty-three, he’s a restless bad boy among family with deep ties to the land and each other. And a secret past haunts him as he tries to make plans for his future.

Carolyn Simmons is looking for Mr. Right in Lonesome Bend, as the tick tock of her biological clock gets ever louder. Then she falls for gorgeous Brody Creed, the opposite of everything she wants. Until lassoing his wild heart becomes everything both of them need.

Quotes:

“…I was referring, my prickly friend, to the bare-socket electricity arcing between you and Brody all evening. I’m surprised all our hair didn’t stand on end, and our skeletons didn’t show through our skin….”

“…because the nooky-ban obviously isn’t working any better for you than it is for me—which is to say, not at all….”

My Review:

            Linda Lael Miller does it again with this novel. I was looking for something light hearted to read with (sorry) a definite good ending and this book did not disappoint. It was funny and serious. We always expect funny, caught off guard scenes from Linda; but this book had a sad note to it as well. In the end, the cowboy’s heart as well as the cowgirl’s heart will mend with the help of their love.

Brody Creed, downright handsome and boasting the sexiest blue eyes this side of the great Mississippi, bears a striking resemblance to his brother, Conner. There’s a reason for that, they are twins. Having lost their parents as babies and they were raised by a devoted aunt and uncle.

The Creed twins have each suffered their share of tragedy and along the way find wonderful women who match them in spirit and that is what seals the deal with this trilogy. I enjoyed the Creed Legacy and you will too. I definitely recommend it.

Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation – monetary or in kind – has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher or PR firm.

By:              Linda Lael Miller

Publisher:    Harlequin

Imprint:       HQN Books

Publisher’s Date: 6/28/2011

This book can be purchased at Amazon.com

Cruelty to Innocents: The 911 Abductions by CK Webb and DJ Weaver

About the book:

Who’s abducting children from 911 emergency scenes?

What if you were in your car alone with your small child and you came upon an emergency scene? Would you stop to help? What if, while you are trying to assist a victim of an accident or mugging, you left your young child alone in the car, thinking he or she would be safe. What if, instead of help, the call to 911 brought a terrifying, sinister result?

Someone’s abducting children from 911 emergency scenes in Aberdeen Maryland, while their parents call for help and lend aid to accident victims. Someone who’s also listening in, is a monster and vicious child abductor. In the midst of the chaos and confusion of the scene, that monster slips in and steals the innocent children leaving behind no trace for authorities.

Sloanne Kelly is unprepared for what awaits in her hometown as she travels back to Maryland. Her goddaughter is one of the victims and the clock is ticking. Together with her best friend and a local fireman, Shawn Tyler, Sloanne will face the most insidious of criminals and fight to recover the children before there is anymore, Cruelty to Innocents.

My Review:

            The story line captivates you and holds you bound to your chair with the reality of the subject; child abduction. The writers bring you into the lives of the characters and you feel their pain as clearly, as if you were sitting on the sofa next to them.

Everyone would like to be a Good Samaritan. It is human nature. We all feel the need to help someone in misery. This book makes you question good deeds. The book leaves you weighing the simple phrase “should I or shouldn’t I help” when you see someone in distress. Do you grab your children and pretend not to see someone in need of help; or do you take the risk to turn your back for only a second…

This book will make you look around you, into the faces of those you trust most, and have you wondering if you really know who they are.

I figured out who the villain was the first time he can onto the scene, which left me a little disappointed; but maybe that was intentional because right when you think you have it all wrapped up, you are hoisted into the air and thrown against a wall with the surprise you didn’t see coming. I liked that.

The book dialog was good. I was a little thrown by the simplicity of the dialogue between the heroine and the hero. It seemed a little out of place in the seriousness of the book. My dad is a retired law enforcement officer and I am married to a retired law enforcement officer so I enjoyed solving the clues along with the characters.

Overall, the book was extremely good; and with the surprise ending, I am definitely anticipating the second book in the series. I recommend this book.

The Authors:

CK Webb

CK Webb was born and raised in Mississippi and dreamed of writing like the greats; Emily Bronte, Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King, to name a few. CK joined the US Navy and traveled the world, but eventually returned to settle down in the tiny town of Millport, Alabama. A self-proclaimed ‘reformed bad girl’, this thirty-something writer now shares her life with her husband and two beautiful children. CK also enjoys spending time with her friends, family and book club. Although CK delights in preying on the fears of others and enjoys killing people…thankfully she does it the legal way; in her novels. She has just completed the first two novels in the ‘Innocents’ series which she co-wrote with her best-friend and mother, DJ Weaver. CK writes in a variety of other genres and also writes articles and book reviews for Suspense Magazine.

