Monday, October 20, 2014

Anabel Divided by Amanda Romine Lynch | Review


Disclosure: Amanda Romine Lynch provided a copy of Anabel Divided for review purposes. All love of the book and demands to hear Matt's side of the story are entirely my own.

If you have not read Anabel Unraveled you must do so
before starting Anabel Divided.

To say that Anabel and Jared have a complicated relationship is putting it mildly. Jared is in love with Anabel but is dating someone else because Anabel is dating Matt. Anabel loves Matt but can't deny that she still has feelings for Jared. Matt loves Anabel but wants more commitment than she can give. He is also crazy jealous of the role that Jared will always have in their lives as the father of Anabel's daughter, Emma.

Amanda Romine Lynch writes incredibly flawed characters. Anabel is a hot mess through the entire book and she has incredibly poor decision making skills. As I said in my review of Anabel Unraveled, Anabel is not someone I would be friends with but at the same time I feel protective of her and want to guide her to a better path. Her actions and reactions may not be socially acceptable at times but they fit with her emotional backstory.

The book alternates between Anabel's perspective and Jared's, giving us two sides of the story. To me, Matt's perspective is important as well but we only see his actions through how they affect Anabel, Jared, and Emma. I want to learn more of Matt's history and hear his thoughts. I want to understand how he sees events and why he acts and reacts the way he does. Although Anabel chose Matt at the end of Anabel Unraveled, it feels that the series is skewed toward Jared.

If you enjoy emotional, character driven stories you should definitely check out the Anabel books. I'm eagerly awaiting the third book so I can find out what happens next.

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.


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 Romine Lynch:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Blog Tour: Truth is Relative by J. J. Lyon


Lady Reader's Blog Tours presents another exciting week long tour! Just in time to read in front of the fire with a cup of cocoa or your favorite hot beverage, J. J. Lyon's fun private investigator mystery, with a twist, TRUTH is REALTIVE; the first in the A Truth Inducer Mystery series is here. A giveaway, great posts, reviews and best of all? Fun!



TRUTH IS RELATIVE 
By
: J.J. Lyon 
Pages
: 275 
Publisher
: Gem Cache Publishing 
Genre
: Who Dunit-Mystery PI - (Fiction/Mystery)

Anthony Blackwell’s “gift” compels people to confess their deepest secrets.

It corrupts his relationships, derails his career and drives him toward eviction—until he becomes Anthony Bishop, private investigator.


His first case drops him into a deadly family drama that will save him financially, if it doesn't kill him first.
Who can resist a great first line: "The Monday before Thanksgiving, my car disappeared... 

From the readers:

"I love the premise of this book, it's like PI Morrow meets Liar Liar."

“This book reminded me of the stone movies Tom Selleck was in. It has the rough feeling of the west but is written smoothly so that it's hard to stop reading. I'm hoping there is/will be more. Stefanie Andersen - Logan, UT 

“A very interesting and innovative plot.” Billie H - Lamesa, TX



From the author:

The world didn't have enough mysteries with a sense of humor, so I wrote one. 

From other authors:

"What a fun, great read! I loved the characters and the concept was one I'd never heard of. Reading was an absolute pleasure."
--Rebecca Belliston, author of Sadie and Augustina 

"Even though Anthony’s "gift" makes him an effective detective, it is almost impossible for him to establish meaningful relationships. Anthony finds himself in situations fraught with danger, but tinged with humor. His charm and good looks draw people to him, but they quickly regret revealing their darkest secrets. I found myself laughing out loud and reading to find out what happens next. It’s easy to get caught up in the fresh and intriguing story. Lyon has so much imagination and skillful writing, I look forward to reading whatever she comes up with next."  

--Carole Warburton, author of A Question of Trust and Poaching Daisies 


Amazon | Goodreads 


Chapter One – Truth is Relativeby J. J. Lyon

The Monday before Thanksgiving, my car disappeared. Or it might have been late Sunday night. The day was half over before I even looked outside. Instead I focused on an ugly painting until I realized I was hungry. I was out of bread and low on groceries in general. I cleaned my brushes, grabbed my keys, opened the front door, and stared at gray asphalt where my Mazda used to be. A few dead cottonwood leaves swirled there before the wind swept them off.

I didn’t bother calling the police. My car hadn’t been stolen, it had been repossessed. 

