Saturday, December 27, 2014

Joyland Review

5 out of 5 stars

This is my first Stephen King book and it is not at all what I was expecting. I guess I was expecting It or Cugo. What I got was thoughtful, emotional, funny, and smart. Joyland is part mystery, part ghost story, part coming of age story, and part drama.

Twenty-one year old Devin Jones takes a summer job at Joyland, a small amusement park along the Eastern Coast. During that summer and fall he meets new friends and uncovers an old murder.

Joyland is more about relationships than suspense. King tells a story about who we connect with and how they impact us. Even a brief true connection with someone can have a lifelong impact. I would definitely recommend Joyland.


13596166

Stand giveaway!

I am running a Goodreads giveaway for 10 signed first edition paperback copies of Stand!

Charlotte Marshall survived a nightmare. But moving forward past the trauma is a daily battle. Self-defense training, a high security home, and a trusted circle of family and friends help her improve. But fear still lives. Charlotte can’t lean on ritual and routine forever. She must stand on her own.
Desperate to move on Charlotte finds hope in volunteering with FindMe, an organization dedicated to finding people who are missing and helping their families. Her first case ends up being more than she bargained for and Charlotte soon learns that a little hope can be a dangerous thing.
She is strong. She is smart. But new threats come. A new danger lurks. Someone evil wants to destroy her.
The FBI has no answers.
A man is missing. His family deserves the truth.
But Charlotte is not alone in this new quest. Her sparring partner, Skeet, is far more complicated than he appears. Together they search for a missing man and discover that death is never far away. Death haunts, the truth taunts, and answers are just out of reach.
Charlotte will have to choose to stand and fight or to give in to the fear that waits for her.



Goodreads Book Giveaway


Stand by Becky    Johnson

Stand

by Becky Johnson


Giveaway ends January 23, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


Enter to win


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Run is on sale!

Run is on sale today! Today through 12/24 you can get Run for $0.99. Also Stand will be released on 1/2/2015! I can't believe it is almost here. It has been such a journey to get to this point. I am kinda amazed that I am even at this point. I'm a published author! With another book on the way! This is the greatest thing ever.

I included the first two chapters of Run. Enjoy!!

Prologue

It’s ironic really, the chain of events that led me here, kneeling in the dirt with a gun to my head.
My tale of woe, if I can be so bold as to call it that, started innocently enough. It started with spelling words and dinner.
1992
As a student I was smart, but a horrible speller. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, my mother was a school teacher. In order to get me through my spelling test every week she worked with me every night. While I sat at the table working on my assigned words, she watched the news and made dinner. This was by far, the least favorite part of my day. I sat at the kitchen table wanting to be outside or really just about anywhere else. I wrote out my words for the week ten times each, used them in a sentence, and then tested myself with flashcards.
Certain, certain, certain. I am certain I do not want to be doing this. However, however, however. However, I don’t have a choice.
“Earlier today, police responded to a call in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Children playing at a local park discovered …” The newscaster’s voice droned on in the background.
Balance, balance, balance. What sentence could I use for balance? The seal balanced a ball on his nose. Stupid, but it would work.
“… the body of an unidentified female adolescent …”
My attention was caught. Spelling words forgotten.
“…sources say the victim was raped and tortured before she was murdered. Her body was mutilated. Police are asking that anyone…”
What? A strange feeling twisted in my stomach. The words of the newscaster left me feeling unsettled. I knew something bad had happened. For the first time in my life the world felt scary. It left me shaken. Why would someone kill a girl?
“I don’t get it, Mom, what happened?”
Once my mom realized I was talking about the story on the news, the television was quickly turned off.
“Charlotte Marshall, are you done with your spelling words? No? Then worry about finishing them.” My mom scolded.
I knew I wasn’t really in trouble because my mom hadn’t used my middle name. I also knew she wasn’t going to talk about the news story. I looked down at the papers spread before me, but I didn’t see them anymore. My mind whirled. Instinctively, I knew there was something different about this news story. The unknown girl stuck in my head.




Chapter 1: March 14, 7:00 a.m. – March 15, 11:30 p.m.

