Berkeley County, South Carolina, USA (843)941-7972 daniellepirok88@gmail.com If you email me or contact me through my Wi-Fi based work #(preferably email or text), I will get back to you A.S.AP.

Free Kindle Books Feature: Pretty Reckless (Addicted Hearts Book 1) by Jane Anthony

Hey guys! I am trying to get back into my bloggy routine and because I am sleep deprived  I love sharing free stuff I wanted to post one of my favorite posts, the Free Kindle Book Feature! Hells to the yeah for free shit and all that good stuff! This book sounds a little freaky-freaky with some depth to it so I’m never going to read it because of my TBR list  it’s going on my TBR for sure! Here’s to free stuff and positivity that my TBR will permit for fun reads soon.  I have been practicing mindfulness and trying to return to true crazy  positive Dani form! I hope  for this! Woot! I hope everyone has a fantabulous day! I love your faces! Over and Out!💖

*Please note that prices can change without notice so please always check the price before purchasing to make sure it says free. 

 


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From best selling author, Jane Anthony, comes a startling look at the harsh reality of love and addiction in this provocative contemporary romance. 

Two years ago, I watched my girlfriend die. 

We chased the high, night and day, searching for that magical fix that would cure the pain. But in the end, the escape she lived for took her from me. 

Now, sober and rebuilding the life I almost destroyed, the last thing I need is another beautiful project dragging me down. Especially a Greek goddess with a sharp tongue and a drinking problem. But hidden inside Katarina’s charcoal gaze is a broken soul crying out for help. Like a true addict, I can’t say no. 

Maybe if I can save her, it will make up for my past. But her salvation could also be my ruin. 

Publication Dates, ARCs and NetGalley ~Do I have to post by publication?~When is the best time to talk turn in our EGalleys?

Hey my fellow book enthusiasts!😍 I hope everyone is having a fantastic day and gets to snuggle up with an awesome read today!

I know it’s a Tuesday and you might be thinking “Not her rambling, I’m too exhausted” but “We got this!” We are bad mama jammas and whatever is going on in your life I’m sprinkling some glitter on you because I am just majestic like that! You guys have seen those cute fat fluffy unicorns that are the trend with their majestic ways. That’s it, that’s me! Well if course to make it more like me it better have a supreme pizza 🍕, an assload of books, and is majorly behind on her reviews but you get the picture!😍 No doubt about it, I’m majestic. Now you may think what does that have to do with NetGalley and my ARCs? Well honestly, not a damn thing. I have issues and I’m very random. I frequently burst out with random rambles but my therapist encouraged me to “let it all hang out on my blog or wherever, balls and all!”. Well… she said just be who you are if they don’t like it that’s okay but just be all of you unapologetically but potato/po-TOT-toe. So that’s me a fat fluffy unicorn who’s going to tell you about ARCs, NetGalley and Publication Dates. I completely understand if you don’t trust my credibility and want to exit my page! It’s all good but the information I am sharing comes from personal experience and publishers that I have asked directly about these sort of things! The publicists professionals asked me not to quote them directly because all publishers are different but they said if anyone has any questions they can message me and I can give you their info for any further questions. I talked to professionals with different questions at Penguin Random House and Kensington Books. I am posting based on the information they provided me. Anything that is a mistake is from my translation and not on the publishers I have asked. The choice is yours but I am going to stop running my mouth and get to the topic at hand.

What is NetGalley?

When I was new to blogging and to NetGalley, I had no idea what I was doing. To be honest I’m some ways I still don’t but to make things better I have lots of Books on it! Anyways I had so many questions about NetGalley what is it first of all and I kept seeing everyone post these “Thank yous” to NetGalley so it had to be something good.

NetGalley is a place where you can get free books but you are expected to give an honest review for said books. Everything is electronic at NetGalley. So you can read on your phone, kindle, other ereaders, tablets, and computers. Unfortunately, they do not directly offer print copies but from my experience when I started NetGalley and turning in EGalleys it opened up a lot of opportunities for me. After five months of having NetGalley, I have publishers write me personal e-mails and offer print copies. I also can get the publishers info and send them requests and they send me print copies by seeing how reliable I am on NetGalley.

For Beginners

  • You can join NetGalley when your blog has just started.
  • You are also able to join NetGalley as a reviewer on Goodreads or another site only. To be honest, you must likely won’t get approved for big titles unless you have shown that you have high credibility, high following or what not though.
  • Even as a new blogger or a Goodreads/other Reviewer you have access to the Read Now copies! There is a large selection of “Read Now” books and there not just unknown or books people haven’t heard of.
  • I would say currently 1/4 of my NetGalley books are from the “Read Now” selection. So it’s a way to get in the front door and get free ebooks. This also gives you the possible opportunity to meet publishers, authors and/or other book related shenanigans.
  • The”Archive Date” is when the publishers take down the title so you are not able to download the title anymore.

  • I choose the Kindle option everytime because I don’t have to worry about the title expiring. I found that when I used an epub or pdf format with Aikido that the title was only available for about 60 days.
  • If you use other formats besides Kindle, I would suggest going back to the title on NetGalley and re-downloading it before the archive date.
  • With kindle format you can have the title in your cloud forever. You can also use Text to Speech! Which I love because it helps me read along with my mild dyslexia and if I need to do something I can play the audio and listen to the TTS while I do daily activities. It’s a very handy thing for people with reading disabilities as well and there is no extra charge like with most audiobooks. The only difference I found is that every once in awhile the digitised voice may say some words funny but overall I love having the kindle format and you can have it on about any device.

  • If you would like to use kindle format on any device you have then you can download it for free here:

Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

For my awesome U.K. friends visit: Amazon Kindle App Download For U.K.

*Anyone who is outside U.S. or U.K. can click on any of the links and select their country because I don’t have accounts yet for other locations yet but you are still awesome and count the same!😊*

I have to tell you guys that if you download the kindle app using my link in the pic it helps me as an amazon affiliate but it costs you zip! So it’s a win-win!

  • I also have to share because I love free stuff that kindle has thousands of free book offers and you can find new ones daily! I have like 800 titles in my library that are free from kindle! Woot! Sorry back to the topic at hand. I get carried away about free stuff. If its free than its for me! Back to NetGalley!
  • Your profile is very important on NetGalley. You would want to list info about you, info about being a professional reader/whatever you do that benefits the reading community (book reviewer, beta reader, media professional, bookseller, educator, librarian and/or associates/assistants)😁📚❤ and your stats.
  • If your stats are low and you are new, you can show off other good qualities you posess like examples of your book reviews, lists of your different social medias and share about your passion of reading.
  • Where it says company name on your profile, do not leave that section blank! For some reason this gets many bloggers turned down! Your company can be your blog name for example mine says: Touch My Spine Book Reviews. I also added the library I volunteer at and the bookstore I work/volunteer at.
  • If you are a part of any associations, it’s very beneficial to add that as well.

