Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
It spotlights upcoming releases of books that are eagerly anticipated.
I'm eagerly awaiting the release of ENDLESSLY (Paranormalcy #3) by Kiersten White

The third book in the Paranormalcy trilogy.

The final chapter of Evie's adventures. Old friends, new ones, all wrapped up in impossible decisions. And some ball gowns. Because what's a life of normal and paranormal drama without a ball gown or two?
Hands down, one of the funnest paranormal series I've read.  I love Evie and her sarcastic, easy-loving ways.  And her boyfriend, Lend, is so awesome, he could have a series all his own.  Hey!  There's an idea!  ENDLESSLY is due to be released July 24.  So. Far. Away!  I love the colors and photos used for the covers of each book in the trilogy.  Aren't they gorgeous??
What's YOUR "waiting on" pick this week?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review of The Petorik Thesis and Tales of The Global West

The Petorik Thesis and Tales of The Global West  by W. Jack Savage
Genre: Fiction
A collection of short stories, some of which can be found online in ezines. The Cynic online magazine is featuring both stories "Tupperware' and "The Dog Across the Street." The View From Here is featuring "The Suits and the Killer." All three are from The Petorick Thesis and Tales of the Global West.   

 Stories included in this collection:
  • Yellow Food
  • Sally's
  • The Story of Baggs House
  • Arnie's Bagman
  • Howie and Katherine
  • She Cleaned
  • The Dog Across the Street
  • Christmas at Fort Leonard Wood (an excerpt from The Children Shall Be Blameless)
  • The Witness
  • 'Tupperware'
  • The Global Citizen
  • The Suits and the Killer
  • The Awards
  • The Ticket
  • The Petorik Thesis
My Review:  3/5
I need to start off by saying, I feel so conflicted in writing this review.  I feel as though I might be cheating it an extra point due to some offenses that might not be an issue at all, to a great deal of the population.  But, my thoughts, my feelings and my opinion are all I have to offer.

The short stories in this collection range from mystery and suspense to heart-warming and touching.  They were intriguing, thought-provoking, diverse and some even poignant.  There are twists and turns and mysteries to be solved in several.  W. Jack Savage is a master of character dialogue.  His writing style is easy, and highly intelligent, like his characters.

The reason for my conflict is the need to both compliment and criticize the voice of his characters.  I may fumble the explanation, but bear with me.  I feel this is an important enough issue to readers, such as myself, to make the attempt.   As far as movies go, I'm a great fan of the classics.   I have my mom to thank for this.  At an early age, she would sit me down and make me watch movies like Gone With the Wind, Casablanca, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof and The Maltese Falcon.  I developed an appreciation and admiration for the simple elegance of the dialogue of that era.  People had vocabularies and used them, they spoke in a casual, yet sophisticated way.  In doing so, their words conveyed so much more than the obvious.  There's a romantic, almost-archaic tone.  When the characters interact, witty banter and sexual undertone become partners in a fluid waltz.  This is how most of the characters in Mr. Savage's book speak and I got caught up in it.  This aspect of the book, I enjoyed immensely.  Combine this with some of the most creative and clever plots I've ever read and you have a noteworthy book.  Were there times I could predict the outcomes?  Yes.  But, there were an equal amount of times I was taken by complete surprise, too.  The stories, for the most part, were entertaining journeys.

Now, for my complaint.

I already described above how beautifully it was written, at times.  But, on too many occasions I'd find myself enthralled in a story and then the dialogue would take a turn and be riddled with profanity and offensive language.  I'd go as far as calling some it vulgar.  This repeatedly jolted me out of the book.  Jolted.  As I contemplated what I would say in this review, I decided it was necessary to acknowledge that, yes, a large percentage in our society do, in fact, speak like the characters in these stories.  I, myself,  have used 90% of the offensive words in this book, but it's been almost two decades since I have.  I no longer have a high tolerance for reading/hearing this kind of language.  It plagued me to the extent that I almost didn't finish the book.   It's not that I can't overlook a word or two, in books or in movies, if it's relevant to the story or characters, I do it all the time.  I'm saying that in this case, I found the profane language to be in extreme overabundance.  I think the stories would have had the desired effect without all of it.  And I know some would argue that it was necessary, it painted a more vivid, realistic picture of  the characters' lifestyles, environment, circumstances, upbringing or what have you.  And to them I would say, that it's a valid argument, but I simply don't agree.

