Saturday, 31 March 2018

Canvas Press Review

With Easter being tomorrow (as well as being April Fool's Day), it's only 6 weeks until Mother's Day. If you're like me, I always find it difficult coming up with new ideas for gifts, especially for my grandmother, who seems to already have everything.

Awhile back, I was approached by Canvas Press (www.canvaspress.com/) about possibly reviewing one of their canvas prints. Always thinking ahead, I excitedly jumped at the opportunity, as I thought having an old family photo printed on a canvas would make the perfect gift for my grandmother for Mother's Day this year.

Now, my only problem was trying to find the right photo to use. After asking my mother's advice, I picked out an old photo that was taken in the in the early 1940s. The photo features my grandma (as a baby) being held by either her uncle or cousin (I don't remember his name.), beside him is a cousin, and sitting down below is my grandmother's older sister and brother. I had scanned the photo about ten years ago and saved it to a flash drive, so I uploaded the file to the Canvas Press website.

Unboxing the canvas print.
Shortly after placing my order, the Canvas Press's customer support sent me a message stating that the jpg I had sent couldn't be used because it had low resolution. So I had to hunt down the original photo that was in my mother's possession. And it wasn't an easy task to accomplish, as the album the photo was in got misplaced, so my mother and me had to turn a room upside down to find it. We eventually found it; the photo album had fell behind an old trunk.

Anyhow, I scanned the photo, saved it as jpg in high resolution and sent it to Canvas Press. The photo has faded a bit, but luckily they were able to use the jpg.

There are many different sizes and canvas styles to choose from, but for this review, the canvas size is 20"x16". There are also different matte types to choose from, which I picked out the "museum matte" style. The depth of the prints available are .75", 1.5", and 2". For this canvas, I got the 1.5" depth. There are three different border types: mirror wrap, image wrap, and color wrap. A color wrap wouldn't look quite right for this print and because of the size of the original photo, the image wrap wouldn't look right either. So, I went with the mirror wrap. Also, there are different mounting options, and I went a sawtooth hanger.

I don't recall how long the shipping took, but the canvas print was delivered to house fairly quickly.


Final Thoughts

Friday, 30 March 2018

Book Bogger Hop: March 30th - April 5th




Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML


Welcome to the new Book Blogger Hop!

If you want schedule next week's post, click here to find the next prompt question. To submit a question, fill out this form.

What to do:

1. Post on your blog answering this question:

  This week's question is submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews.


How many book clubs do you belong to? If you do belong to an in-person book club, do you have meetings in the day or evening? Do you meet at someone's house or meet at a local restaurant or coffee house?

2. Enter the link to your post in the linky list below (enter your Blog Name and the direct link to your post answering this week’s question. Failure to do so will result in removal of your link).


3. Visit other blogs in the list and comment on their posts. Try to spend some time on the blogs reading other posts and possible become a new follower.  The purpose of the hop is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.
  

My Answer:

As I am writing this (Jan. 10th), I'm not currently participating in any sort of book club.


Linky List:

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Dream Weddings for Book Lovers


Spring is finally here, which means the birds will be chirping, the grass will be getting greener, and many people will getting married. For some reason, couples like to get married in the spring. Maybe, it has something to do with the nice weather.

To be completely honest, I thought weddings were more popular in the summer or fall months, but after reading several articles about weddings, I learned that the wedding season really begins in the spring. 

I'm always searching for new and exciting content creation or even content marketing tips for this blog (besides from book reviews), and for some reason or another, I ended up “googling” book themed weddings. If you have been following this blog lately, then you would know I have considered giving online dating a chance; so I have no idea why I wanted to learn more about weddings since I'm still single. Maybe I got tried of searching for dating sites that would appeal to me. I'm single, so I'm sure there are plenty of sites out there for me to choose from. Also, I don't have any kids, so I don't know how to approach online dating when you're a single parent.

Anyway enough of my rambling! Let's get back on topic!

I did some brainstorming and came up with idea for this post, titled, "Dream Weddings for Book Lovers," which features five wedding themes based on books. And no, I'm not turning this into a wedding blog, but I thought it would make a fun post for all my readers.


"Game of Thrones" Epic Weddings


HBO's Game of Thrones is one of the most poplar series currently on television, but for those of you who don't know, the series is based on the still unfinished "A Song of Fire and Ice" book series by George R. Martin. The television series and books have millions fan, so naturally there have many Game of Thrones themed weddings. Do a quick internet search for "Game of Thrones weddings" and you'll find many ideas for invitations, costumes, cakes, decorations, etc..

Believe it or not, some people even travel overseas to rent a castle for their weddings. To me, this is a great idea, but I can't imagine how much it would cost to rent an actual castle.