20 years later
Beep, beep, beep. I swatted blindly for my alarm clock. Morning is not my best time of day. Every morning at seven, it’s always the same routine. I hit the snooze button several times until the whining of my dog reminds me to get up, be a responsible pet owner, and let poor Max out. Fifteen minutes later, wearing sweats and a hoodie, I greet the morning with a grumble and my dog at my side.
Max is a great dog. Two years ago, I went to the shelter with a vague idea of what I wanted: something big, something sweet, and something that wouldn’t eat my nine-year-old calico. I found Max. He was sitting in the far corner of his cage. I watched several people approach him – he never even looked at them. A mix of Pit Bull and mutt, Max is a handsome, mid-sized dog – black with dark eyes and a white patch on his chest. Now, I often think Max has a sixth sense, and he knew me when I walked up to his cage. He seems to know things about people or places. When I crouched down and talked to him, his tail gave a quick wave, and he turned to look at me from his corner. In those big brown eyes, I saw a friend for life. I fell in love. A week later, I brought him home from the shelter. He has rarely left my side since.
That morning, just like every morning, Max was energetic and eager to walk and play. Much more eager than I was. Not only am I not a morning person, but this particular week I felt the pressure of my current book contract. I had two published books, both doing moderately well. Now with a contract for my third novel, I felt a little overwhelmed. This next book needed to be good. Consequently, I was far behind where I expected to be. I had started and rejected multiple stories; now my agent was expecting several chapters to review and I had nothing to show her. As Max and I walked back to my condo, my thoughts were scattered. I had too many alternate story scenarios swirling in my head. I had to get writing done today. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a clue what exactly I should write about.
Back inside, Max settled down next to me and Kitty, my calico, perched on my lap. Kitty is truly a horrible name for a cat. Like Max, she was a rescue. By the time she came to me, Kitty already knew her name. Consequently, I am stuck with a cat with the most embarrassing name ever. Embarrassing name or not, Kitty is my baby. Placing her on my lap, I started writing that next great book by staring resolutely at my computer screen. This was it, I told myself. Today was the day. I wasn’t moving until I had a story started. Three hours later the cursor blinking from a blank page mocked me. I had nothing.
I wasted time writing things that wouldn’t go anywhere. The story about the mermaid who wanted to be human – already done. A boy discovers something magical living under his bed. Yeah, I seriously am not destined to be a children’s writer. Pathetic. Ohh, I know a good one. I’ll write about a western school teacher, who does what, teaches? No good. I justified my pathetic ideas by telling myself that at least I was writing. In truth I had nothing. My day wasn’t totally wasted. I organized my shoes, watered my plants, okay my one plant, and I called my BFF. By three, I hadn’t written a single usable word.
Then it came to me.
To be honest, I am not sure what gave me the idea. One minute I was staring at a blank screen, the next I was typing away. The words flowed. I remembered this news story from when I was young, a news story that had stuck with me all of this time. A story that was shocking and sick and made me realize the world wasn’t safe. A young girl murdered, raped, tortured, her nipple removed, and the murderer was never caught. The vague concept of a story started to form. Two hours later I had a prologue completed.
After a brief break, where I realized Max was dying to go outside, I reviewed what I had written and decided the story needed more detail. I dove into the Internet to research. I wanted to find out everything I could about a twenty-year-old murder.
______
By nine-thirty the next morning I was still searching. My Google skills had failed me. I couldn’t find anything about a murder in Camden County, New Jersey in the 1990s. It was like it never happened. I tried searching for murders of adolescent girls and did a broad search for all murders that were committed in Camden County during the years I was still in school. Still nothing. Frustrated, I was tempted to throw in the towel and rely on my imagination. I had to complete the story cooking in my mind. Something drove me to keep on. Something inside me wanted answers.
Then I stumbled onto a collection of websites that gave me more than I had bargained for. Not just one murder in one town, but the sites were listed by state, showing all unsolved murders. I found my girl. She was a sixteen-year-old girl, five feet and two inches tall, one hundred and three pounds, named Emily Carmichael. Emily. The site had her picture. Her innocent, brown eyes laughed out at me from my computer screen. Emily would have been thirty-three if she had lived. Just two years older than me. She was killed in May of 1992. Her killer had never been found.
I was shocked. I had gone looking for details about the murder that I vaguely remembered. It was just a story to me; nameless and faceless. What I found was a girl. It wasn’t just a story anymore. My story had a name and a face. I found myself studying her picture, memorizing her dark hair and eyes. She looked so young and innocent. Emily. The opposite of me in many ways, but I felt connected to her. I can’t explain it. But the fact that I remembered her news story from when I was a child and the fact that I was now looking at her face made this feel personal. I had to know more.
Hours later I sat back in my seat, shocked. Emily wasn’t alone.
______
I had expected to find unsolved murders. What I didn’t expect was all of the lost girls. Girls just like Emily. When I had typed “unsolved murder New Jersey” into the search engine I did not expect the list of victims to contain so many young girls. I couldn’t help but feel the need to find out more about them all. Emily was one of many. I had to find out what had happened to all of these girls.
The ringing of my phone made me jump. I had been totally focused. But the annoying “Droid” ring of my phone is nearly impossible to ignore. In a move totally against my character, I picked up my cell from beside me and answered without even looking at the caller ID. I always look. That shows how focused I had been on those murders.
“Char, how are you sweetie? I wanted to make sure we were still on for dinner tonight?” My mother, as usual, did not pause to hear my answer, but got straight to the point. In other words, her call was an important motherly reminder. It was her tone that said I better be a good daughter and remember our dinner tonight.
In truth, I had forgotten. I was so buried in the world of Emily that time and the outside world had ceased to exist. My mother’s voice intruding in those thoughts felt shocking. Her tone jolted me back to reality. I glanced at the clock. It was five-fifteen. Close, but I could still get ready and be at the restaurant by six.
“Of course I remembered Mom; I’m looking forward to it.” Lie, lie, lie, lie.
“All right darling, I’ll see you soon. Don’t forget to bring the casserole dish I gave you leftovers in. I need it for a potluck at church.”
“I won’t, Mom. See you soon.”
I hung up the phone. Looking back at the case files and faces still showing on the computer screen, my obsession seemed strange and macabre. I was embarrassed that I had spent the whole day researching the death of a girl I never knew. I rationalized that it gave me a working idea for my book. I saved my rough draft, and without thinking about why I did it, I saved my internet searches, closed down my computer, and started to get ready.
At six on the dot I was at the restaurant, clean casserole dish in hand, wearing mom-approved clothing of a casual pink skirt, tank, cardigan, and flip-flops. I spotted my mother sitting at a table dressed in a beige button-down top and matching slacks. No matter when I meet her, she is always there first. Scanning me, her eyes disapproved. No matter what I wear, it is never the right outfit.
“Sweetheart, it is so good to see you wearing a nice bright color.” This was a subtle dig about my love for the color black. Right now, attired in a brightly colored pink skirt and matching tank and cardigan set, I am out of my comfort zone. But I did it for her.
My mother embraced me with the familiar scent of Gardenias. Her nails were tipped with the customary petal pink nail polish she always wears. Pink and Gardenias are my mother’s signatures. It’s one of the many things she does not understand about me. I’ve never had a signature anything. I’ve tried, but I always end up bored with one particular scent or color, except for black. I don’t wear black in a trendy, hipster sort of way. No, I just tend to avoid color. It’s neutral.
My mother pulled back with a cheery smile. She loves me dearly, she just doesn’t understand me, but then I don’t understand her, so I guess we are even. We both try, so that has to mean something.
When I was a child, I used to imagine that I was adopted and somewhere out there I had parents who were just like me: internal, moody, intellectual, thoughtful. Looking across the table, I wonder how I could have ever thought that. My mother and I look so much alike. There is no mistaking the family relationship – same light blond hair, same dark blue eyes, same oval face with unfortunate round cheeks, and the same mouth with full lips and a slight overbite. Main difference? My mom is petite and slender, and has never weighed more than one hundred and fifteen pounds – except when she was pregnant. I often feel like a giant next to her. I am only a few inches taller – but the difference between her one hundred and fifteen and my one-forty seems huge. If I say anything about my weight, my perfect mom is always happy to give me advice on losing it.
Over a dinner of pasta for me, what can I say I love carbs, and a light salad without dressing for her, we both tried to communicate around the landmines of differences between us. Politics, religion, emotions are all hot topics to avoid. So we stuck to general topics like cleaning. Apparently, vinegar will keep those pesky ants I get every year from bothering me. Who knew? In the midst of the polite conversation, I found myself wanting to talk to her about today, about Emily. Despite our differences she is my mom, and I felt the need to share what I found and how it captivated me.
“I wrote some for my book today.” It was an easy and innocent start.
“Oh, that’s lovely, I was sure you would have written soon.” A mother’s eternal optimism.
“Actually, my writing today reminded me of a news story from when I was little. Do you remember hearing about Emily Carmichael on the news? She was found in Cherry Hill. It’s such a horrible story. A couple of kids found her body.”
My mother paled and interrupted, “Oh darling, I don’t know why you focus on such dreadful things. A murdered girl! It’s a wonder you get any sleep at all with all those ideas in your head. Really.” Then she neatly switched gears. “Did I tell you that I spoke with Helen Roberts the other day? You remember Helen. Her daughter Lindsey is a few years younger than you. Well Lindsey just had her second child, a boy.”
My mom’s voice faded to the background. I have heard versions of this for years. Apparently, everyone I know is happily married with children. My mother’s message was subtle but received. Okay, sometimes it’s not so subtle. I should be worried about my single status. I should be working on getting married and having children. Sometimes it’s easier to just let her ramble on.
At the end of our dinner, mother and I hugged before I drove home. We get together once a month, and the evening of catching up has exhausted me. When I got home I took Max out, showered, and then fell into bed.
I dreamt of Emily.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December Newsletter

Wow! I can’t believe it’s almost the end of 2014! What a year it has been. I wrote two books. I published my first novel and have my second novel ready to be published in 2015. 2015 promises to be a busy year. Stand will be released January 2nd. I have a blog tour scheduled for January. The third book in the Charlotte Marshall series is due out in mid-2015. Phew! I have a lot to keep me busy. I couldn't be happier!