I'd like to stress that not all the stories presented this problem, for me.  Some of the stories I most enjoyed were: The Story of Baggs House, Howie and Katherine, The Dog Across the Street and The Ticket.  These were simply fantastic stories that had everyday, ordinary people brought together by chance, affecting others with their unique perspectives on life, understanding, talents and love.  They had great depth and provided a lot of food for thought.  They're examples of brilliant writing and character development.  I think readers, who aren't as sensitive to language as I am, would really appreciate this collection of short stories that are intelligent, witty and provocative, as W. Jack Savage is undoubtedly a talented writer and storyteller.

Purchase links:
About the author:
Walter "Jack" Savage is a retired broadcaster and Associate Professor of Telecommunications and Film. He is Vietnam Veteran and graduate of The University of Minnesota, Mankato and received his Master's Degree from California State University, Los Angeles. The Petorik Thesis and Tales of the Global West is Jack's fourth book and second short story collection. His first effort, Bumping and Other Stories, was followed by two novels: More With Cal and Uncle Bill and State Champions last year. His third novel, The Children Shall Be Blameless is due out later this year. Jack and his wife Kathy live in Monrovia, California.
You can find W Jack Savage:
His website here

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Never Interrupt Me When I'm Reading A Book!

Judging by the number of views this video has had, I may very well be the last person on earth to see it.  Nevertheless, if you happen to be out of the loop, like me, here you go.  It's now my anthem! (Thanks, Andrea.)
I think I love this guy, as much as he may frighten me.  Hmmm...this has got me thinking, is this what I look like to my husband and kids?  Nah.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Getting Sideways  by Lisa Nowak
 Series: Book 2 in Full Throttle series
Summary via Goodreads
Getting shipped off to live with his uncle Race was the best thing that ever happened to fifteen-year-old Cody. Then a wreck at the speedway nearly ruined everything. Cody’s making every effort to get his life back on track—writing for the school paper, searching for the perfect girlfriend, and counting the days until he gets his drivers’ license—but there’s no escaping the nightmares that haunt him.

A chance to build his own car seems like the perfect distraction. Until Cody realizes he’ll have to live up to Race’s legendary status. But that’s the least of his worries, considering he doesn’t have his dad’s permission. All he has to do is the impossible: keep Race from discovering his lie until he can convince his dad that racing’s safe.
Yeah, sure. That’ll be easy. 

My Review:  4/5
I thought these could be used as alternate titles for this book:
  • Two Sides to Every Story
  • The Arduous Task of Forgiving Oneself
  • Chicks Be Cray-Cray
  • Denial, Not Just A River
  • Take Care What You Wish For, You Just Might Get It 
Okay, those are silly.  Still, they should shed a little light on some of the ground covered in this book.  Cody has some very new experiences in this installment and it's an exciting time for him.  Girls are now in the picture, he gets his license, starts writing for the school paper and is thinking about racing cars like his uncle.  Does that mean things are looking up for him?  Well, yes and no.

Getting Sideways begins with an exciting new development - Cody has a girlfriend.  At least that's what he refers to her as.  I'm not sure she qualifies.  He spends a lot of time wondering what Megan could possibly see in him, when she's obviously the total package, and he's a short non-jock with baggage.  It's entertaining to watch him discover why men find women to be such an enigma.

