Friday, January 31, 2014

It's time for a GIVEAWAY

In celebration
of my 10,000+ views
I've decided to do a 
Giveaway
 of one of my favorite books from 2013
(and definitely on the "of all time" list) 

FROM
Tomorrow 2.1.2014
to
The next Saturday 2.8.2014



What Hides Within
by Jason Parent


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Special thanks to Mr Parent for allowing me to give away a few of his books :) 

This is my first giveaway so let's see what happens :)  Tell your friends, pass it on - the more the merrier :)

aWeSoMe!!

I am in an AWESOME mood today!! :)

This blog, which was started at the end of September 2013 (but not really messed around with much until the mid to end of October 2013), hit 10,000 views sometime in the middle of the night.

As I am typing this now, it's at 10,018 views.

Now, I know that doesn't seem like very much, but it seems like a WHOLE lot to me. :)

So, I thank EACH and EVERY ONE OF YOU for coming and looking at my blog!!  I really appreciate it and I hope you like it and come back again.

If you have any suggestions, anything you'd like to see on here - if you're an author that would like to be showcased in a post - hell, if you just want to say hi and tell me I'm doing a good job, feel free to email me at mshyden@gmail.com.  I look forward to hearing from you. :)

You can find me on BookLikes (A Temple of Words), Goodreads (My profile) and I'm @Raiyine on Twitter.   

You can also follow my blogs on BlogLovin' (there's a spot on the right side that will take you there - I'm telling you, this is an awesome website that allows you to follow all your blogs in one spot), sign up for email notifications (also on the right side), add me to your Google+ (the right side where you see my picture) or even stick me up there in your Bookmark Toolbar haha.  

Let's see how long it takes me to hit 15,000 :D

Thursday, January 30, 2014

REVIEW: Cruelty: Episode 2

Cruelty: Episode 2
By: Edward Lorn

Genre: Horror, Serial Novel
Publication date: 1.15.2014
Pages: 48

Date read: 1.28.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary: CRUELTY is a serial novel in ten parts.

Episode Two

Turtle is all alone. Jennifer never came home. The ants are marching.

While Sheriff Randy Miser sifts through the pieces of one chaotic night, Will Longmire deals with his failures.

Innis Blake is trapped in a nightmare. But what waits for her in the waking world is far more terrifying.

This is only the beginning.   


My thoughts

We're introduced to some new people, learn more about some characters from last time, the depravity continues and the investigation begins.  It's really getting good and, just like when I finished episode 1, I can't wait to find out what's going to happen next.

REVIEW: Cruelty: Episode 1

Cruelty: Episode 1
By: Edward Lorn

Genre: Horror, Serial Novel
Publication date: 1.12.2014
Pages: 53

Date read: 1.28.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary: CRUELTY is a serial novel in ten parts.

Episode One

On a lonely stretch of deserted Texas highway, Will Longmire breaks down. But he’s not alone.

In the dead of night, Innis Blake hits someone, or something, with her car. The figure shouldn’t be getting up. But it is.

An unstoppable force is after Will and Innis. And before the night is over, both strangers will know the face of Cruelty.

Forgiveness is only a few miles down the road, but safety is nowhere in sight.


My thoughts

I'm sure that the people involved in this story, when they woke up that morning, had no idea that they would be meeting someone, someone that would lead to events these people will never forget.  And it all happens in a small town in Texas (coincidentally, a small town that is located about an hour from my home - I think it's time to move).
 

The awesome cover that the author showed off on BookLikes now makes COMPLETE sense and the way it ended, leaving me wanting more, leaving me wondering if things can possibly get even worse than they are already, was perfect, especially since I know more is to come (several more episodes).  To say this story freaked me out would be a total understatement.  This is a DEFINITE recommend to ANYONE who loves horror!!

Favorite character: William Longmire

Favorite line: The first line of the book.  Go read it and find out what it is :)

BOOK LAUNCH!!!!


Ladies and Gentleman!!
 It's finally out!!

CRAWL
by Edward Lorn

You’re out in the middle of nowhere.

You’ve been crippled and left for dead.

There’s something in the woods.

It’s coming.

There’s only one thing you can do…


CRAWL

Now up on Amazon
Waiting for you to come grab it!!

Do you love horror?
You can't possibly pass this up! :)

REVIEW: Cinnamon Diamonds

Cinnamon Diamonds
By: Mark Piper

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication date: 1.7.2013
Pages: 12

Date read: 1.30.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary: Cinnamon Diamonds is a short story retelling the amazing events of a stormy night in 1847. A three masted schooner sailed through a hurricane off the east coast of the United States. A young man named Hanson Gregory became the creator of the first ever hole in a doughnut. It's creation during a hurricane has become a thing of legend. This story couples his one and only interview with a newspaper reporter in 1916 with repeated and no doubt distorted versions of the truth from his fellow sailors whom he recited the tale to in his retirement in a Massachusetts sailor's home.

