Next Up For Review

Next Up For Review
The Center Cannot Hold, Elyn Saks

Friday, November 18, 2011

Somebody Throw Me a Lifeline...

I'm bored.
Totally, completely, utterly bored with my book review site. Am I still reading? Yes! Did I finish "People of the Mist"? Yes! Was it good? You betcha!
So, what's the problem?
Good question. I'm not entirely sure I have the answer. In part, I think I'm over connected. Too many social sites (Twitter, FB, Google+, Blogger, Linked In, Book Blogs...the list goes on) to keep up on. I'm also missing some of the 'Blogger Love" from days past. Do I go out and seek new Blogger fans? Eh...kinda. It takes quite a bit of work; and while I'm not opposed to hard work, the returns as of late have been *dismal*.
Am I giving up reviewing? Nope. I actually have the sequel to "A Scottish Ferry Tale" (SCOTLAND BY STARLIGHT) to review in early January; and I've heard it is far more engaging than the first book. I just think I need to take a break from reviewing and  until that day--and have a little fun.
Here goes nothing:
I'm reading VANITY FAIR. My favorite line thus far?
"The other boys would fag out and give him balls at Cricket."
I'm completely juvenile in every possible way.
What else? Well, I wrote two short stories. Both are available for download (FREE, Peeps. What have you got to lose?) from Lulu press. Here's the linky-links: MISSING and RED VELVET
One is dark; the other is sweet; both are short (600 words) and free. Maybe I'll find some love there?
Lastly, I've promised my poor publisher a very large chunk of work (the brave man wants to publish chunks of my personal blog as an e-book) by the end of the weekend--and let's just say my work ethic has suffered along with my ego as of late. Can you say, "Crunch Time!" ???
Yipes.
What about you all? Anybody else out there in the blogger slump of 2011?
Keep me posted. After all, misery loves company.
Cheers!
 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Two Moons on Friday

Two Moons of Sera Synopsis: In a world where water and earth teem with life, Serafay is an anomaly. The result of genetic experiments on her mother's water-borne line Serafay will have to face the very people responsible to discover who she really is. But is she the only one?
Two Moons of Sera is a Fantasy/Romance and will be released in a serial format. As each new part is added you will be able to update your ebook file for free to enjoy the next installment! With each section that is published the purchase price will increase.

It's been a while since I've been asked to read & review anything by a new indie author. When I found an email in my inbox from Ms. Pavarti Tyler requesting a review for her Two Moons of Sera ebook launch I was ready.
I should say, I *thought* I was ready.
I have a strict policy of not...I repeat NOT looking too far into the content of a book (Any book. Right now I'm reading People of the Mist...hadn't a clue what it was about. I'm a century or so behind the trends). I like to read and form my opinion off the cuff. From the gut as it were.
This book is the first part of the story, Ms. Pavarti's first novel. A YA novel dubbed as, "All the fun of YA written for adults."
I'm an adult, however, I'm not a super fan of YA per se. I like it the way I like any well written book; but as an adult I lean in the direction of "full fledged adult" . i.e. adult humor, adult sex scenes (not pornographic, just not sweet sixteen), adult language... you get the idea. On top of that, this book is fantasy. Not what I reach for on a typical reading day.
I was expecting a mildy entertaining read. Instead I was blown away.
Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! A++Five stars and all that jazz
She created an entire universe of fabulous species. Are they humans? Kinda, sorta. The Erlanders are almost prehistoric men and the Sualwets are mermaidish...and Serafay? She is a Goddess in her own right. A mixture of wet and dry, earth and water.
I cannot wait to read more. The book is available as an eRead only (really people, if you aren't nooking, kindling, or iPadding by now, I have lost faith in you) on both Amazon.com & Smashwords
Even better...she's hosting a super awesome giveaway! Gift baskets, iTune cards, a manuscript critique...you name it, she has it.
Take some time and immerse yourself in Two Moons of Sera. Just be careful. Once you enter, you won't want to leave.
Cheers!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Miss Butterworth is a Tasty Treat

Oh man, what a week. First, I got an offer to publish my short, POSSESSIONS. Very exciting when you consider I wasn't sure it would ever see the light of day. The offer is for a print anthology. The digital rights have also been snatched up...so it's a win, win. I'm withholding further details until I clear the last of the foggy bits from my brain.
Last week I was 'off'--off from writing that is. The hubby & I took the tiniest minion to our cabin in the Smokies for some much needed floor replacement. It was a full seven days of hell. The highlights are as follows:
  • Hubby fell down the spiral staircase after stubbing his toe. Nothing broken.
  • Tiny minion could easily be home schooled if I were so inclined. He finished every lick of school work with minimal parental guidance. Chalk one up for decent genetics, parenting, or both.
  • Baseboard installation on non-uniform walls nearly killed us. However, our survival instincts are still running strong, much stronger than our broken down, old bodies.
  • I now, once again own a rental home that is far nicer than the house I live in on a daily basis. What can I say? I'm a glutton for punishment.
  • We will never again take on a major renovation without the help of professionally paid contractors. We are too old & life is meant to be enjoyed!
That's it in a nutshell. Now, on to my review.
That Affair Next Door, Anna Katharine Green

  
Returning from a trip abroad, the Van Burnam family enters their New York mansion to find a dead woman on the dining room floor. A curio cabinet has fallen on top of her, crushing her face, and law officers suspect that the victim is the wife of one of the Van Burnam sons. However, the son insists that he does not recognize the victim. How did this woman get into this locked house? Whose are those strange garments she is wearing? What is her hat doing in the closet and a strange, gaudy hat crushed underneath her? Why did the coroner insist that the woman was dead when the curio fell?



This was one of my famous Kindle freebies. Obviously, the cover is the standard, you got it for free so don't complain, cover. No rating required. I just consider it the classic, encyclopedia variety; clean & eyecatching by its own right.
Story: A
I loved this book. Miss Butterworth, the single, older lady with a keen eye for detail, is the perfect behind the radar star. Mr. Gryce, the crotchety old detective you can't help but like, is her perfect partner.
This book is another late 1800's miracle. Change some of the language and you could turn these two into a modern day Tracy/Hepburn. The dry wit has aged like a fine wine; and the mystery...well let's just say this super sleuth was stumped to nearly the end. There were several moments I believed I had figured out the whodunnit, only to quickly discover I was dead wrong. I did finally get it...but only a few pages before the unveiling.
It is absolutely worth it, even if you pay for the paperback. Anna Katharine Green was a lady ahead of her time. I look forward to reading more of her work!