Thanks to Race and Kasey, he's made great progress with his issues on trust, self-confidence and self-control.  But, who's able to overcome all their issues in less than a year?  Letting the adults take the wheel and opening up about his feelings are still a work in progress.  No doubt this can be traced back to his lack of parental guidance and support.  What can't be blamed on his parents, are the regular nightmares of the crash that almost took Race's life.

Although book 1, Running Wide Open, was able to invoke my inner "angry teen" (that's right, she's still around), Getting Sideways appealed more to my maternal side.  Explain that one.  I spent most of the book worried that poor Cody was gonna give himself an ulcer, as he's such a worrier.  More than once, I felt the compulsion to sit him down and tell him to knock it off and offer him a Prevacid or some other type of antacid.  He so concerned with everyone's thoughts and feelings and wastes a lot of energy tip toeing around the people he cares about.  Then there are the grudges he still holds towards his parents and Jim (the guy who crashed into Race).  I don't think they're unfounded, but we all know how taxing it is to hold a grudge.  Add to that the guilt of making a bad decision, plus the resulting damage to his relationships and you've got one depressed kid.  Luckily, he's surrounded by people who are in need of forgiveness themselves and are not about to give up on him.  But, can Cody forgive himself?

My favorite parts in the book are when he has some real ground breaking moments with his dad.  The flood gates are opened and Cody reveals his true feelings about his disappointment in his dad.  Harsh words are exchanged, but a weight is lifted.  Also a favorite, Race and Kasey's relationship.  Can Race get past his hang-ups?  Will Kasey continue to wait for him until he does?  You've got to read the book to find out!

I enjoy the steady pace in which Lisa Nowak's characters mature and develop.  It's so realistic and true to life.  We don't wake up one day and have it all figured out - we stumble and falter and then right ourselves.  As Race puts it, "It's like learning how to drive.  Every once in a while, you'll find yourself getting sideways."

The epilogue was a fantastic way to end this book and left me wanting more.  I can't wait to see what's in store for all these wonderful characters in the next book, Driven, due to be released in Spring 2012.

Link to purchase GETTING SIDEWAYS:
Barnes and Noble

Where to find Lisa:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
It spotlights upcoming releases of books that are eagerly anticipated.

I'm eagerly awaiting the release of Insurgent, sequel to Divergent, by Veronica Roth!
Who ISN'T waiting for this one, right???

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more pow
erful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. 

What's YOUR "waiting on" pick this week?

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading? (1)

It's Monday!  What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by *Book Journey*
Currently reading:  Getting Sideways by Lisa Nowak
Being sent to live with Race was the best thing that ever happened Cody. Then a speedway wreck nearly ruined everything. A chance to build his own car seems like a great distraction-until Cody realizes he'll have to live up to Race's legendary status. But without his dad's permission, that's the least of his worries. Now he has to keep Race in the dark until he can convince his dad racing's safe.

Next to read: THE PETORIK THESIS and TALES of  the GLOBAL WEST by W. Jack Savage

In this, his second short story collection, W. Jack Savage chronicles a beautiful woman’s quirky obsessions that leave a trail of regretful lovers, a writers disappointment at never being as important as what he writes and a unseen witness to a murder comes forward to do the right thing. But the witness and the right thing are subjective, as even Einstein observed, 'there is no darkness, only the absence of light.' By that reasoning a storyteller knows to never underestimate the power of the story or the desire of those in power to believe it for their own purposes. The door it opens swings both ways.

Just finished: Scattered Pieces by Alice Lynn
When Katie's little brother is snatched in 1946 it tears her family apart. It's only through her friendship with the irrepressible Marilyn and Marilyn's handsome brother Tom that she navigates a lonely childhood. In college, studying psychology helps Katie understand her mother's mental illness and her own fears. And it leads to a client who may know something about her brother's disappearance.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

February Activity

Releasing in February:
PANDEMONIUM is the sequel to DELIRIUM  It releases Feb. 28.  I really liked DELIRIUM, even though it left my heart in shattered pieces.  I'm hoping Pandemonium puts it back together.