There is other questions I have asked publishers here and there over the last two months. The biggest questions that I faced as a newbie and other friends/new bloggers have asked me is..

  • When is the best time to turn in our eGalley review for NetGalley?
  • Do we need to turn our NetGalley reviews in before publication?
  • Is our ratio that important? Will it effect our chance at getting reviews?

So here’s the answers that I received when asking different publishers such as Penguin Random House, Kensington and etc., asking on the NetGalley blog and putting all the information together.

  • When to turn in your review depends on the publisher’s preference. If you go to the publisher’s page on NetGalley, you will see a preference section when you click it sometimes it will say the approval preferences and when they expect reviews to be turned in. Go by those guidelines when possible.
  • If the publisher’s page does not have their preferences listed you can contact them by looking up the company and you would want to go to the publicity contact for that company. It would look like publicity@entangledteen.com as an example.
  • When you cannot and/or do not wish to contact the publisher, from the advice I was given it looks good to post your review around a week or even within the month before the publication date. Anytime before publication or within a week after the publication is the best but if not just do the best you can!😁
  • Publishing companies understand shit happens. Now they didn’t say it like that but a publisher completely knows that sometimes people are not able to review the book or that their review is late. It’s Life and Shit Happens! We all have our lives to live outside of the blogosphere.
  • So try not to stress yourself if you can’t meet publication and your worries about your reviews are piling up. I know, I know easier said than done! I am guilty of stressing about this myself quite frequently but I want you to remember this whole reviewing books and book blogging shenanigans is supposed to be fun! “Don’t stress, you got this!” Remember you are a Book Reviewing Rock Star!❤😁📚🤓💃
  • The preferred ratio for NetGalley is 80%. You want to strive for this ratio but if you are not there don’t fret you can still get good titles at a low percentage. Like I said before, it all depends on the publishers. I have a 60% ratio and I get approved 9 out of 10 times. I’m not saying “screw it, it’s not important”. What I mean is that whatever your ratio may be there is going to be opportunities out there for you. If you don’t want to deal with requests in the beginning, there is always the “Read Now” selection which is pretty darn good at times and I usually can find a few great titles in the “Read Now” section at a given time.😁💯📚

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*Couldn’t help myself, I had to add a sexy lady reading to this post!😂*

My Advice About NetGalley to New Users

  • I know it’s tempting but when you first start out try not to request 30 titles because you are scared you will be denied and are tempted by all the cover porn and opportunity of free books. I know it’s pretty hard to resist. I did this and ended up with 28 books as a new user with publication dates that are not too far away!😨 Many of users have told me they made the same mistake.
  • Try to avoid the addiction of clicking request too much!! I know it’s so hard! I will admit, I am a Netgalley addict and man it can be overwhelming!

  • Try and be mindful of the publishing dates and see what best suits your schedule but don’t worry if it’s too much. As I said earlier, all of us are behind at one point or another and publishers understand we are not perfect.

  • You can turn your reviews into the publisher through NetGalley and then send all your links later when you get the time or when you schedule your reviews to go live. The reason I mention this is I got this advice from the NetGalley blog and found it really helpful. Sometimes we are freaking because the publication date is around the corner and you don’t want to post all your reviews at once. Well, you can post your reviews on NetGalley and come back and edit your feedback to add your links later at a better date for you.
  • Do not stress about the publication dates so much! We can’t be perfect all the time and many authors understand and want there coverage to be spread out. You can always contact them to let them know it will be late if that makes you less stressed!😁
  • What counts the most is regardless if your review is late, early or whenever, is that the review is turned in. I was told that when the publicity contacts are viewi ng your profile they just want to see that you are consistently turning them in.
  • As long as you are reading and turning in your reviews, everything will be fine and handy dandy!
  • You got this and I love seeing everyone’s NetGalley reviews!

Sorry about all that rambling and hope that I made sense! I missed you guys and I am going to try and be more active! This post was mostly done sitting in my drafts and I have been fretting about my reviews so I figured I should post it and take my own advice! I also have to mention as a new member to NetGalley that I wouldn’t have made it through without the help of my bloggy friends Kim and Carrie’s help! They are the bee’s knees and gave me so much support and advice as well!

~Do you have any advice as a veteran user that you would like to add to new NetGalley users or new bloggers who are interested in eARCs? Was this post helpful to any? Do you love NetGalley? Are you interested in joining?

Thanks for reading my post and I look forward to your feedback! I lost someone close to me and have been grieving but I am working on catching up with all my bloggy friends! You guys are the BEST and have missed yoyr faces!

Free E-Book Feature: The Gamble by Kristen Ashley

 

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About the Book

Title: The Gamble (Colorado Mountain, #1)

Author: Kristen Ashley

Genre: RomanceWesternDrama

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*Free e-books are usually only available for a short period of time so

please make sure to check the price before buying*

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Blurb

Nina Sheridan’s on a timeout adventure in the Colorado Mountains. She needs distance from her clueless fiancé, distance to decide whether she wants to spend the rest of her life with a man who doesn’t care enough to learn how she takes her coffee.

Arriving in a blinding snowstorm at the A-Frame she rented, she comes face to face with the most amazing man she’s ever seen. Minutes later, when he kicks her out of his house, she goes head to head with him.

Beyond angry because she’s flown half a world away to start her timeout adventure, not to mention her sinuses hurt, she heads back down the mountain and ends up in a ditch. Unable to extricate herself, she gives up, hopes for rescue and falls asleep in the backseat.

The next morning she wakes up in the amazing man’s bed and she’s sick as a dog.

Holden Maxwell spends days nursing her back to health and then he spends the next two weeks trying to convince her to take her Colorado adventure further, in other words, make it permanent and take a gamble on him.

Nina has a tough time fighting her attraction to Max, especially when it seems all Max’s friends, her mother and stepdad and the whole town want them together and both she and Max get embroiled in the murder of Max’s ex-friend and the town of Gnaw Bone’s most detested resident – a man everyone has motive to kill, especially Max.

About the Author  untitledKristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning….Nothing’s changed.

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Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched). Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.

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*~ARC Book Review: Color Me Murder by Krista Davis~*

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About the Book
Title: Color Me Murder
Author: Krista Davis
Genre: Mystery

Rating Report

5

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Where to Buy It
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Blurb

The book started with this quote:

Sometimes you have to see people as a crayon.

They may not be your favorite color, but

you need them to complete the picture.

