Monday 16 June 2014

Review:: The Homecoming by Robyn Carr

Title: The Homecoming {Thunder Point #6}
Author: Robyn Carr
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 400

At the age of nineteen, Seth Sileski had everything. A superb athlete and scholar, handsome and popular, he was the pride of Thunder Point. Destined for greatness, he lost it all in a terrible accident that put an end to his professional football career when it had barely begun. The people in his hometown have never forgotten what might have been.

Seth has come to terms with the turns his life has taken. But now he's been presented with an opportunity to return home and show his father—and the people of Thunder Point—he's become a better, humbler version of his former self.

Winning over his father isn't the only challenge. Seth must also find a way to convince his childhood neighbor and best friend, Iris McKinley, to forgive him for breaking her heart. With his homecoming, will Seth be able to convince the town, his family and especially Iris that he's finally ready to be the man who will make them all proud?

I'm a huge Robyn Carr fan and I'll read whatever she writes. I've loved this new Thunder Point series. The town is a perfect distraction. I'm also a big fan of second chance stories. This one was a win win for me.

Seth and Iris were both very relatable. I think we all have had our lives turn out different that we'd originally thought. I'm sure most of us have had that crush that went on far too long and ate up much of our hearts and thoughts. Seth and Iris just worked. I was rooting for them the whole time.

One reason I love Robyn Carr stories is that she brings in so many other character's they aren't minor either. They add depth to the story and give us a bigger picture. Thunder Point is a character. Not just a setting. Which is why I keep coming back.

*contains adult content

Review:: Taken With You by Shannon Stacey

Title: Taken With You
Author: Shannon Stacey
Publisher: Carina Press
Pages: 336

Hailey Genest has seen most of her friends marry and have babies, and she's happy for them, but it was a lot easier before she hit forty. She's spent her entire life in Whitford, Maine, and if she hasn't found her Prince Charming by now, she has to accept she's probably not going to. When a new friend suggests they go on an adventure and embrace being single, Hailey agrees.

Surviving in the woods is game warden Matt Barnett's idea of a relaxing vacation. But when he meets two women in need of help, he leads them back to safety - a task that proves more fun than expected, thanks to a certain hot blonde. He can't resist pushing her buttons, even though she's made it clear that the rugged, outdoorsy type just isn't for her.

Hailey is glad to see the back of her tempting-tour-guide-slash-pain-in-the-ass. When he shows up in her life again, she's determined to avoid him, no matter how good he looks in his uniform. But that's easier said than done in Whitford, especially when he's renting the house right next door...

There is something about the Kowalski family saga that I can't get enough of. I love the town and I feel connected to it. It makes jumping into a new novel easy and comfortable. Which is why I just knew I'd love this one just as much as the others.

This story is about the town librarian--she's not a Kowalski. I've been dying to reader her story for the past few books now and I knew it would be good. The leading man on the scene is Matt--he's a game warden. That means he is out in the woods a lot. I can't tell you how much I like that!

This books had great characters, a great pace, and is every bit as good as any of the other Kowalski books. I was looking for something to hit the spot and Shannon Stacey never disappoints. She was my first romance novel and I'm still coming back for more. This is a book I will be re-reading for sure.

*this book has adult content

Friday 31 January 2014

When Books Become Movies

Years ago whenever I would read a really good book I would just wish I could see it on the big screen. I wanted to see my favourite characters come to life. Not just in my head but actually be real. It would become something tangible. I could revisit the story whenever I wanted and instead of having to read the whole book I could just spend 2 hrs and get my fill. It would be bliss right?

I've never been a person to get upset when the movie isn't exactly like the book. I have always felt that the film is just another chapter in a story I love. It just adds a dimension to it. But as of late I am wishing for those days when books stayed books {with the exception of Harry Potter}. Where I could just picture everything in my head and leave it at that. My favourite characters would look just how I pictured and the story wouldn't be compromised in any way.  I've seen too many books ruined by their film. It's a tragedy. What's wrong with just staying a book?

Last night I watched Saving Mr. Banks. That's the movie about the author of Mary Poppins. Oh my gosh did I love it. I was laughing, crying, happy, heartbroken and satisfied. I felt all the feels. I understood a little more about the story than ever before. I just loved it more than I can really say. It made me wish every story had a film that showed us the backstory instead of the written story. Know what I mean?

Sometimes books make awesome movies. Sometimes those movies make me upset that Hollywood got it so wrong. Sometimes the backstory just pulls everything together for me and it makes me love these two worlds so much. It is what it is. When books become movies anything can happen. I think that's why we want to see them on the big screen. We're hoping for a film to get it right.

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Review:: Love a Little Sideways by Shannon Stacey

Title: Love a Little Sideways
Author: Shannon Stacey
Publisher: Carina Press
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle
Source: received for review/NetGalley

Liz Kowalski is heading home to Whitford, Maine—this time for good. Eager for her family, a fresh start and some fun, she doesn't count on being rescued by the chief of police her very first night back in town. Drew is everything she's not looking for…so why is she still so attracted to him?