FEVER, book 2 in Lauren DeStefano's Chemical Garden Trilogy.  The sequel to WITHER releases Feb. 21.  I haven't read WITHER yet, but it's definitely on my TBR list.

Also, on my TBR list, UNDER THE NEVER SKY

.....aaaand this one too.

Currently reading:  
GETTING SIDEWAYS, the sequel to RUNNING WIDE OPEN my review of RWO link here

 Quick Movie Review:  CHRONICLE
Whoa!  That movie was intense.  I liked it.....a lot.  Three high school guys, not necessarily friends at first (two are cousins), but end up there, get superpowers.  One of them has real issues; an abusive father, is bullied at school, ergo self esteem issues.  Add superpowers to that and it equals MAYHEM.  Although it SHOWS what they're exposed to, that triggers their transformation, it's never explained.  But, you know what?  I didn't even care.  The movie is just that good.  I smiled, I laughed, I cringed, I startled and okay, I might've shed one solitary tear.  A movie that can elicit all that from me in an hour and a half, gets 2 thumbs up.  WARNING: It's filmed "found footage" style - you know, first person (holding their video camera while walking or running).  I don't mind it, but it makes some people sick.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Scattered Pieces by Alice Lynn
Genre: Women's fiction
When Katie's little brother is snatched in 1946 it tears her family apart. It's only through her friendship with the irrepressible Marilyn and Marilyn's handsome brother Tom that she navigates a lonely childhood. In college, studying psychology helps Katie understand her mother's mental illness and her own fears. And it leads to a client who may know something about her brother's disappearance.

My Review:  5/5
What an incredible read!  I don't think I've finished a book this quickly in quite some time.  I read and read and read all through the day and into the early morning hours.  The book is THAT engaging from the very first sentence.

Alice Lynn wastes no time and dives right into the heart of the storyline from page 1.  She captures perfectly the essence of the 1940's era with her easy-flowing writing style and flawless descriptions.  She has a definite aptitude for storytelling.  Her story maintains a smooth, romantic, yet haunting, ambiance all the way through.  I've always had a fascination with, and held in high esteem, the men and women of "The Greatest Generation".  Exploring tragedy, mental illness, mystery and romance through their eyes and those of their children, held me captivated.  Although this book is listed under women's fiction, it's reminiscent of the young adult genre as it chronicles the main character's life from childhood to young adult.

The story is told through the eyes of Katie Harris, who is 6 years old at the beginning of the story.  Katie, her mother and 4 year old brother, James, are at the train station, along with so many others, waiting to welcome home their father and husband who is returning from the war in Europe.  Katie's mother instructs her to wait on a bench with Jimmy and to keep hold of him, as she weaves through the crowd in search of her husband.  As little Katie is distracted by the activity of the crowd, Jimmy manages to twist out of her grip and disappear without a trace.  Katie's father, who was shipped out a couple of months before Jimmy was born, will never meet his son.

One of the most moving passages, is Katie's description of the family's resulting anguish:
"As I reconstruct the past, I realize that words cannot adequately describe the disintegration of a family whose child is taken.  Death due to disease or accident is heart breaking.  But losing a child is its own cataclysm.  Uncertainty wrestles with wild hope, and gives way to despair.  Guilt, prayer, and anger live under a thin surface."

Katie is quickly befriended by Marilyn, who is a bright spot in this book, for me.  Marilyn is the kind of best friend anyone would want.  She is unwavering in her love, loyalty and acceptance of Katie from childhood into adulthood.  The two friends compliment each other beautifully.  While Marilyn is gorgeous, popular and charismatic, Katie is pragmatic, reserved and an academic.  Their bond is unbreakable and something to be admired.

Marilyn's brother, Tom, is 4 years their senior and a bright spot as well.  Instead of being the older, obnoxious, belittling brother he could be, Tom is charming, athletic, artistic, handsome and considerate.  Who wouldn't crush on that??  Like Katie, I never stood a chance.