"Jane Austen" Romantic Weddings


While a Games of Thrones wedding would probably appeal to both women and men, a Jane Austen themed wedding would probably appeal mostly to female fans of her novels (Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Mansfield Park). However, a Victorian themed wedding might appeal to some men, too. (Including me, as I do like the novel Pride and Prejudice!).

From Pride and Prejudice-style invitations to Victorian-style wedding cakes, there are countless decorations you can create for a Jane Austen wedding. Then, of course, there's the wedding dress for the bride, which can be made from reproduction materials from the Victorian era.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Interview & Giveaway with Ashley Pagano, author of Never Fear the Reaper


Now available on Amazon, BN, Kobo, and iTunes from Inkspell Publishing is the paranormal romance Never Fear the Reaper by Ashley Pagano






The author has taken a few minutes out of her busy schedule to talk about her her newest book, Never Fear the Reaper.



When did you become interested in storytelling?

I’ve literally always had a wild, rampant imagination so the challenge was just putting it on paper.

What was your first book/story published?

An article about graphic design in my college’s newspaper.

What inspired you to write Never Fear the Reaper?

The idea behind the series was always one I tossed around in my head, a lot. I thought it was such a unique concept because you never hear about such weapons and such superpowers so I thought it would spark interest in readers. I modeled Ryder, the story’s protagonist, against my own personality mixed with the woman I strive to be.

What character in Never Fear the Reaper is the most/least like you, and in what ways?

Definitely Ryder. She has my sassiness, independence, and my strong will.

What is your favorite part in Never Fear the Reaper?

When Ryder tells Chase her back-story, that she’s died once before, encountered the Grim Reaper and seen all his terrifying details, and stolen pieces of his deadly Scythe in order to escape death. When you meet Mister Grim, from her perspective, it’s one you’ve never heard before or can barely fathom.

What was the hardest part to write?

I always knew which climactic scenes I wanted to tie into the story so the most challenging part, as it is for most writers, was getting from one to the next. Linking them together while keeping the nail biting, edge-of-your-seat feeling up.

What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?

Friday, 23 March 2018

Book Blogger Hop: March 23rd - 29th




Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML


Welcome to the new Book Blogger Hop!

If you want schedule next week's post, click here to find the next prompt question. To submit a question, fill out this form.

What to do:

1. Post on your blog answering this question:

  This week's question is submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books.


When meeting with friends, do your discussions usually turn to books?

2. Enter the link to your post in the linky list below (enter your Blog Name and the direct link to your post answering this week’s question. Failure to do so will result in removal of your link).


3. Visit other blogs in the list and comment on their posts. Try to spend some time on the blogs reading other posts and possible become a new follower.  The purpose of the hop is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.
  

My Answer:

Sadly, not very often!


Linky List:

Dating In Your 30s


As you probably guess by the title of this post, I'm in my 30s, and if you have followed my blog for awhile, then you would know that I'm also single; which once again explains the title of the post. Plus, if you have been reading my blog for the past few months, then you would know I've been interested in trying out online dating.

At one point in time, I thought online dating was more or less of a sign of desperation, but that's no longer my attitude towards the subject. I know several people who have found their 'perfect' match on dating sites, which gives me a bit of hope that I can find my own soulmate, if such a woman even exists for me.

I've visited enough dating sites to know that many of them are geared toward the twenty-something crowd, who are mostly likely looking for a short-term or hookup relationships. Obviously, I'm no longer in that age bracket and I'm not looking for a fling. While I have nothing against dating a younger woman, I don't believe I would have anything in common with her.

Besides from niche dating websites (I'll get to that later!), my only option is websites aimed for older singles, such as Older-Dating.com. However, there's a slight problems with these sites, as the majority of them are aimed at the 50+ club, which is way out of my age range. While I have nothing against dating an older woman, I would like to have children one day, so finding someone closer to my age would be more suitable for my life goals.

There aren't too many dating sites that are exclusively for singles in their 30s, so I would probably have better luck finding someone on a 'free' dating website, such as Plenty of Fish or OkCupid, or on the popular dating app Zoosk. However, I've tried these websites in the past with absolutely no luck. The women on there are either looking for hookup or a sugar daddy. I had a profile on Plenty of Fish a few years ago, back when it was 100% free, and I kept receiving messages from women with one question, - “How much money do you make?” Having that question for a first message/contact is a major red flag for me.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Review - His Risk by Shelley Shepard Gray

Avon Inspire; 288 pages; $12.99; Blog Tour; Buy Link
April 1st will mark my 9th year of blogging. During those 9 years I've been part of many book blogging programs. Sadly both, Blogging For Books and LitFuse Publicity Group announced this month that they will be closing. This does sadden me, as I have reviewed many great books from them.