My thoughts

I really enjoyed this very short short-story.  Captain Hanson Gregory, now retired and living in a retirement home, tells his story to friends and a reporter, his story of being aboard a ship, working in the galley, surviving a hurricane and inventing donuts.  Such beautiful descriptions, especially of the eye of the hurricane.  Absolutely amazing story.  Beautiful cover art as well.

REVIEW: Bane

Bane
By Steve Atwood

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Short Story
Publication date: 12.20.2013
Pages: 50

Date read: 1.30.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary: Bane was created by an Ecran scientist to travel to distant stars. But, the Ecran military quickly realized how a wormhole generator could be used as a weapon against their only enemy, Meran. After a successful test, a Marine detachment led by Bassar Raad is transferring the weapon of mass destruction to a secret lab. This was Meran’s only chance to seize this terrible weapon and save their planet.

Rick Marion Lewis was a privateer for the Meranian government with a special knack for stealing ships. His handler in the Meran Intelligence Directorate (MID) assigned Rick to steal Bane and return it to the MID. With Tessa Staffa at his side, Rick chases down Bane to save his planet from certain destruction.


My thoughts

This story has a lot of potential and characters that I would like to know more about.  Even the weapon idea really caught my interest and made me want to find out what was going to happen.  The ending made me almost cheer.  I really enjoyed it.

But ...

This would have been really good - 4 1/2, even 5 star - without the unrealistic, awkward romance that, frankly, was not necessary.  I mean, as soon as it started, I felt like it was a cop-out, like the author wasn't sure about his story and stuck that in to catch people's attention.  And, to make matters worse, he's just been hurt during interrogation and they're captured in a cell and that's when they decide to do it?!?! *rolls eyes* I do appreciate that we didn't get full on description.  It just wasn't necessary and seemed really out of place when it came to the rest of the story.  Like pages from another book were stuck in as a trick.  Bad decision.

REVIEW: Endless Journey Beyond

Endless Journey Beyond
By Romeo Maskey

Genre: Poetry
Publication date: 9.3.2013
Pages: 96

Date read: 1.30.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary: As a person who was struggling to realize the path that he wanted to choose for his life, the writer saw a little light at the end of the tunnel. Yet, unable to figure out a way to reach there, he goes through an emotional and psychological turmoil that unravels so many of life's mysteries as he confronts so many circumstances that teach him. Through the epic tale of love, life, tragedy, the every day humdrum to the social melodrama, the writer sees a different meaning to life and understand the answer to life. Through poems that tell tales of morose soul to a bright cheerful person, the writer is able to encapsulate so many different facets of human life. He captures so many human emotions and portrays them creating scenes that most of us are familiar with through our own person day to day experiences and struggles. Through these scenes, he is able to put together poems that tell tales of his understanding of God, society, human relationship, nature, families, love, life tragedy and life itself with a blend of emotional abstraction and materialistic sarcasm that urges people to imagine their own life and draw lessons out of it. Overall, Endless Journey Beyond is a collection of poetic verses that strike a chord that each one of us could relate to in sense of our daily struggles to find a way out of this life of doldrums.

My thoughts

I've said this before and I'll say it again - poetry is a very hard thing to review.  To me, writing poetry is like writing a journal entry - it's a very personal thing and, in most poetry, the author is truly wearing their heart on their sleeve.

The author, in his introduction (which is very good, by the way), says this: "This is a collection of poems, poems which made their way up to the author's psyche, stirring his emotions to delve deeper into barren territory where opportunities to be fascinated and in turn be inspired, thence taking the author to countless journeys in abstraction and in reality.  These are the poems that unraveled his inner conscience, the one stuck in the purgatory of ego and super ego, as he strode forward unrelenting about his past and the present that owes him so much. ... This is a collection of so many of those bitter experiences and good experiences which made him realize that life always balances out everything in life, from happiness, to sadness, from hardship to success, and from goodness to evil sins."  I think that says quite a bit about what you will be reading on the pages of this collection of poetry.

I enjoyed them - they made me think (about my life, friends' lives, life in general), made me feel (for him, for myself, for others).  My favorite are: Eternity; Second Best; Motivating Her (I really liked this one); Walking Along an Empty Isle, Waiting for the Elusive Smile!; World Raising Battle; A Day; 26 Things I Hate About You; His Wish For Her and Hers for Nickel and Dime; Of Demons and God!; Happiness Makes You Cry; and Life's Calling.

If you like poetry that doesn't involve lots of happiness and beauty, then I recommend you take a look at this man's poems.  I loved what he shared and felt privileged to have it shared with me.

REVIEW: Buried Secrets

Buried Secrets
By Gary Cecil

Genre: Horror, Short Story
Publication date: 1.3.2014
Pages: 22

Date read: 1.30.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary: Max and his wife, Megan, just moved into their new home. It's a charming Victorian, that did not come with the typical Victorian price tag. Sure, it needs some paint thrown on here and there, but soon--with a baby on the way--it will be the perfect home for their family.

Things quickly begin to change, though. They hear noises at night, and even feel things crawling in their sheets. But that's not the worst of it. There's a foul smell in the air sometimes, and something even fouler in the basement.