Stand is available now for pre-order on Amazon.






Here is a preview of the first chapter. Enjoy!



Chapter 1

My own scream woke me.

Zero to sixty in less than a second. One second I was sound asleep, and the next I was bolt upright in bed with the sound of my scream still echoing across the bedroom. My heart thundered in my chest, and my panting breaths sounded loud in the silence. My shaking hands gripped the blanket in tight fists. Kitty looked up at me from her cozy spot at the end of the bed. Yellow eyes blinked. Then she meowed in sympathy and dropped her calico head back down onto her paws. She used to love sleeping curled right up against me. But my regular nightmares disrupted her. Unfortunately nightmares are not an uncommon occurrence. I have suffered from them ever since Lawrence Pheares.

Nine months ago I faced a monster, a murderer responsible for the deaths of twenty-three innocent girls. At night he haunts me. Sometimes the dreams are a reenactment of the events. I see Pheares choking me. Or I remember Jack and Pheares fighting. Sometimes the nightmares are filled with images of my lost girls. I watch helpless as Emily runs from a mad man. I cannot save her. The worst ones though, the dreams that make it impossible for me to go back to sleep, are the ones like the nightmare I just woke up from. They leave me with a jumble of images and tangled feelings. Nothing concrete that makes sense. When I wake up screaming, I am overwhelmed with terror. That’s the only feeling or sense I get from these dreams, bone deep fear.

According to my therapist I am suffering from PTSD. Simple letters for a life that is changed by trauma. Nine months ago I had lived the nightmare. It all began so simply. I was doing research for my next novel when I stumbled onto a serial killer and twenty-three girls who were abducted, raped, tortured, murdered, and then thrown away. When I found the killer, he found me. I almost didn’t survive. In the end I beat Lawrence Pheares, but in doing so I was forever changed.

Without conscious thought, my hand reached over to cover the E tattooed on the inside of my right arm, a daily reminder of what I had survived and a tribute to those innocent girls who did not.

In the months since I discovered evidence of a serial killer and my life became entwined with those lost girls who were heartlessly killed by a madman, I had become a different person, scared of my own shadow. At first it wasn’t so bad. I was still cruising on adrenaline. Now every day is a battle.

When I let myself really think about it, thoughts of Georgia frighten me the most. I never learned from Pheares what role she played in the killings, but I knew in my heart that she had one. Pheares was dead. But I knew Georgia was still out there. There was no evidence of this, but my gut told me different. I knew she was alive. I could feel her watching me.

I looked over at my bedside clock. It was four forty-three in the morning. There was no point in trying to go back to sleep. My body was slick with sweat and the hands I ran over my face shook. Max, my black Pit Bull mix, looked at me from his spot beside my bed. His ears were perked. Brown eyes focused on me. He looked ready to get up with me or go back to sleep, depending on my next move. These days Max rarely leaves my side. He is a good friend.

I swung my legs over and sat on the edge of the bed. A few deep breaths later my heart was no longer racing, and I was ready to get up.

I start every morning with yoga. It is one of my therapies. Sometimes I think if I don’t do the little things like yoga, running, and journaling, I will plunge into a well of terror that will dominate me. So every morning, no matter what, I make myself stick to my routine, as though that alone will save me. That morning my poses were a little shaky from my nightmare, but I made it through them. Mountain pose. Forward bend. Down dog. I could feel myself steadying. Warrior two. Down dog. Tree pose. I finished with two sun salutations then stood in mountain pose just breathing.

Max knows my new pattern. When my routine was finished he was ready to go. He leaned his big body against me and gave that look dog owners everywhere know – outside please.

I will admit I am afraid of becoming agoraphobic. It would be so easy. But I make myself go outside. If I didn’t, I think I could live a very content and safe life, never leaving the safety of my home. But that would mean that Pheares won. I can’t let him win. So, every day I force myself to venture outdoors. I stand outside and consider it a small victory in the midst of many battles. Max helps.

I grabbed Max’s leash from the hall closet and layered on warm winter gear. Coat, gloves, hat, boots. December in New Jersey is cold. It was so early that it was dark outside and very still. It had already been a rough icy winter. There were several inches of snow on the ground. I paused at my front door, Max waited patiently on his leash beside me. A few deep breaths, and I was able to convince myself to open the door.

My last home burned down, part of the drama I endured nine months ago with Pheares. He burned my home and destroyed everything I owned. He took so much from me, but at the end I was still standing. After a brief stay in a temporary condo, courtesy of my agent, my new home is comfortably located in a quiet development with lots of space between the houses and a big fenced backyard for Max. The small two story home has a nice open floor plan downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs. It backs up to trees and a lake, so it is quiet.

It feels like too much quiet sometimes, but I like it.

The only nice thing about taking Max outside in the winter is that he is as happy to move quickly and get back inside as I am. He is not a fan of the cold. My breath left cold puffs of fog in the air and I shifted in place to stay warm. It was eerily quiet out, still too early for most of the world to be stirring. As I waited for Max to finish his business, headlights flashed over my front door. A car turned the corner onto my street. I tensed. As it rolled closer I recognized the logo of the security company hired to patrol my neighborhood. It was one of things that attracted me to this development. I was looking for a sense of security, wanting to feel safe. It hasn’t worked, but I gave the security car a wave as it slowly moved past my house. Looks like Carl. I had made a point to know every guard that patrolled. I know everyone who is a help or a possible threat in my fragile world.

Max finished his business, shivered from the chilly air, and whined to go back inside. We ran toward the door. After the cold the first wave of warmth was almost too much. I didn’t really relax until I heard the locks click. I was glad to be out of the cold and the dark. I always breathe a little easier when I am safely locked inside my home.

I striped off all the winter gear I had piled on and put them back in their respective places in the hall closet.

After a shower to wash away the sweat from my nightmare and yoga, and then a bowl of Cheerios, I felt almost ready to face the day.