Anyway, today marks my final book review that I received from Litfuse. It's titled, "His Risk" by Shelley Shepard Gray, which is book four in The Amish Of Hart County series.

If you follow my blog, then you would know that I'm a big of fan of Shelley Shepeard Gray's writings, so, naturally, I signed up to review her newest book from Avon Inspire.

The novel centers around Calvin Fisher, a young man who had left the Amish community when he was a teenager, but now as an adult, he's returns home to Hart County because his brother is ill.  To make a long story short, he befriends an Amish woman named Alice and sparks fly between the two.

Is there a happily ever after ending for the two?

Well, you need to read the novel for yourself to find out, but I will say that Calvin is hiding a little bitty secret. Cough ... he's a DEA agent. And his appearance in Hart County brings some criminal activity to the community that puts Alice in harms way.




Final Thoughts

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Interview with Thommy Hutson, author of Jinxed



Now available from Vesuvian Books is the young adult horror-thriller Jinxed by Thommy Hutson.



The author has taken a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk about his newest book.



When did you become interested in storytelling?

I don’t think I can remember a time when I wasn’t a storyteller. I started talking at a very young age and, according to my family, it took off from there. I was always rambling on about something made up. I do recall during a 4th of July party when I was very young that I told my older cousin a story about how the stars, when they get scared, form the constellation of a flashlight and the sun shines through it so they can see in the dark. Oh, kids. From there, I know that my father brought home a typewriter from his work and I was absolutely obsessed with it. It was a huge, metal monstrosity, but I used it daily to write down stories and ideas.

What was your first book/story published?

I actually started my professional writing career as a screenwriter, working on some Scooby-Doo animated movies, but my first published book was Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy—The Making of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. It is the definitive look at the making and legacy of the iconic horror film. (Though I suppose one could count the short essay I wrote for our local SPCA when I was a child; it was published in their newsletter!)

What inspired you to write Jinxed?
I’m a huge fan of 80s and 90s horror movies and teen movies. I have always loved the young people going through their adolescent turmoil and, when they think life can’t get any worse, there’s a masked kill after them! I wanted to do something that was a sort of throwback, or homage, to those kinds of movies: a bunch of teenagers, a secluded location, some dark secrets, a masked killer and, of course, the big unmasking and reveal. It also let me have a little fun with the characters, what they do, and what they say.

What character in Jinxed is the most/least like you, and in what ways?

I’m probably most like Layna. I think she is the most grounded in that she isn’t necessarily born to be a part of the world she was placed in regarding the school she is going to, but finds a way to fit in. She is also someone who wants to really figure out what is going on and why. I’d probably do that as well. At east I think I would if a masked killer was after me or my friends. But, you know what, I would go out in the dark, by myself, even if there was a killer around. When I want answers, I want them. I ain’t afraid of no ghost.

What is your favorite part in Jinxed?
I love the prologue because, for me, it set the stage and the tone. Seclusion and mystery. It let me give a small taste of the events to come.

What was the hardest part to write?

The killer’s reveal. I knew who it was going to be, and why, and I wanted to make it scary, fun, thrilling, and action-packed. I didn’t want it to feel like when the mask comes of, “Oh, it’s over.” Far from it. When the mask comes of, the fun and drama starts where we learn the who, what, and why. It was coming up with those things and keeping it fun and thrilling that was challenging. But, I’m really happy with the way it turned out. It ended up being another of my favorite moments in the book. I love a god reveal!

What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?

I seriously considered being a marine biologist. I had actually wanted to do that since I was very little. But, since I didn’t follow that through, I’ll stick with screenwriter as my other career!

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

Only the reviews my agent sends me! Actually, I do read some of them. I think it’s all part of the creative process. You put something out there and you want people to enjoy it. Some will and some won’t. I’ve definitely learned that you can’t please everyone, but I do my best to make sure I am putting out something I can be proud of. There are always a million reasons someone will love something, or not love something. If I can reach people, make them think, laugh, afraid, argue, cry…whatever, I’ve done my job.

What well-known writers do you admire most?
So, so many! S.E. Hinton is an all-time favorite of mine. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of reading her work. Same with Lois Duncan. Stephen King, William Goldman, Wes Craven, Shirley Jackson, Agatha Christie, Kevin Williamson…the list could go on and on.

Do you have any other books/stories in the works?

I am currently writing book two of the Jinxed trilogy and I am really excited about where it is going. I am also working on a non-fiction project on the making of a really fun and well-known movie from the 80s. I can’t say what it is just yet, but it is a lot of fun. Like my previous book, “Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy—The Making of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street,” this will be all about the making and legacy of the film.