-Ritu Ghatourey

By day, Florrie Fox manages Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. By night, she creates her own intricately detailed coloring books for adults, filling the pages with objects that catch her eye. There’s plenty of inspiration in her new apartment—a beautiful carriage house belonging to Professor John Maxwell, Florrie’s boss. He offers the property to Florrie rent-free with one condition—she must move in immediately to prevent his covetous sister and nephew from trying to claim it.

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When the professor’s nephew, Delbert, arrives, he proves just as sketchy as Florrie feared. But the following morning, Delbert has vanished. It’s not until she visits the third floor of the store that Florrie makes a tragic discovery—there’s a trap door in the landing, and a dead Delbert inside. The esteemed Professor Maxwell is an obvious suspect, but Florrie is certain this case isn’t so black and white. Doodling clues, she begins to consider other colorful characters on the scene, all with a motive for murder. With a killer drawing closer, Florrie will need to think outside the lines . . . before death makes his mark again.

Book Review
Wow, what a book! This novel had me hooked from the first few pages with the beautiful descriptions of the beautiful book store, Color Me Read. Of course as a reader, I am drawn to books that involve books and this book was not the exception! When I first received this ARC from Kensington, I was over the moon not only did the story sound captivating but the cover was amazing!!! Not only did it have a beautiful and intricate design wrapped around the cover, you could customize it by coloring it anyway you wanted!!! Woot!

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I fell in love with the characters right away with this book! Florrie was such a relatable character. She loved others to a fault, was bookish, was open-minded and was an animal lover. Her passion and loyalty to her job as manager at Color Me Read, gave Florrie the drive to be a great amateur sleuth. I loved that her knowledge from detecting and figuring out what is what came strictly from her being a bookworm. I always knew reading too many mysteries could benefit me in a adventurous way. I loved Florrie’s interactions with the fellow customers, coworkers and a local homeless man, Jim. She always looked out for everyone else and tried to see the best in them.
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The mystery of this story was well thought out. I thought for sure I had things figured out early on but of course I was wrong. The plot had great descriptions of the settings and the characterizations but still had a steady pace that was perfect for the outline of this story. Overall, this was hands down one of the best cozies I have read in awhile. This book was so much fun but it also had all the details that us bookworms love. I felt like I was in the middle of the book with Florrie and think I enjoyed her adventure and new home way too much! I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good cozy and/or anyone who loves to read books that involve books. I thought it was a very unique take to have Coloring Book Artist/Book Store Manager as our amateur sleuth. This is the first book I have read by Krista Davis but it surely won’t be my last!

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About the Author

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Krista Davis lives and writes in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She resided in Northern Virginia for many years and lived for a time in Old Town, Alexandria.

She really does have a gregarious Ocicat named Mochie who can open cabinets and leap to amazing heights. Her dogs, including a Golden Retriever who isn’t golden and won’t retrieve, consider Krista’s writing career a convenient second job that allows her to be available for her primary job as door opener, canine cuisine chef, and walking assistant.

Krista’s fascination with mysteries was fueled by Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Agatha Christie. Like her protagonist, Sophie Winston, Krista loves to entertain friends and family, but would just as soon leave cleaning to someone else.

ARC Book Review: The Golden Hour by M.K. Graff

I would like to thank the author for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate this opportunity and all views and opinions expressed are my own.

U.S. Amazon Link / U.K. Amazon Link

Click Here to Check out on Goodreads

Rating:

From the award-winning author of the Nora Tierney Mysteries comes her most chilling novel to date, one author Elly Griffiths of the Ruth Galloway Mysteries notes: “Nora Tierney tackles her most complex and catpviating mystery yet.” Nora Tierney can’t shake the feeling she has a stalker. While she’s house hunting in Oxord, her partner, DI Declan Barnes, untagles the murder of an art conservator. When these situations collide, Nora find herself fighting to save her child and the family she’s trying to create.

Ausma Khan, author of Among the Ruins and The Unquiet Dead praises THE GOLDEN HOUR: “One of the best things about Marni Graff’s latest Nora Tierney Mystery is sthe down-to-earth depiction of family life coupled with the tightly paced build of a twisty, time-honored puzzle. A meditation on love, loss and motherhood, THE GOLDEN HOUR blends touchingly real domesticity with tongue-in-cheek humor, as the backdrop to a tale of art theft, germ warfare, and international conspiracy. The reflections of a reprehensivle villain on the shortcomings of the British add just the right note of comedy to these otherwise weighty concerns. Added to this is a wonderful sense of place–Bath, Brighton, and Oxford are vividly rendered and charmingly true to life. Come for the crackling mystery, stay for the steady companionship of debonair detective Declan Barnes and feisty heroine, Nora Tierney, who offers warmth and smarts in equal measure.”

Sarah Ward, author the DC Childs Mysteries, adds,”THE GOLDEN HOUR is a compulsive read with a narrative that both charms and surprises. I love Nora Tierney and can’t wait to see what happens next.”

I LOVED this book! I was a little bit hesitant by reading it because it was fourth in a series but this book can be easily read as a standalone and was highly enjoyable! I loved all the characters and enjoyed the twists! The plot flowed smoothly, descriptive yet fast paced. I loved the English setting and was captivated by the descriptions.

This is the first book that I have read by this author but it surely won’t be the last! I think many would enjoy this mystery! I know I gobbled it up within a few sittings!


Marni Graff is the award-winning author of The Nora Tierney English Mysteries and The Trudy Genova Manhattan Mysteries. Her first novel, THE BLUE VIRGIN, won First Place for British Cozy in the Mystery and Mayhem Awards from Chanticleer Media. Her newest, THE GOLDEN HOUR, takes Nora to Brighton, Cornwall and Bath, where a stalker turns deadly serious in Nora’s life just as her partner investigates the murder or an art conservator. These two threads are interwoven frame the new book, one author Ausma Khan calls “. . . a meditation on love, loss and motherhood, THE GOLDEN HOUR blends touchingly real domesticity with tongue-in-cheek humor, as the backdrop to a tale of art theft, germ warfare, and international conspiracy.”

Set in the UK, Graff’s English series follows an American children’s book writer as she manages to involve herself in police investigations. THE BLUE VIRGIN is set in Oxford, that hallowed mix of town and gown. THE GREEN REMAINS takes Nora to England’s glorious Lake District and also won Best British Cozy from Chanticleer Media. Book 3 in the series, THE SCARLET WENCH, debuted May 2014 is shortlisted for the same award. All three books are in Kindle editions and now on Audible listening books, too. Here’s what Editing Pen and Publishing had to say about the series:

” . . . Graff’s clean, uncluttered style is smooth and polished, and there are no irrelevant details or conversations. . . I loved every page of all three books.”
Read the entire review here
http://www.editingpenandpublishing.com/nora-tierney-series/

Graff debuted the first of The Trudy Genova Manhattan Mysteries in 2016. DEATH UNSCRIPTED follows nurse Trudy Genova, who works as a medical consultant for a NY movie studio. Based on Graff’s favorite nursing job when she lived in NY, Trudy Genova considers herself lucky to have such a great job without emergencies. That is, until the actor whose been annoying her lately suddenly dies in the middle of taping–but not before pointing his finger accusingly at Trudy. This is the book P D James insisted Graff write, and it is dedicated to her.