When the power goes out, Max goes into the basement to find the breaker, and what he finds, is something much worse.


My thoughts

(short story)

A few months ago (October of 2013 to be exact), I became very unhappy with short stories, especially ones that claimed to be horror.  Maybe I'm just desensitized to this sort of thing after all these years of watching and reading horror, but I just don't find a great majority of them scary.  I feel like it's false advertising when, in the book description, it says things like "spine-tingling horror tale" or claims it is the scariest thing you'll ever read.  I actually almost gave up altogether - and had a long list of authors to blame it on.  But, thankfully, I came across three authors who really know what they're doing when it comes to scary short stories (the Light Brothers and Rayne Hall - and now I can add in Edward Lorn as well).

When the chance to r2r this story came up, I read the book description and was very excited.  Not only did it use that "spine-tingling horror tale" line (I still have hope that one day that will be true), but it talked about being a combination of "horror and humor" - and at 22 pages, why would I not pick that up and give it a try?

It had a few creepy moments, I'll give it that.  The rat thing, yeah, so not cool.  The "Wait! What?" moment - the unexpected bit you get at the end of short stories right before it ends - it had that and I was a little shocked.  And uh ... well ... um ... yeah ... that's about it.  I didn't laugh once.  The book description talks about the basement, which gave him this whole other world to play with down there (I mean, basements are scary, just like attics are), but it fell short on all that.

To be honest, the author has a good idea here - and if he punched it up, gave some more descriptions and cut out that sex and washing her hair nonsense, which would have left more room for creepy/scary stuff, this could have been a good story.  I really hope he fixes it up and, if he does, I would be more than willing to read it again and update my review.

REVIEW: The Halloween Curse

Boo 1:
The Halloween Curse
By MR James

Genre: Halloween, YA
Publication date: 10.10.2013
Pages: 173

Date read: 1.30.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary: Billy and Amanda Walker aren't too sure about the new shop that just opened up in their small town of Boo, Pennsylvania. They're even more unsure of the shop's owner. A tall, spooky looking man who goes by the name of Mr. Night.

When pumpkins mysteriously begin attacking people and children go missing, Billy and Amanda are positive it's tied to Mr. Night and his new antique bookstore that's filled with strange spell books and spiders. Unfortunately, no one will believe them.

With Halloween threatened and the lives of their friends in danger, it's up to Billy and Amanda to figure out what's going on, and save their favorite holiday before it's too late.


My thoughts

This was a really enjoyable YA Halloween tale (Amazon puts the ages as 8-12).  Amanda and her brother Billy have quite an adventure trying to find out what is going on in their town, taking on a lot for two young kids, especially since their parents won't believe them and they have no one else to go to. 

It was fun, the characters are well-written, the mystery is engaging and what kids don't like Halloween?!  Plus they learn a very important lesson in the end. 

Definitely a book I would suggest reading with the young ones in your life.  I think I know what I'll be sharing with the ones in my life next Halloween. :)


I can't wait to read more of this series and I hope that we see some of these characters again.

Favorite character: I really liked Mr Night.  He was different and scary ... and intriguing.  I wanted to know more about him.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

REVIEW: The Apocalyptic Alphabet

The Apocalyptic Alphabet
By: Robert Uy

Genre: Children's books, Zombies
Publication date: 12.31.2013
Pages: Approximately 31

Date read: 1.29.2014

Summary: From A is for Ammo, to E is for Evacuate, to V is for Vaccine, a zombie apocalypse has never been illustrated before in such a fun and imaginative way.

"The Apocalyptic Alphabet" is a creative ride through the apocalypse. Readers will learn about the tools, social conventions, signs and concepts needed to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.

With hand-drawn digital illustrations, "The Apocalyptic Alphabet" brings a whole new way to learn about the alphabet and survival during the end times.


My thoughts

To be honest, I was rather disappointed in this book ... and I had such high hopes for it when I found it for free earlier this week.  (Especially after the two 5 star and two 4 star reviews on Amazon.)  I mean, what kid these days doesn't have a fascination with zombies?  None that I know. 

The first page of the story says that it may not be intended for young children, but it's a book teaching the alphabet - and if it was intended for adults, it's worse than I thought.

When I read kids' books, I try to look at it from both the adult reading it's point of view and the kids' point of view - and both ways I didn't really find it entertaining at all.  And the rhyming seemed awkward for several of the letters.

I give the guy kudos for giving this a try, but I just feel he fell sort of short.

I do want to say that the sign for the letter R was pretty funny (Where can I purchase one of those? :p).

REVIEW: Chronicles of a Clocksmith

Chronicles of a Clocksmith
By: M Doerner-Miller

Genre: Fantasy & Magic, YA
Publication date: 1.10.2014
Pages: 179

Date read: 1.28.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary: One day, a bored little boy finds himself inside an old clock store. And while the boy is generally uninterested in most of the old and dusty clocks within the store, one particular clock strikes up his curiosity. And then everything changes for this bored little boy.

Transported into a wonderful world of mystery and magic - this average little boy soon learns why he just might not be so average after all.


