Monday, November 25, 2013

Abandon Series by Meg Cabot

One of the problems I've encountered with having a book review blog and accepting books for review is that books that I've obtained in other ways (mainly purchased or won from giveaways on other blogs) get buried at the bottom of the "to read" pile. This was certainly the case for Abandon by Meg Cabot. The book was published in 2011 and I won a copy from a blogger giveaway so long ago that I cannot remember who I got it from. The only advantage to finding books like this hidden on the bookshelf is that the trilogy is now complete and I was able to read the books one right after another with no painful wait in between.

Meg Cabot references the mythology of the Persephone in this modern tale of Pierce Oliviera, who nearly drown when she was fifteen, and John Hayden, the lord of the Underworld who falls in love with her.

I admit that I had some difficulty getting in to Abandon. I wanted to love the story but at seventeen Pierce seemed immature and naive. Combine her innocent outrage and John's lack of communication skills ("I thought you knew!" was his favorite excuse) and I was rolling my eyes at each bump in their relationship road. The good news for me was that the story and supporting characters were strong enough to keep me reading and I could see the relationship evolving as the characters learned more of each other's secrets. That was enough to keep me reading the series.

The second book in the trilogy, Underworld, is again filled with miscommunication and misinformation. Now stuck in the Underworld, Pierce must convince John it is worth the exposure to the Furies for her to return and try to help her friends and family. The more Pierce learns about the threats from supernaturals and mortals, she realizes how much of what she thought she understood about the world is incorrect or incomplete. In trying to do the right thing both Pierce and John stumble in to more danger. This book is a solid transition between Abandon and Awaken.

The final book of the trilogy, Awaken, was the strongest part of the story for me. Pierce and John finally stop fighting each other and start working as a team. While there are still missteps on both sides, John and Pierce are more aware of how their actions affect the larger group and realize that the well-being of all needs to be considered. Will their efforts be enough to stave off the Furies and restore the balance before the worlds collide and destroy each other?

Overall the Abandon trilogy isn't my favorite series by Meg Cabot but the books were a quick read and the story kept my interest.

Find more books by Meg Cabot on Amazon

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Crosswind by Lynne Cantwell



Storm’s coming…

Life on Earth is much improved since the pagan gods' return. As conflict eases around the world, attention -- and money -- has turned to more humanitarian goals: improving the lives of the First Nations peoples and others who were repressed for thousands of years.

But the former ruling class – the military, religious, and corporate leaders who profited under the old system -- are about to stage a last-ditch effort to bring their good times back.

The gods refuse to start a new war against those men, because that would make them no better than Their opponents. Instead, They have drafted three humans to help Them. Together, Tess, Sue and Darrell must find a way past their own flaws to ensure the gods' peace will not be destroyed.

Genre - Urban Fantasy
Pages - approx 275 (68K words)

Buy Crosswind on Amazon


About the Author: Lynne Cantwell

Lynne CantwellLynne Cantwell has been writing fiction since the second grade, when the kid who sat in front of her showed her a book he had written, and she thought, "I could do that." The result was Susie and the Talking Doll, a picture book, illustrated by the author, about a girl who owned a doll that not only could talk, but could carry on conversations. The book had dialogue but no paragraph breaks. Today, after a twenty-year career in broadcast journalism and a master's degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University (or perhaps despite the master's degree), Lynne is still writing fantasy. In addition, she is a contributing author at Indies Unlimited.


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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Top 5 Books for 2013 from Mom For Less

I often have authors write guest posts as part of a blog tour or celebrating their newest book. Today's guest post is a little different though as my friend Crystal from Mom For Less shares her favorite books from the year. Thank you Crystal for adding to my list of books to check out!

When 2013 began, I set the ambitious goal of reading 52 books in 52 weeks. I love to read, but the busyness of being a working mom and wife had kept me from making reading a priority. I am a little behind on my goal, but I've been reenergized by my renewed dedication to reading. Here are five books that I read this year and loved – maybe you will love them, too.

Year of the Chick by Romi Moondi – If you’re a fan of funny, smart chick-lit, you’ll love Romi Moondi and her Year of the Chick series. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, and refreshingly honest. This story follows an Indian-Canadian girl who is looking for love and doing her best to avoid arranged marriage. You can get the first book in the series for free on Kindle!