Stay tuned dear readers. On November 3rd I will be reviewing TWO MOONS OF SERA, Pavarti Tyler. 
You won't want to miss it. Ms. Tyler is offering some pretty sweet giveaways...
Cheers!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why I love GOOFY characters

Just a quick blip on the blogging radar:
My favorite book characters right now? Goofy women. I want to laugh out loud at a heroine. I want her to show me her life in Technicolor humor. I want to cheer when her I LOVE LUCY antics land her the hunk.
Sure, I love ass kicking, take no prisoners heroines as well; but right now I want light & funny. An enjoyable read from beginning to end. Nothing too dark.
Maybe this is a reflection of what I desire in my own life?
No clue. 
What type of character do you love? Why?
Cheers!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I've Never Met a Midlife Crisis I Didn't Like...

Who doesn't love to read about people's lives falling down around their ears? Come on, society thrives on that stuff, so much so that we've coined the term 'gapers delay' for those who can't peel their eyeballs from a deadly crash on the expressway.
If you fall into the category of gawker, gaper, or other lover of melodrama, perhaps you might enjoy:
A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis, by Irene Woodbury $7.98 for Kindle
 
Quirky jobs, wacky friends, hot crushes, and an unraveling marriage are all part of this darkly funny novel describing 45 year-old newlywed Wendy Sinclair’s life in Las Vegas after she impulsively decides to stay following a bizarre girls’ weekend in 2005.  
Cover: C
The cover is okay. Covers, by their very nature, are personal to the author/reader's taste. I love the lit Las Vegas sign against the black background; but honestly, I could do without the lady. If you took out the Wendy (main character) you could keep the slot machine. For my taste, there's just a tad too much going on. Key words: 'my taste'. To each his own.

Story: C
Wendy Sinclair, 45 year old newlywed is in the middle of some serious marital turbulence. In an effort to regain some of her sassiness she jets off on a girl's weekend with on again/off again friend Paula to none other than Sin City. Once she's there, she has a midlife meltdown and decides to extend her stay...for what seems to be an eternity.
I love stories about women who struggle against conformity. I love them even more when they include humor. This story has both. 
So why the C grade? Honestly, I felt this story had soooo much potential; but it seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time repeating the same theme without any variations. It focused far too much on food for my taste (and I love food) and other details that detracted from the humor and slowed the flow.
Up until the very last page of the book Wendy moves back & forth between loving her husband, Roger, wanting to see him & rekindle their marriage--and despising the man. The amount of time she spends making the decision of "Yes, I love him; he's mine, nobody else better go near him" and "We'll never make this work. Maybe I should move on and go with one of these other dudes?" is in the real world of marriages (most marriages) about two years too long. If I were Roger, she would have been served in the first eight months; but that's just me.

Overall: C
This book is a pretty quick read. It has some humorous moments peppered liberally with some "Oh hell no!" shockers. I will admit, I didn't see the end coming. I found reading pace picking up as I got closer to the end just to see where Wendy would finally end up. And I also started researching Vegas, as this book gives you the entire history of the city from stem to stern. I also realized, when it comes to Sin City, I missed 3/4 of it on my visit. Maybe I'll have to go back?
If you're the type of person who analyzes a characters motivation/situation/outcome against probable real life scenarios, this book will challenge you. However, if you just want to hop on board and go for a ride...this might be your book of the year. I fall somewhere in between. 
That's all for now folks.
Stay tuned for next week when I review, That Affair Next Door, by Anna Katharine Green
Cheers!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

That's How I Roll, Baby

1. New Elsie Love Fun Stuff:
I don't like to brag, but this week I discovered that I truly am a *triple threat*. I write, I review, and as of Thursday, I'm a slogan guru.
Yep. You heard me. I am now advertising my special brand of humor on everyday items.
It all started with my Skirt!Blog . I was writing a post about the impending demise of the overhyped, doomed before it started, Kutcher/Moore marriage. I was thinking about Demi and her current quandary, when this little gem popped into my head:
Never marry eye candy.
Eventually it will up in someone else's mouth
or on the bottom of your shoe.
Voila! The readers went mad. Then it hit me: I'm funny, dog-gone-it. Why don't I spread this snarky cheer around for the rest of the world? With a few clicks of the mouse my
Elsie Loves Life, Zazzle Store was born. Not too long after I worked up this little zinger:
Dear Family,
It's been a pleasure serving you all weekend.
Today is Monday. Get out.
Love, Mom
Genius, right? After those gems came some political stuff, diet stuff, and (of course) all the PTA Mafia stuff I could manage. Then I worked to make sure everything was ready to post on coffee mugs, organic cotton tees & totes, magnets, & bumper stickers.
Now I wait. Biting my nails in anticipation of a sale where I might earn a whopping $1.00. So far, no buyers; but I know there out there. All I have to do is keep the faith.
What is wrong with me? No wait, don't answer that.
2. Ether Books News:
I got word yesterday that Ether Books, the lovely mobile publisher for all your Apple products (RIP Steve. You were the world's last hope) has picked up not one, but TWO of my short stories!
Death of a Call Girl- Flash Fiction, & The Key to Magic- Feel Good Fiction
Death of a Call Girl will be a FREE download. The Key to Magic will be a paid download. I'm not sure what it will cost, but I doubt it will be more than $0.99.
I'm super excited about KEY TO MAGIC, since I wrote it after a very emotional weekend. Every time I read it...I start to cry. I'd sent it everywhere on God's creation...all with absolutely dismal rejections. Instead of shelving it I sent out a general request to a friend (GINGER S, Skirt.com) who is an amazing writer/marketeer, etc. She hooked me up with the Ether connection, which I jumped on. But honestly, I wasn't holding my breath. So this was very pleasant, quite unexpected news.
I hope (if you have any Apple stuff...pods, pads, etc) you will download the free app & check it out.
BTW- I contacted Ether to ask about the app for DROID & they assured me, it is still in the works for early 2012.
Other than my garage sale (which was an abysmal failure) I've got nothing else to share. I'll be back next week with my review of "A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis".
Until then, master your triple threat skills & remember, bits of strings cannot be used to buy things unless you live in The World Of Warcraft.
Cheers!