My cell phone buzzed. It was my brother, Bart. “Hey,” I said.
“Hey, Bro. How’s life in the Big City?” Bart wasn’t being ironic. Compared to our hometown of Jersey, Cheyenne was enormous.
“It’s good!” I stepped back into Sam’s Café and tried to think of something else to say. Something that would back up my lie.
“Great. When are you coming for Thanksgiving?” Bart asked.

My brain scrambled, too busy to pay attention. I didn’t need a car. The abandoned café was a great studio, with north-facing windows and indirect natural light. My work happened right at home.

My work was also stacked against the walls, waiting for a gallery to accept it. The art that was already in a gallery had hung there for months. I needed a day job. A car would help.
“Tony? Hello?”
“Huh?”
“What about Thanksgiving?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“Whaddaya mean? I thought you were your own boss.”
“Yeah, but I’m pretty …” I glanced out at the empty parking place. “It’s hard to get away right now.”
Bart was quiet, and when he spoke again he sounded unusually hesitant. “So how are you really?”
“Fine. I’m doing great.”
“Yeah, okay. You know what you need? A night out.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Yes, you do. I can tell you’re depressed.”
“I’m not depressed.”
“C’mon, Tony. Think of everything we could learn about the beautiful women of Cheyenne.” Bart could afford to be fascinated by my new ability. He didn’t have to live with it.
“I’ve got to go get some groceries,” I said.
“Fine.” Bart sounded annoyed, but he didn’t argue. “Fine, I’ll talk to you later.”

I turned away from the café window and walked to my bedroom, which was actually a converted storage area in the back of the café. A walk-in cooler had once taken up most of the space, but it had been ripped out and sold the last time the place went out of business. There was room for a twin bed and a battered dresser from Goodwill Industries. I pulled my wallet from the top drawer and retrieved my old bike from the back of the building.

It was a cold ride to the store. Cheyenne’s legendary wind pushed against my side and cut across my hands. I’d forgotten my gloves. I zipped my jacket all the way up, stuffed my hands in my pockets, and kept pedaling, glad I had at least one useful talent. God gave me excellent balance.

My mind whirled as fast as my bike wheels, tallying my other useful abilities. I was decent at hanging Sheetrock, and I could tape and texture as long as the customer didn’t mind it a little antique and heavy. As for roofs, I’d done it all—patch, replace, steel, asphalt. If I had a truck I could rent myself out as a handyman. I could work in blissful isolation most of the time.
A gust of wind broadsided me. I went down in slow motion, shifted my weight, scuffed on the pavement with my feet. In the end my shoulder hit the road before I could pull my hands out of my pockets. The car behind me screeched to a stop and a woman got out. “Are you all right?” she asked.

“Fine,” I said. The front bike wheel spun uselessly. My arm hurt. I scrambled out from under the bike, trying to place the woman’s voice.
“Anthony?”
Recognition registered in my gut as much as my ears. I knew that voice. The last time I had heard it, its tone had been much angrier. “Hi, Heather,” I said.
“What are you doing out here in the cold on a bike? I heard you drove a hot Mazda.”
“Not today,” I said.
“I heard you got fired, too. Twice.”
Technically I only got fired once. The other time I quit before the ax fell.

Heather wasn’t in my fan club, but she wasn’t being rude, either. She was just under my influence. After thirty seconds in close proximity, people began confessing to me. I didn’t know why this began happening. For the first year or so, I didn’t realize it was happening at all. But as soon as my “gift” began manifesting itself, my life started rolling down a rocky slope.

“I almost drove by when you fell.” She brushed dirt from my sleeve. “I knew it was you and I don’t want to talk to you, but it looked bad.”
“It’s all right.” I stepped away from her brushing hand.
She didn’t leave. “Can I give you a ride? Please say no. I don’t want to be in a car alone with you, pretending I don’t remember how you—”
“No thanks.” I gripped the handlebars and pressed my weight on them a little. 
She nodded. “You wouldn’t accept help from me anyway. Bart, maybe, but not me.”
“I don’t need it. I’ll see you later, okay?”
“Okay.”