I stood facing the mirror wearing a pair of yoga pants and a sports bra, my other daily ritual. I took stock of my body and its changes. Same long light blonde hair pulled back into a sensible ponytail, same dark blue eyes and overbite. The differences from nine months ago are obvious. I’ve lost over twenty-five pounds. Anything less than a hundred and twenty on my frame is too skinny. I was too skinny. The dark circles under my eyes were almost permanent. The biggest change though is my eyes. I used to be innocent, innocent to murder and cruelty. I’m not anymore. My eyes now are old. The changes were obvious. However, they were not all negative. I was strong. My arms had muscles they never had before. I was tough, inside and out. Looking at my reflection I repeated the same positive mantra I said every morning. You are strong. You are a survivor. Then I finished getting dressed and drove into Philly.

Happy Holidays!
Becky Johnson

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Face of Fear Review

5 out of 5 stars

The Face of Fear is roller-coaster ride of a read. I could not put it down. From the very first chapter Dean Koontz builds the suspense and tension all the way until the end.

Graham Harris is a mountain climber injured in a fall. Now he has a severe fear of heights and clairvoyance which allows him to see into the mind of a murderer. Working late in a high rise in New York, Graham and his girlfriend Connie come face to face with the killer known as the Butcher.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of suspense/thrillers. It was amazing!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hazardous Duty Review

4 out of 5 stars

Gabby St. Claire is a crime scene cleaner who wants to be a forensic scientist. While cleaning a murder scene she finds a new piece of evidence. She soon finds herself in the middle of a mystery surrounded by arson, bomb threats, and dead bodies.

Hazardous Duty is a fun, fast paced, enjoyable read. The main character Gabby has a great voice, and the supporting characters are in turn funny and touching.

As this is the first in a series I would definitely enjoy reading the others. Christy Barritt created a great story with great characters.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Innocent Review

5 out of 5 stars

This is only my second book by David Baldacci, but I may have to put him on my to read author list. I loved it. I found the first few chapters slow because I wasn't sure why I was getting so much detail about things that didn't seem important. But David Baldacci crafts an intricate story. He builds layers and depth. The characters are believable and moving. The pace keeps building till at one point I had to get up and walk around because I had all this energy from the book!

I would recommend The Innocent to fans of thrillers and political intrigue.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Top 5

I can't believe Run has been out for almost six months. What a crazy six months it has been! It is surreal to think that I am in this place. A published author! Another book on the way! It is an absolute dream come true. The journey has not been without its ups and downs. I have learned a lot. I thought I knew things six months ago, truth is I didn't know anything. So here are a few things I have learned along the way. Hopefully they will be helpful to someone else on this crazy journey.

1. Join a writing community. Make friends with other writers. They are such a resource. Learn from their mistakes, and their successes. Get feedback on your work. Debate over little things: like passive voice, the Oxford comma, first person present tense, and the semi-colon, stress over it, and then learn that everyone has their own style and get comfortable with yours.

2. Read. Read a lot. I firmly believe that the best way to be a better writer is to be a devoted reader. Books are a passion. Read, learn, write.

3. Get a good editor. You cannot edit your own books. Trust me I tried. You will miss something. Get a good editor.

4. Get a good cover. This is the first thing readers see. Readers buy books based on the cover. You need a good one.

5. Learn the difference between constructive criticism and plain criticism. Learn from the constructive criticism and ignore the criticism. You will get bad reviews. It is bound to happen. My strategy? I read them. If there is something in them I can learn from great. If not I forget about them. In order to help me forget I read the bad reviews for some of my favorite books. Chocolate and Vanilla. Everyone doesn't like the same things. That's okay. Don't expect everyone to love your book or like the same things about it. Learn from the good. Ignore the bad. Always keep growing.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Carrots Review

4 out of 5 stars

When Shelby went into the grocery store to pick up carrots for dinner she didn't expect her life to change, but that is exactly what happens in Carrots. The wife and mother of two finds her life turned upside down when the grocery store is robbed and she is shot. When she wakes up in the hospital hearing everyone's thoughts and the only witness to the crime it is only the beginning of her adventure.

Carrots is fun, fast-paced and funny. Shelby is great main character who is smart and resourceful. Her interactions with her family are realistic and heartfelt. The adventure and suspense was enjoyable.

In all I found Carrots to be a quick, fun read and look forward to reading more from Colleen Helme.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hide Review

5 out of 5 stars

Hide is a twisting, turning, pulse-pounding emotional journey. I could not put it down and read the majority of it in one day. Hide opens with a mass grave in an abandoned mental hospital. Detectives Bobby Dodge and D.D. Warren are horrified at what they find inside and how it might link to a previous case.

The characters are well developed and intriguing. The changing point of view is very well done in such a way that the reader is completely engaged. I really like Bobby Dodge and D.D. Warren both as lead characters. The best characters are ones that have such great mixtures of strengths and weaknesses.

The mystery is intriguing with lots of twists and I did not see the end coming! In all I would highly recommend Hide to fans of Mystery/Thriller/Suspense novels!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Run won the Indie Book of the Day Award!!

Wow I'm so excited! Run won the Indie Book of the Day Award! Whoever nominated Run - thank you so much!!


 
Also don't forget to pre-order your copy of Stand today!
 
 



The Bone Treaty Review

4 out of 5 stars

The Bone Treaty is fast-paced, well-written, and intriguing. The world building is great, and the characters are likeable.

I found the switching viewpoint to be a little confusing, and it would sometimes take me several paragraphs into each chapter to figure out who was speaking. I also found the love triangle to be a little forced - but I am not a big fan of "fated" love so that might just be me!

In all I really enjoyed The Bone Treaty and despite it being a long read I read it rather quickly. It is definitely exciting and sucks you into the action. I would recommend it for fans of YA and fantasy.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Spider Bones Review

3 out of 5 stars

Dr. Temperance Brennan is one of my favorite characters. I love how smart she is and how driven. I love that she is independent, but aware of her shortcomings. I would place her in my top five female protagonists. That said I found Spider Bones a bit predictable. Particularly in the two unrelated cases that magically become related by the end of the book. I hope that the next Temperance Brennan book doesn't fall into this same pattern.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

High Five Review

4 out of 5 stars

I just love this series of books. They are brain candy and sometimes I need a little brain candy. Grandma Mazur is hysterical - she makes me laugh out loud. The mystery was good with some great twists and turns, and the Ranger and Morelli triangle is intriguing. I really enjoyed in it and I can't wait for the next one in the series.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Beautiful Creatures Review

2 out of 5 stars

I liked the opening the Beautiful Creatures and the premise, but I found the relationship between Lena and Ethan to be a bit forced. I wasn't quite sure why exactly they were together other than fate. There wasn't anything objectionable about Beautiful Creatures, but I doubt I will read the sequels.
This is one where I actually liked the movie more than the book!

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Mirror Stage Review

4 out of 5 Stars

The Mirror Stage is a well-paced, intriguing debut novel. Ada Brandt is college professor who wants to forget her past. When a serial killer strikes a little too close to home Ada ends up pulled into the investigation by a FBI agent who won't take no for an answer. As Ada and the FBI dig deeper they uncover a case and killer that are anything but simple.