Friday, September 30, 2011

What I Learned From Anna Karenina

Well, I finally did it. I finished ANNA KARENINA. I started it in late July. Since I read it on my Kindle, I have no idea if that is an acceptable time frame for finishing. If you don't own a Kindle, everything goes by percentages. For example: page 28 would be viewed as 5% or 10% or any other percent based on how long the book is. This is a curse & a blessing. With a typical book, say anything 300 pages or less, my percentage to time left ratio is fairly accurate; however, with a mega novel like ANNA KARENINA--not so much. Once I hit the 98% mark, it still took close to a week to read to the end.
Ackk!
Since this book is considered to be one of the *greats* I'm not going to go through with my typical graded review. I mean really, it's Tolstoy people. What could I possibly have to say about a book written by Tolstoy that would be of any value to anyone? Instead, I will give you my thoughts (those are always interesting, right?) pretending I know nothing of the gravity of the book. Consider me a babe in arms, with no knowledge of literary classics (not much of a stretch), no knowledge of Russian history...or any history beyond what I learned in high school (okay, I admit, this is true), and the attention span of a gnat who just ingested a Starbucks double shot.
Above all, try to keep a sense of humor. To do otherwise will only serve to make you hate me in the worst way.
What I learned from reading Anna Karenina:
1. People talked, wrote, and thought in the longest, most convoluted ways. If Tolstoy wrote (I'm speaking only of sentence structure here) the same book today, his editors would be having fits. I'm talking serious, Grand Mal seizures. I certainly didn't mind the long winded, semi colon filled conversations; but considering the last five Literary Agents I spoke to told me that long, complicated, wordy writing was a no-no...I'm thinking he'd be self published for sure.Of course, this is true of all period writing, since styles change to give an accurate portrayal of current times.
2.Details were mega important. If you like a fully detailed scene from every possible angle, this book will rock your socks off. I like details. I also believe that there is such a thing as over kill. Chapters devoted entirely to harvesting fields in Russia fall into the latter category. I like that type of detail to be a page or two at most. I fell asleep a few times while Levin was pontificating about the role of the peasant in Russian society. I know how terrible that sounds. If you're offended by my lack of cooth, please re-read the above preface to this review, as I will not apologize.
3. If you happened to be  of any wealth or means (and you were a man), your life was AWESOME. In the upper echelon of Russian society, life was one big party. Even the fake rich (Dolly & Stepan) had nurses, cooks, country houses, land...you name it. Work consisted of going to an office where people came to ask you if you would grant them wishes, etc, and every night you would stay out until one or two in the morning. Dinner parties happened every night of the week, as did the opera, and nobody exchanged much cash.
4. Everyone was given at least three names, which were all interchangeable, depending on mood/whims/relationship and the person speaking. I'm sure there is cultural/period/class significance here. No need to explain. I only wish this held true today. I'd love to be known as: Elizabeth Loan, Elisabetta Burkano Manifesto AND Elsie Love...how cool would that be?
5. The rich, in spite of all their wealth, were pretty miserable. AS a reader who would have fallen into the peasant class, I can't help but feeling these people just needed more to do. In other words, if you can spend entire months in 'spiritual crisis' during the 1800's, you needed some good old fashioned real work! BTW, I find this to remain true today. :)
6. Lastly, Anna, Anna, Anna...what can I say? I loved her and I hated her. The scene where she visits Seryhoza on his birthday brought me to tears; but to jump in front of a train for the lost love of a man? No, I cannot accept that.Where does her death leave her son...her daughter? I found myself trying to diagnose her. Was she suffering from PPD? Bipolar disorder? Severe Narcissism? Did she really truly believe her death would teach Vronsky the ultimate lesson?
In the end I decided she was part of Tolstoy's twisted soap opera (the book was originally done in installments. I love this because: a. it tells me that people have always loved scintillating scandalous material and b.even the greats produced in small bites from time to time) unable to fathom life without her one great love.
Not quite the heroine I was looking for. Although I give her bonus points for having the courage to follow her heart.
And that my friends, is my take on ANNA KARENINA.
(free on Amazon.com for kindle)
Have an excellent weekend. Until next time,
Cheers!
 

Friday, September 23, 2011

I'm Shrinking!

That's what I will be saying if any of my hard work & meticulous food logging pays off. So far, I'm exactly the same as I was when I was sitting around with a tub of Ben & Jerry's in hand. With the season of good eating (which starts on Halloween and runs straight through Valentine's Day) just around the corner, I realize I've reached my maximum comfortable girth.
Not good if you live for pumpkin pie, peppermint ice cream, and chocolate martini's.
So, with a little over a month of time left before the Love's Halloween driveway bonfire/smorgasbord, I decided to kick my glutes into high gear with a shake-up of the 'ol fitness routine. Furthermore, since I've put oodles of thought and time (and money...can't forget the greenbacks) into this project, I felt a review of my first two new DVD's was in order. Here we go:
Tracey Mallet, Booty Barre, Total Body Transformation
Grade A
The Booty Barre DVD is a fun, unique, high energy class. It fuses legendary fitness techniques from Pilates, Dance, Calisthenics and yoga. You will streamline, firm, tighten and tone your entire body without adding bulk. Creating balance, posture, body awareness, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance.
The result is a body that looks and moves 10 years younger!
What's the secret behind The Booty Barre?
Fat Burning Interval Training
Deep Toning Isometric Conditioning
Elongating Techniques inherent in Pilates and Dance
Mixed together to create a NEW workout that will change how you exercise forever!
Say goodbye to cellulite and belly fat with The Booty Barre.
For this workout you will need a chair or a ballet barre and a set of 3-5 pound dumbbells
 
This is the original Booty Barre DVD. It is a full 60 minutes of heart pumping, thigh burning, abs screaming exercise. Technically this is a 'strength' workout; but research (cough, cough, looked it up on several sites online) has shown that it is a major calorie burner weighing in around 430 calories for the hour. I've been using this DVD three times a week in conjunction with running sprint intervals two days and walking three others. There are still sections where I have to stop for a few seconds because my legs are crying. I'm also drenched in sweat when I'm finished. The added bonus is that my abs have really taken on some great lines (partially hidden under my belly pouch, but still feeling pretty rock solid) and I can now kick over my head! Wowzers!
@$15.99 (on Amazon.com) or $12.99 on Collage Video...I consider this a workout that pays for itself!
Tracy Anderson Mat Method
Grade B-/C+
Re-engineer your muscular structure, wake up your accessory muscles, pull in your larger muscles, and shift your shape into something you never knew you could achieve! This helpful DVD trains your muscles to work in a different way and shift your approach to fitness. From Tracy Anderson.

As always, please consult your personal physician before beginning any diet or exercise program.

Take a realistic approach: If you work consistently and follow the program, you maximize your results.

