Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Coming Soon: Anabel Divided by Amanda Romine Lynch

To celebrate the highly anticipated release of Anabel Divided, the sequel to Anabel Unraveled, Amanda Romine Lynch is sharing a scene that was left on the cutting room floor.

I was devastated to hear that Stephen Colbert is moving on, because I've always been a huge fan of The Colbert Report. In case there is any doubt, check out this photo of me with Stephen’s portrait at the National Portrait Gallery. It’s hard to say which one of us looks more fierce, but he probably wins because I have bangs in this picture and he does not.

When I started work on the sequel to Anabel Unraveled, I played around with the opening for a long time before I found one that I felt really worked for me. But in the initial draft, I had Anabel make a guest appearance on The Colbert Report. It seemed perfect for her—offbeat, snarky, and less high-profile than an interview with one of the bigger names. Plus, as she remarks to Jared, she doesn’t want to put herself in a situation where she gets, er, “Sarah Palin-ed.”

So from Jared’s perspective, here is Anabel’s national television debut:
The crowd was laughing, like they always did at Stephen Colbert’s jokes. “Nation, I just don’t think…” he began, but I was distracted.
Meghan sat down next to me, patting my arm reassuringly. “She’ll be fine.” But even her tone was doubtful.
I nodded, and glanced at the sleeping baby in the travel bassinet. She was still oblivious. Good.
“Jared,” Meghan said gently. “She knows what she’s doing.”
“Does she?” I murmured, bemused. She was a force to be reckoned with, sure. But Stephen Colbert?
“My guest tonight,” he was saying, as we watched him onscreen from the couch in the green room, “has been a social recluse for months, but has agreed to come on my show and give her own version of how she single-handedly brought down her brother’s presidency. Ladies and gentlemen, Anabel Martin!”
Colbert did his usual routine of sprinting over to the interview area, where Anabel was waiting for him. She shook his hand and smiled brightly at him, running a hand through the glossy waves that the stylist had created for her. If she was nervous, she didn’t give anything away.
He sat across the table from her. “Anabel Martin,” he began.
“Stephen Colbert,” she returned, cocking her head to one side. There were a few laughs from the crowd.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” he said with a smile.
“Likewise,” she said. “But Stephen, let’s clear the air here. I didn’t single-handedly bring down my brother’s presidency; I had a great deal of help in that department.”
More laughter.
She held her own well enough as he asked her questions about Sam. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, we were thrilled when the White House switched hands.”
“Yes, I figured that’s why the head of the RNC sent me that fruit basket,” she said drily.
More laughter.
“Now, Anabel, tell me,” he said. “You have shied away from interviews with all the major news outlets, with some very heavy hitters. Why did you take me up on my offer?”
She tossed her hair coquettishly. “Why, because you’re cute, Colbert!” she replied with a saucy grin.
I laughed out loud at the look on his face. Meghan grinned. “She’s perfect,” my sister said softly. “I wish I had that much poise.”
“But seriously, Anabel,” he said, recovering his composure.
Anabel grinned at him. “Not taking me at my word?” She sighed dramatically. “Well, when you have spent the bulk of your time Stateside worrying about every little word you say, you don’t want to do an interview with someone who you know has the power to verbally eviscerate you.”
“Oh, come now,” he said, adjusting his glasses. “I could do that to you.”
Wide-eyed, Anabel leaned forward and rested her head on her hands. “Oh, I know you could, Stephen.” She paused, and tilted her head again. “But you wouldn’t,” she said in a low voice.
“And why’s that?”
She grinned. “Because you think I’m cute.”
More laughter.
“Good girl,” whispered Meghan. “She has them eating right out of her hands, Jared. She did make the right choice.”
“She’s got to be careful,” I replied softly, watching Emma stir. “It’s not over yet.”
“How is your brother?” he was asking her.
Anabel’s smile faded. “All things considered,” she said ruefully, “he’s doing rather well. I mean, when you factor in the psycho ex-wife and the sister who ruined his political career. He’s a good man, my brother. Doesn’t blame me.” She looked down again. “He treats me like I’m his kid rather than his sister, which sometimes causes strife between us, but as far as I’m concerned, there’s no finer man than him.”
There was applause, and then Colbert said slyly, “Except maybe Jared Sorensen.”
My sister gasped, but Anabel met his gaze with a challenging one of her own. “Oh, do you want me to put in a good word for you? I am more than happy to, but I have to be honest, Stephen, I hardly think you’re his type.”
The audience laughed, and Stephen said, “Do you see him often?”
“Oh, yes,” she said blithely. “You can’t possibly think that I’d do solo diaper duty. Those things are disgusting.”
“Now what about your bodyguard?”
“The one sitting in the audience over there?” She gestured at Matt, and the camera panned to him. He definitely lacked Anabel’s ease, and he gave a quick wave. “Yeah, he’s still in the picture,” she said, as she came back on the screen. “He’s a keeper.”
I rolled my eyes, and Meg put her hand on my arm. “Don’t,” I said to her. She let go.
“Now what are you future plans?”
“Oh, I figured I’d pop over to the Middle East and see if there are any regimes over there that need toppling,” she said amiably. “But I’m actually leaving the DC area…”
You can find out where Anabel and Jared wind up outside of DC in Anabel Divided.