The Mirror Stage is a fast read - I read it in one afternoon. I really enjoyed J.J. Stone's writing style and pace. I think I would have liked a little more character development, but since this is the first book of a trilogy that may come later!

I would recommend this book to fans of the show Criminal Minds as it reminded me of an episode! I look forward to the next book.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Blood Magick Review

3 out of 5 stars

I love Nora Roberts. I think I have read every book she has written, but this one wasn't my favorite. Normally her characters totally win me over and I end up feeling like they are close, personal friends. I just didn't feel that invested in Branna and Fin. It wasn't a bad read for me just not up to the normal standard I expect from Nora Roberts.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pirate Latitudes Review

3 out of 5 stars

Fast-paced, page turner. The action is non-stop and there are constant twists and turns.

What this book lacked for me was a character I could really latch onto and relate to - also the pirate's mission to steal gold from the Spanish didn't really draw me in. I think I would have loved this book if the characters and motivations were real to me.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stand Cover and Blurb !!!

 
(Working Blurb - this will likely change about ten times!)
Nine months ago Charlotte Marshall survived a nightmare when she was hunted by a sadistic killer. Now routine, ritual, and a vigorous self-defense schedule barely keep the fear at bay.

Desperate to move on Charlotte finds hope in volunteering with FindMe, an organization dedicated to finding missing people and helping their families. Her first case ends up being more than she bargained for, and she soon learns that a little hope can be a dangerous thing.

While Charlotte unravels a mystery, an old enemy circles waiting for just the right moment to strike. Charlotte will have to choose to stand and fight, or to give in to the fear that waits for her.
 


Stand will be available soon for pre-order on Amazon - I will keep you all updated.
 
In other news - I currently have a Goodreads giveaway running. Sign-up for a free signed copy of Run!
 
 





Goodreads Book Giveaway

Run by Becky    Johnson

Run

by Becky Johnson

Giveaway ends November 22, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.
Enter to win


Under Low Skies Review

4 out of 5 stars

Under Low Skies is a combination mystery/political thriller. Martin Billings gets a call from an ex-girlfriend with bad news, his little brother Tim is in a Venezuelan prison accused of murder. Martin heads to Venezuela to help his brother out. He soon finds himself in the middle of political intrigue, stolen drugs, old traditions, new economics, and murder. In order to save his brother, Martin will have to figure out who he can trust and who might be guilty.

Under Low Skies is a great novel. I loved the setting and the mystery was great. Martin was a nice character, although I would have liked a little more depth.

I would recommend Under Low Skies for fans of mystery and political thrillers. Particularly if you enjoy a different setting.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Alone Review

4 out of 5 stars

Alone is very different than the other books by Gardner I read in the past. There are lots of twists and turns and at some points I really didn't know who the good guys or the bad guys were.

I found the beginning to be a little slow, but the pace in the last third of the book really picks up and it was hard to put down. Even when it was getting late and I had to sleep it was hard to put down!

I would definitely recommend this for fans of suspense!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Elixir Review

4 out of 5 Stars

Elixir by Ted Galdi is an interesting debut novel. Teenage genius Sean races to find a cure for his girlfriend while assassins, governments, and corporations try to stop him. It is fast paced and well-written.

I found the Ebola factor a little creepy with all of the current events! I also thought it was a little unrealistic that Sean would be exposed to Ebola and then out in public the next day. I would think the hospital would want to keep him in quarantine just to be on the safe side.

That said I would recommend Elixir for fans of medical thrillers.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Collingswood Book Festival

Yesterday was the Collingswood Book Festival. It was my first experience at a book fair/festival and with face to face selling my books. It started out with a downpour. There is nothing quite like unloading in torrential rain. Thanks to the help of a best friend we were able to get everything set up without too much trouble and mostly dry. The books came first of course so while I was soaked they were fine! In all I am going to call the day a success. I met some really great people, and I continue to find authors and readers to be some of the greatest people out there. I am not always the most social person so small talk at a festival is not the easiest thing for me, the people I met there made it easy for me. Everyone was so friendly and supportive. It was a great success and I look forward to my future festivals!

The winner of the Amazon gift card is Samantha Roehl, Congratulations!!!

I included a few pictures of the event. Thanks again!



Sunday, October 5, 2014

Die Trying Review

5 out of 5 stars

I could not put this book down. Especially as I got closer to the end. This is definitely a page-turner, and the scene where Reacher is stuck in the cave made my heart pound! I have always been a little claustrophobic and that part was definitely scary!

Die is a great adventure/mystery novel. Reacher is a complex character whose isolation only makes the reader connect more with him. I would recommend Die Trying to fans of Action/Adventure/Suspense novels, and I will definitely be reading more by Lee Child.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

The Enemy's Table

4 out of 5 stars

Beryl Wesley moves to the frigid north to live with her aunt and finish high school when her dad gets a job in Hong Kong. As if a new school, church, group of friends, and environment don't present enough of a challenge there is something sinister going on Beryl's new town. Teenage girls are committing suicide and Beryl keeps sensing an evil presence behind the scenes. She soon finds herself in a fight for her life and her soul with some surprising backup.

The Enemy's Table is very well written with strong characters and great tension. There were two personal pet peeves that kept me from rating this as five stars - 'baby' as a term of endearment for an equal partner in a relationship and forever love at eighteen after two months of knowing each other when one person wasn't even honest about who they were. This is just my personal taste.

In all I would recommend The Enemy's Table for lovers of YA with a supernatural twist.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Four to Score Review

4 out of 5 stars

Not my favorite of the Stephanie Plum books so far, although still quite enjoyable. I think the Sugar storyline was just a little too much for me. Otherwise it was laugh out loud funny. Grandma Mazur continues to be a favorite. I look forward to catching up with this series.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Self-Publishing Crash Course

Three months ago I self-published my first novel, Run. I will freely admit I really did not know what to expect. Within the first month I learned about editing, covers, blurbs, bios, social media, book trailers, and marketing. I learned a lot about marketing. I'll admit it I ended up with some mud on face a time or two. I learned some good lessons though, both in my writing and in marketing my book.

Some of those lessons I have been able to put in place right away, I think Run now is better than it was three months ago. It has a better cover, blurb, trailer, and editing. Even more though I think Stand will be a better book. I finished the first draft, which I really like. I have been looking at cover options and I have some really good choices. I think it will look awesome. I will post it once I can.

As for social media. I am learning. I guess I am a little social media awkward. I am figuring it out though. One day at time. That's what I keep telling myself. Everyday.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Poisoned Waters Review

3 out of 5 Stars

Poisoned Waters is takes place on a cruise ship in the 1950s. The story follows several characters after the murder of a passenger. Their stories intersect, intertwine, and overlap as the mystery unfolds.