My thoughts

I really enjoyed this book.  The writing was almost poetic and I loved the way the people spoke in rhyme and how the description of certain things and places were used multiple times throughout the story - every time it would make me smile.  The characters were nicely described and I really became interested in what happened to them.  It was a fun book that kept me interested the whole time, from beginning to end.

(As an adult, the ending of "the bad guy" was a little too easy, but for children, I'm sure it will be just perfect.  I can't wait to share it with the younger generations.  In fact, it will be soon because I'm having a Parents-Night-Out at my house soon with a couple of my friends' kids.  I'll have to remember to update this review with their opinions. :D)


Favorite character: Enu and the girl Briggle fell in love with (I can't, for the life of me, remember her name).

Favorite line: "I am young, but have wronged old.  I have given, but have also stole.  I can be warm but also cold.  I am no hero, no warrior bold.  But I'll strive for betterment, 'til my soul is tolled."  (Really makes ya think, doesn't it?)

REVIEW: Kindled

Kindled
By Michaelbrent Collings

Genre: Horror
Publication date: 1.23.2014
Pages: 24

Date read: 1.29.2014

Can be found: The link 

Summary: What is it about our Kindles -- and iPads and Nooks and on and on -- that makes us want to read them?

Is it really just the stories? The fun of it?

Or is it something a bit more... insidious? 


My thoughts

I liked it.  It really makes you think, especially considering I go nowhere without my Kindle and read everything I can on it...

You can find it on Amazon for $0.99, but if you go to his website (follow the link above), he's giving it away to all of his fans for free (no sign-up necessary). 

A quote from the author: "I put it out for free as a thank you to my fans. Tongue in cheek horror for those who read a bit too much... especially on electronic devices. Hope you enjoy!"

Me and my reading

Dear readers,
I always love when people point out that I am a little all over the place when it comes to the things I read, so much so that you would be hard pressed to find one person who likes everything.  I also read really fast.  

So I thought, maybe I should do some explaining ...

I will read pretty much anything that looks interesting to me.  

I love information and, as with most women (I'm not a man and since they rarely let us into their heads, I can't speak for them), I am constantly thinking about ways that I can make myself better than I am (self-help).  I am also interested in what makes people tick (psychology), people's beliefs (religion), why people think the way they do and act the way they do (psychology and sociology), things that people have thought in the past (philosophy), the past in general (history), people (biographies) - I think you're getting my drift.

I have always loved cooking and baking - ever since I was really little - so I will read anything cooking and foodie related, including cookbooks (and, yes, from cover to cover, just like I would a novel).  The first cookbook I ever read was a Julia Child book.  I can't actually say "read" because, at the time, I really wasn't very good at it.  I remember taking the book off the shelf and hiding in a corner (so my sister couldn't find me and bug me) - I looked at all the pictures and did my best to read that blip that smart authors put underneath the name of the recipe.  When I was done with that one, I moved on to Justin Wilson and Jeff Smith.  When I got older, I was obsessed with Thomas Jefferson.  I did reports on him for school, read all about him, still to this day want to visit his old house and see the kitchens they've talked about in books ... I blame him and those three chefs for the fact that I went to school for culinary arts and want to eventually own my own restaurant/bakery.

Now we can move on to what I read "for fun" (I place those two words in quotes because, to me, all reading is fun, no matter what it is) - horror (the scarier, the better), mysteries, action, adventure, thrillers ... let's just say everything, except for romance (though I have been giving some clean ones a chance) and erotica.

So, yeah, as one friend said, I have an "eclectic taste."

Lately I've been doing quite a few r2rs (where the author gives a reviewer a free book in exchange for an honest review), which makes my "eclectic taste" even more so.  See, when someone asks, I have a hard time saying no, especially if it's something that I would have read anyways.  And some I would honestly probably not have picked up had it not been for someone asking me to.  That doesn't mean I don't enjoy it - to be honest, I've actually been really lucky with books lately and have only had a handful or two that I just didn't enjoy at all.  Pushing myself outside of my "comfort zone" has actually introduced me to some new favorite authors and added hours of enjoyment to my life.

So, yeah, I do read a lot and I do read a lot of crazy things, but in my way of thinking, it makes me much more interesting :)

So, go - take yourself out of your comfort zone a little bit and try something new.  You never know what will happen.  You may be like me and find new authors to love.

Happy reading,
Meghan :)

Sherlock: The Sign of Three


Since this series began, I have been waiting and waiting, on pins and needles even, wanting to find out how they handle the fact that John Watson eventually gets married.  Every one does it differently.

With Jeremy Brett playing Sherlock Holmes, Watson simply disappears for awhile.  With Robert Downey, Jr, he makes an arse out of himself and Mary wants John to end the friendship (at least that's the way she comes across in the first movie when they meet).