This workout is also a full hour. I got this on sale from Mamapedia. Ordered it mid August. It took an entire month for the DVD to arrive; which is *completely* unacceptable. That being said, I will move on to the workout. Tracy Anderson is a dancer with big name devotees, the biggest being Mad(I'm too good for this planet & Hydrangeas) onna & Gwenny I-peed-in-my-pants Paltrow. I'm not a big fan of either, but Madonna has a smoking hot bod in an I'm too old to look like this kind of way. So I thought, why not?
Here's why not:
To look 'teeny tiny' you have do this workout four days a week + an hour of dance cardio six days a week. No running allowed (builds muscle). No jump roping, stepping, eliptical training, swimming, or any other type of exercise that might give you a ripple of muscle anywhere. Oh, and I almost forgot the best part, there's a special diet that's basically 700 calories of mushed up Gerber Baby food that goes with your 'teeny' physique. She doesn't tell you any of that on the DVD...I found it doing some online digging.
Ewwww!
But, I tried it anyway. The workout itself isn't bad. It's great for women who are into pilates/ballet workouts and the unweighted arm section burns like a FutherMucker...no lie. I doubt it will do much except make my shoulders scream in isometric pain. That & the hip flexors...I'm not sure why anyone focuses so much on hip flexors... are they the key to shrinking my a$$? Even with my misgivings, I'm sticking with it for two weeks to see if there is any change in any fat pockets anywhere. After that I'm on to Tracy Effinger's SQUEEZE STRONGER & PHYSIQUE 57 (both of which I will review).
It should be noted that there are tons of women who love her style/strategic methods & an equal amount of women who positively loathe her. I'm in the 'meh' category. She's okay. unless I see some changes soon...then I will revisit this review and bump it up.
Tracy Anderson's DVD's are NOT available on Collage (since she isn't a certified instructor) but you can snatch them up on QVC for anywhere from $99.00 (Total Body Transformation) to $12.00 (Beginner Dance Cardio). Not a bad investment if you're looking to spice up your routine or begin fitness anew.


***Some positive notes for both DVD's***
My abs/core muscles have very quickly become very strong. Better than they've been in years. My posture is better. My flexibility rocks. All good things!

Now, on to some book news!
I opened my inbox this week to find a review request!!! I'm thrilled to check this one out, since it sounds like it will be funny as bananas in pajamas. Even more thrilled because I've managed to finished Anna Karenina...my longest read ever.
Get ready, get set....
A SLOT MACHINE ATE MY MIDLIFE CRISIS, Irene Woodbury is next on my hit list!
Until then, eat your Greek Yogurt and kick like a ballerina.
Cheers!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thank God You're Still Here!

I think we've established that when things get tough, Elsie hides behind the Ben & Jerry's, only taking short breaks to write & sleep.
And lately, things have been TOUGH.
I don't want to bore you with the down & dirty details, but I will say this: when trouble rains down at the Love house, it really is a torrential downpour that requires an ark. If I'm lucky, I will have bailed out the aftermath (with my teaspoon) by October. I'm not holding my breath mind you, just keeping my breathing straw slightly above the water line.
So what have I been doing/reading?
1. Reading
Well, I gave the Count of Monte Cristo one page. I sensed, in those very first lines, that I was in no frame of mind to absorb the material & promptly ditched it for:
ANNA KARENINA
So far, I'm loving it. I'll admit there have been times when talk of Russian agriculture found me skimming a page or two; but for the most part it has been a tale of love, betrayal, friendships & life. There was even a curveball or two I didn't see coming. But--I'm only just past the halfway mark--so I'm not ready for a full review as of yet. I will be. Soon, I promise.

2. Publishing (yes, I'm still pretending I'm a writer)
On another note, ether publishing just picked up SNOW ANGELS! And the very best part is that it is FREE for all you lovely readers out there. It even received one 5star review (thank you, whoever you are). Of course there's a catch: ether is a mobile/Apple download only product (yucky for those who don't iPod, Pad, or Phone). If you'd like the free Apple app, click HERE and please, if you read it...drop me a line & leave a nice review. Every little bit feeds the ego.

3. Doing (By doing, I mean writing)
I've reached that point. SIXTY POUNDS OF SH!T & COUNTING has 50,000 words, all already through one round of editing, and a chapter or two left to write. This is the stage where my mind starts to wander beyond the book I'm currently writing & into other books which have yet to be written. This is very dangerous territory, my friends, as it slows the entire process down to a snail's pace--and that's when I'm *not* dealing with job changes, children on the verge of breakdowns, & other various life altering issues. I took a minor break to write a thriller (POSSESSIONS- 4,000 words yet to be published), spent a month with rewrites, and now I'm onto the finish line....if I can just keep my eye on the prize.
So that's it in a nutshell. Nothing big, new & exciting. Just me, trudging through day by day, hoping to make it to the end. I can't thank you enough for sticking around. If I'd logged in today & found I only had a follower or two left...I don't know what I would have done.
perhaps write a book about a dysfunctional, impulsive writer who is her own worst enemy? Hmmmm...
Cheers!
**Side note** DO NOT read the Amazon.com description...it tells you the ending! GRRRRR. I hate that. I went on to add the link & now I know the end. Pooh. That stinks.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Invisibility Can Be Quite Useful

I've dropped off the planet this summer. I guess it happens every summer, but somehow between the months of September & June I forget, leaving me bewildered the following summer when the exact same phenomenon occurs. 
I keep thinking one day summer will prove to be productive.
Since I did such a wonderful job flaking out of most of my responsibilities, I decided to read a book that discussed one of my favorite stay at home mom powers: invisibility.
The following is my review.
INVISIBLE, Lorena McCourtney
Ivy Malone has a curiosity that sometimes gets her into trouble, and it's only aggravated by her discovery that she can easily escape the public eye. So when vandals romp through the local cemetery, she takes advantage of her newfound anonymity and its unforeseen advantages as she launches her own unofficial investigation.

Despite her oddball humor and unconventional snooping, Ivy soon becomes discouraged by her failure to turn up any solid clues. And after Ivy witnesses something ominous and unexplained, she can't resist putting her investigative powers to work again. Even the authorities' attempts to keep Ivy out of danger and her nosy neighbor's match-making schemes can't slow her down. But will the determination that fuels this persistent, quirky sleuth threaten her very safety?