The story is well laid out with some great twists and turns and several plots that twist together in the end. I think my least favorite and most favorite part of this book were the very same thing. The characters are often both good and bad with motives that are understandable if morally gray to say the least. While this may be realistic I really wanted at least one good, moral character. I guess I am old fashioned that way!

In all I would recommend Poisoned Waters for fans of mystery with lots of characters and twists.

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206 Bones Review

4 out of 5 stars

This was one of my favorite Kathy Reichs books in recent years. I had gotten away from reading her for a while, and I only recently have jumped back into the Temperance Brennan series.

I always liked Brennan as a narrator. Her snarky and sarcastic tone speaks to me. I guess I relate to it. I think my internal monologue is a lot like that!

What I liked about 206 Bones in particular is that the book opens with Brennan hurt, tied, and in the dark - both literally and figuratively - she has no idea what happened or how she ended up there. I love books that have that tension from the very beginning, where you know it is going to get bad, but the book makes the reader try to figure out what happened. That is one of my favorite things in a mystery. (I mean I put it in my own novel so I must love it, right? small plug, sorry)

Plus, I learned how many bones are in the human body, 206.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Descent Review

5 out of 5 stars

One of the first Indie books I read and reviewed was Bloodline, the first book in the Forgotten Origins Trilogy by Tara Ellis. I loved it and posted my review of it here as well as on this blog a few months ago. I was honored when Tara asked me to be Beta reader for the last book in the trilogy, Descent.

In Descent, Alex, her friends, and family face a war for the planet's survival. Alex must find a way to accept her role in the war and as a leader.

What I loved about Descent is the growth shown by the characters and by the author. Alex learns to face the darkness within herself and rise above it. Some characters grow stronger under the pressure while others allow the tension to get to them. The division and connection between characters is part of what makes this such a compelling read.

There were lots of twists and turns, and I was honestly surprised by the ending. Ms. Ellis has crafted a well-thought, detailed, exciting world that engages reader. A recommended read for those who enjoy YA, sci-fi, or dystopian.



Descent will be released September 30. You can pre-order your copy on Amazon today!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Deeply Odd Review

5 out of 5 stars

Odd Thomas is one of my favorite characters. He seems both incredibly wise and also somehow innocent despite everything he has done. His books are both comic and terrifying in turn.
I have loved every Odd Thomas book, but the first one, Odd Thomas, has always been my favorite. I think Deeply Odd now challenges that. Deeply Odd is Dean Koontz at his best, with Odd Thomas at his best. Touching, comic, terrifying, and deep.
I could not put Deeply Odd down.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Heritage Review

4 out of 5 stars

Heritage by Tara Ellis is a fast-moving, interesting, and different YA series. This is not a remake of another trilogy out there. Ms. Ellis has created a world and characters that engage the reader. I found myself unable to put the book down because I just had to know what was going to happen next.
Ms. Ellis does a great job of building a world while telling the story so the reader is not dumped with a bunch of information all at once. The story had lots of twists and turns, some truly unexpected and was very enjoyable.
I enjoyed Heritage and I look forward to reading the third book in the trilogy. I highly recommend Heritage for YA readers who are looking for something a little different!

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Three to Get Deadly Review

5 out of 5

I just love this series. It is so fun. Stephanie Plum is such a great character, and the situations she gets herself into are just hysterical. (the body in the trunk!) I laughed at loud more than once reading this book. I would highly recommend this series. Fun, great mystery, lots of twists, and characters that feel like friends.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Butterfly Crest Review

5 out of 5 stars

Eva Vanrell's The Butterfly Crest is a journey. One that takes the reader around the world, through life and death, and on an unexpected adventure. Ms. Vanrell's world-building is exquisite and her descriptions take the reader to another place. I never had a particular desire to visit Japan, but Ms. Vanrell's descriptions have made it an addition to my bucket list.

The Butterfly Crest starts in New Orleans with main character Elena stuck in a frustrating job.  A letter from Japan regarding a safety deposit box left to her by her deceased mother changes Elena's life, and plunges her into the middle of a supernatural war.

With beautiful descriptions, amazing settings, and unforgettable characters The Butterfly Crest is a superb first novel. I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys fantasy or adventure.

In case you can't tell - I loved this book. This is one of those Indie books that I really hope makes it. It deserves it.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

A is for Alibi review

3 out of 5 stars
Overall I liked A is for Alibi and I think I would read others in the series. I found the beginning a little a slow and it took me a good third of the book to really get into the story. I also never really figured out why Kinsey was so convinced of her client's innocence. The end of the book was a page turner and difficult to put down. It had a good twist at the end that I was not expecting.
One thing that annoyed me was that the author described a lot of characters as sexy/sensual/erotic. Since this included a 12 year old and an 81 year old it just seemed a little much for me.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Empath Review

4 out of 5 stars

Empath is the story of Jade. A college student with the ability to feel the emotions of others. Jade's ability is much more than just knowing what others feel she is actually able to feel their emotions. This causes her a great deal of distress in social situations - particularly in a college classroom. As Jade learns to deal with her ability she finds herself in a relationship with two very different men. One an easy-going college student, and the other a mysterious TA. In the midst of all this Jade is stalked by a madman with an ability of his own.
Empath is well set up story with an interesting twist to abilities. Each character's ability is both their greatest strength and their biggest weakness. The characters are likeable and the story enjoyable.
At times the story seemed to drag a bit for me with some unnecessary scenes. However, overall I found Empath to be an enjoyable read.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Run in paperback

Exciting news!! Run is going to be published in paperback. I got the proof today. It looks amazing. I am not sure yet when it will be available for purchase, but I will keep everyone updated. I also will have a table at a book convention in October. I have been looking at different promotional items: bookmarks, magnets, business cards, and posters. It is all a little overwhelming. I can't quite believe I am actually at the point of actively promoting my book.

In other news Stand is coming along well. There are a couple of new characters that I am really enjoying, and the story just took a twist I was not expecting! I can't wait to share more with you guys as I get some more done. I am hoping for an early 2015 release date.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shiver Review

2 out of 5 stars

This book wasn't all bad. The suspense story line was good. Fast moving. Nice twists and turns. Betrayal, explosions, car chases. Everything you could ask for in a suspense novel. I found the characters cliché, and I have never met a four year old as clear headed as Tyler. He must be genius. Seriously.
But what pushed this book to be a two star book was the name. Shiver. The cover has snow on it. The chapters all have a snowflake symbol at the beginning. The book takes place in the summer. The characters talk about how hot it is. There is one chapter at the very end that takes place on a mountain with snow. That's it. The whole book I was trying to figure out the name.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Shadow Miner Review

5 out of 5 stars

I loved this book. It was amazing. The world building was very well done. The author avoided the dreaded info dump, and instead gradually introduced the reader to an amazing world. The characters were very well portrayed and likable. I particularly liked the characters of Sara and Mikel. There were also several quotable parts as the author gave the story a deeper spiritual meaning. I would highly recommend this book and in fact I already have! I look forward to seeing what Katie Beitz does next.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Split Second Review

5 out of 5 stars

I loved this book. Great characters, story with lots of twists, great pace, and a strong female main character that is both tough and feminine. This was the first book I read by David Baldacci, but I will definitely read more. I loved the fact that both main characters were flawed. They were both very human. I also like that the book kept me guessing about the bad guy. I read so many mysteries that I am not often surprised. This book surprised me. I would definitely recommend it!