A native New Yorker now living in rural North Carolina, Graff has written essays, interviews, poetry, and screenplays. She is co-author of WRITING IN A CHANGING WORLD, her writing group’s primer on finding your own critique group and providing useful feedback.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Graff is Managing Editor of the curated hybrid press Bridle Path Press.

You can find more about the author and her works on her WordPress site @ https://auntiemwrites.com/about/

*Mini Book Reviews ~ Quick Reviews So You Can Enjoy More Time Reading*

Yay for bite sized reviews! I always seem to get great feedback from these reviews so wanted to share more and catch up at the same time! Big thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review and all views expressed are my own!

Title: Stiletto Justice

Author: Camryn King

Rating: 5 Stars

Camryn King’s sizzling debut novel delivers an intriguing tale of three resourceful women with a ruthless senator in their sights–and even more explosive ways to take him down . . .

A successful businesswoman who used to live by the rules. A struggling single mother whose best is never good enough. A gorgeous rebel who lost by playing it safe. Each has a man unjustly sentenced to long prison terms by former prosecutor Hammond Grey. They’ve tried every legal remedy to get justice–only to see Hammond climb ever higher up the political ladder and secure himself behind power and privilege. So when Kim, Jayda, and Harley meet by sheer chance, they’ve got no options left. Now it’s time for them to launch Plan B. And they won’t stop at infiltrating Hammond’s elite world and turning all his advantages into tempting traps. Because playing his deepest weakness is the ultimate delicious payback–and the kind of lethal justice they’ll gamble everything to get. . .

Wow, what a fantastic political thriller! This story had great characters, a steady paced plot and a captivating premise that is sure to have readers at the edge of their seats! I LOVED the four strong women in this story and their custom personalities! I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an enticing thriller with lots of suspense!

Title: Love is Love

Author: Michael Genhart

Rating: 5 Stars

It’s love that makes a family

When a boy confides in his friend about bullies saying he doesn’t have a real family, he discovers that his friend’s parents—a mom and a dad—and his two dads are actually very much alike.

Dr. Michael Genhart’s debut story is the perfect resource to gently discuss discrimination with kids. This sweet and straightforward story shows that gay families and straight families and everything in between are all different kinds of normal. What makes a family real is the love that is shared.

A conversation between two kids at school uses real-life examples, like how their parents got married, to show readers that gay is another kind of normal and that same-sex parents are just like other parents when it comes to loving each other and loving their kids.

This was a fantastic book and many can learn from this read. Either children or adults can benefit from this story. As a woman in a diverse family where my children have two dads and two moms, I think books like this are important for us to learn that 'Love is Love'.

Title: Badass Babe Workbook

Author: Julie Van Grol

Rating: 5 Stars

Channel your inner lady badass by harnessing creativity with the Badass Babe Workbook!

This empowering art book highlights the accomplishments and messages of over 100 badass babes with prompts, art activities, and writing exercises that will encourage you to unearth, fuel, and cultivate your own inner superpowers, unleash your creativity, and find your voice.

Get details on trailblazing, badass babes — scientists, artists, athletes, writers, activists, poets, entertainers, and boundary breakers — and you will see how creativity and self-expression combine to energize change in yourself, and in the world. The Badass Babe Workbook is a playground for you to tap into your ideas, find your voice, and be reminded of the difference each of us can make when we are unafraid and assured in what we envision and express.

In these complex, sometimes bewildering times, the Badass Babes Workbook keeps you engaged and connected with phenomenal women. Dig deep into yourself, polish up your gifts, fight injustice, and be your biggest, best, badass self!

This book was completely badass!😍 I LOVED learning more about all the different badass babes of history and felt empowered to set free my own inner badass! Definitely worth the read!

Title: Sketched

Author: E.M. Townsend

Rating: 5 Stars

Fledgling police sketch artist Piper Cooke has always been different.

Gifted with second sight, but cursed with a life of tragedy, she has survived the feral streets of Dixon and has triumphed over her troubled upbringing. Piper faces her biggest challenge yet, however, when her visions compel her to disobey police orders and send her right into the wicked grasp of a madman.

Her life should’ve ended back in the blood soaked suburban basement, but it didn’t. Instead, the brutal trauma that should’ve been the end of her only makes her unique abilities stronger.

Years after her escape, a series of hideous visions force Piper out of hiding and back into the city that almost destroyed her years ago. Plagued by premonitions of doom, she finds herself compelled to track down Dixon’s most twisted serial killer yet.

Follow Piper through a horrifically unsettling labyrinth of family secrets, corruption and the sickening workings of humanity’s darkest minds.

A fantastic crime thriller that is unique and will have you on the edge of your seat! This is definitely a must read! Highly recommended!

Title: Collision Point

Author: Lora Leigh

Rating: 5 Stars

Riordan “Rory” Malone is a force to be reckoned with. A member of the Brute Force Protection Agency and an operative working with the Elite Ops, Rory is the fiercest of warriors and protectors. Honed from the strong Irish stock of their grandfather and sharpened to a razor’s edge, Malone men live for one single purpose: to protect the women who own them, body and soul. From the moment he saw Amara Resnova, he knew she could be that woman.

But Amara, daughter of an alleged notorious crime lord, is a force in her own right. When she betrays her father, she’s finds herself in the arms of a man who is dangerous for her body and soul.

Can Rory keep Amara safe while protecting his own heart? Can Amara trust Rory not to break hers even as the danger mounts, threatening to take them and their passion to a breaking point?

This was a fantastic romantic suspense that had me turning pages throughout the whole night as fast as I could! Great plot and loved the characters! Highly recommended!

Title: Prelude to Change

Author: George Van Giesen, Jr. M.D.

Rating: 4 Stars

IT IS NOT OFTEN that the right circumstances, the right people and the right place all line up with the right vision to bring about change for good. We already know that in the 1960s good and strong people stood up for a vision of a country without the boundaries of segregation, for the vision of a country of freedom for every class of citizen, but what we sometimes fail to see is the ripple effect of such a just cause, a society bound together by change and the desire for the opportunities of change.

In 1963 a young Dr. George Van Giesen returned to the segregationist state of his birth, Georgia, to start his new practice in renal medicine. His clients were both black and white, often poor, but after the momentous enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 his first act was creating a colorblind office, a necessary act that established a pattern of service to his community and his patients.