I have to say that this is probably the BEST of all the episodes I have seen so far.  We got  see how good of friends (best friends, actually) Sherlock and John have become (I laughed so hard with his confusion), meet John's fiance (and then wife) Mary (who is played by Amanda Abbington - who plays on Mr Selfridge, IT and Whites - and who is Martin Freeman's long term partner in real life), see Sherlock show some real emotion, solve a case with a very interesting form of murder, find out about Mrs Hudson's  husband (was anyone else as shocked as I was?!?!) and see some more really awesome wallpaper haha.  And most of the show is set at the wedding, which Sherlock has helped to plan.

I am really looking forward to seeing Episode 3 next week.  We will be watching Episode 1 sometime this week (you can't miss a friend's birthday party for a TV show haha).

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Reads - Week of January 19-25, 2014

 
Sleeping Crimes by Joyce Slobogian

Dinner for Two by Emily Porterfield

Tales of Nancy Jones, Volume 1 by Taff Jones

Shadow Spinner: Collection 3: The Garden by Andrew Leon

I Believe Weight Loss by Greg Zuffelato

37 Ways to Improve Your Cat's Life by Maris Munkevics

Four Seasons of Creative Writing by Bryan Cohen

Friday, January 24, 2014

REVIEW: Crawl

Crawl
By Edward Lorn

Genre: Horror
Publication date: ARC
Pages: 50

Date read: 1.14.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary: 
You’re out in the middle of nowhere.

You’ve been crippled and left for dead.

There’s something in the woods.

It’s coming.

There’s only one thing you can do…

CRAWL


My thoughts

It all began with his reveal of the cover on BookLikes.  I was immediately intrigued, which became even more intense when I read the description.  :O  When he posted that he was looking for a couple of people to tell him if the story was crap or not, I couldn't message him fast enough.  I mean, I have already read one of his books and LOVED it and I'm currently listening to the audio of another, loving that also.  How could I not be super psyched to check out another something of his, especially before the masses get a chance?

I read somewhere once that you know they're an amazing author when you're willing to read ANYTHING that they put out, anything they write, including their grocery list.  When it comes to Indie/Self-published authors, I have so far come across four - and E is one of them (all four made it to my Top Four of 2013 list).

This story is a prime example of one of the things I love so much about his writing - the twists and turns out of nowhere. Stories are never what they originally seem with him. And he packed so much goodness into this story.

Her inner dialogue is awesome. I think, under similar circumstances, I may have gone a little off the deep end as well and I hope my inner dialogue is as entertaining as hers in the end. (He had a star held hostage over on BookLikes and I completely agree - I want more stories with this character.)

And, as usual, the beautiful endings (and by beautiful, I do not mean  all happy with unicorns and glitter and snowflakes, but then if you are a fan of E, you already know this) that I expect from him.


Favorite line: "If the devil was a redneck who lived in the woods, was God a rapper living in Bankhead? Made sense, didn't it? That God was a celebrity and Satan was a backwoods hermit. No one minded either until someone gave either a reality show. Then you found yourself watching Duck Dynasty and the Kardashians, Honey Boo Boo and World's Dumbest Criminals: Holy Fucks Edition." 

REVIEW: Shadow Spinner: Collection 3: The Garden

Shadow Spinner: Collection 3: The Garden
By: Andrew Leon

Genre: Dark Fantasy, YA
Publication date: 11.26.2013
Pages: 69

Date read: 1.22.2014
Recommended by: Andrew himself :)

Summary: Tiberius has always thought of himself as a normal 10-year-old boy. Maybe he's a little smarter than everyone else, but that's still normal. He's scared of shadows, but everyone's scared of something, right? His mother's completely paranoid and called the cops the one time, just one time, he went over to a friend's house after school, but, still, he's normal even if his mother is not. At least, that's what he thinks until the day his mother finally decides to tell him about his father, and she tells him things that convince him that one of them is crazy, and he's pretty sure it's not him. That is until the Man with No Eyes shows up and his father falls out of the sky.

Michael and Tib have entered The Garden, the Center of... Creation? The Universe? Tib isn't sure, but it isn't like anywhere he's ever been before.


My thoughts

I read the first collection and really liked it.  I was given the second collection by the author for an r2r and LOVED it.  I've been looking forward to reading this - the NEED to find out what happens - but, as often happens with life, I kept having to put off sitting down with it.  When I found out that collection 4 will be out (like SOON!), I decided I needed to find the time.

I'm glad I did.  What a great story this has turned into.  The garden, light, dark, the forbidden fruit, the serpent, the tree of life ... everything is coming together nicely and we're starting to see where the story is going.  That, plus a couple of appearances by the Man with No Eyes, an angel, some little creatures Tib isn't quite sure of and, as usual with fathers, the unanswered questions ... I can't wait to see what happens next. :)

REVIEW: Four Seasons of Creative Writing

Four Seasons of Creative Writing
Bryan Cohen

Genre: Writing Skills, How-to
Publication date: 1.9.2014
Pages: 110

Date read: 1.23.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary: Writing prompts are questions and hypothetical situations that are able to cure writer's block instantly. This book gives you exactly one thousand idea-generating prompts that focus on the coldest, warmest, toughest and funniest days of the four seasons. These 1,000 prompts work for blogs, scripts, stories, poems, essays, songs and anything else that requires you to stare down writer's block and start writing!