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And other concerns) by Mindy Kailing – I’ve loved Mindy Kailing since I first saw her on The Office, and her memoir is as funny and sweet as she is. This book chronicles Mindy’s childhood and her rise to fame, with lots of laughs along the way. I think a good memoir makes you feel like you just had a great conversation with the author, and this book definitely has that effect.

Beyond Belief : My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill – Like a lot of people, my knowledge of Scientology before reading this book began and ended with Tom Cruise. This book was an eye-opening look at this mysterious group, written by the niece of Scientology leader David Miscavige. Jenna tells her story in extreme detail, and it will have you on the edge of your seat.

Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster – This is Lancaster’s second work of fiction, and she has really hit her stride in the genre. This story follows a former mean girl who realizes that her mistreatment of others has come back to haunt her. With a little magic, and a little help from an old friend, she gets a chance to make it right, and make her life better in the process. A very funny story with lots of unexpected turns.

Off the Menu by Stacey Ballis – I am a big fan of Stacey Ballis, and Off the Menu may be my new favorite from her. Ballis always has strong female characters who are intelligent and real, and this book is no exception. Alana has an all-consuming job working for a celebrity chef. When she meets a man she’s really into, and then gets another job offer, everything is up in the air. The resolution of the story will surprise you, but you won’t be disappointed.

Thanks so much Angela, for letting me share my favorites of the year! Be sure to stop by my blog Mom For Less to see which books Angela picked for her favorites.

Crystal Paschal is a freelance writer, blogger, wife, and mom of two little boys. You can follow her adventures in parenting at Mom For Less, and connect with her on Facebook. She’s also on Twitter at @Mom4Less.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Finding Inspiration with Candy Ann Little

Finding Inspiration

Where does inspiration come from?

For some people it comes from within a secret place inside themselves. They can dig around like a junk yard, finding old scrapes of stories and memories to use. Their inspiration comes from the everyday life stories they've lived.

Others find their muse in the beauty of nature; noticing the sunset, or the wind dance through the trees, maybe even a watching bee flit from one bright colored flower to the next. It's the little unexpected things that cause happiness and make you want to share that joy with the world.

And, yet, others delve into the dark depths of depression. They see the world in different shades of light – not always bright and sunny. Although things look dark, gloomy and they feel alone, they manage to bring out a unique perspective on life. The gray clouds and rainy days can be just as interesting as the sunshine.

What about dreams? Is there useful inspiration found in slumber? When our bodies are at rest our minds have time to think. Sometimes we need to shut off the noise of life so our thoughts, fears and emotions can float to the forefront and we can truly examine what out heart wants. Our dreams help us reach for the stars, fight monsters, or answer the questions we don’t want to ask when awake.

The inspiration for my books has come from different sources. I have written from personal experiences of happiness and grief. I use everyday occurrences big or small. Sometimes I use my friends and family members stories or ideas. I call this repurposing!! I've gotten ideas from newspaper stories, internet or the T.V. Murder of an Oil Heiress is actually based on dream I had. But in all the details, I must remember that no matter where I got the inspiration from, every word I write comes from God!

Where does your inspiration come from?

Murder of An Oil Heiress

The Texas sun isn't the only thing that is scorching hot. Mallory Dillingham is beautiful, successful and primed to take over the family oil business when her father is ready to retire. However, that isn't soon enough for the billionaire heiress. She wants it all. And, she wants it now. Mallory will stop at nothing to get what she wants, including seduction, lying and blackmail.

Joseph Barnes has stepped into her slippery trap. Can he find a way out before his evil sister-in-law destroys his marriage to Sarah? Will the Dillingham family be able to survive the destruction caused by her devious plot?

Love, betrayal, forgiveness and the bonds of family are all intertwined. This story deals with the complicated lives of the Dillingham family and the people caught in the crossfire. As Mallory wages war on everyone, innocent people pay the price.

Buy from Amazon

Candy Ann Little

Candy Ann Little grew up in a small town in Ohio. She now resides in Michigan with her husband, two adult kids and 4 cats. She began writing in the aftermath of tragedy – her third child was stillborn. The nurse suggested keeping a journal to cope with the grief. Although she thought it a dumb idea at the time, she soon found a freedom and healing that only writing brought.

Eventually that pain and sorrow turned into her first Inspirational romance, Unforgiving Ghosts. Since then she has finished 2 more inspirational romances. Her historical romance The Unwilling Bride was published in 2011. She has also tried writing in the genre of mystery, including a novella, Death By Broken Heart, and her first full length novel, Murder of an Oil Heiress. Candy Ann finds it therapeutic putting her thoughts into the words and action of her characters. She also finds that discipline is the biggest lesson learned in her writing life.