After a brief, forbidden rendezvous at her brother's wedding, Drew Miller expects Liz to return to New Mexico and stay there. He's searching for someone to settle down with, not a casual fling with his best friend's sister. But when they're stuck together on the annual Kowalski camping trip, things start going a little sideways. Keeping their hands off each other proves just as impossible as keeping their secret from becoming public knowledge.

Amid family, mud and melted marshmallow, Liz and Drew try to fight what's growing between them. But a little time alone, a lot of chemistry and too many opinions might be just what it takes to bring together two people so determined not to fall in love.

The first romance novel I ever read was Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey. I was hooked on the genre, the author and the Kowalski family. I have loved every book since. This one is no different. These stories are a familiar place for me. When I can just sit back, relax and let my mind go to a place where it can finally rest. They are always pure brain candy for me and I love it that way.

Liz might just be one of my favourite Kowalski's. She left her life behind to start over and be closer to her family. She doesn't really know what she wants to do but she's okay not knowing right now. I just identify with her. I'm thirty-four and I still have no clue! She is likeable and down to earth. Drew is calm, cool and the Chief of Police. Yowza! Who doesn't love a man in uniform. These best friend of the brother stories always get me. I love couples that have a history and something to fall back on. None of this insta love stuff here. I like roots.

The setting of this one mainly takes place on a camping trip which I love! There needs to be more camping trips you guys. Seriously. This is where all the good stuff happens when there are no electronics or daily life to get in the way. I was picturing all the places something a little smexy could happen.

You can never go wrong with author Shannon Stacey. She is a master romance novelist and she knows exactly how to get me relaxed and get my heart pumping! I'll always be a fan. I want more of the Kowalski Family Saga!

Thursday 23 January 2014

How To Be a Writer's Friend

I have had a few friends ask me to read their manuscripts lately. Which is so exciting and nerve wracking all at once. For both of us. I can only imagine the time and energy it takes to write a novel. Then to ask someone to actually read it must be agony! I'm always a little torn inside when asked if I will read a friends manuscript. Am I going to like it? What if I don't? What will this do to our friendship?

Here are some tips to get you through it::

01. Read it immediately. If you can't get to it right away then tell your friend you won't be able to read it until _____.  They are anxiously awaiting your thoughts. The longer you wait tells your friend you don't care about them. Which isn't true but it is how they feel. You might check in after a few days and say, " I haven't started yet. I didn't want you to worry or to think I didn't like it." Or maybe you could say," I've read the first few chapters and I'm really impressed! I'll let you know when I'm finished." Just keep the writer informed. More than likely they are on pins and needles wondering what you thought.

02. Once you've finished the story, sit down with your loved one and PRAISE THE STORY! You must have seen something worthwhile in the story. Start with that. I know you want to get to the stuff that didn't work but if you can't start with the good stuff then your loved one might not be responsive to your feedback. Be specific and sincere in your praise. I personally give ten things that I love about the book. Start there.

Good examples:

"The dialogue between x and y is so realistic!"

"The opening was gripping."

"I really like Character X."

"This is the most amazing book I've ever read!"

Bad examples:

"You're really good at punctuation." Double lame. A writer isn't even thinking about punctuation at this point.

"I really liked it except for the middle part."

03. After sincerely praising at least ten things give some constructive feedback. If this is your first time reading their manuscript I wouldn't give any more than three specific things. Why? You are probably not an industry professional. Am I right? Book bloggers don't count. It is best not to take the voice of authority here. The last thing you'd want to do is discourage them from writing anymore. S/he might not be able to absorb more than those three things at this time.

Good examples:

"I loved Y. I wouldn't mind seeing more of him. Especially in the second half."

"X seemed to lie a lot which made it hard for me to like her."

Bad examples:

"It didn't make sense. You should redo it all."

"This part was really boring. Cut it all."

04.  Some of you might not agree with my three things rule. But, I think it's a good rule. Especially for the first read of a manuscript. If your loved one is asking for more constructive feedback {are you being pressed? really pressed?!) then you can do so. But remember that unsolicited advice always sounds like criticism.

The more you work with your loved one the more you will know exactly what they are looking for from you. You will build a trust between the two of you that you can eventually just let them have it in whatever shape or form you think/feel it.

05. Continue to give encouragement! Writing is a tough business and hard work. Keep your loved one going with all the love and encouragement you can give them!

Good examples:

"You can do it!"

"How's the story going?"

"Can I take the kids for a few hours next week so you can have some quiet writing time?"

"I'm so proud of all your hard work! It's going to pay off someday."

Do you have any tips of your own? Head on over to Author Jolene Perry's blog. She's weighing in on the same topic.
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