My thoughts

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to read Bryan's book 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts Volume 2 as a r2r and I loved it.  So when I had the chance at this one, I grabbed the chance.

He did it again - another great set of writing prompts.  These would really be great in a classroom or even for people who journal, blog and write.  Each of his prompts really make you think and get your creativity flowing. 

They say that when you have writer's block, you need to write through it - grab this book, find something that catches your attention and get writing. :)

I can't wait to see what prompts he comes up with next.

Between the Bindings with Mike Meyer


Mike and I both belong to the Action/Adventure Aficionado Group on Goodreads and I love to read the things that he shares on there.  I gotta tell you - he is a fun and interesting guy.  When I asked him what made him decide to become a writer, he told me that he's now a retired English professor and when his doctor asked him what he planned on doing now that he's not working, among his list of things was to write.  His doctor was really excited about this because writing is a "wonderfully healthy activity."  I agree.

Unpublished writers often ask me how I happened to publish five novels in such a short time. The answer is simple, and yet there is some complexity to it. I decided to self-publish my own novels. I wanted my work to be read right away. If I had gone the traditional publishing route, my books would still be somewhere along the lengthy publishing route, lying there not yet ready to be put into readers’ hands. It takes months, sometimes years, to get one’s work published the traditional way. I am so delighted that Amazon Direct Publishing came onto the scene, followed by the NOOK for Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. My books have already sold thousands of copies since their birth at their new home at Amazon. And in that short time, my books have made me an international author. Copies of them have already been bought in England, Germany, France, Australia, South Africa, and Singapore, in addition to wide distribution throughout the United States and Canada. None of this would have been possible, in such a short time, if I had chosen to pursue the traditional publishing route.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, the highly acclaimed international author, often complained of having to change parts of his books, especially endings, to satisfy his publishers. He is not, by far, the only author who has had to adhere to someone else’s editing in order to be published. In my case, the case of a self-published novelist on Amazon Kindle and the Nook, I have complete control over every single aspect of my book, every word, every punctuation mark, and even to the appearance of the cover. It is my choice, and mine alone, how to begin and how to end my own book. I have complete control over all of my characters’ actions, thoughts, and words. In a nutshell, as a self-published author, I am the true writer of my own work. No editor has had a hand in changing even a single word of my original work. The book is mine, and mine alone, and it is presented to the reading public exactly as I want it to be, nothing changed to satisfy a publisher’s whim.

However, being in complete control of one’s own work means that enormous time needs to be spent polishing the final product so that it can compete effectively in the marketplace. Errors of any kind can be blamed on no one but one’s own self. It is lonely out there, all by yourself, with no editors and no marketing department to provide assistance. In other words, there is a downside to self-publishing, but, in the end, when you hold your own book in your hands, it is well worth all the time and hard work that has gone into it.

The best advice I can give an aspiring self-published author is this: you must be thick-skinned because not everyone will like your books. In fact, you need to be prepared to receive some negative views, at times, even some that might be downright hostile, from people you will never meet. It happens to all writers. It is the nature of the writing game. Attacks on your writing will take place, and they will be posted on book sites just as poor reviews of restaurants and such are posted on Yelp. When you receive such a review, even though it might seem very hard to do, ignore it. Never respond. Let it be. Instead, cherish the positive reviews you receive. You will find yourself moved at times by the great things readers have to say about your work. Feel good that you have pleased someone with your writing. Take pride in this. If you have put forth the work required, you will receive some reviews that will move you. Then move forward. You know that you cannot please everyone. All artists, be they film makers, song writers, or painters, etc., know this. Accept this fact and then keep on writing because that is what writers do: they write.

And, by all means, make your writing an enjoyable activity. Look forward to interacting with your characters as you put their story down on paper because soon enough your books go off to live on their own. Have fun! Life is too short to do otherwise.


Great advice, Mike.  Thanks.  And I never looked at self-publishing that way - being able to be the one to decide whether something stays or goes - as opposed to having a publisher who tells you what you can and cannot keep.  Even though self-publishing takes more work, it seems to me like it's more worth it.  But then, that's my opinion.

Until next time y'all ....  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Reads - Week of January 12-18, 2014


1. Colin McCool and the Vampire Dwarf (MD Massey)

2. Auntie Rita is Coming to London ... and Other Stories (Marella Albion)

3. Just Like a Musical (Milena Veen)

4. Deathwind Trilogy 1: Twisted (Holly Hook)

5. Weight of Earth (Stevie Mikayne)

6. Wexhia Trilogy 1: Curse (Dale Furse)

7. Front Porch Lemonade (JudiLynn Taylor)

REVIEW: Tales of Nancy Jones, Volume 1

Tales of Nancy Jones
Volume 1
By: Taff Jones

Genre: Teens & YA, Cats
Publication date: 10.1.2013
Pages: 72

Date read: 1.21.2014

Summary:  A beautiful children’s book about a real life pussycat called Nancy Jones. Nancy lives with her friends in England, and gets up to lots of adventures. This first volume comprises 3 new and exciting stories: 1) Nancy Finds a New Home 2) Nancy and the Gnomes 3) Friends Visit Nancy

My thoughts 

I originally heard of this book the other day when I was going through the emails my mother had sent me.  This particular one was an article about a beautiful cat named Nancy who had been seriously burned by her owner when the awful person put her in a microwave.  I was horrified and crying - first angry, then sad, ending with happy - as I read through this article about her being taken care of until she was well again and  a lovely couple adopting her.  It was very moving.  The article goes on to say that now she is the star of a book that her owner (Taff) wrote about her.  When I saw that the proceeds of the book go to the center that saved her, I immediately went to Amazon to find it.  (This is the link to the article)

I am so glad that I did.