To learn more about me and my work, engage with me, or just peek in, check out my website: www.thommyhutson.com, follow me on Twitter: @ThommyHutson, Instagram: thommyhutson, and Facebook: facebook.com/thommyhutson



a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author

Review: LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures: Complete Season Two DVD

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% mine.

TV-Y7; 267 minutes; Amazon
Now available on DVD from Disney Home Entertainment and LucasFilm Ltd. is LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures: Complete Season Two, featuring 12 action-packed episodes. The DVD comes with an "Exclusive Darth Vader Pin."

The voice cast includes includes Nicolas Cantu (Rowan), Vanessa Lengies (Kordi), Eugene Byrd (Zander), Matthew Wood (R0-GR), Trevor Devall (Emperor), Dana Snyder (Graballa), Vanessa Marshall (Hera), Yvette Nicole Brown (Lt. Valeria), Corey Burton (Quarrie), James Urbaniak (M-OC) and Matt Sloan (Darth Vader).

Developed by Bill Motz and Bob Roth ("Penguins of Madagascar"), the series is set between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and focuses on the Freemaker siblings - Zander, Kordi, Rowan (a twelve-year-old Jedi-in-training), and their battle droid, R0-GR.

Season Two finds the Freemakers working with the rebel fleet, under the command of Admiral Ackbar. After Rowan has a vision about building an "arrowhead" ship that's controlled by an oversized kyber crystal, his siblings seek the help of a ship builder named Quarrie to assist them in the creation of the ultimate weapon against the Empire.

Meanwhile, Emperor Palpatine is obsessed with capturing Rowan. He creates a bounty hunter droid, M-OC, which has only one purpose - capture Rowan.

Bonus Features on the DVD include:
  • 5 Adventure-Filled Shorts
    • Home One
    • Thrown Into Battle
    • Rowan's Secret Adventure
    • Zander Freemaker: Superstar Pilot Guy
    • Beware The Gamorrean Flu 



Final Thoughts

Monday, 19 March 2018

Review - This Road We Traveled


Revell; 352 pages; $14.99; Amazon

Yes, I had planned on finishing all my needs-to-be-reviewed books on Friday, but due to a sinus infection and allergies, I had to take a break from writing over the the weekend, as my eyesight was bothering me. Today, I'm hoping to get a few reviews finished, including this one, which is the review for The Road We Traveled by Jane Kirkpatrick.

Set in the 1840s, the novel centers on Tabitha Brown, the matriarch of the family, who leaves her life in Missouri after her son decides to move his family to Oregon. Along Tabitha's daughter Pherne, son-in-law Virgil, and two grandchildren, they pack their bags and travel out west into the unknown.


Final Thoughts

Friday, 16 March 2018

Book Blogger Hop: March 16th - 22nd




Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML


Welcome to the new Book Blogger Hop!

If you want schedule next week's post, click here to find the next prompt question. To submit a question, fill out this form.

What to do:

1. Post on your blog answering this question:

  This week's question is submitted by Kitty @ Vicarious Bookworm.


Who is your favorite children's books author and why? 

2. Enter the link to your post in the linky list below (enter your Blog Name and the direct link to your post answering this week’s question. Failure to do so will result in removal of your link).


3. Visit other blogs in the list and comment on their posts. Try to spend some time on the blogs reading other posts and possible become a new follower.  The purpose of the hop is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.
  

My Answer:

R.L. Stine! I don't know why I like his writings, but I was a big fan of the Goosebumps and Fear Streets books back in the 1990s. Well, I'm still a big of fan of fan books today.


Linky List:

Review Catch Up Marathon!: Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson



Revell; 384 pages; $14.99; Amazon
Today, I'm determined to finish all my needs-to-be-reviewed reviews. Well, at least I'm going to review all the ones that are published by Revell.

In this 2006 sequel to Liz Johnson's The Red Door Inn, Where Two Hearts Meets centers on Caden Holt, the executive chef of the Red Door Inn, who has to step outside of her kitchen for a bit, so she can escort Adam Jacobs, a traveling journalist, around Prince Edward Island. She would rather be cooking, but her boss insists that she should show Adam all the beautiful things the island has to offer.

Technically, Adam is supposed to be on a forced vacation, but he's actually there to work on a story. Of course this is a romance novel, so you can probably guess that sparks fly between Adam and Caden, which is exactly what happens.



Final Thoughts

Review Catch Up Marathon!: Forgiven by Terri Roberts with Jenette Windle


Bethany House; 238 pages; Amazon


Forgiven is the oldest book that has been sitting in my needs-to-be-reviewed pile. Published by Bethany House in 2015, the book is written by Terri Roberts, the mother of the man who walked into an Amish schoolhouse and shot 10 girls, killing 6 and injuring other, and then took his own life.