About Anabel Divided: Anabel Martin thought that the resolution of her father's murder would bring a resolution to her problems. After all, she was starting life over in a new place, with new friends, and new adventures, focusing on attending college and raising her daughter free from the distractions of Washington, DC. She was ready to move on.

But a trip back to the District for Meghan's wedding stirs up old feelings and brings new life to old relationships. Matt is cold and distant, while Jared is caring and attentive. A woman from Matt's past, a bold public flirtation, and Anabel's desire to be truly loved lead her to a crossroads...and her final decision leaves her with more questions than answers.

Anabel Divided will be available October 7, 2014.
That gives you time to read Anabel Unraveled.

About the Author: Amanda Romine Lynch is a writer, editor, and blogger who grew up in Florida knowing she belonged somewhere else. She now lives in the DC Metro Area with her husband and three amazing little boys. She is the Eco-Friendly/Green Living Contributor over at the Prime Parents’ Club and strives to live earth friendly in a world of disposable diapers. When not writing about Anabel and Jared or chasing around a curly-haired boy, she cheers for the Gators (in all kinds of weather) and occasionally remembers to sleep.

Connect with Amanda on Facebook and Twitter
Discover more at AmandaRomineLynch.com

Monday, September 29, 2014

September Reading Wrap Up 2014

I thought I had read more books this month but according to my Goodreads account I only finished three.

The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison: This is the final book in the Hollows series and I am sad to see it end. I have grown to love Rachel Morgan, Ivy Tamwood, Jenks, Trent Kalamack, and even Al over the years I have been reading these books. It is only fitting that the final book has elves, demons, vampires, witches, weres, and humans fighting for control with Rachel being moved around like a chess piece. Many questions from previous books were finally answered and the ending feels fitting for all that Rachel has endured. If you are a fan of the Hollows, The Witch With No Name is a must read. If you haven't discovered the Hollows yet start with Dead Witch Walking and read them in order from there.

Otherworld Nights: An Anthology by Kelley Armstrong: (available for pre-order, expected publication date October 28, 2014, advanced copy received from LibraryThing Early Reviewers) I enjoyed every novel in Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series and was sad to see it end. I am thrilled that she is giving us more stories with the characters I have grown to love in anthologies like this one. Armstrong's stories and novellas provide the opportunity to feature some of the minor characters in the books and give readers a chance to see what happens to some of the main characters beyond the novels. While some of these stories have been included in other anthologies, others are entirely new. I love that Armstrong is publishing her stories in this way as it is much easier than trying to track down individual stories in other books or online. This is a must read for every fan of the Otherworld.

Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky: I wasn't entirely sure that I wanted to read Not My Daughter because of the heavy teen pregnancy subject matter. Although it is a heavy book, it was still enjoyable to me. The focus isn't so much the teen girls who get pregnant as it is how their mothers and the entire town react to the news. The focus is mainly on Susan because she was pregnant at seventeen and is now the principal of the school these girls attend. Friendships and loyalties are tested as she struggles to both contain the publicity of the situation, fight for her job, and emotionally deals with the fact that her own daughter is pregnant.The adults in this book were far more interesting than the teenagers. The girls went into pregnancy with incredibly naive ideas regarding the fallout, physical and emotional, for themselves and their parents. They had no regard for the boys involved and were entirely selfish in their reasons for wanting children.

Next up on the reading list: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander #2)

Amazon Affiliate Links are used within this post. That means when you click through and purchase something (anything!) from Amazon I earn a *small* percentage of the sale. It never costs you any extra but it helps me keep this site running.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

August Reading Wrap Up 2014

I only read three books in August but two of them were quite long. Combine that with our first month of homeschooling and I think I did pretty well!

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - People have been recommending the Outlander series to me for years now but I just got around to starting it. I had been putting it off in part because the books are so large. Also I just didn't know enough about the series to have any idea if I would enjoy it. When I won a copy of Outlander from the Library Thing Early Reviewers program, I knew it was time to give the series a try. Although I still have no desire to see the new television series based on the novels, I did enjoy the book and will keep reading the series. I was put off somewhat by the numerous sex scenes throughout the book and their graphic nature but the story, characters, and setting compelled me to keep reading.

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah - This is the sequel to Firefly Lane which I read earlier this summer. This is the story of Tully's life after Kate passes away. Can she repair any of the damage she has done in her relationships with Kate's family? While this story captured me, it was in a different way than Firefly Lane had. The majority of the book is spent in Tully's memories allowing her to gain a new perspective on events. Kate's family must also remember and reinterpret events to have any hope of mending their own broken relationships. I felt this book brought Kate and Tully's story to a very satisfying conclusion.

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls - This book is described as a "true life novel" because the main character, Lily Casey Smith was the grandmother of the author. Much of the novel is her actual life experiences with the details made up to fill in the gaps. This was the shortest book I read in August and I loved that most chapters were only a few pages long. This made the book easy to put down when I needed to turn my attention to other things. I gained a new respect for life on the ranch and loved Lily's determination to make her own life when all the odds seemed stacked against her. Half Broke Horses was a quick and interesting novel.

Currently Reading: Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong (October 2014) - the first of three books containing short stories and novellas set in the Otherworld.

Amazon Affiliate Links are used within this post. That means when you click through and purchase something (anything!) from Amazon I earn a *small* percentage of the sale. It never costs you any extra but it helps me keep this site running.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Visions (A Cainsville Novel) by Kelley Armstrong

If you read my review of Omens, the first Cainsville novel, you will know that I wasn't convinced I would enjoy this series by Kelley Armstrong when I began reading. By the time I finished Omens, I was completely drawn into the world of Olivia Taylor-Jones, Gabriel Walsh, and the mysterious town of Cainsville. I hated that I had to wait an entire year for the next book in the series, Visions.

Was Visions worth the wait? Absolutely!

Although Olivia didn't make headway in discovering the truth about whether her parents committed the murders for which they were convicted, she does discover more about her connection to Cainsville and it's residents. She and Gabriel are pushed together through a number of sinister events even as Olivia begins dating one of Gabriel's clients. Olivia and Gabriel finally start asking questions and getting a few answers, although the answers are often vague or incomplete. There are still many, many questions ahead for Olivia and Gabriel and, once again, I'm left waiting for the next book in the series so I can find out more.