Katie's parents are so consumed by their search for Jimmy and surviving their grief, that Katie becomes more of an afterthought.  I love how Marilyn and her family open their hearts and home to her and become a second family, filling in some of the void left by her parents.

I really admire Katie, she's a survivor and a good person.  A strong leading character, who doesn't search for the easy way out of things.  You can't read this book without becoming emotionally attached to her, willing her to succeed in all her endeavors.  I appreciate her strength of character as she faces her fears and tries to better understand her parents (and herself) through furthering her education.  Instead of continuing to bury feelings, she seeks to unearth them and give them validation.   As she begins her career, more questions and mystery arise.  Could someone she knows have information about the disappearance of her brother?

Loved this story.  Scattered Pieces is now listed among my favorite books.  I couldn't help but be impressed with how intelligently written it is.   An inspiring story of survival with strong elements of mystery, hope and romance.  Good luck putting this one down.  I recommend it to all readers age 16 and over.

You can purchase Scattered Pieces by following any of these links:
Barnes and Noble

You can connect with Alice Lynn on:
Alice's Blog
Author’s Bio: A native Oregonian, Alice Lynn spent her formative years in the Willamette Valley. She has pursued interests that range from horseback riding and amateur theatricals, to sculpting, gardening, and sewing. Her mother, who was a great reader, instilled her with a love of books. Writing seemed to flow naturally after that and has always been a part of her life. She graduated with a degree in psychology from Marylhurst University in 1999. Currently she resides in Oregon City with her husband and three cats.  Scattered Pieces is her third book.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review of IN HIS EYES (Indelibles Anthology)

Just in time for Valentines Day, The Indelibles bring you a one-of-a-kind young adult anthology!  Sixteen original short stories all from the point of view of our favorite male characters - some are old flames from our novels and some were dreamed up especially for this anthology.

Let these imminently crushable, swoon-worthy guys show you what romance looks like - in his eyes.

The contributors to In His Eyes include award winners, frequent "Top 100" placers, and hot 2011 debut authors.

In His Eyes is FREE at Smashwords and $0.99 at Amazon and Barnes and Noble - hopefully to go free there as well by our release date on February 14 for Valentines Day.  Or you can add In His Eyes to your TBR list on Goodreads.  
For more information about The Indelibles, check out our blog, facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

Stories included in the Anthology:
Surprise, Surprise by Stacey Wallace Benefiel *ZELLIE WELLS Trilogy*
First Kiss or First Kill? by C.K. Bryant *BOUND series*
Shattered by Ali Cross *BECOME series*
Before by Jessie Harrell *DESTINED*
The Qualm Before the Storm by Karen Amanda Hooper *TANGLED TIDES (The Sea Monster Memoirs series *
Unspeakable by S.R. Johannes *UNTRACEABLE (The Nature of Grace series)*
In the Beginning by Katie Klein *THE GUARDIAN*
A Chance Encounter by Cheri Lasota *ECHOES IN THE GLASS (to be released)*
Family Bonds by Heather McCorkle *THE SECRET OF SPRUCE KNOLL (Channeler series)
Getting Closer by Lisa Nowak *RUNNING WIDE OPEN (Full Throttle series)*
Precalculus by Cory Putman Oakes *THE VEIL*
The Almost Assassin by Laura Pauling *A SPY LIKE ME (to be released)*
Mind Games by Susan Kaye Quinn *OPEN MINDS (Mindjack trilogy)*
By The Firelight by Elle Strauss *CLOCKWISE*
A Very Alien Valentine's Day by Magan Vernon *HOW TO DATE AN ALIEN (My Alien Romance series)*
Aligned by RaShelle Workman *EXILED (Immortal Essence series)*

My Review:  4/5
Reading this anthology was fun!  It was like speed dating -  spending a few minutes with each story and deciding if you like the storyline, characters, the author's writing style and so forth, then deciding if you'd like to pursue it further.  Wait.  I've never done the speed dating thing, maybe there's some unpleasantness associated with that.  Since it was completely enjoyable, let me find a better analogy.  Okay, I've got one!  It was like going to Baskin Robbins and trying 16 of their 31 flavors.  Yeah, you might like some better than others, but THEY'RE ALL ICE CREAM . . . . . WINNING!  Plus, you can have them all in one sitting if you want (why does everything lead to food, with me?).