When I had originally signed up to review book, I didn't realize it was about the Amish school shooting. I have a habit of  agreeing to review a book by the cover art alone, and for this title, I saw the Amish hats on the cover and automatically signed up to review it without realizing what the book was about. The 2006 Amish school shooting was a tragedy and it was a topic that I didn't want to read about, so I have avoided reading the book until this year.






Final Thoughts

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Review - How To Listen So People Will Talk



Bethany House; 175 pages; Amazon

I don't read very many non-fiction titles, but for some reason I did sign up to review a few "personal growth" titles last year; including "How To Listen So People Will Talk" by Becky Harling.

Published by Bethany House, the author explains to you why listening to others can help strengthen any relationship and to help strengthen your own compassion.

The book is under 200 pages and is a fast read (well, at least for me it was a fast read). There are 10 chapters, where the author uses her own personal stories and scriptures from the Bible to explain why it's important to listen to spouses, family members, girlfriend or boyfriend, friends, or complete strangers. There are exercises and questions to answer at the end of each chapter.





Final Thoughts

Interview with Kwen D Griffeth, author of Shadow of the Moon


Now available to purchase on Amazon is the fantasy/murder/romance Shadow of the Moon, book one in the Shadow Series, by Kwen D. Griffeth






The author has taken a few minutes from his busy schedule to talk about his newest book.

When did you become interested in storytelling?

I was 14 and I read For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway for the first time. He took a farm boy from Idaho to the Spanish Civil War and allowed me to fall in love for the first time. I wanted the ability he had.

What was your first book/story published?

My first book published was Dear Emma. It is a novella about a small girl whose mother puts notes in her lunch box before sending her to school. The mother is killed in a car wreck, but the notes, from time to time, still arrive.

What inspired you to write Shadow of the Moon?

I read a story about a female werewolf written by a well-known author and I didn’t like the way the werewolf was portrayed. In human form, the character was intelligent, tough, determined and educated. When forced to shift shapes, she became little more than a wild dog chasing rabbits through the forest. I did hours of research on werewolves and the society of wolves. I wanted to develop a more complete character.

What character in Shadow of the Moon is the most/least like you, and in what ways?

I would most be like Detective Gerald Meeker, NYPD. He is a 30-year veteran of the NYPD and he has investigated crimes for most of those years. I’m as old as Meeker, a grandfather like Meeker and I was a police officer. I hope I have a sense of humor like his as well.

What is your favorite part in Shadow of the Moon?

Not so much a part, but a character. I enjoyed writing about Miranda. Miranda is the protagonist’s niece as well as his assistant. She is smart, sexy, red-headed with long legs and she has a touch of rebellion in her against all things structured. She loves to drive her Miata convertible as fast as she can and when another character asks if she’s worried about getting a ticket, Miranda says, “What traffic cop is going to ticket me?”

She’s also a full werewolf and everything does not turn out right for her. She displays a deep character and courage later in the book.

What was the hardest part to write?

Writing a werewolf book requires a certain amount of violence. Which means, there is going to be blood. I was extremely cautious when writing those parts. The werewolf is dangerous and ruthless. I wanted the killing scenes to display that side of the creature, but not derail the story which is much fuller than just that small part of their character.

What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?

I was a police officer for a number of years and career military. Both were ideal at the time. I am reaching an age where if I couldn’t write I’d have to go fishing. Something I’m not very good at, so I work hard on my books.

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

I track the review numbers as certain marketing opportunities avail themselves based on numbers. I actively seek reviews for that reason, but I don’t allow myself to get too excited about the good ones nor bummed about the bad. I focus on writing the best I can but I know not every reader will like my work.

What well-known writers do you admire most?

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Interview with Kristie Booker, author of Blooming In To Life


Now available from Cricket Press is the novel Blooming In To Life by Kristie Booker!




When did you become interested in storytelling?


My interest in storytelling has always been with me. My earliest memory was around the age of three. I spent the summer taking my dolls (in the basket of my tricycle) over to my neighbor’s house. I would ask him to babysit my dolls while I went to work and when I picked my kids (dolls) up, I would tell long stories about my hard day working at the factory. As my interest continued to grow, my stories became more elaborate. In third grade, was called to the principle’s office after spending several recesses telling kids scary stories about an abandoned house across the street. 

What was your first book/story published?

My new book Blooming Into Life is my first book published. I may have started storytelling early but it took me half of my life to find the courage and stamina to form my stories into the written word.

What inspired you to write Blooming Into Life?