DJ Weaver

DJ Weaver originally hails from Pascagoula Mississippi, but relocated to north Mississippi in 1980. She took courses at Mississippi University for Woman andMississippi State University, studying paralegalism and Human Resources Management and has worked in the clerical field for twenty-five years.
DJ, along with her daughter and best friend, CK Webb, recently completed the first two in the three-novel Innocents series. She also writes in a variety of other genres.
When she isn‘t writing, DJ develops and maintains WebbWeaver Review blog, where she reviews books and interviews published authors regularly. She serves as co-chairwoman of WebbWeaver Book Club and also writes book reviews forSuspense Magazine.DJ is a 50-something year old mother and grandmother who now works part-time and makes her home in Millport Alabama.

Author website: http://webbweaver-zelda555.blogspot.com/

CK’s Facebook fanpage & Twitter

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-CK-Webb/154867487887428

http://twitter.com/CKWebb73

DJ’S Facebook fanpage & Twitter

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-DJ-Weaver/156387674395890

http://twitter.com/raven555

http://twitter.com/WebbWeavers

Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation – monetary or in kind – has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm.

The book is available for purchase at the following locations: 

 Amazon (US & UK & DE)

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

Sony

Kobo

Diesel

Apple

Goodreads

Also on Individual Mobile Apps for Apple, Android, Windows Phone 7 and WebOS.

I know that everyone is anxious to find out how to

win a copy of the  fabulous book so here it is.

GIVEAWAY:

To win Cruelty to Innocents: The 911 Abductions in e-book format,

here is what you have to do: click on the blog icon to the right 

which will take you to My Life. One Story at a Time.
 
Full details will be available.

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels - A Love Story
About the Book (from Booklist):

            Popular blogger and cookbook author Drummond shares the story of her courtship and marriage to her husband, whom she refers to as Marlboro Man. Though Drummond grew up in Oklahoma, she never imagined she’d end up there for good. After four years of college in Los Angeles, Drummond was only making a pit stop home before moving to Chicago. A chance encounter with a devastatingly masculine cowboy in a local bar changes everything. Though several months elapse before Marlboro Man calls her, the spark between them ignites as soon as they start dating. A rancher with deep roots in the land he works, Marlboro Man isn’t going anywhere, which means Drummond has to decide whether, to be with him, she’s willing to give up her dream of moving to Chicago. By the time Marlboro Man proposes, the decision is made, and Drummond prepares to marry the love of her life and discover what being a rancher’s wife will entail. Charming and bright, Drummond’s story will be an inspiration to those who despair of finding old-fashioned,lasting love. –Kristine Huntley

My Review:

            I really enjoyed this book. It is a great love story and it brought back so many memories of when my husband and I were dating. I laughed until I cried so many times while reading this book that I lost count.
            I loved the part when her mother knocked on the truck window at 2 a.m. in the morning to ask if it were Ree in the truck. First, what mother would casually stroll up to a strange truck parked in her driveway at that time of the morning dressed in her nightclothes and knock on the window? Wouldn’t most of us just phone 911?
            There was a very cold night when my husband and I were dating that we sat out in his truck in the driveway until odd hours of the night. We had the motor running to keep the heat going and that means the running lights were on (keep in mind that we were in our thirty’s.) My father attempted to come out of the house several times to bring the garbage to the street for the next morning’s trash collection. Each time he opened the door, the lights blinded him. He finally just gave up and went to bed. We still, to this day, laugh about that incident.
            Ree Drummond tells a story about how they both got food poisoning from lobster while on their honeymoon in Australia. Oh! How I laughed! My husband and I traveled to Boston a few years ago and we ate lobster. I had this idea that if I ever ate lobster, it would be in Boston. I had a reaction to the lobster and was violently ill for most of the night. I remember lying in bed willing the impending stomachache to just go away (we’ve all been there.) The longer I lay there, the worse it got until finally (I’ll leave out the details) I couldn’t pretend any longer. My husband was so scared that he prayed the entire night.
            I felt so sorry for the people in the hotel suite next to us. I am certain; their stay was not pleasant thanks to me. My husband wanted to take me to the hospital but I was so sick, I could not move.
            I have to say, it wasn’t funny then, but reading about the Drummond honeymoon made me cackle aloud!
            Ree is a down to earth woman to which we can all relate. She does not pull any punches and tells you like it is with humor.
            Anyone who loves a love story will enjoy this book. It is about meeting Mr. Right and falling hopelessly in love. It is a great read.