In the Cainsville series, Armstrong writes complex characters, places them in a unique setting, and leaves them to find answers about themselves and the town. I have the feeling each book will reveal just enough of the story and leave just enough questions to keep readers coming back for more.

Order Visions on Amazon

Amazon Affiliate Links are used within this post. That means when you click through and purchase something (anything!) from Amazon I earn a *small* percentage of the sale. It never costs you any extra but it helps me keep this site running.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Summer Reading Wrap Up 2014

Summer has rushed by this year. The oldest finished preschool in May and starts kindergarten on Monday. We were able to spend two weeks visiting family and relaxing. We also visited some new places around town. All that travel and having both girls home all day, everyday, meant a bit less time for reading but I still managed to read eight books in June and July.

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness - The final book in the All Souls Trilogy wrapped up the story of Diana, a witch, and Matthew, a vampire, very nicely. I thought the story got a bit off track in the second book but Harkness was able to weave connections from that book into this one to create a meaningful context. This trilogy has wonderful characters, great detail in settings and time periods, and social and political conflict wrapped in the realms of science and magic. If you haven't read the first two books in the trilogy yet start with A Discovery of Witches and just keep reading!

The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero (advance copy received from Amazon Vine) - This was a unique story told in a variety of formats from letters and journal entries to audio and video transcripts. The format makes it easy to read the book in small sections. The mystery is suitably creepy and interesting and the end came with a twist I certainly did not see coming.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah - This is a book that has been sitting on my bookshelf for a long time but I never seemed to be in the mood to read it. As is often the case, I'm happy that I finally picked it up because it was a wonderful story of friendship over the years. Tully and Kate weather many different storms together but can they survive Tully's rise to stardom? Once I started Firefly Lane I didn't want to put it down. I didn't realize that there was more to the story but now I've discovered Fly Away and I want to read that too.

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman - I have no interest in watching the series of the same name on Netflix but I read an article referencing the book and decided to get it from the library. I enjoyed the story in part because Kerman keeps events in chronological order without the time skipping often found in memoirs to relate previous events to present circumstances. Kerman was fairly matter of fact about her whole ordeal, however the book lacked depth for me.

Skin Game by Jim Butcher - The fifteenth book in the Dresden Files finds Harry in over his head as Mab uses him in his role of her Winter Knight. As usual, Harry is only told the bare minimum and has to dig deeply under the surface to understand all the political maneuverings happening around him. In this book Harry also comes face to face with many personal problems that impact his ability to carry out his orders. Harry is one of my favorite fictional characters and I'm always waiting for the next book in the series because Butcher delivers consistently entertaining stories.

Only Begotten Daughter by James Morrow - This interesting book tells the story of Julie Katz who has an unusual conception and is thought to be the Daughter of God by her father. Julie struggles with temptations from the Devil, performs the occasional long-distance miracle, and faces persecution from those awaiting the events of Revelation. The horror of mankind's ability to condemn one another is examined along with other issues of faith.

Tales of the Hidden World by Simon R. Green (advance copy from Amazon Vine, available now) - I actually had my husband read this book first because the only Simon R. Green books I've read are the Secret Histories novels and I was unsure if the short stories in this book would tie into any of his other novels. The good news is that this book can be read completely as a stand alone collection of stories. While the first story does connect to the Secret Histories novels it is not necessary to have read them to understand the story. Many of these stories are actually older works that were published early in Green's career. This does show in that the stories seem underdeveloped compared to his current writings. Some of the characters and settings are intriguing but the stories contained in this book are simply not long enough to capitalize on this potential.

I also read Visions (A Cainsville Novel) by Kelley Armstrong (early finished copy received from publicist) and will be writing another post with that review.

Amazon Affiliate Links are used within this post. That means when you click through and purchase something (anything!) from Amazon I earn a *small* percentage of the sale. It never costs you any extra but it helps me keep this site running.