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

With the Old Breed Review

With the Old Breed is an amazing book. I love this book so much I almost don't know what to say. E.B. Sledge's writing of his experience in the Pacific is flawless. He presents a reality of war that often is missed. He balances the horrid and the heroic. With the Old Breed doesn't hold back on the horror of death or of killing, but at the same time it celebrates the camaraderie of those men who dealt with the horror. At times I could barely stand to read it, at times I was moved to tears, and at times I found myself chuckling at the oddities of life, even life on a battlefield. I would strongly recommend this book to fans of history or memoirs. It is not to be missed.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cover Reveal

The Delmar Shark Chronicles:  Involuntary Kings (Book 3)

Two men named Merrick Delmar separated by more than one thousand years.  One was the very first King of Isola di Squalo, and the other will be the next.  Their lives are so different, yet they are very much the same.  Each struggles with the position of authority into which he has been thrust.  Neither feels qualified, and neither knows where to go for help.   What does it take to be a good King?  Can one man do it alone?  Through struggle and storm, each will make a journey of self-discovery to assess whether he truly can rule, involuntarily or not.

Sometimes the calm in the eye of the storm must come from within.




 


Continue the journey with the Royal Delmar family of the island of Isola di Squalo.  Release date: August 16, 2014.  Available on Amazon for Kindle or in paperback.

See where it all began with Book 1,  Isola di Squalo, and Book 2, Delphine.
Visit http://heidipeltier.wix.com/squalo for ordering information, updates, and all sorts of fun trivia about the Delmars.  

 





 


Heidi Peltier, author
http://heidipeltier.wix.com/squalo
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cover Reveal Tomorrow!!

Check back tomorrow. The amazing cover for Heidi Peltier's Involuntary Kings. It is amazing!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Laika in Lisan Review

4 out of 5 stars

Laika in Lisan is a well written and engaging book with a truly fabulous first couple of sentences. It grabbed me from the start! It is part fantasy, part political thriller. Laika is an educator picked to go to the neighboring country of Lisan on a mission to improve Lisan's university system. She is soon introduced to a country in turmoil where nothing is as it seems. Overall I really enjoyed the book.

The main character Laika is very likable and I could really related to her. At times she struck me a little inconsistent, but that might just be because of how much I related to her at other moments. I like that she wasn't perfect and in fact messes up in a big way. I like my characters a little flawed. We humans are all a little flawed, right?

I think Maron Anrow has written a fantastic first novel and I look forward to hearing more from her in the future.


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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Body Movers Review

3 out of 5 stars

Carlotta Wren finds her life spinning out of control when her brother who she raised is arrested, her ex-fiancé's wife turns up dead, and her fugitive parent's case reopened. She soon finds herself in the midst of a mystery.
Body Movers is fun and well-written. The characters, particularly Wesley, are loveable. I only rated it three stars because it seemed like a million others books I have read. I enjoyed it, but I doubt I will remember it.

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

New Release!! Who Am I?




Who Am I?  How My Daughter Taught Me to Let Go and Live Again, by Megan Cyrulewski

Megan’s book, Who Am I?  How My Daughter Taught Me to Let Go and Live Again, is about her journey into post-partum depression, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, stays in the psych ward, divorce, emotional abuse, domestic violence, law school, how she managed to graduate from law school and a beautiful little girl who emerged from all of this chaos.

Author Bio

Megan Cyrulewski has been writing short stories ever since she was ten-years-old. After attending Grand Valley State University, Megan eventually settled into a career in the non-profit sector for eight years. She decided to change careers and went back to school to get her law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. While in school, she documented her divorce, child custody battle and postpartum depression struggles in her memoir. Megan lives in Michigan with her 3-year-old daughter who loves to dance, run, read, and snuggle time with Mommy. Megan also enjoys her volunteer work with various organizations in and around metro-Detroit.

Contact

Buy links

Who Am I?  How My Daughter Taught Me to Let Go and Live Again is available in paperback from all good booksellers. eBook versions will follow.

Excerpt

On January 18, 2012, we all convened in the courthouse for the Motion for Parenting Time hearing. My dad and I arrived with my attorney, but Tyler loved an audience so he brought his dad, step-mom, and his new on-again off-again girlfriend, Heather. Tyler walked in with his posse in tow, cocky as hell. It took all of two minutes for the judge to knock him off his feet.
The Judge addressed our respective attorneys. “Why are we here?”
“Your honor,” Tyler’s attorney began, “my client has clearly been denied his parenti—”
The Judge didn’t even let him finish. “How?” She turned to my attorney. “Don?”
“Your honor, as you can see in the divorce decree, there was supposed to be a review when the minor child turned twelve-months-old. The Defendant has ignored that review.”
“I–if I may, your honor,” Tyler’s attorney sputtered.
“I see the review in the decree. It’s here in black and white,” she told Tyler’s attorney. “What is the problem? Why didn’t you understand the review? Your client signed the divorce decree.”
Tyler’s attorney tried again. “But your honor—”
The judge cut him off. “There is to be a review conducted by the Friend of the Court referee assigned to the parties. Until then, the Defendant will continue his parenting time schedule as agreed upon in the divorce decree. Dismissed.”
And that was it. After eight police reports and numerous harassing text messages, phone calls, and e-mails, we won. As Don and Tyler’s attorney went to speak with the clerk to file the necessary paperwork, Don told us to wait for him outside the courtroom.
As we exited the courtroom, the hallway was so packed with people that my dad and I were only able to find enough space to lean against the wall. We were talking about the court proceedings when we looked up at saw Tyler and his new girlfriend standing right across from us.
“Why do you lie about everything?” Tyler screamed.
Heather walked up to me and stood about an inch from my face. “As a mother myself, you should be happy that Tyler is the father of your child.”
My jaw dropped. “I’m sorry but I don’t know you.”
She smirked. “Well you’re going to get to know me, bitch.”
Tyler made a big show of pulling her from me like I was going to punch her or something. By this time, everyone in the hallway was watching us. We were pure entertainment.
Heather continued her rant. “Two times in the psych ward, Megan? What a great mother you are.”
“Where is your mom, the real mother of our child?” Tyler screamed. “She’s the one who takes care of Madelyne.”
My dad and I tried to move away from Tyler and Heather but they followed us.
“Do you have to take a Xanax because of your anxiety?”
“Go take your Xanax and sleeping pills, you drug addict,” Tyler shouted.
Finally, Don emerged from the courtroom and pulled us into a quiet corridor. He explained that I needed to call our referee to set-up a meeting to discuss a visitation schedule. I told Don about the verbal assault by Tyler and Heather. Don said he would call Tyler’s attorney to let him know that Heather would not be allowed in my house.
Upon leaving the courthouse, Heather screamed, “See you on Sunday, Megan.”
I turned toward her and said calmly, “I don’t know you, but you are not welcome in my home.”
That night, Tyler sent me multiple texts attacking my mothering skills, my supposed drug addictions, how he was going to fight for joint custody of Madelyne, how Heather would be accompanying him for his visitations, and a barrage of other insults:
  • “Get a life already.”
  • “Don’t you have something better to do than wasting your parents’ money?”
  • “Go take your pills and relax, oh yeah, then your parents would have to watch our daughter. Oh yeah, they already do.”
  • “Go talk to your friends. Oh yeah, you don’t have any because of how crazy you are.”
  • “Interesting to know you’ve been to the hospital a couple of times. You really need to get it together.”
  • “Better go call your lawyer and make up some more stuff about me.”
  • “Don’t be mad at your sorry life.”
  • “I am sure living with Mom and Dad the rest of your life will be fun.”
  • “When you get a job, then you can pay me child support. Fun.”
I finally had to turn my phone off at midnight.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Eyelids of the Morning Review