Author’s Website:


Disclaimer / Disclosure: I personally purchased this book for my own reading. No compensation – monetary or in kind – has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description were copied from Amazon.com.

This book can be purchased through Amazon.com

Creed’s Honor by Linda Lael Miller

Creed's Honor (Hqn)
About the Book:

          Conner Creed knows exactly who he is: a hardworking rancher carrying on his uncle’s legacy in Lonesome Bend, Colorado. Maybe a small-town cowboy’s life isn’t his dream, but he owes the man who took him in as a kid. Until the identical twin brother he’s been estranged from for years reenters his life.

          Conner struggles with identity issues as he gets to know his wilder brother. And then he meets Tricia McCall, a beautiful woman who knows a thing or two about living someone else’s dreams. Together, they just might find their own dreams right here in Lonesome Bend….

My Review:

            I have been reading Linda Lael Miller for close to twenty years and this book did not disappoint. She takes you into the lives of her characters with such descriptions that if they were to walk up to you, you would recognize them. Her depiction of the town and ranches paint a picture in your mind and as the story unfolds, you find yourself living a life right alongside them.
            Who wouldn’t like a cowboy with eyes of blue and a heart of gold? Who wouldn’t want to be the stubborn girl that this cowboy is fixated on? I love a book with family history and love and intrigue and romance. Creed’s Honor does not disappoint.
            Linda Lael Miller has once again hit her mark with this series.

Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation – monetary or in kind – has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher or PR firm.

By:              Linda Lael Miller
Publisher:    Harlequin
Imprint:       HQN Books
This book may be purchased through Amazon.com

Wingless Book Series (book 1) by Holly Hood

Wingless (Wingless Book Series(Book 1)

Wingless Book Series (book 1)

Ebook By Holly Hood
Published: Mar. 15, 2011
Category:  Fiction, Young adult or teen, Sci-Fi & fantasy

About the Book (from Smashwords):

How do you learn to love death when you are so afraid of it? Eve Cardwell is a beautiful, stubborn eighteen year old girl, who is looking for her true self; she is tired of her “Perfect” family and all that comes with being a part of it. Eve literally stumbles upon a mysterious guy new to the area, while drunk in the woods. She soon finds out that the guy she is falling for is like no one she has ever met. Over time he reveals to her that he is the one part of life that she never wanted to meet yet alone fall in love with, and he takes her along for the ride of her life. Although things become chaotic Eve learns more about herself then she ever imagined. Can Eve really learn how to become the person she has always wanted while trying to be in love with the unlovable?

Parental Rating (from Smashwords):

This book contains content that may not be suitable for youngreaders 17 and under.

 Book quotes:

             “…My fear in life was simple – I feared that I would die before I lived. I feared that when I did die, I would have realized that all I was taught was wrong and would be out of luck. …”

“…Everything has a reaction though, so even when you think you’re not doing something, the simplest thing could be what you were meant to do. Sometimes people lived a short time to help others live. life was a crazy ride…”

“…My life lesson was simple. Believe with your heart, fear is real, and no one ever is going to make it out by the skin of their teeth. Death may be scary, but there was one thing that death gave us, and that was blindness to not see it coming until it was too late. And now I believed in everything that I was told I was wrong to believe…”

 My Review:

            What a strange book. A story of love and a story of independence. A story of good choices and a story of bad choices. A story of loss and a story of gain.

            We meet Eve, a headstrong, independent soul longing to live life on her terms. So much like the brother she lost, she longs to leave her controlling “perfect” family behind and strike out on her own. Alone in the woods after a drinking binge with her best friend, she meets Evan. Time reveals even more of the mystery that surrounds him and she is constantly thrown off balance as she traverses down a path unknown.

We follow Eve as she moves in with Evan and spends the next few months of her life learning more about herself than she ever thought possible.

I found the book difficult to follow at times. I felt I was in the middle of one conversation and the next sentence was a different conversation. I do not want to give away any of the contents but I feel this book is better suited for the older YA group than the younger set. There was a great moral aspect to the story in that we are all here for a reason, and just maybe, instead of fearing life, we need to live life. The book was a good read and I recommend it.

Author’s website:

http://winglessbookseries.weebly.com/

 Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation – monetary or in kind – has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher or PR firm.

 This book can be purchased at Amazon.com or Smashwords.