Prelude to Change amply illustrates that Dr. Van Giesen is a generous man, facilitating, at least for that time, cutting-edge and practical treatment for those with chronic renal (kidney) failure.

Prelude to Change also shows that when the right man, the right opportunity, and the right environment align for transformation, anything is possible. In this heart-warming memoir his patients stories are proof that the heart, as much as the mind, is necessary for success.

This was a very interesting book that caught my attention because of my partner currently battling Stage 2 kidney failure. It's been hard dealing with understanding her health issues on top of battling my own disabilities but this book helped me understand more about the ins and outs. I appreciate the opportunity to read this book.

Title: Fat Girl On A Plane

Author: Kelly Devos

Rating: 1.5 Stars

Don’t miss this unforgettable debut novel, told in two timelines, about smart fashion, pursuing your dreams, and loving yourself!

FAT.

High school senior Cookie Vonn’s post-graduation dreams include getting out of Phoenix, attending Parsons and becoming the next great fashion designer. But in the world of fashion, being fat is a cardinal sin. It doesn’t help that she’s constantly compared to her supermodel mother—and named after a dessert.

Thanks to her job at a fashion blog, Cookie scores a trip to New York to pitch her portfolio and appeal for a scholarship, but her plans are put on standby when she’s declared too fat too fly. Forced to turn to her BFF for cash, Cookie buys a second seat on the plane. She arrives in the city to find that she’s been replaced by the boss’s daughter, a girl who’s everything she’s not—ultrathin and superrich. Bowing to society’s pressure, she vows to lose weight, get out of the friend zone with her crush, and put her life on track.

SKINNY.

Cookie expected sunshine and rainbows, but nothing about her new life is turning out like she planned. When the fashion designer of the moment offers her what she’s always wanted—an opportunity to live and study in New York—she finds herself in a world full of people more interested in putting women down than dressing them up. Her designs make waves, but her real dream of creating great clothes for people of all sizes seems to grow more distant by the day.

Will she realize that she’s always had the power to make her own dreams come true?

I'm sorry but this book was just not for me at all. There was constant switching back and forth of timelines that just made me super confused at times and had a hard time following. I also expected this book to be different and made me a bit uncomfortable about my weight and myself reading this book so just knew it wasn't for me but I really appreciate this opportunity.

Title: Got Mine

Author: Nicole Loufas

Rating: 5 Stars

When his precocious daughter is accepted into a hipster private school – Theodore Sway sacrifices his ego, his morals, and his body hair so Lulu isn’t damned to a life of ramen noodles and broken dreams.

Theo takes a job at Trance; the city’s only women’s club, and soon becomes its star attraction. That still isn’t enough to pay his daughter’s tuition and the ever-rising cost of his San Francisco neighborhood. With the help of Rico, a fellow entertainer and part-time pimp; Theo earns extra cash through a series of hilarious side jobs.

Soon, Theo’s sexy stage persona becomes a liability and threatens his role as the world’s okayest dad.

This was a super cute and fun book!😍📚 I really enjoyed the characters and the premise of this sweet and fun novel! If you are looking for something fun and different, look no further! This is a book that shouldn't be missed!

Title: The Wrong Sister

Author: T. E. Woods

Rating: 4 Stars

Sometimes a perfect stranger . . .
From behind the wheel of her car, Tess Kincaid glimpses a woman walking down a Madison, Wisconsin, street. They’ve never met, but Tess senses an undeniable familiarity about her. Hair color, square chin, wide-set blue eyes . . . Tess sees the same features every time she looks in the mirror.

Is neither of those things.
Intrigued, Tess introduces herself and discovers that she and her doppelganger, Mimi, have more than appearance in common. They even share the same birthday. Mimi—confident and outgoing where Tess is understated and shy—is convinced they’re twins, separated shortly after birth. Tess, who’s felt unloved and unmoored since her mother disappeared years ago, only knows that there’s more than coincidence at play. And when a body is discovered in a local marsh, Tess is entangled in a search for the truth that will prove fascinating, disconcerting, and ultimately terrifying . . .

Wow, this was a highly enjoyable psychological that is sure to have readers on the edge of their seats! I really enjoyed how this book switched scenes and the timelines. It left you guessing and urged you to read faster! The characterisation was fantastic and the plot was fast and steady at the same time. This was a great book in so many ways. The only reason that I am not giving it a full five stars is because I figured out the big twist very early on.

*~Book Spotlight: Color Me Murder by Krista Davis~*

Hey guys! I have missed you these last few days! I am going to be trying to catch up with everything and everybody because I miss all of your lovely face! I hated being away from the blogoshpere while being with my family at the hospital but things have stabalized finally and I am able to start catching up with everyone’s post and all my reviews within the next few days. But enough about me!! I want to show off my current read that is so AWESOME and today is the book’s birthday! Yay! I want to give lots of thanks to Kensington Books to providing me with an ARC of this book! I get to color and read it! Two of my faves wrapped in one! So I will get to the best part, let’s hear about this book!

Title: Color Me Murder (A Pen & Ink Mystery Novel #1)

Author: Krista Davis

Publisher: Kensington Books

Page Count: 281 Pages

Publication Date: TODAY!!! 2/27/2018

Order Links: U.S. Amazon Link / U.K. Amazon Link / Barnes & Noble / Indie Bound

Goodreads: Click Here To Check Out on Goodreads

Includes A Front and Back Cover for You to Color!
Download the PDF and start coloring today.

By day, Florrie Fox manages Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. By night, she creates her own intricately detailed coloring books for adults, filling the pages with objects that catch her eye. There’s plenty of inspiration in her new apartment—a beautiful carriage house belonging to Professor John Maxwell, Florrie’s boss. He offers the property to Florrie rent-free with one condition—she must move in immediately to prevent his covetous sister and nephew from trying to claim it.

When the professor’s nephew, Delbert, arrives, he proves just as sketchy as Florrie feared. But the following morning, Delbert has vanished. It’s not until she visits the third floor of the store that Florrie makes a tragic discovery—there’s a trap door in the landing, and a dead Delbert inside. The esteemed Professor Maxwell is an obvious suspect, but Florrie is certain this case isn’t so black and white. Doodling clues, she begins to consider other colorful characters on the scene, all with a motive for murder. With a killer drawing closer, Florrie will need to think outside the lines . . . before death makes his mark again.

Krista Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of the Domestic Diva Mysteries and the Paws & Claws Mysteries. Several of her books have been nominated for the Agatha Award. Krista lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with two cats and a brood of dogs. Her friends and family complain about being guinea pigs for her recipes, but she notices they keep coming back for more. Please visit her at kristadavis.com.