Eyelids of the Morning is a great book that I really enjoyed. It is well-written with believable characters and an enjoyable storyline. Brothers Ethan and Rory join their uncle on a summer trip to Africa. They are surprised however to learn that their trip is to look for dinosaurs. Once in Africa the brothers, along with a new friend Maggie, find themselves in the midst of an adventure. It was a fast and enjoyable read.

There were a few info dumps in the first chapter as the characters and background were introduced. I know from my own writing how very difficult this is to avoid. I also found myself somewhat distracted by the use of OK versus okay. That probably wouldn't bother most people, but it is one of those things I always notice!

Overall this was a great, fun read. I probably would have given it five stars, but while it was fun it was definitely YA. The very best complement I can give this book is this - this is a book I would recommend or give to my nieces and nephews. I think they would love it!



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Check back on August 7th for the cover reveal of Heidi's newest book.  Involuntary Kings is the third book in Heidi's Delmar Shark Chronicles. The cover is amazing! I can't wait for you to see it!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Seizure Review

This series is incredibly unrealistic, but fun. I have trouble believing that 14 year olds can get away with everything these four get away with. That said it is a great story with lots of twists and turns that keep you glued. It is smart and well written. I love that Tory is such a strong leader.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Frostbitten Review

Frostbitten is a fun, fast-moving YA novel. The author has created on interesting world in a small Canadian town with a history of werewolves. The main character is believable, and the plot contains some interesting twists.

While I found the main character believable I didn't always find her so likeable. She seems a bit bratty and the love story is too easy. That said I am sure there are many who would disagree with me!!

Overall Frostbitten is a well-written and interesting book.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Run has a trailer!!

Stars in Her Eyes Review

Stars in Her Eyes is a creative and well-written YA novel. The story line is unique and the author does some great world building. Personally I am not a big fan of alien stories so it was not a series that I myself would read any more of or recommend to anyone else. However, for those who are fans of fantasy/sci-fi with an alien story line I am sure they would like this book.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Devil Bones Review

The last few Temperance Brennan books I have read were just ok. I liked them but I didn't love them. Devil Bones makes me want to read more Kathy Reichs. I like my characters flawed and my story to keep me guessing. Devil Bones did both. Brennan is a great character because of her flaws. Her obsession with the case and her sorrow over loss make her a character I can relate to. The ending of Devil Bones was a surprise. I did not see it coming. My guess was completely wrong! Overall a great mystery/suspense with a twist ending.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review of Miriam

I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Miriam is a the story of a city in turmoil. The men of the Watch are charged with protecting the city of Miriam. Magic and mayhem put the city and the men of the Watch in peril.

There were several grammatical errors and typos which distracted me from the story. The book also ends with several threads unresolved. I assume that these will be resolved in a sequel. This is personal preference, but I prefer that each book in a series is a complete story that is a part of the larger whole.

That said Miriam is a great read for lovers of fantasy and horror. I think with a little polishing this could be a great book.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Review of Rise of the Trinity

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I really wanted to like this book. I thought it was a great premise and that the author was very creative in her world building. This is a book about triplets who are separated from each other at birth. On their 15th birthday their father brings them together and shares that they have a destiny together to save the world from evil.
Rise of the Trinity started out really well and had a great part in the middle, but overall it left me disappointed. There were several grammatical errors and typos. The wrong names in the wrong place, of instead of or, and similar mistakes. I found the timeline to be very confusing. When the book starts the characters are all teenagers. Midway through the book they have their 15th birthday. At times the reader is told in the narrative that years have passed, but the action would not indicate this. It might be helpful to mark the changing of time for the readers so that they are not trying to put the pieces together.
I think this could be a good book I just think it needs a little polishing.


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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Thrifty!!

So one of those things I love doing most is finding hidden treasures at yard sales, flea markets, or thrift stores. I found this tray at a thrift store.

 
As you can see it is pretty tarnished.
To start with I took a glass 9 x 13 pan and lined it with tin foil - shiny side up. Then I took one tablespoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of salt and put them in the pain on the foil. Then I poured boiling water into the pan. Dropped the tray in and gave it some time. When it came out it was still a little tarnished so I took some toothpaste and water and cleaned the tray with that.
This is how it came out.
 
 
I did a little research, and this is a 1940s condiment tray. I can't believe how well it came out!


The Seventh Sentinel Review

Yolanda Ramos has created a great world in the Seventh Sentinel. After losing his adopted father Cristiano finds out that he is a sentinel tasked with protecting holy artifacts. The story is interesting and the action is intense, particularly the last half of the book.

I probably would have rated this book higher, but it took me a while to really get into it. The first several chapters do a lot of world building. There were a lot of characters and ideas introduced. I found myself having to stop and think about who the book was talking about now.

In all The Seventh Sentinel is a well thought-out novel. It has great action and introduces and interesting world with unique problems and strengths.


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Friday, July 11, 2014

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Run is a short mystery/suspense novel. So far reviews have called Run "an entertaining, quick read" with a "quirky" main character.

Run

It’s ironic really, the chain of events that led me here, kneeling in the dirt with a gun to my head....
When Charlotte Marshall started research for a book the last thing she expected was to uncover a 30 year old mystery and end up in a fight for her life. A fight that would teach her the meaning of trust and just when to run.