Cover: A Very eye catching without being overwhelming. This book is the first in the series, and the rest of the covers maintain the same style, giving the series an overall classic consistency. Me likey.
Story: B+ This was another one of my Kindle freebie finds, which fell into the Christian fiction chasm. At the time, I wasn't aware that I was grabbing books all classified by the CF genre; but since I went on a mad downloading spree, I decided to read them anyhow. This one had the added twist of being a mystery.
Of all the CF books I've read, I enjoyed this one the most. Ms. McCourtney writes a clean mystery (no swearing, violence, gratuitous sex) that has a fun, quick witted style/pace. Ivy is a real hoot. Picture a scatterbrained Agatha Christie. Her humor gave me a chuckle or two & the mystery (although I solved it before the end) had some surprising twists and turns. Best of all, Ivy addresses the issue of aging and becoming an 'invisible' part of our oversexed, 'Bay Watch'- brainwashed culture. 
Overall: A-/B+ I would recommend this book...if you don't mind the 'God Speak' to anybody looking for an easy to read mystery. It is best described as 'cute' (and I mean that in a good way). It will give you a laugh or two for sure. As a bonus, the first book gives you a chapter peek into book II, where Ivy is still dealing with the same sinister clan she thought she'd taken down in book I. From what I read, the transition is very smooth. Plus, the books are very reasonable (in eBook format). The first one of the series is FREE for Kindle & the rest are in the $5.00 range.  They are also available in paperback for those late to the game diehards (of which there are many I'm told). 

LUNCH READS:


 LUNCH READS, Vol. 4, E.B. Loan & Ted William Gross


STORIA BOOKS PRESENTS:
LUNCH READS: TWO SHORT MYSTERIOUS STORIES FOR ONLY 99 CENTS

VOLUME 4:

Two mysterious stories that take readers on a journey to the border of fantasy at the junction of imagination and dreams!

In this fourth volume of the Istoria Books LUNCH READS series, readers will encounter a girl frightened by strange events and stranger parents and a Jewish widower grappling with sorrow and longing.

------------

LOOKING GLASS LILLY by E.B. Loan: As birds fall from the sky and fish die in rivers, Lilly’s parents begin to believe the end is near. But whose end? From the first words of this haunting story, E.B. Loan pulls the reader into young Lilly’s fears as she struggles to understand what’s happening.

A POT OF GOLD by Ted William Gross: Moishe, the tailor of Lomza, still grieves for his wife years after her passing. His sorrow blinds him to the needs of his family until his daughter Rachel tells him she would like to marry. Prompted by a dream of riches, he sets off on a journey to Warsaw to find the gold for her dowry, encountering instead an adventure where disaster confronts him.


I don't know who this E.B. Loan chick is, but wow! She is a knock your socks off writer of the highest order...
Okay, fine, she is me. 
I was so darn excited to see my short tucked between the pages of the newest LUNCH READS series that I bought a Kindle copy that I can 'gift' to somebody. The question is, who? 
Could it be you?
I'm giving away one copy of LUNCH READS VOL 4 to the first Kindle (or Kindle app) person who shoots me a message & says they want it.
Great, what's the catch?
All I ask is that the person who receives the book takes a minute or two to review the book. I'd like a written review on Amazon & B&N. I'd ask for SmashWords, but they will only let you review a book they know you've purchased.
Come on people, it is easy! Step one: email. Step two: read. Step three: review.
I only have one copy to give away, so get on it!
(But honestly, the book is only $0.99 in every eReader format, from every venue, so it won't break the back)
Help a sister out!
That's all I have for today. I'll be back next Monday, with another review (God willing).
Cheers! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Stockings, Cellulite, and Everything In Between

Stockings and Cellulite, Debbie Viggiano

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, Cassandra Cherry's life takes a turn for the worse when she stumbles upon husband Stevie lying naked, except for his socks, on a coat-strewn bed with a 45-year-old divorcee called Cynthia. Suddenly single, Cass throws herself into the business of getting over Stevie with gusto. Her main problems now are making her nine-year-old twins happy, juggling a new social life with a return to work and avoiding being arrested by an infuriating policeman who always seems to turn up at the most inopportune moments. Then, just when Cass is least prepared, and much to Stevie's chagrin, she crashes head over heels in love with the last person she'd ever expected. 

 Cover: A The cover is perfect. The color scheme is eye catching without being overwhelming. The white lettering of the title juxtapose to the black stocking/heeled foot is a nice touch. The eye is automatically drawn to the title...which begs you to read the book (if you are at all inclined to pick up lighter women's lit). I wouldn't change a thing.
Story: A+++ The dialogue in this book is some of the most witty material I've crossed since my deceased favorite author, Erma Bombeck. Debbie Viggiano spins a tale of hilarity and hi-jinx that will have you laughing out loud. Believe me, I'm not one to blow smoke, so when I tell you that I laughed out loud--I mean it. There are no boring bits in this book. Page one, when Cassandra walks in on her hubby bouncing a  middle aged, floppy chested, big bottomed neighbor around on his pelvis, is just the tip of the phallic iceberg. 
Overall: A+ I found this book so thoroughly enjoyable that I felt compelled to send Ms. Viggiano an email expressing how absolutely brilliant I found her story. That is a first for me. I have no idea why this book isn't a best seller, because it damn well should be. This book should be up there with every Jennifer Weiner and Emily Griffin listing. It is the bomb-diggety. For a good laugh,  stop by Amazon.com today and order your copy. It is available in both paperback ($13.95) and Kindle ($5.99) formats. Be warned: if you are sipping Chablis, you just might find it coming out your nose!


Newsie Tidbits:
My short story, Looking Glass Lilly, should be out soon! I don't have a date--but I will, I promise. In the meantime, while you're buying your copy of Stockings and Cellulite, search Istoria Books LUNCH READS and see what all the buzz is about. There are three volumes available for download. At a mere $0.99-- you can't go wrong. They are genius. I hope mine is as well recieved as the authors before me...
Lastly but not leastly:
I have a rather large order of CONFESSIONS OF A PTA MAFIA MOM scheduled to arrive at my doorstep August 1st. If you would like to be the proud owner of your own autographed copy, let me know. I'm offering them at a special discounted rate of $12.00 (plus shipping if applicable). It makes a great gift for the lady in your life (and though he'd never admit it, my hubby is enjoying it just as much).
That's all for now folks. Enjoy your weekend.
Cheers!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mistakes With Deadly Consequences

Hello blogger book review fans, long time, no see.
Where, pray tell, have you been? (That's me, pretending to be you)
Well, let's see. First, I was stuck from close to a week without power--and what fun that was, especially after my Kindle went dead, Arghh!--and for a lovely follow up, I am now smack dab in the middle of the Great Midwestern Heatwave of 2011. Three, yep I said three, people in Tennessee have already perished due to mishaps such as not realizing their window unit air conditioners were blowing hot air into their closed up, already insufferable, blazing homes.
At least I have a pool (which coincidentally nobody but me ever uses) to keep cool while I wind my way through Stockings & Cellulite (hilarious).  It's one of the last paper books I bought. After soaking the edges against my wet suit & watching it disintegrate, it will most likely be the last.
At any rate, I'm back, baby, Yeah! So, without further adieu....