*~Book Review: The Library Jumpers Series by Brenda Drake~5+++ Stars!~*

I want to give a huge thank you to Entangled Teen and Brenda Drake for providing me with copies of The Library Jumper Series in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate this opportunity and all views and opinions expressed are my own.

Rating:

Thief of Lies / Guardian of Secrets / Assassin of Truths

U.S. Amazon Link / U.K. Amazon Link

From Book 1: A New York Times Bestseller

Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels-magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books-rescue them from a demonic hound.

Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik’s world and her own, before both are destroyed.

OMG!!!! I can’t believe this series is over!!! I am fangirling so bad right now! I just want to re-read this series over and over! This series has helped pull me out of a depressipn and brought me to a fantasy world that was beyond my wildest dreams!

This is a MUST READ! Going on these journeys with Gia and all the other amazing characters was indescribable!

I fell in love with every single character and was invested in them all. I loved seeing Gia grow and loved how strong she became.

I don’t care that there was a love triangle, I loved it! This series was hands down perfect for me and one of my all time faves!💙💙💙 I even have my book club ladies reading the first in the series because I wouldn’t stop fangirling!!! Oh and Bastien is my fiction husband! Swoony, Swoon, Swoon!!!

Brenda Drake orchestrated a perfect trilogy that is sure to capture any YA book lover’s heart! I know I won’t EVER forget this trilogy! The plots of each story were at the perfect pace, fast but fantastically descriptive. There were also beautiful and remarkable settings!!!

I mean you can jump to a different mystical/fantasy world through a book in some of the most beautiful libraries throughout the whole world!!! I mean it’s a book lover’s dream! I am over the moon that Entangled Teen sent me this whole series and I couldn’t get enough of it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

In Assassin of Truths(the just released book), my heart was put on a rollercoaster ride and I turned pages at the speed of lightening.

I cried, I smiled, I was on the edge of my seat from the suspense and was devastated it was over! I can’t say it enough that this series is highly recommended and is beyond amazing! Brenda Drake, thank you so much for creating this YA/Fantasy Masterpiece! I will follow you anywhere and want to read all of your work!!!!❤❤❤

Brenda Drake grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

*~Book Review: No Sad Songs by Frank Morelli~*

I want to thank the author for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate this opportunity and all views and opinions expressed are my own.

Rating:

To View or Buy via Amazon Click Here

To Check Out on Goodreads Click Here

Following a family tragedy, 18-year-old Gabe LoScuda suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather. Between the shopping trips and the doctor visits with Grandpa, Gabe and his friend John try to salvage their senior year, meet girls, and make the varsity baseball team. It doesn’t take long for Gabe to realize that going to school and looking after a grandfather with Alzheimer’s is more work than he ever imagined. And when long-lost Uncle Nick appears on the scene, Gabe soon finds that living with Nick and Grandpa is like babysitting two grown men. Aside from John, the only person who truly understands Gabe is Sofia, a punk-rocking rebel he meets at the veteran’s hospital. When these three unlikely friends are faced with a serious dilemma, will they do what it takes to save Grandpa? If there’s a chance of preserving the final shreds of Grandpa’s dignity, Gabe may have to make the most gut-wrenching decision of his life—and there’s no way out.

What a freakin’ fantastic book! When Mr. Morelli contacted me about “No Sad Songs”, I was going to start taking a break from author requests to help myself catch up and what not. Well, I read the synopsis and saw the book cover and was SOLD!

From the very beginning, I was sucked into the story and so invested in Gabe. He made me laugh and my heart wrenched for him at the same time. I enjoyed seeing him grow as the story was told. I LOVED all the characters in this story including Grandpa! He was a bit wild at times…

Okay maybe not that kind of wild but he was something else!😘 As a caretaker of someone that I love and see the person that they were diminish because of a severe traumatic brain injury, I could relate in many ways to Gabe. I know every single day is a battle and so hard to see someone you love forget what happened five minutes ago and not be able to remember the past you shared. Different illness, same battle.

Reading this story, you can really see how connected the author was to this book and how much he invested in this story with the fantastic descriptions and real emotions. Mr. Morelli wove the perfect blend of emotions and reality to create a remarkable tale that I won’t soon forget. Also I have to add that I loved Sofia!😍🤘 Of course, I would adore an awesome punk rocker chick!😊

I’m so glad that I read this story and I highly recommend putting this one on your TBR!😄📚❤

Frank Morelli and I did an interview and you can find it here. I used one of his answers to tell you a little about him.

ABOUT:

I’m from the Philadelphia area originally, but now I live just outside of Greensboro, NC with my best friend/partner in crime/chief critic, Alexandra, and our crazy gang of cats and dogs. We don’t have any children, but we’re passionate about rescuing animals, so the second we bought a house with a big, wooded backyard we adopted lots of pets. At the moment, we have two doggies (Stan and Brooklyn) and two cats (Jackie and Henry Aaron). Both of us are massive baseball fans, so we named our buddies after some of our favorite players and baseball towns. We spend the vast majority of our time reading, writing, editing, and cooking.

https://frankmorelliwrites.com/about/

*~Book Review: Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney~*

I would like to thank the author for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate this opportunity and all views and opinions expressed are my own.

U.S. Amazon Link / U.K. Amazon Link

Rating:

Click Here to Check out on Goodreads

The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.

Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death.

We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Through various scenes and memories across a six-month period, you’ll get to know everyone, learning how and why they made certain decisions. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family where the flair for over-the-top drama pushes everyone to their limits.

You can see sample chapters and descriptions at: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Wow, what an extravagant book! I was initially drawn to this novel because I loved reading Jay’s reviews and other writings on his blog. His blog was one of the very first that I had followed and I highly enjoyed his his daily updates. Now, that has no bearings on my review if I don’t enjoy a book from a fellow blogger, I simply let them know and don’t waste either of our time posting. What sealed the deal for reading this story was the incredible cover, synopsis, and many other glowing recommendations. Starting this book I had no idea how invested I would become in the characters and how incredible and well written this story would be.

Watching Glass Shatter was everything I was craving in a story plus more, all wrapped up in one book! The plot flowed smoothly. It was complex and brilliant. Mr. Cudney created unique characters that I fell in love with and orchestrated a perfect blend of humor, tragedy and realistic features.

Now when I say I cried, I don’t mean a little teary eyed. I mean the ugly cry, that I went through a whole box of tissues kind of cry.😭 Was it worth the ugly cry? Heck yes it was! Will I be reading this novel again and recommend it to everyone I can? Hell to the yeah! Thank you Jay for quite the experience and for creating such a remarkable family drama! Congrats on your book and this will surely be a story that I won’t soon forget!