My Wednesday Musings

            Friday night the most bizarre thing happened. I spoke with my cousin a couple of times during the day on Friday. He lives in New Orleans and I live on the bayou southwest of New Orleans. The area was experiencing severe weather and he wanted to make sure that I was aware of the weather reports (he knows I am usually oblivious to such things – why is the rain pouring and the wind blowing.) Neither one of us thought to mention our evening plans.

            The skies cleared and my husband and I picked up an elderly couple (one is blind and the other can’t see) that we are close to. We then headed into the city (New Orleans) to a Blind Veteran’s Banquet. While sitting in the restaurant, I felt my cousins’ presence and wondered if they would be attending the function (my cousin has a blind friend who goes to the Lighthouse for the Blind for Braille instruction.) When the time commenced for us to serve ourselves (buffet for the blind? Really?) and we got up, my cousin appeared at my side. I was so surprised that I stared at him trying to figure out if he were a mirage. It was a nice surprise to be able to visit with my cousins and their friend and finally introduce our friends to them.

            Saturday morning I had the awful chore of having to clean the front porch. With the rain on Friday, my dogs were filthy. In turn, they love to play on the porch, so the porch was filthy. Ryka and Calypso love the rain and once wet, think nothing of rolling in the dirt and then playing chase up and down the front steps and on the porch. Then, at naptime, they come up onto the porch, shake, dry as they nap, and shake again. Needless to say, all the dirt fell off onto the porch; it was like walking on a dirt road! The only way to clean it was to use water. I also had to clean the mess the beasts made with potted plants on Friday.

          I was filling in a hole next to the parking pad that Calypso dug and looked up. Ryka was on the porch and she picked up an empty pot and looked at me as if to say, “See what else Calypso did? I’m the good dog.” It was at that point that I realized what a mess the front porch had become. Then, as I was inspecting that mess, I noticed that they had redug the hole in the flowerbed next to the porch. Fortunately, I found a bucket of dirt my husband had put aside for something (no telling what) and used it to fill in the hole they have been digging to China, along with chicken wire and bricks. As I have already filled the hole with broken bricks and dirt several times, I am thinking it ain’t gonna work this time either.

            After those two projects, I did the usual “Scoop the Poop” game. They follow me around and as I pick up the “prizes”, I explain to them that if they just went to the nearest tree and left it there, it would be a lot easier on me. They haven’t caught on yet. With that lovely chore completed, it was time to pick up all the “toys” they scattered about the front yard. The two of them sat there and followed me with their eyes as I collected all of the oyster shell that had found its way to the front yard. The looks on their faces was unbelievable as they seem to say, “It took a lot of time to bring that many oyster shell from the back yard to the front yard; and now we have to start all over again?” and they have.


            Sunday was my little granddaughter’s dance recital. Cara is actually the daughter of my best friend, but I am her Nana in all sense of the word. She was adorable. I could go into the details of how her parents are divorced and her dad is a jerk and acted like a jerk, but I won’t. Some things are better left unsaid, at least for the moment.

           My husband went trawling on Monday and brought back three huge ice chests of shrimp. That was a huge chore but since I absolutely love my shrimp, I didn’t mind. The only thing I minded was having to keep two German Shepherds who normally have run of a huge yard, locked in their kennel (a good size outdoor yard with a house for each one) all day because they like to eat the shrimp he was trying to dry.

            And, as if that wasn’t enough, he is drying more shrimp today. Guess where the dogs are? They are in their kennel and not to happy at the moment. I heard these awful sounds coming from the yard and it was so strange that I went running out of the house to investigate. One of the neighbors let their puny little dog out to run around and my two dogs saw dessert. They did not appreciate being locked up while this morsel was running around.

            Calypso had an appointment at the vet on Monday for her final shots. That meant doggie washday. She is easy enough to bathe because she loves the water and she is still small enough to keep contained. I also use warm water, so that helps. Ryka, on the other hand, is huge and hates a bath. Her coat is also so thick and practically water repellent which makes it doubly hard to wash. I just need to take her to the car wash. (I’ll need an accomplice to watch out for the SPCA.)

            Tuesday was deal with the shrimp day. The washing machine also decided it had had enough and gave up the ghost. That brings us to today, Wednesday. Today, I have to shop for a new washer and to please my husband, that means I have to shop around. For those who know me (and those who don’t); I HATE to shop around. Just not part of my personality. (Ask Jessica. When we shop, I sit here and there and read my Kindle as SHE shops!) As the dirty clothes are steadily piling up (remember, the trawling husband) I had better finish this post and get to shopping.

            Thanks for stopping by today!