If you've been hanging with me for the few weeks I've been up and running, you know that I have a special affection for the ladies that make up the The Indelibles.  Several have been kind enough to forward me their books for review and I've won a couple more in giveaways.  So far, I've reviewed 3 books that are linked to 3 of the short stories listed above, on my blog - BOUND by C.K. Bryant, RUNNING WIDE OPEN by Lisa Nowak and BECOME by Ali Cross.  Reading those 3 stories in this anthology was like visiting a friend.  You already know the basics, and yet there's still something new and interesting to learn about them.  Also, a male perspective for the whole read, that's a bonus.  Throw a romantic theme on top of that and you've got the recipe for an extra special Valentines Day treat. . . and it's FREE!  Who says no to that??  I'm gonna go with. . . . . crazy people.

Like I mentioned earlier, some flavors stood out.  The short stories (other than those associated with books I've already reviewed) that pulled me in and whispered, "Gotcha! You're mine.  Read my book or you'll never sleep again!" were:  IN THE BEGINNING (The Guardian) by Katie Klein, PRECALCULUS (The Veil) by Cory Putman Oakes and MIND GAMES (Open Minds) by Susan Kaye Quinn.  They get my AWESOME FIRST IMPRESSION Award.  But, trust me, ALL the stories are good and piqued my interest.  I'm sure I'll eventually get around to reading every book on the list.  So, now it's your turn to check it out and see which ones end up making YOUR list of best first impressions.

I recommend this to everyone who enjoys reading YA, don't pass it up!
Visit The Indelibles HERE.

Get it here FREE at Smashwords!
Also, HERE at Amazon
Buy HERE at Barnes and Noble

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tahereh Mafi Give away

Tahereh Mafi, author of SHATTER ME is hosting an awesome contest.  She's giving away six (6) prize packs, three (3) books each.  All you have to do is leave a comment on her blog HERE!  This is a REALLY exciting give away, don't pass it up.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


The Farewell Season  by Ann Herrick
Eric and Glynnie go from butting heads to grudging friendship to something more...

Eric used to think he'd live forever, but not any more. As football season starts, he hopes he can live normally again after the death of his father, but his refusal to face his grief results in anger at his coach, fights with his sister, resenting added responsibilities, and disillusionment with football. It takes a special relationship with a girl dealing with the divorce of her parents to see he is angry with his father for dying and the way to get through grief is by grieving.

My Review: 5/5
Let me start by saying that I loved this book.  It's one of those satisfying, feel-good stories that leaves you with a sense of closure at the end.  The characters are your average, everyday people who could easily be family, friends or neighbors.  They've just lost the patriarch of their family and although life goes on, they will never be the same.  I was touched by their story and even brought to tears, as they struggle to put the pieces of their lives back together.  This story has the ability to touch all hearts because loss is universal, it's a language we all speak.  And even though grieving is an essential part of overcoming loss, we don't all willingly give ourselves over to it.  What then occurs is the inability to heal properly and move on.

The story is told from the point of view of Eric Nielsen, a 17 year old boy who's lost his father to a drunk driver.  It's been 4 months and Eric hasn't allowed himself to fully address his grief.  Instead, he's kept his feelings bottled up.  This results in difficulty dealing with relationships with his mother, sister, best friend, new football coach and ex-girlfriend, as well as identifying and confronting his feelings about his dad.  Can you really be angry at someone for dying?  He finds fault with everyone around him - his mom smothers him, sister is a brat, best friend is too upbeat, new coach rides him too hard and this bothersome girl, Glynnie, is getting under his skin.  He can't seem to find his footing as he tries to navigate through this new life without his dad.  Football played a huge part in their relationship, does he even love football anymore?  When the realization dawns that life is NOT fair and that we often get cheated, anger, insecurity and confusion are sure to follow.