This is such a wonderful book.  It's three short stories, told by Nancy.  The first, Nancy Finds a New Home, made me cry yet again.  It was so sad, her being in a shelter, but then very happy when she meets Taff and Pam.

The second and third, Nancy & the Gnomes and Friends Visit Nancy, are cute stories for children to read (and the kids I read them too loved them).

Nancy is beautiful and the pictures they use of her and her surroundings are a great addition.

Even though I liked all three stories, the first one is my all time favorite and I definitely recommend any cat lover (pet lover, animal lover...) to buy this book. :)

REVIEW: Dinner for Two

Dinner for Two
By: Emily Porterfield

Genre: Women's Fiction, Romance
Publication date: 1.16.2014
Pages: 82

Date read: 1.21.2014
Recommended by: Emily Porterfield

Summary: Initial Impression Can Be Wrong...

Lucy is an elegant, snobby, food critic. Her palate is the most sophisticated, and unforgiving. Everyone wants their food to pass her approval. But not Russ. He is the newest sensation on the block, the farthest thing from refined… but oh, can he cook. Their attraction is electrifying but they are as different as night and day. Can Lucy and Russ find common ground to make it work?

Dinner for Two is a wonderful sweet (clean) contemporary romance with comedic elements - its has loads of fun moments.


My thoughts

A little over a week ago, I read another title by this author (Handle with Care) as a Read 2 Review.  When she contacted me to thank me, she asked me if I would be interested in reading this one as well.  Now, anyone who follows my reviews knows that I don't like romances.  I chose the last one because it was described as clean and was a short story.  Seeing that this one was as well (plus the fact that I enjoyed the last one) and seeing that one of the characters was a chef, I decided to give it a go.

I must say that, from the start, I didn't like Lucy.  I know that her job is to be that way (as a restaurant critic), but she was just too rude and abrupt for me.  And when she called Russ (the chef) rude and disrespectful, I laughed (and not like you do when you hear a really funny joke) and almost started yelling at her, even though she wasn't in the room with me.  I mean pot calling the kettle much?  But Russ seemed like an amazing guy with a lot of talent and, even though I couldn't understand what he saw in her, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt.

The story is well written and you really get a feel for the characters, even if that feeling is you want to trip them down the stairs. :p  As the story progressed, I really got into the story and found myself hoping that things would come together because they both liked each other so much and, in the end, as all good romances do, well, just read it to find out what happens. :)

If you're looking for a romance that doesn't have all the sex, that has two people who are not perfect working together to be something more, then this is the story for you.  I highly recommend it and look forward to reading more by this author.

Monday, January 20, 2014

REVIEW: Sleeping Crimes

Sleeping Crimes
By: Joyce Slobogian

Genre: Mystery, Women Sleuths
Publication date: 3.31.2012
Pages: 220

Date read: 1.20.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary:  When Eric Delaney returns to Brandon after ten years away, he creates quite a stir in town. Eric had always been a snoop. After leaving Brandon he has turned his snooping talents into a successful career by writing books about the secret lives of the rich and famous. Now the plans a new book about secrets in his home town. Several people in the city have reason to worry about Eric’s homecoming.

Connie Anderson had been romantically involved with Eric when they both attended Brandon University. After he left without a word to her, she was angry and disappointed. Now, ten years later, Connie co-owns a mystery book store in Brandon. Recently, she has helped solving a real life mystery – finding the young daughter of a good friend, who had been abducted. She met and fell in love with Alan Bowering, a police officer involved in the search for the missing girl. Life is now good for Connie, and she has almost forgotten about Eric. His return brings back all the memories.

Rick Smithers is a professor at Brandon University, a weak character who had in the past been all too fond of his young female students. Eric had found out about it and had blackmailed him.

Rita Fleming is a popular teacher and a candidate for City Council. Her chances to win the election are excellent. But there is a secret in her life, and Eric Delaney knows something about it. His return to Brandon is a worry to Rita.

Frakes Construction is a well-known and successful company and Graham and Nancy Frakes are among the most prominent people in town. But they have something to hide. When Eric arrives in town, Graham Frakes becomes uneasy, since Delaney hinted in an interview about “plenty of hidden dirt in any town.”

When Eric is found beaten to death in his hotel room, the police find reasons to suspect a number of people, who seem to have motive and opportunity to have committed the crime.