Author
Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels and suspense thrillers. I think of characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

You can learn more about the author @ https://jamesjcudney.com/about-the-author/

*~Book Review: 17th Suspect(Women’s Murder Club Series #17)

I would like to thank Random House and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate this opportunity and all views expressed are my own.

U.S. Amazon Link / U.K. Amazon Link

Goodreads Link, Click Here!

Rating:

A series of shootings exposes San Francisco to a methodical yet unpredictable killer, and a reluctant woman decides to put her trust in Sergeant Lindsay Boxer. The confidential informant’s tip leads Lindsay to disturbing conclusions, including that something has gone horribly wrong inside the police department itself.

The hunt for the killer lures Lindsay out of her jurisdiction, and gets inside Lindsay in dangerous ways. She suffers unsettling medical symptoms, and her friends and confidantes in the Women’s Murder Club warn Lindsay against taking the crimes too much to heart. With lives at stake, the detective can’t help but follow the case into ever more terrifying terrain.

A decorated officer, loving wife, devoted mother, and loyal friend, Lindsay’s unwavering integrity has never failed her. But now she is confronting a killer who is determined to undermine it all.

Wow, did I just go on an all night emotional rollercoaster or what?! I am so thankful that I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review! I am in total fangirl status right now! The Women’s Murder Club Series is the series that rekindled my LOVE for reading. I was slumping around the house and binging on Netflix 24/7 because of some new chronic illnesses. I was just in a total fog and numbed out completely. I got a recommendation from a friend about this series and decided why not try it? I purchased First to Die by James Patterson and fell head over heels in LOVE with these characters. I LOVED everything about the book and read it within a day and proceeded to read all of the series within a month. I still recall all the details of every book in the series and that’s when you know a book series is one that you absolutely adore!

Well rest assured fans that Patterson and Paetro blew this latest installment out of the water! The characterisation was amazing! I mean, what’s not to love about 4 strong and independent leading ladies with their own awesome and custom personalities?

This particular Women’s Murder Club book was more special than it’s been in years. There is some big game changers in this installment. This novel is focused primarily on Lindsay and Yuki’s current situations. As the reader, you get to experience an insane and cringeworthy courtroom case with Yuki and a twisty serial killer case with Lindsay. I enjoyed racing through this novel with not only their intense cases but their intense life experiences! I did not see any of the many twists coming and can’t wait for the next installment! If you have read any of these novels, the latest Women’s Murder Club installment is not to be missed!!!

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author, best known for his many enduring fictional characters and series, including Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, Michael Bennett, Maximum Ride, Middle School, I Funny, and Jacky Ha-Ha. Patterson’s writing career is characterized by a single mission: to prove to everyone, from children to adults, that there is no such thing as a person who “doesn’t like to read,” only people who haven’t found the right book. He’s given over a million books to schoolkids and over forty million dollars to support education, and endowed over five thousand college scholarships for teachers. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family. Learn more at jamespatterson.com.

Maxine Paetro is an American author who has been published since 1979. Paetro has collaborated with best-selling author James Patterson on the Women’s Murder Club novel series and standalone novels.

*Interview With Frank Morelli ~Author of No Sad Songs*

Hello lovelies! I hope everyone is having a fantabulous weekend! Today I wanted to share an interview with you with an author that I became to admire, Frank Morelli. I am currently reading his novel, No Sad Songs, and I am totally fangirling over it! Not only do I love Frank’s writing style, Frank is an interesting and good person. He is always ready to take the extra step for his readers and be more involved in whatever way he can. Frank can also be found on his WordPress site @ https://frankmorelliwrites.com I loved the results of this interview and I hope you enjoy learning more about him and his upcoming novel, No Sad Songs. I will start with the synopsis of No Sad Songs and then we will get to learning more about the author behind the book!😍

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgFollowing a family tragedy, eighteen-year-old Gabe LoScuda suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather.

Between the shopping trips and the doctor visits with Grandpa, Gabe and his friend John try to salvage their senior year, meet girls, and make the varsity baseball team.

It doesn’t take long for Gabe to realize that going to school and looking after a grandfather with Alzheimer’s is more work than he ever imagined. And when long-lost Uncle Nick appears on the scene, Gabe soon finds that living with Nick and Grandpa is like babysitting two grown men.

Aside from John, the only person who truly understands Gabe is Sofia, a punk-rocking rebel he meets at the veteran’s hospital.When these three unlikely friends are faced with a serious dilemma, will they do what it takes to save Grandpa?

If there’s a chance of preserving the final shreds of Grandpa’s dignity, Gabe may have to make the most gut-wrenching decision of his life—and there’s no way out.

Available February 20Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgPre-order Today!

Add on Goodreads No Sad Songs

 Frank Morelli, Author of No Sad Songs

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m from the Philadelphia area originally, but now I live just outside of Greensboro, NC with my best friend/partner in crime/chief critic, Alexandra, and our crazy gang of cats and dogs. We don’t have any children, but we’re passionate about rescuing animals, so the second we bought a house with a big, wooded backyard we adopted lots of pets. At the moment, we have two doggies (Stan and Brooklyn) and two cats (Jackie and Henry Aaron). Both of us are massive baseball fans, so we named our buddies after some of our favorite players and baseball towns. We spend the vast majority of our time reading, writing, editing, and cooking.    

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

No Sad Songs is the story of Gabe LoScuda, a high school senior who loses his parents and is forced to take on the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather, an Alzheimer’s patient. The story is definitely close to my heart because I wrote it as a way to exorcise the demons of watching my own father take care of my grandfather when I was a teen. To this day, I wrestle with the question: did I do enough to help my father? It’s the exact kind of conflict Gabe battles throughout the book, as we watch him struggle to be a student, a caretaker, an adult and a kid all at the same time. No Sad Songs a story about our innate sense of duty that, as humans, we often allow to override the very essence of our lives…even when it becomes clear that our help is no longer making a dent.  It’s a feeling that Alzheimer’s caretakers deal with everyday. And there are over 15 million of them–family members of the afflicted–right now in this country as I write this line. 

What do you do when you are not writing?

I’m a naturally active person and writing is one of the most sedentary professions on the planet, so I try to spend my off time doing things that involve exercise. Writing is also a solitary act and it makes me miss being part of a team. My solution has been to never stop playing the sports I love. On teams. With old guys. My knees and my back are not fans of this strategy, but if I lather up with enough Tiger Balm I’m good for a few games of ice hockey a week at the local rink. Believe me, all the bumps and bruises are worth it when you find something that prevents you from ever forgetting what it feels like to be a kid.

Do you have a day job as well?