His dad encompassed everything a good father should be; ever-present, loving, supportive, invested, dependable.  You can imagine the giant void his death has left in Eric's life.  Maybe you don't have to imagine.   Though I haven't grieved the loss of a parent, yet, I could identify with him, with all the emotions he experiences.  I grieved over the loss of the safety and security of my family when my parents divorced, when I was a young girl.  This experience was at the forefront of my thoughts and what I drew upon to help me relate to Eric.  This is exactly what happens with Glynnie.  She and Eric find in each other a kindred spirit. 
This book felt like a breath of fresh air.  It left me with the kind of satisfaction I would feel at the end of an episode of Little House on the Prairie.  There was a sweet innocence to it that I hadn't realized I missed. After reading the synopsis I was afraid that this book might be too serious, that it might be depressing.   It addresses some serious subjects; loss of a parent, depression, conflict with family, jealousy, the grieving process.  But, these issues are handled delicately, as to avoid bringing the reader down.  The story never gets dark.  In fact, by the end of the book, I felt uplifted!  My only complaint about this book is that it ended. 

This is a story I recommend for everyone. Young, old, male or female.  A beautiful story to remind us that if we have loved, that love is ours to keep.  We can keep those we've lost alive in our hearts and memories and pay tribute to them as we push on and live our lives to the fullest.

The book is now out in ebook and paperback and is available at:

You can visit Ann Herrick at:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Review of BECOME

BECOME  by Ali Cross
Series  Book 1 in the Desolation series
Summary taken from Goodreads
Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she must face the evil she despises and the good she always feared.

When Desi is forced to embrace her inner demon, she assumes her choice has been made—that she has no hope of being anything other than what her father, Lucifer, has created her to be. What she doesn’t count on, is finding a reason to change—something she’s never had before—a friend.

My Review:  4/5
I looked at the cover of this book and thought, "Pleasepleaseplease, let this book be as good as it looks on the cover."   The cover is so telling.  You see beauty, power, sadness, heartache and desperation.  You look closer still and you see light mixed with darkness, fierceness mixed with frailty, Heaven mixed with Hell.  Like I said, telling - because this is what you'll find in the story as well.

The story is about and told by Desolation Black, daughter of Lucifer.  Desolation, or Desi, as she prefers, is a girl who is bound to a destiny dictated by her parentage.  A destiny she loathes.   Knowing full well who her father is and what his expectations are, she puts up as much resistance as she dares, as she is groomed and trained by her father's most-trusted ally, Akaros.   What is she resisting exactly and why?  Lucifer and Akaros push Desi to embrace her inner demon and Become, so that she can be used as a instrument to further her father's agenda and bring more souls to Hell.  But, Desi finds herself at odds with this.  She's resistant and she can't explain why.  Why does she care what happens to humans?  Why does her conscience bother her?

Life in Hell is cold and lonely, but Desi much prefers it to life on Earth.  She had a brief stint on Earth that left her shaken and more damaged than anything she's experienced in Hell.  She won't be going back there if she can help it.  But thinking she has any choice in the matter is a fantasy.  Before she knows what hit her, she finds herself being sent right back.  The only thing she may have to look forward to, is the possibility of seeing someone who showed her kindness last time.  Other than that, another visit to Earth can only mean pain, sorrow and a massive amount of guilt.......and that's no less than she deserves, if you ask her.