As a wellness coach working with women for the past several years, I began to notice how many women were measuring their self-worth by the number on the scales, the price tag of their clothes and the status of the social groups they belonged to. After taking a look at my own behavior, I realized I was doing it also and it was all in the name of acceptance. So, I decided to write a story about a woman searching for acceptance.

What character in Blooming Into Life is the most/least like you, and in what ways?

I identify a lot with the main character Colleen. I grew up in a rural area like Colleen and moved to a city where I had to figure out how and where I belonged. I spent many years of my life measuring my self-worth by my exterior and had to do a lot of internal work to look at my self differently much in the same way that Colleen does in the book.

What is your favorite part in Blooming Into Life?

There are several parts that stand out so I’ll say “one” of my favorite parts is the scene where Colleen is listening to Johnny Cash sing “The Man in Black” – “The words struck her. She was the woman in black. She had worn black or charcoal grey since Lyla put her in the ‘until my weight is gone’ outfit. Her appearance did have a somber tone but, unlike Johnny Cash, she wasn’t wearing the dark colors for all the darkness in the world. She wasn’t bringing attention to other people’s misfortune. She was highlighting her own misfortune – as her dad would say, ‘wallowing’ in her own darkness. Suddenly Colleen felt suffocated by the clothes on her body. She wanted to peel them off and throw them out the window as she drove.

What was the hardest part to write?

I struggled writing the part about being on bedrest and the fears of losing her baby since that I pulled that from my own life experience. 

What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?

I’m a wellness coach in addition to being a new author. I love coaching and inspiring women in person and through my writing. So my ideal career would involve inspiring others to believe in themselves and to get out of their own way when it comes to reaching for their dreams. To give this a title, I’ll go with a coach, therapist/counselor, or teacher.

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

Friday, 9 March 2018

Spring Reads: Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren

Bethany House; 350 pages; Buy Link; Blog Tour
I'm kicking off my first "Spring Reads" post with a few weeks earlier than what I originally intended to do. The book I'm reviewing is Ketunrah, book one in The Sugar Baraon's Daughters series, by Lisa T Bergren.

Set in 1772, the novel centers on Lady Keturah ("Ket") Banning Tomlinson and her sisters (Verity and Selah), whom each received a letter from the West Indies from their later father. It seems he had left his estate the "Tabletop Plantation" in Nevis to his daughters. Against their best judgements, the sisters packs their bags and travel to the Caribbean to cleanup whatever mess their father had left behind.

Upon arriving, they learn their father's legendary sugar barons have declined and they seek out to find a new overseer for the estate. Ket runs into an old childhood friend, Gray, who had moved to Nevis to begin a new life for himself.

This is a romance novel, so you can probably guess that Gray and Ket have some romantic feelings for each other. However, there's a slight problem, as Ket had been emotionally and physically abused in the past, so she's hesitant about trusting another man.


Final Thoughts

Book Blogger Hop: March 9th - 15th




Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML


Welcome to the new Book Blogger Hop!

If you want schedule next week's post, click here to find the next prompt question. To submit a question, fill out this form.

What to do:

1. Post on your blog answering this question:

  This week's question is submitted by Maria  @ A Night's Dream of Books.


Do you enjoy reading retellings of, or 'sequels' to, classic novels? Why or why not?

2. Enter the link to your post in the linky list below (enter your Blog Name and the direct link to your post answering this week’s question. Failure to do so will result in removal of your link).


3. Visit other blogs in the list and comment on their posts. Try to spend some time on the blogs reading other posts and possible become a new follower.  The purpose of the hop is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.
  

My Answer:

Yes and no! It really depends if the sequel or retelling is worth reading.


Linky List:

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Hammer Films Double Feature: Never Take Candy from a Stranger & Scream of Fear! Blu-ray Review

Not Rated; 164 minutes; $14.98; Buy Link

I believe I have stated a few times on this blog about my love for the classic Hammer Film Production horror flicks from the 1950s to the 1970s. I have fond memories of watching these films during horror movie marathons on AMC (before they had commercials) when I was a teenager during the late 1990s. Old horror films don't get much air time on television any more, so I'm thankful that many of them have found their way onto DVD and Blu-ray.

Yesterday, Mill Creek Entertainment released a new Hammer Films Double Feature Blu-ray, which features the British films "Scream of Fear!" and "Never Take Candy from a Stranger." There are no special features or extras on the single-disc.

Directed by Cyril Frankel, the 1960 thriller Never Take Candy from a Stranger (also known as Never Take Sweets from a Stranger) centers on a school principal Peter Carter and his wife Sally (played by Patrick Allen and Gwen Watford) who are determined to protect their young daughter Jean (played by Janina Faye) from a child molester, Clarence Olderberry Sr.. The old man had lured Jean and her best friend Lucille (played by Frances Green) into his home and gave them candy in exchange for seeing the girls dance naked.