I rode the rest of the way to Safeway with my hands on the handlebars. My fingers numbed in the wind. The pain in my arm faded to a dull ache, and I shook off the encounter with my ex. In the store parking lot, the lights shone in the murky daylight. It was early afternoon, but the thick clouds fooled the light sensors into thinking it was dusk. I went inside the store and found some sandwich meat on sale and a package of rubbery cheese slices. I picked up some day-old wheat bread and waited in line behind a thin, fortyish man with a few days’ beard. He wore dirty jeans and a sweatshirt stained with what looked like motor oil. After thirty seconds, he turned to me.

“My wife left me this morning,” he said.
I nodded. If I didn’t acknowledge him, he would only repeat himself. Louder.
“She put her ring in my hand and said, ‘I’ve got to go to work.’ I said, ‘Can we talk about this?’ and she said, ‘It’s too late.’”
I nodded again.
“How can it be too late? Twelve years, and she can’t even talk about it? Isn’t twelve years worth a little discussion before you throw your husband in the garbage?”
“Yeah,” I said.
“I know I didn’t pay attention before. I mean, when she was going around all mopey and resentful. I just figured she’d work it out. And sometimes she tried to tell me something and I’d change the subject, ’cause I could only hear that her life sucked so many times—”
“They’re ready to ring you up,” I said, nodding to the sales clerk.

The man stepped forward. I stepped back. So far, ten feet looked like the magic distance. More than that, and most people were out of the range of my gift. Less than that and I was in the confessor’s bubble.

“Are you in line?” a young mother asked behind me.
“Yeah. I’m just, uh …” I glanced at the man, who was now deep into an emotional conversation with the salesclerk. Apparently I wasn’t far enough away yet. I took another step back. “That guy needs a little space.”

The mother peered at him. “Is he crying?”
“I think so.”
She shrugged. “It figures. I get it all day from these two.” She nodded to her cart. A baby in the front clung to the push bar and gummed it with a slobbery mouth. A curly-haired toddler sat in the main basket, his fist buried in a box of cereal. “Maybe they never get over it. ‘I need this,’ ‘I want that.’”
I nodded.

“And then their dad comes home and he needs dinner and he wants sex. Everybody’s gotta have something.”
I took a step forward.
“Can’t anybody see that I’m tired? Look at me. I haven’t had a shower in three days, and I’m supposed to be a sex goddess?”
I glanced at her. She was frumpy. “Looks like it’s my turn.” I stepped up to the counter the crying man had just left.
She followed me, closing the space I had opened between us. “I mean, I’m doing good to be conscious at the end of the day.”
“Maybe you should tell this to your mom.” I hoped to deflect her. I didn’t want to hear any more—not today.

“She’s in Alabama,” the young mother said. “Everybody I know has a mom who acts like a built-in babysitter, but I’m stuck here alone in the cold.”
“Ten fifty-four,” the salesclerk said in front of me. I dug my wallet out of my jacket pocket and handed some bills to her.
“You have the most amazing blue eyes.” The clerk leaned forward. This might have been interesting, if she were not sixtyish, wrinkled, and stinking of cigarettes.
I held out my hand. “Can I have my change?” 





 J.J. Lyon is a wife, mom, public relations professional and recovering journalist.


Her passion for prose and love of the American West are so intertwined; she doesn’t think she can separate them. When J.J. runs out of words, she reaches for her camera, takes off on a back road and returns home with a bucketful of inspiration.

She lives in a mountain valley with her husband, three children, some cats, two goats, a bird and a basset hound. 

Facebook | Twitter | Website Goodreads


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September 29th – October 3rd

September 29th ~ Cabin Goddess ~ Comfort Foods & Reads (Top Ten)
September 29th ~ Jess resides here ~ Advice for Aspiring Writers (Guest Post)
September 29th ~ Laura's Online Interests ~ Promo & Excerpt
September 30th ~ Pinky's Favorite Reads ~ Review & an Interview
September 30th ~ The Road to Nowhere ~ Promo & Excerpt
October 1stRebecca Belliston ~ Review & Interview
October 1st ~ Bookish ~ Review
October 1st ~ Journeys & Life by Oregonmike ~ Top Ten
October 1st ~ Mohadoha ~ Writer’s Wednesday
October 2nd ~ A Book and a Cup of Coffee ~ Review
October 2nd ~ Library Girl Reads ~ Promo & Excerpt
October 3rd ~ Room With Books ~ Promo & Excerpt
October 3rd ~ Njkinny's World of Books & Stuff ~ Review
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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Available Now: 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 is now available
but you want to read Anabel Unraveled first.

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.