Desi takes up residence, again, with her father's minion, Daniel, and his oh-so-sexy and mysterious son, James. Desi and James have a little thing I like to call C-H-E-M-I-S-T-R-Y.   Whew!  But, Desi is intuitive and knows she can't and shouldn't trust James, no matter what effect he has on her.  He is his father's son, after all.  I'll confess right now that James is my favorite character in the book.  I found him intriguing.  And no, it's not because he's smokin'!  He's complex, with some unexplored depth, fighting some of his own figurative demons.  James is a definite presence in the book, but I would've liked to have spent a little more time with him, figure out what really makes him tick.  There are some GREAT scenes between Desi and James too, ones that will melt your heart.  She's also having dreams about another guy, someone she's never met.   So why does he feel so familiar?

Ali Cross has a talent for phrasing and description. I found myself sucked in from page one because of lines like this, where Desi is describing her dread and anticipation of seeing James again: "The part where I'd have to see James, and act like his smile didn't feel like a stake through my heart.  Or how I'd drive it through my heart myself if only he'd kiss me again."  Wow, nailed it!  How do I know?  Been there.  Haven't most of us??  Desi's voice is simple, sarcastic and carries attitude.  My kinda girl!

Desi not only finds herself surrounded by the depravity and sin she knows to expect from this world, but also by the best of what humanity has to offer; love and forgiveness.  Despite everything she struggles with - her father, Akaros, Daniel, James, Michael, her inner demon, her past, her future - the toughest battle is with herself.   Discovering that she is MORE than her father has led on and that she can CHOOSE her own path in life, upsets everything she thought she knew. 

A testament to her creativity, the author uses an intricate interfusion of several belief systems (that I could pick out) that work together to support her story and the plight of her characters.  She's blended Norse Mythology and Catholicism along with other modern Christian beliefs.  My knowledge of mythology is pretty minimal, but I easily kept up.  Those of you who are a little more scholarly will probably be able to draw more lines than I was able to.  I thought it worked really well together and made the story interesting.

This story is about choice and exercising our free will.  Although Desi is Satan's daughter, she's faced with the same conflict humans face on a daily basis.  Do we use our power, influence and gifts for good or for evil? That, like the rest of us, she is not entirely bad and not entirely good.  It's a decision to made every second of every day 

This was shared by a relative on facebook and I thought it was fitting for this review....
An old Cherokee told his grandson, "My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all.  One is Evil.  It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies & ego.  The other is Good.  It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy & truth."
The boy thought about it, and asked, "Grandfather, which wolf wins?"  The old man quietly replied, "The one you feed." - Author Unknown

0.99 on Amazon!  See links below!
ali cross, author of BECOME
BECOME, YA urban fantasy

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What's Up?

Shows I'm watching and how they rate with me.....
(I know some of these are juvenile...what can I say... guilty pleasures?)
Switched at Birth  5 stars
Lying Game          3 stars
Hart of Dixie        4 stars
Secret Circle        3 stars
Vampire Diaries    3 stars
Revenge               5 stars
Ringer                  3 stars
New Girl              5 stars
Terra Nova          3 stars 
Suburgatory         4 stars
Once Upon a Time  4 stars
Bachelor/Bachelorette (usually, but not this season)

Book I'm currently reading: BECOME by Ali Cross
Book I'll read next: THE FAREWELL SEASON by Ann Herrick

I lovelovelove going to the movies and would probably go there once a day if I could.  The box office has had a dry spell though, for me at least.  Nothing up on the marquee has tempted me enough to brave the cold.  The last movie I saw was Sherlock Holmes on New Year's Day.  Thankfully, I've been seeing previews of some movies that have sparked my interest.
Chronicle - OMGosh!  Tell me that doesn't look good?
The Vow - I love a good chick flick!
The Woman in Black - Eeek!  I might be too much of a chicken to see this...we'll see.
This Means War - Romance, comedy and lots of spy action....WINNING!

Oh, by the way, KID HISTORY on youtube.  If you haven't already, check it out.   Don't miss any of the episodes, there are about 6 or 7 of them.  They're cute, smart and hilarious (enough to make you pee, just a little (or is that just me?)).  Watch the first one here!