The Olderberry family owns most of the town and are respected by everyone. Even though Peter and Sally pressed charges against Clarence, there's no real proof that he actually harmed the girls; resulting in the court finding him not guilty. However, Clarence is guilty of the crime and he hunts down Jean and Lucille, who must fight for their lives to survive his clutches.

Due to the taboo themes of sexual abuse of children and paedophilia, the film was a critical and commercial failure. However, over the years the film has received positive reviews from modern day critics. The late Hammer horror-icon Christopher Lee stated, ""Never Take Sweets from a Stranger, an excellent film, was decades ahead of its time."


Directed by Seth Holt, the 1961 psychological thriller Scream of Fear! (also known as Taste of Fear), centers on Penny Appleby (played by Susan Strasberg), a wheelchair-bound woman who returns to her father's estate after being estranged for nearly 10 years. Upon arriving Penny meets her stepmother Jane (played by Ann Todd) for the very first time, as well as two guests, Bob (played by Ronald Lewis) and Doctor Gerrard (played by Christopher Lee). She's disappointed to learn that her father is away on a business trip. Her mother had died recently and she's wanting to get reacquainted with her father.

What was planned as a simple visit home quickly turns in a nightmare for Penny. She keeps seeing her father's dead body in various places, but the body always disappears before she cancall for help. Is she going mad?

While the film didn't do very well in the UK and United States upon it's release, it did do well in Europe. The late great Christopher Lee has been quoted, "Taste of Fear was the best film that I was in that Hammer ever made. It had the best director, the best cast and the best story."





Final Thoughts

Interview with Annabelle McInnes, author of The Refuge Trilogy


Now available from Escape Publishing (Imprint of Harlequin Australia) is the LGBTI speculative romance series "The Refuge Trilogy" by Annabelle McInnes.





The author has taken a few minutes out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her book series.



When did you become interested in storytelling?

I’ve always been interested in writing stories. It is an innate drive for me. But, it wasn’t until the birth of my son did I release that I wanted to become a published author. I started the first draft of True Refuge, the first book in the Refuge Trilogy when my son was eight months old and having looked back.

What was your first book/story published?

Without Refuge, the prequel to the Refuge Trilogy was the first story I had published. The story was awarded a place in the Romance Writers of Australia’s Spicy Bites Competition. As a result, it was published in their yearly anthology. True Refuge, the first book in the Refuge Trilogy was the first full length novel I had published. It was released in September 2017 with Escape Publishing, the Digital First Imprint for Harlequin Australia.

What inspired you to write True Refuge?

The initial premise for the Refuge Trilogy was a simple notion; what does a good man do when all that’s left is decayed, destroyed or dead? That question drove the narrative and the characters through a post-apocalyptic landscape after a plague wiped out humanity. I have always loved science fiction and fantasy novels growing up, but I found the romance in those stories often lacking authenticity. It was later in life I discovered romance novels and I was drawn to writing speculative fiction concepts that aligned with romance tropes. I wanted to take my premise and ask how do those good men find love when compassion and empathy have been eradicated.

What character in The Refuge Trilogy is the most/least like you, and in what ways?

Each of my characters represents a part of me. I would like to think that if the world were to be thrown into chaos tomorrow, that people like my characters would prevail. They represent humanity at its best. However, my characters are flawed like I am. They struggle, the second guess themselves, they bleed and they cry. But they love fiercely and passionately. They love with their whole hearts. They are brave, devoted and generous. I’d like to think that those notions came from small parts of me.

What is your favorite part in The Refuge Trilogy?

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Why Bloggers & Vloggers Might Need a Lawyer



While I glanced outside to watch the snow fall from the sky yesterday, I kept thinking about the importance of having a good lawyer on a day like this. And, no, I'm not referring to Saul Goodman. (Breaking Bad & BetterCall Saul fans will know what I mean!) Accidents happen all the time, especially when there's bad weather, so having a lawyer that you can rely on can come in handy in case of an emergency.

Of course, we can have other life changing accidents that aren't weather related. And by "we" I'm referring to bloggers and YouTube vloggers. Below I have put together three possible situations where an injury lawyer might can be useful for bloggers and vloggers.



Book/Comic Book Conventions


Traveling across the country to attend either a book or comic book convention can be fun, but at the same time dangerous. If you're traveling by car to a convention in Florida, there's always the possibility of getting into some sort of fender bender. Once you get to the convention, there's even a  chance of falling or tripping, which is never a good thing. Then you would need to do an internet search for a personal injury attorneys Tampa.



