Friday, February 8, 2013

Instructions are for smart people only, right?

I seriously wonder about people sometimes…

I think most people will agree that instructions (or in publishing: guidelines) exist for a reason. So, why are some people determined to go against them?

What am I ranting about? Unsolicited attachments in email messages. I just do not understand what is so hard to understand about “NO Unsolicited Attachments.” Even more, what about when the words “unsolicited attachments” is followed by “will not be opened or acknowledged”?

Anyone who has ever experienced a bug from an email or an email attachment can relate, I’m sure.

Then again, maybe this determined rebellion is a new wonder of the world that we are not supposed to understand. Whatever it is, I don’t like it.

But…I’ll get over it.

Just had to share my disgruntled attitude! Now, I am off to delete the email with the unsolicited attachment. I will be smiling as I do it, too! No, I’m not mean or harsh, but really. Really! Follow the rules!

Done. I’m happy now. Can you see me smiling. Grinning actually. From ear to ear!

Happy Friday! Have an amazing weekend everyone Winking smile!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas, love, and some darned good books!

Well, dear readers o’ my blog, I’ve enjoyed some much needed down time.

Christmastime is the best, isn’t it! The smells, the decorations, family and friends, and most of all celebrating Christ’s birth. It reminds me of an Avalon song telling us “don’t save it all for Christmas Day…show a little love everyday…”

I’ve been sharing the love with family and friends and now it’s time to pass along a helping or two for the authors of books I’ve recently read. If you’re hankering for some real romance mixed with turmoil, heart ache and the unexpected, The Picture will fill you up. If you enjoy suspense and saving the day in unique but plausible ways, A Collie Rescue will do the trick.

                                               

Stephanie Taylor’s The Picture (144 pages on Kindle; Astraea Press)  is almost a two-fer;  friendly enough for the YA reader with just the right dose of spice, struggles and romance for the adult reader. I fell in love right along with Sophie and Nicholas. And if it is possible to get an actual visual image, I am seeing Nicholas as one hot man! He’s a bit flawed (a common trait among men who are used to having women fall all over them) and Sophie has her own baggage but the turmoil of their pasts seem to set the stage for what might become a possible happily ever after.  Does it? Well, I can’t tell you that. But I will say that you’ll feel some aching in your heart and a tissue or two wouldn’t be bad thing to have handy. Would I change anything? Hmm. Maybe give a little more story toward the end. It ends amazingly well but I found myself with a few questions—or maybe I was just depressed over having to turn the last page (equals leaving Nicholas!).

When you’re done with The Picture, you might want to delve right into A Collie Rescue (Emily Dahill CID series) by Lindsay Downs (90 pages on Kindle, Astraea Press). Okay. Let me tell you. At first I wasn’t so sure. The cover and the collie give mixed ideas of what this book entails, not to mention its listing under animal categories in some places (not an uncommon error with Amazon and other online retailers). Do not be fooled! Do. Not. Downs knows how to portray realistic characters, especially given the fact that the protagonist is a soldier-turned-homeless-vet. Even more appealing is Downs’ decision to transcend the expected and make the protagonist a woman—a rare subject among stories depicting former soldiers must less those that end up living on the streets. Kudos! Collectively, there isn’t a lot I can get into without giving away the story. I will say, however, that if you think a collie and a homeless vet aren’t interesting story companions, think again. Any complaints, you wonder? Only that I’d like to have seen a little more fleshing out of the central bad guy and a couple of the good guys, but nothing that is a turn off—just my opinion. Overall, Downs has succeeded in pulling me into the story, showing me the heart wrenching side of what  some vets face after war, and how compassion works wonders in the healing process. To boot, there’s a well-balanced helping of suspense and intrigue and a collie who never ceases to amaze!

Both The Picture and A Collie Rescue are available through the publisher’s website and through major online retailers. For more books by Stephanie Taylor and Lindsay Downs, visit Astraea Press.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Review: Outside That Door (Jennifer Robins)

When planning reviews for October, I had a title planned for Halloween but schedules and events tend to throw things out of whack sometimes. Then again, sometimes changes come about through… fate.

Initially, I was going to skim through the first chapter of Jennifer Robins’ Outside That Door with plans to complete the book for a November review. The problem? I could NOT stop reading.

When I read through the Prologue and the first chapter, I planned to read just one more chapter until next week. I’ll stop then. Well, maybe one more chapter. Oh man, I have to read the next chapter to know what’s happening. I can’t stop here. I have to see where they’re going. Okay, really, just this chapter and then I’ll really stop.

Before I knew it, I had read the entire book -in two hours!

I immediately connected with Carl and Beth. Jennifer has succeeded in crafting well-rounded, believable characters, which is not easy in novels that involved two periods. Shift periods, you ask?

Outside That Door introduces the everyday married couple, Carl and Beth, who are thrown back in time. (Yep, they’re having a hard time believing it, too!) Imagine being thrown back in time to a period that you’ve only read about in books. Now imagine that you can’t get back to the present. It that’s not stressful alone, you are forced to wander in the midst of the Revolutionary War with no idea of how or when you will get help.

It can be difficult for an author to make such changes visual enough to be believable. Kudos to Jennifer!  I felt like I was along for the ride when Carl and Beth headed out for a weekend in the Catskills and I was just as bewildered and scared when “we” were lost in time during the Revolutionary War. And Indians? Yes, there were Indians. Fighting. Guns. Scalping. You just don’t know what “we” have been through! Thank God for Thomas and Helen…

I can’t tell you much more than that without giving away spoilers, but I can say that if you are looking for a great read, this is worth your time and a few bucks.

If there is one thing I would change, it would be to expand the last chapter just a bit. Otherwise, Jennifer has knocked this one outta the ballpark!

I recommend Outside That Door for men and women of all ages. It has just enough of everything to appeal to both.

My rating:
5 stars (4.9 if you count my “one thing I would change” comment)

Summary description:

Who would have known a simple weekend vacation to the resort in the Catskill Mountains would end up being smack dab in the middle of the revolutionary war? Carl and Beth never thought such a thing could happen until they stepped outside the side door of their little get-away cottage to find nothing but wilderness and nothing around but the wild life. They search for help only to find soldiers, and Indians. Can they ever get back to the present? Or will they be forced to live among the settlers [and Indians] for the rest of their lives?

Where to buy:

Amazon | BN.com | Astraea Press

Connect with Jennifer Robins