When she isn’t busy writing, you can find her subbing in the public schools, or helping with church activities. Her favorite things to do are reading, cooking, baking and doing crafts.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Get a Book in Your McDonald's Happy Meal

Yesterday I wrote about how much I loved reading as a child and how much my girls and I read together. Books are a huge part of our daily lives and a great tool for learning and growing our imaginations. I'm excited that McDonald's is celebrating reading by offering books instead of toys in Happy Meals through November 14. Each Happy Meal will include one of four books that focuses on nutrition or active play presented in a fun story that kids will love.

McDonald's Happy Meal Books

The four limited edition titles are:
  • The Goat Who Ate Everything – Tells a story of a goat who has a big appetite and struggles to eat right. But when he does, he feels great and becomes the playful ‘kid’ everyone loves.
  • Deana’s Big Dreams – Shares how Deana, the world’s smallest dinosaur, grew tall by eating right.
  • Ant, Can’t – Features Ant, a bite-­‐sized bodybuilder who’s big on encouraging physical fitness through exercise and eating right.
  • Doddi the Dodo Goes to Orlando – Follows happy-­‐go-­‐lucky bird Doddi who travels the world. She eats right because this dodo is always on the go-­‐go.
McDonald's Give A Book, Get A Book

Indy with Kids has partnered with McDonald’s of Central Indiana for the local, “Give a Book, Get a Book” campaign.

November 1st-14th, book donation sites will be set up around the area at the Ronald McDonald House, local libraries and Indy Reads Bookstore. In exchange for the donation of a new or gently used children’s book, customers will receive a Be Our Guest card for a free Happy Meal. In addition, participating libraries will host a “Happy Meal Day” with activities for kids and McDonald’s Happy Meal books.

I'm sure the girls and I will be grabbing a Happy Meal sometime in the next week. Is there really such a thing as too many books? Naw, I didn't think so!

Mom Tip: If your kids are young and willing to share grab one Mighty Kids meal to split. 6 chicken nuggets is plenty for my girls, they share the apple slices, & there are extra fries for me.

Happy Meal Giveaways

Several of my fellow Central Indiana bloggers are giving away Happy Meal prize packs. Go forth and enter quickly because these won't be open long.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Revisiting Childhood Favorites

As a child I loved to read. I was the kid who stayed up way past my bedtime reading a book with the flashlight I kept hidden under my pillow. Summer time was fabulous not only because I could play outside with friends all day but because it stayed light later and I didn't need to be up for school in the morning. That meant more time to read. The church where my mom worked wasn't far from the library so if she needed to go in for a few hours in the summer I went there to browse the shelves and read. It was there that I discovered The Wizard of Oz and Anne of Green Gables.

Although my girls are still too young to appreciate these stories, we spend much of our time together reading. Their bookshelf is already overflowing with everything from board books to beginning readers to their very first chapter books. I love watching them choose which books they want to read for story time and hearing them ask for just one more story before bed. Between all of their books, my books, and my husband's books sometimes I wonder how we will continue to have room for them all!

This is where technology is starting to play a huge role in our household organization. With all of the eBook options these days we can satisfy our never ending hunger for books without adding to the piles of books around the house. I love being able to share books with the girls on my Kindle Fire HD and we still enjoy reading them together even if the format is a bit different than flipping pages.

Doma Publishing House has brought together amazing Kindle collections from various authors at incredible prices.

The Wizard of Oz Illustrated Series contains the complete fourteen book Oz series plus The Woggle-Bug Book. Having the entire series on the Kindle is an incredible space saver. The illustrations look fantastic on the Kindle Fire HD and the text has been well formatted. I received this from the publisher for review purposes but I had serious sticker shock when I checked the pricing of this collection on Amazon. I have no idea how this amazing collection is being offered at only 99 cents! (Prices on eBooks can change quickly so always double check the price before purchasing.)

The Anne of Green Gables Collection contains eight of the Anne Shirley books along with four other works by L. M. Montgomery. Unfortunately, it is missing two of the Anne Shirley books as the rights are not available for Kindle publishing at this time. Doma Publishing has included Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Call of the Wild by Jack London as bonus titles with this collection. Again I am amazed that this collection is being offered for only 99 cents! (Prices on eBooks can change quickly so always double check the price before purchasing.)

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