I’m a teacher by day and a writer in the early morning and late at night. Like the vast majority of writers, I find the balancing act of work life and writing life to be a constant struggle. There’s not much time for sleep. That said, I’ve been teaching for fifteen years and I wouldn’t trade a day of it for anything in the world. Teaching and coaching middle and high school aged students is part of what I was put on this planet to do, and my experiences in the classroom are exactly what allowed me to see how my writing style and my mindset are best suited for communicating with a young adult audience. On top of all that, I learn from my students on a daily basis. They see through the nonsense adults often get mired in. They understand truth, justice, and balance. I firmly believe today’s brand of teenager is what has made the young adult book market so influential in recent years. They are discerning and smart, and I feel honored when I can use my experience to help them avoid the obstacles that may lie in their paths.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I didn’t really know it at the time, but I probably started writing when I was about seven or eight years old. That’s when I became annoyed at the limitations of the original Nintendo Game System and decided it was my duty to rewrite the book on just about every video game ever invented. As far as I know, none of my game ideas ever made it to prime time, most likely because I squirreled them away and never showed them to anyone besides my younger brother. I also wrote some really terrible poetry in high school. But it wasn’t until college that I started treating writing more like a career choice. I got into journalism and wrote sports stories for various local newspapers, and then I moved to New York City to chase a job in publishing. But sitting in a cubicle wasn’t my idea of the writing life, so I became a NYC Public School teacher and began spending my summers writing for about ten hours a day. For fifteen years! I spent most of my time writing short stories, flash fiction and essays. I finally took the plunge into writing novels about five years ago. No Sad Songs took about two years start to finish. 

How did you choose the genre you write in? Where do you get your ideas?

I wouldn’t say I chose the genre I write in. It definitely chose me. I spent a long time spinning my wheels and writing across many different genres, until it finally dawned on me: why don’t I take what I do in the classroom and translate it into what I do on the page? The first chapter of No Sad Songs is literally the first piece of young adult fiction I’ve ever written. It’s not a long chapter. Only a few pages. But as soon as I wrote the last word of the first draft of that very first chapter, I just knew. Falling into my niche and finding that focus has made all the difference. As far as where I get my ideas, I think most writers would agree that you need to write what you know. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write an autobiography. It just means your personal experiences need to bleed out on the page and dictate the directions you plan to take your characters. It’s the only way to create reality within a fantasy. 

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Not anymore, but that’s only because I stopped believing in the concept of writer’s block. When you get to the point where you have deadlines to meet, whether self-imposed or thrust upon you by an editor, there’s really no time for writer’s block. You can’t sit around sipping drinks and waiting for inspiration if you ever want to finish something as complicated as a novel. You have to sit down in the chair everyday and write, even when it feels like all you’re doing is splattering gibberish on the page. Some of my best writing has come in these moments, and it makes you realize writer’s block only happens when you’re fighting against yourself. When this happens in a baseball game, a coach would tell his hitter, “You’re gripping the bat too hard.” When it happens to a writer, the writer has become the hitter and the coach.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

When I first started writing short stories I was so against the idea of planning a story ahead of time. It was like a cardinal sin to me. It was also an example of short-sighting thinking. You might be able to write something short without a road map, but if you’re trying to write a novel you better know your final destination and every point in between. My pre-planning process has become increasingly more complicated over the years. I probably spend about two months creating and refining my characters, charting plot points, building believable settings, and doing miscellaneous research before I ever write the first word in chapter one. I create a master outline for the novel ahead of time and then break that down into smaller outlines for each individual chapter as I get to them. With that said, I try to keep my outlines basic so I’m not overly locked into anything and I still have freedom to create on the page. It seems to work for me, but I’m continually trying to refine my process and make it work better.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? What inspired you to become an author?

J.D. Salinger’s A Catcher in the Rye and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird are the books that made me fall in love with reading when I was growing up. I didn’t know why at the time, but I’m now sure it’s because of the unique and authentic narrative voices created by both authors. I love voice. If I can hear a narrator’s voice in my head long after putting the book down, I’m basically in love. I think the voices of Holden Caulfield and Scout Finch play on a loop in the heads of many young adult authors. Certainly mine. The desire to be able to create a voice like one of these was definitely one of the things that inspired me to become an author, but there are so many others. I guess they all boil down to one thing: I love the idea of creating worlds that presumably go on without us between the covers of a book.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Getting a book published is not easy. The competition is insane and the chances for rejection are plentiful. I lost count of how many times I’ve been rejected by agents, publishers, or editors. If you want to write, you have to learn to live with rejection. But it never gets easier to accept a rejection. To me, that’s the hardest part of getting anything published, whether it be a piece of flash fiction, an essay, or a two-thousand page novel. If you’re able to continue believing in your work and push on to the next submission, you’ll find the right person who will champion your book. Jon Wilson at Fish Out of Water Books was that person for me and I’m so thankful we found each other.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

I wouldn’t change a thing about the book. No Sad Songs, as it stands, is exactly what I set out to write and I believe in it. I’m proud of what I created. The only thing I’d change is that I’d go into the process with a better awareness of the business side of things. Making blurb requests and seeking out press opportunities and finding reviews…these are not easy things to do. They consume time and they stop you from creating new work. But they’re essential if you ever want readers out there to know your book exists. Anticipating these steps on my next go around will definitely help me to find a better balance and build more buzz before the release date.  

How do you market your work?

Social media is a major tool, but I also try to keep my name visible in as many venues as possible. I continue to write short stories for publications like The Saturday Evening Post and I contribute a monthly column to Change Seven Magazine. Fish Out of Water Books also helps me to secure reviews and press in newspapers, blogs and other publications. I also have a bunch of public appearances coming up over the next few months. There’s really no better way to connect with your audience than by reading your work to them in a live setting. You can find a listing of my upcoming events here.

What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

I think young adult literature thrives on the examination of current social issues. Whether a story is set in a present-day high school or in some far-away galaxy, I think a novel written for young adults must still focus on the issues that affect our youth in the current time. That’s one of the reasons why I felt it was important to write No Sad Songs, because Alzheimer’s isn’t just a disease that affects the old. It affects all of us.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

A few years ago I abandoned a horror novel that took place in a real ghost town in Pennsylvania. The town of Centralia was a coal mining boom town that was officially evacuated back in the late 1980s after a mine fire had been raging under it for almost thirty years. The place is still on fire as we speak. I went to college not too far from the town and it fascinated me, so I tried to build a story around it, but I could never pull the threads together enough to gain any interest. It’s definitely a story that haunts me a little. I have a feeling I haven’t seen the last of it.  

What is your favorite book? I know this is always a difficult question!

This is an easy one for me. It’s Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Hands down. Atticus Finch is possibly my favorite character in all of literature.

Thanks for checking out my interview with Frank Morelli! Please leave your thoughts and comments!😍 Love ya guys!

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