An Interview with Will Allison

A Conversation with Will Allison

 Author of LONG DRIVE HOME: A Novel

(Free Press; May 17, 2011)

1.  Your first novel, What You Have Left, has three viewpoint characters and moves back and forth in time. Long Drive Home has one viewpoint character and proceeds, for the most part, chronologically. Did you make a decision at the outset to structure this novel differently?   

I did. I wanted to write a book with a strong sense of tension and narrative momentum—more of page-turner—but one that’s still character-based, where plot is a function of character and not vice versa.

2.  When you were executive editor of Story magazine, thousand of submissions must have crossed your desk. How did your editorial work influence your writing?   

Reading through the submissions—we averaged about 50 a day—I was constantly reminded of the importance of 1) giving the reader a reason to care, and 2) keeping the story moving. I write with an acute awareness that readers have a lot of other things they could be doing besides reading my book.

3.  Where did the idea for the novel come from?

I live in New Jersey, in a quiet neighborhood much like the one described in the book—lots of kids, joggers, people walking their dogs. One morning a few years ago, I went out to get the newspaper. A car came flying down the street, going probably twice the speed limit. I remember picking up the paper and thinking I’d like to chuck it at the guy’s windshield, give him a scare. Then I thought, “You’re an idiot, Will. You could kill someone.” Then I thought, “But what if no one saw?” That was the seed of the story.

4.  Is the book autobiographical?

No. The circumstances of Glen’s life are similar to my own—I work at home; my wife works in the city; we have a young daughter; we moved here from the Midwest; etc.—but the characters and plot are wholly invented.

5.  Has your daughter read the book?

No. She’s only nine. Some of the language isn’t appropriate. Also, I’d hate for her to conflate me with Glen. She knows what the book is about, though. On the way to and from school, when I was writing it, she’d ask what part of the story I was working on. She gave me a lot of input. She still thinks Sara’s name should have been spelled “Sarah.”

6.  Is the traffic in New Jersey really as bad as Glen says?          

It seemed pretty bad to me, coming from the Midwest. I did some research when I started the book. New Jersey is the nation’s most congested state and has the highest pedestrian fatality rate. A 2006 study found that northern New Jersey has four of the ten most dangerous American cities to drive in—all within fifteen miles of where the story takes place. And a 2008 study ranked New Jersey drivers dead last in their knowledge of basic safety and traffic laws.

7.  Was the accident investigation based on a real case?

No, but I did get a lot of help from Detective Arnold Anderson, who recently retired from the Essex County Prosecutors Fatal Accident Unit. Andy read an early draft of the book and very patiently answered my questions. I remember being nervous when I first got in touch with him and said I was writing a book about a guy who tries to cover up his involvement in an accident. I thought Andy might think that’s what was doing. He told me later that, yes, he did check up on me after that first phone call, to make sure I was really a writer.

8.  Was there any kind of moral you were aiming to impart in Long Drive Home?

I was very interested in the moral implications of Glen’s actions, particularly how he justified—and was later affected by—doing things he himself believed to be morally wrong. But no, I intended no moral lesson for the reader, only moral questions.         

9.  How much compassion do you expect the reader to show Glen?

Obviously, Glen makes some terrible mistakes. But I do hope readers will put themselves in his shoes. That’s why I chose to tell the story from his viewpoint. If the story had been told from Rizzo’s or Tawana’s viewpoint, Glen might have come off as a clear-cut villain. That to me would have been less interesting.

10.  What’s next for you?

Another novel, one that may or may not revisit the characters in Long Drive Home.

Long Drive Home by Will Allison

Long Drive Home: A Novel
About the Book:

From Publishers Weekly (via Amazon):  Allison follows What You Have Left with a tight drama, part psychological thriller, part tragedy. Glen is an accountant living in New Jersey with his successful wife, Liz, and their six-year-old daughter, Sara. On an ordinary drive home from school, a series of mundane decisions grow increasingly dire and culminate in a car accident that sets road-raging Glen onto a path of deception and self-destruction. The novel is told from Glen’s perspective, in part through a confessional letter written to Sara, an obvious but nonetheless effective tension builder. It’s a slow burn as guilt chips away at Glen’s sanity and his marriage crumbles, his impotent angst finds an unlikely outlet, and he comes under ever more scrutiny by a strangely motivated detective. Allison’s triumph is the skillful rendering of Glen’s transformation as a basically good guy whose fatal flaw leads him to a cataclysmically stupid decision. And while other characters fare less well—the cop on Glen’s tail is straight out of an airport thriller, and Liz isn’t given the chance to break through her mercenary and fundamentally unpleasant mold—Allison’s effortless prose and playful genre mixing showcase a burgeoning talent. (May)
© Copyright Pwxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
My Review:
            Sins of the father and the innocence of a child; oh, what a tangle web we weave, when at first we do deceive. I read this book in one sitting. It was a book that I could not make myself put down. It held me spellbound. It brought back thoughts of things I have done that could have taken a very wrong turn. I guess that makes this confession time.
            I live along a bayou that runs to the gulf; one road in, and one road out. Due to a bridge closure, the traffic has been very heavy. I was on my way back from the market the other day and a truck came up behind me at a higher rate of speed, and began following very close. The driver was driving erratically and it was making me nervous. It is a two-lane highway and very few passing straight aways. You can only drive as fast or as slow as the car in front of you. It is a test for any person’s patience and this day was no different. I normally show my brake lights and slow down a little to get the vehicle behind me to back off a little. It gets the other driver’s attention and they realize that they are a little too close. That morning, the driver was extremely aggressive and the first opportunity he had, he roared past me, cut back in front of me nearly clipping my vehicle and slammed on his brakes. Fortunately, my instincts had kicked in as he was passing me and I backed off for my safety. When he cut back in and slammed his brakes, I was stilled forced to slam on my brakes in order to avoid hitting him. He then floored it and proceeded to pass two more cars. A simple tactic, meant to garner attention to safety, which has worked so many times in the past, pushed someone over the edge.
 I was stunned. As my mind began to organize my thoughts, all of the scenarios of what could have happened began flashing through my brain. That is what this book is about; the consequences of our actions, how the most mundane or unusual happenings have an effect on our reactions to everything else for the rest of the day. It is about how rage, in its smallest form, can have catastrophic consequences on our own lives, and those who are dearest to us. This story chronicles how a sliver of anger can turn us into someone we cease to recognize.
              I found myself, repeatedly, holding my breath, and having to remind myself to breathe as I was reading this book. The characters are so real. The character’s reactions are so real. As I sat there with this book in my hands, I felt as though I could have been reading about my own life; I think you will too.
            I am giving this book the highest rating. You may purchase this book on Amazon.com.
 I received this book for free from Simon and Schuster for this review.
           Watch Will Allison’s author video at:
http://www.simonandschuster.com/multimedia?video=922743636001

My Wednesday Musings, May 11, 2011

I am normally very careful with my writing, using spell check and grammar check. Today, I am just writing. This past week has been a busy one. Friday night the grandchildren spent the night. It was supposed to be family movie night; but the minute you say the word “movie”, Cara and Papa fall asleep. I had my first Shrek experience. Andrew and I watched the third movie in the series. I cannot remember when I laughed that much. He was in all of his glory because he could explain the movie characters to his Nana. 

For those of you who have never watched a Shrek movie, it is a play on all of the fairy tales. These are very different personalities. You really must see this movie. You will laugh until you cry. Papa and Cara made it through their bucket of popcorn and their bowl of ice cream and that was the last we heard from them for the rest of the movie.

Saturday morning we were all up early. Andrew wanted to take advantage of an extra morning of chocolate chip pancakes before going home. Papa and I had plans to travel from our home in South Louisiana to visit with friends in Mississippi so we dropped them off at home on the way out.

It took us about two hours to reach our destination and after a hearty lunch, enjoyed a tour of the area. We were very fortunate to see a beautiful part of the state. The evening included mass and family day at a little church in the area and we had the privilege of listening to three young musicians from Lafayette, Louisiana play authentic Cajun music.

Sunday was Mother’s Day; and I think I napped off and on most of the day. So far this week has been our normal schedule of picking up the children in the mornings and having breakfast at “Nana-Hop” as they say, before taking the “Nana-Bus” to school. 

We have a little game we play each morning that the children love. The fact that it is also educational is a bonus. One morning Andrew found a magnetic letter in the car and we invented the game of saying as many words as we could think of that began with that letter. It is truly amazing how many words a six and eight year old know. When I returned home, I began rummaging through the toys, found the remaining letters, and put them in a bag. From that day on, we have taken turns pulling a letter. One of the rules of the game is that we have to be fully through the gate and on the highway before we can say words. They love this because I tell them I can see their brains bursting, waiting to say words. They keep their mouths tightly closed holding the words in until the exact moment and then the dams burst. 