1.    Mistakes by A.M. Hayward & L.J. Holder
Mistakes...
Everyone makes them. We are only human.
Some of our mistakes are small... like the times you stay up till 2 am studying for a test that you end up failing because you are too tired to think.
Others are so catastrophic that they change your life.... forever....

Maddison regrets not listening to her parents, not being a 'good girl' and not staying at home like she was supposed to instead of sneaking off with her friends for a Spring Break getaway. How she wishes she could turn back time; then maybe she wouldn't be in the nightmare she is in now. Kidnapped and taken to a different country unaware of where she is or what these men want with her.

Maddy's parents can't help her, in fact they aren't even aware she is in Mexico. Who can save her? Or can she save herself?   

Cover: B It fits the book. Not the type of cover that will reach out & grab you at first glance, but nicely done just the same. 

Story: B+
This book is geared towards adolescents, but I would say older adolescents due to some minor amounts of sexual behavior etc. I never read too much of the preview of a book, since I like to be surprised. In the case of MISTAKES I'm exceptionally glad, because I truly did not have a clue as to the horrible place Maddison would end up. I knew it would be bad. I knew she would be kidnapped--but I kept thinking, "Hello, you stupid teenage girl, have you not heard of Natalie Holloway?" (Which, I really think this story...the disappearance, the circumstances, the company...closely parallels) But guess what? I was wrong. Then again, they never did find Ms. Holloway, did they?
Overall: B This story is a nice solid 'B'. The plot is entertaining. The action rev's up early on and the characters are nicely developed. I really enjoyed the concept of two different authors, in two different places, writing the same story. That has to be tough. After a bit I could detect slight stylistic nuances of each writer. it didn't detract from the book, it was more like a Where's Waldo? game added in.  
Mistakes is the first book in the Mistakes Trilogy. By the end of book one I could easily see the flow into book two, and I daresay a happy ending for Maddison (although as a parent, I can't say I'd approve of certain aspects of certain Knights in Shining Armour). 
Stop by Amazon.com & grab a copy of mistakes for your snotty, know it all teen today. It might make them think twice and avoid unnecessary danger.


2. Do You Know What I love About Jane Austen?
 I am so ashamed; and yet, so very proud. I'm ashamed because up until my power went out on Monday, I'd never ventured into the sweeping fiction of the late, great, Miss Austen. Now, I'm proud, because I read, understood, & loved my very first Austen book. (Pride and Prejudice, the very most commonly read of all the Austen lit's, but still...)
Now, I've never claimed to be a literary genius. On the contrary, I threw Wuthering Heights against the wall, repeatedly, before finally gaining a tiny inkling of what on earth people were saying. I know it's written in English...but really it might as well have been Portuguese. Even when I finally dissected it enough to understand the broad strokes, I failed to see why ANYONE would fall in love with an A$$hole like the extraordinarily bone headed Mr. Heathcliff. If memory serves, Catherine was a piece of work in her own right. I found them to be a well matched couple, where each works to outdo the other to win the Oscar of the self serving miserable bastard awards. It was the last classic I attempted due to the PTSD that comes from reading a page, coming to the bottom, and saying, "What the hell did I just read?" Before going back to the top & starting over...for the fiftieth time.
I expected the same of Austen. Ha! Can you believe that?
So, to answer the question posed at the top:
I love that I can read an Austen book and understand what's going on (from page one). Furthermore, I love that her love story, is a LOVE story. People make mistakes. They have faults greater than the San Andreas fault line; but in the end, they learn something & they are happy. Her morals lessons still ring true today(if this doesn't hold true for the rest of her work, please don't tell me. I downloaded all of it on my Kindle late last night). Lastly, I read a really great article about her inability to memorize the rules of grammar, thereby driving her editor to the brink of insanity.
Yes, all of this points to a woman I would love to have sat next to & had a drink with. I'm a fan, tried & true. Are you?
Next up on my classics list: The Count of Monte Cristo. I hear it's fabulous... 
Cheers!



Thursday, July 7, 2011

I'm Stuck On This One!

Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith

From Publishers Weekly

Smith (Just As I Am) provides all the standard elements of inspirational chick lit in this first installment of the Sister-to-Sister series. Joan has been dumped by her long-term boyfriend, lives at home, has an unexciting job and can't quite figure out what to do with her life, until a single doctor (who is of course terribly good-looking and very serious about his faith) moves in next door. As the title suggests, Joan is the middle daughter and feels dwarfed by her older sister's happy family and her younger sister's beauty and success. She struggles with feeling abandoned by her father and angry that her mother forced him to leave when she was young. She wonders if there's more depth to her faith than she initially thought, and learns more about God from her new doctor friend. And she tries hard to take care of her elderly grandmother to prevent her from being sent to an assisted living home, though that may prove to be the best place for her after all. Naturally, this is the realm of happy endings, and readers won't be disappointed. The sisters are spirited and fun, and if the story takes a while to get going, it soon quickens the pace and entertains. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Description