Connie does some snooping around on her own, and provides the police with a number of hints. Then a second murder is committed and the investigation becomes more intense. The city is in an uproar over the murders and the tension escalates.

With one suspect dead, the police concentrates on the others. Connie puts her life on the line by continuing to investigate. Alan rescues her just in time, and she is able to point the finger at the murderer, who is then arrested.

At Christmas time, the killer is awaiting trial. The people involved in the case have made changes in their lives in the meantime. Connie plans to spend time over the Holidays at her family’s farm. She is surprised and pleased that Alan is coming along to meet her family. Their relationship has reached an important phase.


My thoughts

I am a HUGE fan of mysteries - any night if you ask me what I'm watching, most likely it's some sort of British mystery (they are my favorite); Agatha Christie is one of my all time favorite authors (Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Tommy & Tuppence ... I just can't get enough); I have seen (and read) every Sherlock Holmes story there is; and I have a huge selection of mysteries on my Kindle (and on my bookshelves).  Mysteries were some of the first real books that I got into when I was young, after LotR at 10 years old and cookbooks, that is.  There is just something about this genre that really gets my blood pumping and my brain working.  I love trying to find out if I can figure out who did it before they do (and Hercule stumps me EVERY time).

This, as a mystery, isn't half bad.  It starts off with a little story that tells you how some of the characters from the past are connected, then pops ahead to ten years later when one of those characters, Eric Delaney, a now famous author of books that tell people's secrets, comes back to town to tell the secrets he knows.  He makes it very clear to people that he knows a secret and plans it to be the topic of his next book.

Sounds interesting, huh?

Even though it reminds me of an episode of Murder, She Wrote I've seen a couple of times, I was pulled right in. 

As the story goes on, one of the people from ten years before (Connie) is now two years into a relationship with a police officer, one of the police officers on the case, but it is quickly proven that she couldn't have possibly done it.  And with her help, the police work the case to discover what happened ten years ago and who murdered Eric.

So, you're wondering why I gave it a 3, huh?  I am too.  Because in my head I'm thinking that it deserves more like a 2.

Now I'm sure you're wondering, 'But why, Meghan, if you liked it?'

Because of one KEY point that drove me absolutely crazy.

At about 50% into the book (more like 47%, but who's counting?), Connie finds a piece of evidence.  WHERE?  In a place it couldn't possibly have been.  I know what you're asking - but how do I know that for sure.  Because they spent quite a bit of time on the evidence and, according to the story, it just wasn't there.  Continuity, especially in a mystery, is key.  How can I believe anything else in the story if I can't even believe the evidence?

I actually almost quit there.  But ... I'm one of those people that can't stop a book once I'm into it.  And, to be honest, I wanted to know who the murderer was. 

But all I could keep thinking about was the evidence that couldn't have been there.

I also want to note as a side thing, which really has nothing to do with the novel and the review, but I have a serious issue with the description of this book and am actually quite glad that I didn't read it beforehand.  What is the point of telling me almost the WHOLE story in the description?  I don't know about other people, but if I had read this particular description, I never would have read the novel.    It gives away too much, in my opinion, for me to fully enjoy the story - I would have been anxiously waiting for each thing to occur.  Shame on you, Book Description, shame on you.

(As I say with all reviews where I have a major issue, if the author would like to contact me to discuss this further, she is more than welcome to do so.) 


UPDATE:
Apparently the author did not like my review.  I did offer to discuss my issues with her if she contacted me, as you can see above, and had high hopes when I received an email from her.  Instead, what I received was not words that, in my opinion, can open up a line of communication:

"Thank you for reading and reviewing Sleeping Crimes and posting it on Amazon. I am aware of the mistake that snuck into the book and was missed by me and another person editing the book. I have to admit it is a big mistake and should not have happened. Still, you could have mentioned it without writing quite such a long destructive document. It sounds more like a letter to yourself than a factual review."

Does anyone else see problems with this?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What Star Wars person are you?

This is all Hugh's fault.  I just want to point that out to all of you BEFORE I get into this.  Yup, Hugh, everyone's favorite Curmudgeon (and if you don't know Hugh, you should meet Hugh cause I'm telling you, you will love him) caused all of this.

See, I'm over on BookLikes and I see this ...


Oooo-k.

You're wondering.  And that's cool.  Cause I was too.

So I read the post and I find out that the test says that Hugh = the very cool Chewbacca (I sure would like to know why I keep hearing that in my head like one of the pirates on Muppet Treasure Island!).  And there's a link.

Of course I had to go take it.  I mean, you want to take it too, huh?

I admit that I was torn between "I can find people's lack of faith ... disturbing" and "Pull someone's arm out of the socket" as answers to one question.   And I do believe that my childhood was "Traumatic in a way that can only be properly explained in a prequel" but I never expected this ...


Though he IS one of the MOST AWESOME characters in Star Wars, I'm just not seeing myself as a villain.  I mean, even my mean face brings laughter.  Is this what my future holds?

So, here's the link --->>>  What Star Wars character are you? 

I'm curious.  Please, share in the comments below.  I'd like to know what everyone else is too. :)