Then, if you do not know a word, you can rhyme the last word said. This week, we added a new rule. You have to spell the first word you say. When we can no longer think of words, we have begun using the dictionary. My thoughts are you can never know too many words. Before that, when there was a lull, I would sing, “I’m Henry the eighth I am” which has become known as the “I” song; as we were doing the letter “I” that day. This, of course, drives Andrew crazy. Always thinking of a way to make the ride more fun, one day I finished with, “Second verse, the same as the first,” and began again. Cara loved this and it has become a tradition.

Ryka and Calypso (my two German Shepherds) provide daily entertainment. Calypso is now four months old. It is so hard to believe that she has been with us that long. Her latest fascination is chasing her tail, which I might add, is driving me crazy. I can look out the window at any time during the day and Ryka is sitting there so lady-like just watching Calypso chase her tail. It has been the first thing I see when I look out in the morning and the last at night before I go to bed. She is making Ryka and I dizzy.

I had a book give away, my first give away, on my blog this week. That was a little anxious for me but I managed okay. I love reading books and I have had a great time reviewing them. I have had many great comments so I think I am on the right track.

That is how my week is shaping up so far. Hope you are having a great week too. Feel free to post your musings. I love hearing from everyone.

Everything we ever wanted by Sarah Shepard

About the Book:

            One phone call can change everything…


When Sylvie Bates-McAllister, a recently-widowed mother of two, receives a late-night phone call from the prestigious school founded by her grandfather, her family is thrown into chaos. Her adopted son Scott may have been involved in a hazing scandal –and it may or may not have led to the death of one of the boys he coaches on the school team. Sylvie must decide between maintaining her outwardly perfect life –the family estate outside Philadelphia inherited from her grandfather, the school, the reputation –and the son who she feels wants nothing to do with her.

             For all the Bates-McAllisters, the phone call awakens questions lain dormant for years, revealing a tangled web of secrets that ties the family together: the mystery of the school hazing, Sylvie’s deceased husband’s locked filing cabinet, the event that tore Charles and Scott apart the night of their high school graduation, and the intended recipient of a certain bracelet. The quest to push past a legacy of resentment and judgments to unravel the truth takes the family on individual journeys across state lines, into hospitals, through the Pennsylvania woods, and face-to-face with the question: what if the life you always planned for, and dreamed of, isn’t what you want at all?

My Review:

            One thing I always like to do is figure out why a book has been giving its name. It took me a while to figure out where the title came from. It actually took me to the end of the book. To tell you, would be giving the book away and I want you to read it instead.

I could not quite figure out the plot to this book. I guess I was looking for a complicated plot when it became apparent to me that I was looking for something that was not there; the plot was simple. The book is about a family that struggles through life, something we all do. It is about how we do the best we can through each phase of our lives.

The book is about how we make mistakes. It is about how we say things we wish we could take back; the way we do things we wish we hadn’t. The book is about how we do things to get the attention of those we love. It is a story about how complicated relationships can be; those haunting memories of what could have been; should have been. It is about what finally breaks us; what finally allow us to either connect or disconnect with people.

It is only when we peel away the layers of the past that we clearly see the present and begin the future, thus fulfilling our destiny.

The only disappointment in the book for me was the ending. The ending left you with the impression that all works out, but I would have liked that extra chapter; I am a closer. I am giving this book two thumbs up (that is all I have) and would highly recommend reading it.

 Sara Shepard graduated from New York University and has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College. The author of the bestselling young adult series, Pretty Little Liarsand The Lying Game, as well as the adult novel, The Visibles, she currently lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband and dogs.

This book is set for release in October 2011.

Mistakes by A.M.Hayward & L.J.Holder

Blurb:

“Mistakes…Everyone makes them. After all, we’re only human. Some of our mistakes are small, like when you stay up late studying for a test that you end up failing anyway because of 
exhaustion. Others are so catastrophic, they change your life. Forever…”

Mistakes (Mistakes Trilogy)

My Review:

            When I began reading this book, I thought it would be a simple tale of two long-time best friends, Aimee and Maddison (Maddie), seniors in high school going through growing pains. One girl more experienced, and the second falling in love for the first time.
            The authors began the book with the present day and then take the reader back in time as the two friends are making plans to deceive their parents and head off for spring break on Padre Island. As the girls arrive in party town USA, they meet up with a male friend from their hometown. Making their way through the circuit of parties, they end up down a dark beach and things begin to go terribly wrong. The three end up kidnapped and taken across the border into Mexico. Aimee manages to escape, but is forced to leave Maddy behind as she attempts to thwart the kidnappers and go for help.
            Maddie is transferred into a different vehicle where she discovers another body in the trunk with her. Fingers touch and a desperate human connection is made as the two await their fate. Maddie is locked in a dark cell with Dalton McKenny, the second person in the car trunk. The two become friends  as Dalton forces Maddie to tell stories of her family in an effort to help keep her linked to reality in the darkened cell. The two provide each other with the courage it will take if they are to survive their capture.
            The first part of the story ends with Maddie held captive in a crate, as she is shipped to an unknown destination while Dalton is ransomed to his family. At their point of separation, Dalton and Maddie are led to believe that the other is dead.
            The book then shifts from Maddie to Aimee, who has managed to elude her kidnappers. She is spotted lying dehydrated by the Mexican authorities on a deserted Mexican roadside.
            Life is not easy for Aimee as she struggles to re-enter society with the guilt of having left Maddie behind. Her upper-crust mother sees her ordeal as a stepping stone to a Hollywood career and shows little sympathy toward her daughter or Maddie’s family.
            The book ends with Dalton McKenny showing up on the Turner’s front door stoop with a message from Maddie and a vow to obtain justice.
            Reading on a Kindle has an advantage. It takes a little effort to skip to the end of the book, as I was tempted to do on many occasions (I am one of those who has the horrible habit of reading the first and last chapter, and then every word in between.) The only disappointment I had with this book was as I was nearing the end, I realized that either the book was going to have a very fast ending – or I was NOT going to be finding out Maddie’s fate in this book.
            This is fiction that reads like non-fiction; and the story might be one of the headlines we read when we pick up the newspaper today.
            The authors pick you up and drop you down right in the middle of the two young lives where you befriend them, love them, empathize with them, and feel their pain and torment, and then their loss.
            I laughed and then I cried. I was held captive by the words on the pages. The only thing I did not like about the book is that the sequel was not already in my hands to read. It is driving me crazy and I absolutely sit in anticipation for the next book and truly hope the authors will let me review it.
            This book has love, suspense, and drama and I am giving it double thumbs up. If I had more thumbs, it would get more.
 “Trapped” second in the Mistakes series will be out in early 2012.

GIVEAWAY:
To win the first book in the “Mistakes” trilogy in e-book format,
here is what you have to do.
MANDATORY
To win this book you must:
1. Be a follower of my blog at http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com
2. Follow me on Face book: My Life. One Story at a Time.
3. Let me know why you would love to win a copy and please include your email address with your commentYou can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols if you prefer. The giveaway will end on May 10th and I will notify the winner by email.
RULES
Be a US or Canada resident and be 18 years old. The publisher just let me know that I can change the contest to being open internationally!! Everyone is now eligible!
You have 48 hours to reply to my email, if not I’ll have no other choice but to contact someone else for the prize.
Please leave an email in the comment section so I can reach you if you win, no email no winner.
I will post the winners (5) of the giveaway on Tuesday, May 11, 2011.
Good Luck!


“Mistakes” – The Authors

From the authors:
A.M. Hayward (Author), L.J. Holder (Author)

A brief look into the minds of the Author’s of Mistakes

We have been asked many times how we came up with the idea behind Mistakes, and we would love to have some crazy story to tell our readers, but sadly it all started with a picture.

I (Amanda) found this incredibly scary looking old door with ominous locks.  It got our minds going, and the story just flowed. Using the news from many of the Texas border towns, we researched the home invasions and kidnappings that have become so widespread.  Many of these stories are even more frightening than anything we could think up, and the story evolved from there. 

Being that I (L.J.) am a native Texan, I was able to bring to the story many of the geographical elements that help the reader understand Maddy’s background.  Dallas, Texas sets up a great backdrop for the culturally diverse lives of our characters.  Not to mention, spending Spring Break in South Padre is a rite of passage for most of the Texan youth. 

Another question we are asked on many occasions is how we co-author when there is an ocean dividing us.  With the help of email, Skype, and much to our husband’s dislike, the phone, we stay in almost constant contact.  There is rarely a day that goes by that we haven’t talked in some form.  We both enjoy bouncing ideas off of each other, and laying out a general plot line together.  From there, we take one chapter at a time.  Write it. Reread it, and then write on it some more.  We both agree that we are definitively our toughest critics.  We feel that the writing is effortless once we get going. However, we do experience the dreaded writer’s block from time to time. When this happens, usually one of us can fill in the gaps.

The Mistake’s Trilogy is the journey of two friends written by two friends.  We both hope our readers enjoy our twisted minds, and look forward to much, much more.  

Come back tomorrow for my review of Mistakes. Do not forget to enter to win an e-book of Mistakes, the first in the Mistakes trilogy. There will be 5 winners!