Joan Sanderson's life is stuck. Her older sister, Allie, is starting a family and her younger sister, Tori, has a budding career. Meanwhile, Joan is living at home with Mom and looking after her aging grandmother. Not exactly a recipe for excitement. That is, until a hunky young doctor moves in next door. Suddenly Joan has a goal--to get a date. But it won't be easy. Pretty Tori flirts relentlessly with him and Joan is sure that she can't compete. But with a little help from God, Allie, and an enormous mutt with bad manners, maybe Joan can find her way out of this rut.
Book 1 of the Sister-to-Sister series, Stuck in the Middle combines budding romance, spiritual searching, and a healthy dose of sibling rivalry.
Cover: A
No matter what your thoughts are pertaining to Christian fiction, you cannot find fault with this cover. I always say, covers are the gateway to the literary amusement park. This book proves it. It is the kind of cover that stops a B&N, coffee slurping, stay-at-home-mom like me to pick it up (or download it, as the case may be). Kudos to the cover artist (who wasn't listed on the Amazon site tsk-tsk).
Story: C+
I'm really not sure how I missed that this book is Christian fiction when I downloaded it. I suspect that in my eagerness to find free books to try, I didn't read the description. I know I tried the sample...which oddly enough does not have one mention of the G man in it. Hmmm, can you say, false advertising? Nah, I'm just joshing ya'. Seriously though, this book goes from a light hearted, fun read, to GOD RULES EVERYTHING (he'll even bring you chocolate ice cream upon request) in a quick turn of the page.
In spite of that, I have to say, it is a nice little book...for those that are not only Christian fiction fans, but those that attend the mega churches (since that is the variety of Christianity this book touts as the right one).  It was far better than the last piece of Christian fiction I reviewed. This book had some actual conflict (always good in books).
Overall C+
If you are looking for serious Christian fiction this will be an A or a B. The rest of us--C. It is free for kindle, so if you've got one you could always give it a whirl...moving on.
I do have some other, very interesting things to report:
1. The 3 Diamond PTA PONZI SCHEME
How cool is it when life imitates art? I could not believe my computer bleary eyeballs when I opened up my Yahoo News & read:
Talk about good luck! Well, I guess if you were swindled by the ladies--who BTW fooled people by claiming that they had negotiated a lifetime contract with Disneyland to become the sole providers of their dairy products (because, let's face it, when you think Disney, you think dairy?)--it really isn't good luck at all, now is it? But for me, this is a clear case of Karma telling me that I'm on the right track.
I offered to donate some of the proceeds from the sales of the book to help the victims. So far, nobody has bitten. Personally, I think it's genius. A book about the PTA being mafia thugs saving the savings of those swindled by the PTA mafia? Yep, there's something there for sure.
2. Istoria Books: LUNCH READS
I had the most wonderful email from the Editor-in-Chief of Istoria Books, telling me that they would like to acquire the digital rights to my short story, LOOKING GLASS LILLY. I'm doing cartwheels over here. Not only is it a story that holds a special place in my dark & twisted heart, it is the first short I have successfully gotten into the reading market(odd considering I have three novels in print). I'm considering it a sign that the Writing Gods do love me, they were just a little busy at the beginning of summer. Stay tuned for my plug/high pressure sales tactics.
3. News Feature?
I received notice tonight that The Lombardian is interested in running a feature article about none other than little old moi. Very exciting stuff if you're a small potatoes gal like myself. Very exciting indeed!
That's all for now folks. Keep reading.
Cheers!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Read, Because We Must Never Forget

The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister

From Publishers Weekly

Russian refugee Bannister (1927–2004) rarely spoke about her brutal experiences under the regimes of Stalin and Hitler, not even to the American she married after the war. In this memoir, she reveals how a privileged childhood in the 1920s and '30s gave way to horror and loss in the 1940s. Although the sound quality of this production is poor (lots of rustling papers), Rebecca Gallagher does reasonably well with the multiple languages and wisely avoids attempting to replicate European accents. What is irritating, however, is the constant interruption in the form of unnecessary editor's notes, which make the narrative choppy and disjointed. More helpful is the seventh disc, which contains an interview with Bannister's husband and son, a precious audio reminiscence from Nonna herself, recorded in 1993, and abundant PDF materials, including maps, photographs and genealogical data. A Tyndale hardcover. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

How this story came to be written is a big part of the drama. The only World War II survivor of her wealthy Russian, devout Christian family, Nonna Lisowskaya came to the U.S. in 1950, married Henry Bannister, and never spoke about her Holocaust ­experience––until a few years before her death in 2004, when she revealed her diaries, originally written in six languages on paper scraps that she had kept in a pillow strapped to her body throughout the war. Now those diaries, in her English translation, tell her story of fleeing Stalinist Russia, not knowing what was waiting in Hitler’s Germany, where she saw her mother murdered in the camps, escaped a massacre of Jews shot into a pit, was nursed by Catholic nuns, and much more. The editors’ commentary in different type constantly interrupts the memoir, but the notes are helpful in explaining history and context. The added-on heavy messages celebrating Nonna’s Christian forgiveness seem intrusive and unnecessary, no matter how heartfelt. --Hazel Rochman --
Cover: A
The cover of this book is an old photograph of Nonna. The material that runs just under her eyes is the material from her childhood pillow. She carried that pillow with her her entire life, tucking in notes and scraps of things she cherished. The way the pillow is placed under her eyes, gives her a look of shock, surprise, I would even go so far as to say horror. It is perfect. Eerie (given the topic). It was the reason I purchased the book.

Story: A++
This story follows the life of Nonna Bannister. Her hand written notes, transcribed into a story, taken after her death to a publisher. Wow. It is amazing. The story itself--gut wrenching. True. Unbearable at times. The history & timeline are unwound and even challenged at times, by the publisher/'author'. I read this book on vacation...in the airport. It was so good, so totally spellbinding, that I could not put it down until the very end.
Even after the war, when Nonna is safe & sound, the story is riveting. Married for over 50 years, she never shared her story with her family. And (even more interesting) her wonderful, loving, amazing husband, never asked. He knew not to press his wife...so he waited patiently. Then, not long before Nonna departs for the great beyond, she shares.

Overall: A+
 The story of Nonna Bannister is not to be missed. As the sole surviving member of her family, she carried a great deal of pain with her throughout her life; but she never let it jade her. She married, raised a family, loved and was loved. This book is an amazing read. A Must Read if you have any interest in Russian History, the Holocaust, or World War II. I openly wept in the airport (I believe I scared a few folks).
Get it.
 
 Right now you can get a copy of The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The untold Story of Nonna Bannister for your Kindle, in paperback, hardcover, or audio edition on Amazon.com
It is a heavy read, but it is worth it! 
P.S. This post would *only* write in italics. Weird, right? I feel like Nonna is here, making sure it gets some extra special attention....Happy 4th of July everyone. Remember those who gave of themselves so we can be free.

Cheers! 
 


Saturday, June 25, 2011

An Interview With An Author

 Interview:

I had the great pleasure of not only reading Ms. Osterkamp's book, but interviewing her as well. I hope you enjoy her candor as much as I did!