Funk Hunting


Many YouTube vloggers are Funko collectors and they like to film themselves hunting for vinyl toys on specific release days. Last year's Force Friday event was extremely crowded with kids and adults shoving their way into stores at midnight just to get their hands on their favorite Star Wars bobble-head. Due to the big crowds, the percentage of getting an injury from an accident or scuffle is high. This is another situation where Tampa injury attorneys can come in handy.


Black Friday

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Book Tour & Giveaway: The Occuli Series



The Grey Eyed Storm
The Occuli Series Book 1
by Christie M. Stenzel
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

In the tradition of HARRY POTTER AND TWILIGHT, comes a captivating fantasy tale that will have you on the edge of your seat and keep you reading late into the night as you go along on an unpredictable journey with the Occuli!!!

Have you ever received shocking news that changes everything?
Imagine being eighteen-year-old Remy Verbetta, and finding out that you are not 'human” and are not from this world.

Remy’s entire life has been a lie. Another world is living and breathing beside our own, an alternate dimension. 

On her eighteenth birthday, Remy finds out that she is a member of an ancient and almost extinct race called the Occuli. Each Occuli has different magical powers, based solely on their eye color. 

This 7 time award-winning, supernatural fantasy novel, follows Remy on a journey of self-discovery, magic, romance and betrayal, as she learns about her new powers and tries to figure out a way not only to survive, but also how to get back to her true home while saving the Occuli from extinction!
(Recommended for ages 16+)

**2017 Readers' Favorite BRONZE MEDAL WINNER for BEST FANTASY BOOK!!!

**2017 Book Excellence Awards FINALIST for BEST FANTASY BOOK!!

**OFFICIAL FANTASY SELECTION - 2016 New Apple Book Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing!!!

**2016 The Wishing Shelf Book Awards FINALIST for BEST FANTASY BOOK!!

**2016 Readers' Favorite BRONZE MEDAL WINNER for BEST FANTASY BOOK!!!

**OFFICIAL FANTASY SELECTION - 2015 New Apple Book Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing!!!

**Awarded 2016 BOOK OF THE YEAR from Books Go Social!! 

"RIVETING FROM START TO FINISH!!" by Tom





Through Golden Eyes
The Occuli, Book 2


GOLD MEDAL WINNER - 2016 AUTHORSdb.com Book Cover Contest!

"FIVE STARS!" by Ellie and AJSW

"LOVED THE JOURNAL FORMAT! RECOMMEND THIS SERIES!" by DJS

The first short story in the Occuli series is here! 

A Golden-Eyed, or "Aureus", has one sole purpose in life: to protect. Raised from children to be bodyguards, these Occuli are both the fastest and strongest and are commonly used as fierce weapons. 

Frequently they are not what they seem however, as they can be tempted by too much power and control over those they protect. This can lead them down a dark and dangerous path. 

This supplement to Book One of the Occuli series, gives the reader a more intimate look at the character of Zias. In this story the reader is taken through Zias' personal journal, giving his perspective on the journey so far with Remy and the other Occuli. He tells the story through his eyes about his struggle to remember his past and break from traditions and curses, while putting it all on the line for the love of his life, Remy Verbetta.




The Violet Eyed
The Occuli Series Book 3

"Christie Stenzel’s incredible writing style is intoxicating, drawing the reader into a magical world where anything and everything is possible… I thoroughly enjoyed The Violet Eyed, and wholeheartedly recommend it to readers aged over 15 years, who are fans of the paranormal, mystery, drama, romance, and finding oneself through it all..." Excerpt from the 5 STAR review from Readers' Favorite, March 2017 

This tale of mystery, romance, intrigue and deceit, follows Remy's sister Violet through her tragic life. 

As we delve into secrets of the past, present and future and explore Violet's relationships, we learn about her struggle against the darkness as she learns who and what she truly is and that her entire life has also been a lie. 

A unique breed of Occuli, Violet's eyes match her namesake. Being cursed from birth, will she find the strength to defeat the darkness within, or will she succumb to the darkness that is her nature?



Irresolute Amber Eyes
The Occuli Series Book 4

***Voted one of the "50 BEST INDIE BOOKS of 2017" by Readfree.ly!!!

***BRONZE MEDAL WINNER - 2017 AUTHORSdb.com Book Cover Contest! 

Book Three of the Occuli Series picks up where Book One left off!

Remy and the other Occuli have just discovered that they were able to go back in time and are trying to determine exactly what the consequences of those actions are. 

As the book progresses, it becomes apparent that a Golden-Eyed has now "turned Amber" and the Occuli family and friends must come to terms with what this means and what the end result will be....