1.  Your first book, “Following my Toes,” won the indie book award for best Chick-lit.  Can you describe for the readers how that happened (submission process etc) and how it felt to receive such a prestigious honor on your first run?
I entered the Indie Excellence Awards because they had a category specifically for Chick-lit. Other contests I was competing in general fiction, which is a much broader playing field. The submission process was easy, but they do require print copies of books, and I know that eliminates a lot of quality e-books.
I have to admit I was thrilled to actually win. This was several years ago, and there was more of a stigma attached to being “independently published.” Winning gave me, right or wrong, a credibility that people didn’t attach to me before. A local paper did a story on me, and the library in city where I teach asked me to do a reading. It was a lot of fun.
2.      “Starring in the Movie of My Life,” chronicles the same story from the point of Samantha and Melody, two women in love with the same man. What made you decide to write the book with alternating view points? Was that a first for you?
It was a first, but it never occurred to me to do it any other way. The story always belonged to both Samantha and Melody. Since I love writing in first person, alternating their points of view was only natural. The most exciting chapters to write were the ones where the two of them were together in the same room. I loved observing Samantha through the Melody’s eyes, or vice-versa.
3.       Who is your favorite character? Why? Who is your least? Why?
That’s tough. I know a lot of readers found Melody to be pretty unlikeable, but in a weird way I’m protective of her.  However, I guess Samantha is my favorite because she has such a big heart and potential strength. Of the major characters, I’d have to say Nathan is my least favorite. It’s not his fault, but I don’t think he grows over the course of the story the way the others do.
4.       It seems that writing/publishing is a family affair!  How involved are you with the publishing of your work? Who does your editing?
My mom, Lynn Osterkamp, founded PMI Books. She already had a lot of experience with publishing; years ago one of her books was self-published, and another was published by a major publisher. She sold WAY more of the self-published book. These books were non-fiction, but when she finished her first mystery, Too Near the Edge,  she decided to self-publish because she’d have control and would be able to market her books as much or as little as she wanted. Recently she published her second novel, Too Far Under.
Since I’m her daughter I didn’t have to work too hard to convince her to publish my stuff as well. J Actually, it’s a really great thing that we share. We always read each other’s drafts and give each other feedback on whatever we’re writing, in addition to editing for typos and little mistakes. She has the time/skills to work on stuff like layout and the website, and I’m so grateful, because I’d be lost.
5.       What are you working on now? Any big news on the writing/marketing front?
 I’m slowly working on a novel about a high school girl who gets in with the wrong crowd and winds up being an accomplice to a murder. The story alternates between her high school life, and ten years later when she’s still dealing with the ramifications of what she’s done, and how it affected her, her friends, and her family. It’s about ambition, morality, love… and skiing.
My only big news on the marketing front comes from a few weeks back. Starring in the Movie of My Life was named an award-winning finalist in both the International Book Awards (in both young adult fiction and women’s fiction) and in the Indie Excellence Awards (for chick lit.) I’m really excited!




Starring in the Movie of My Life by Laurel Osterkamp

Samantha married Nathan Linden, who was 10 years her junior, long before
the word "cougar" had a second meaning, and she hasn't regretted it for
a single second. Teenage Melody is attacked by a fellow student at a
school dance. Before she is harmed, her English teacher, Mr. Linden,
appears like the proverbial white knight and saves her. Unfortunately,
Melody becomes so obsessed with Mr. Linden that everything begins to
unravel in the man's life. --RT Book Review Magazine, February 2011


Cover: B
The cover on my page is the current cover. The copy I  received had a very different cover. An empty movie theater, to be exact. I would give that cover a B as well. I hesitate to give a cover a high grade without laying hands (or kindle) on it. But this is clearly B material. I'm not sure why the change occurred. Not sure that it matters, either.
Story: B   
I received a copy of this book many moons ago. Long before I had my grubby little hands on my now, much used Kindle. It was the last paperback I read. Two things about this story caught (and held) my attention. 1. Tense. The book is written in present tense. As a writer, I've been told this is a serious no-no. After reading Ms. Osterkamp's book, I feel compelled to ask the obvious question: why? It is a good story...in any tense. Who died and determined that present tense is passe? Whoever it was, they were WRONG!!!! (So wrong, that I bet if you read it, it didn't even catch your attention) 2. The flipping story line. I like this in a story. When it's done correctly, it keeps the reader engaged at a level that a straight, one person point of view book, cannot.
Overall: B
This is a good book. not your typical 'chick-lit' fluff...whatever that is. It deals with some tough issues, and it throws in some interesting twists. Samantha makes some interesting choices. in some ways, I believe she is more complex than Melody. I had a bit of trouble with Samantha's mother/father/their twisted relationship issues, but that's me.
Right now the Kindle edition is $2.99 & the paperback comes in at under six bucks! Quite a good deal for a solid read. Get your copy today & weigh in on a rising star, before she jets off into the Milky Way.
Cheers! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Click: Because Love is Where You Least Expect it

"Click: An Online Love Story" by Lisa Becker


I tried like hell to get  the cover of this book to post. Unfortunately, Blogger was being a booger. I gave up. I'm posting my review without the cover photo. But remember, I always link...so if it's the cover you want to see--CLICK!

Fast approaching her 30th birthday and finding herself not married, not dating, and without even a prospect or a house full of cats, Renee Greene, the heroine of Click: An Online Love Story, reluctantly joins her best guy pal on a journey to find love online in Los Angeles. The story unfolds through a series of emails between Renee and her best friends (anal-compulsive Mark, the overly-judgmental Ashley and the over-sexed Shelley) as well as the gentlemen suitors she meets online. From the guy who starts every story with "My buddies and I were out drinking one night," to the egotistical "B" celebrity looking for someone to stroke his ego, Renee endures her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates. Fraught with BCC's, FWD's and inadvertent Reply to All's, readers will root for Renee to "click" with the right man. 
Cover: B+
The cover is nice. Clean (you know how I hate fussy covers). The minimalist approach works wonders. It lets you know exactly what the book is about--it even mimics the writing style.More on that later.

Story B
The entire novel is a series of emails between friends (and eventually lovers). When I began reading, I wasn't sure if it was going to sit well with me. Fast forward a few hours to 'The End' and I'd say we have ourselves a winner!
Humor is rampant throughout (the dating website Renee works with is 'Choose Jews'? Totally inappropriate and TOTALLY hilarious. Probably exists...)
Why not an A? Renee is only thirty. Hardly a life crisis....I know more unmarried women over thirty than housefrau's. I know some women feel that clock ticking, but not all. Or maybe, at 40, I look at thirty with envy? 
The real reason I dropped it from an A to a B was *SPOILER ALERT* the big A-HA!moment. I felt that Shelley was much too smart not to connect the name dots or, at the very least, cross-check Ethan's....just to be sure. And Renee feeling more terrible about teasing 'The Cuddler' than knowing he played musical beds with her bestie? Hmmmm, I only hope I could be that selfless (Already knowing there's no way I'd pull that off).

Overall:
This is a really fun book. So good that once I dove in, I had to finish.The kind of story you can pick up and devour in one sitting (poolside at the Hilton optional).The characters are very well developed, the plot is unique & the writing will give you a good old fashioned chuckle. 
Right now, you can grab your copy of Click, on Amazon.com.
Under $4.00 for Kindle & $11.99 for paper (get an e-reader people!).
Snatch it up & have some voyeuristic fun--no hacking required.
That is my last surprise review until after I interview Ms. Laurel Osterkamp. This time, I swear I'm telling the truth.
Cheers!