Sunday, June 30, 2013

Author Impressions from Book Bash

So I made a semi-scrapbook to take to this event and ended up only putting 36 authors in it. Many of the 83 that were there I had never heard of so......I didn't 'waste' pages in my book for them. In the order they are in my book here are my thoughts upon meeting them:

Kristin Ashley - not a huge fan of her books, but a huge fan of her. She is so tall!!! Super nice & she was sweating as much as I was. I loved that - made her more real to me :)

Katie Ashley - super sweet & nice. She walked the line a couple of times at pre-registration and we had a few laughs over my homemade scrapbook vs. this other semi-professional one we saw. Once again not a big fan of her books, but she is awesome!

Maya Banks - ummmm.......I don't even remember meeting her so that may say something. Either about her or me I'm not sure which???? I do know she had great swag!

Cora Carmack - this girl can talk! Like I mean really talk! This translates to fantastic when you are the one she is talking to, but extremely annoying when you are waiting in line. I loved her & wished I got to hang out more with her outside the event.

Nichole Chase - seemed sweet & I loved her swag that I got for Suddenly Royal because it was a princess wand! Haven't even read her books yet, but she liked my page. Especially liked that I had the cover for 'On Christmas Hill' because she did that one herself.

Nyrae Dawn - when I got to her table no one was there. Crazy! She had a cool new shorter haircut with pink highlights on each side of her face.  She was really nice & laid back. She liked that I knew she writes under a pseudonym. Funny what you can learn on the internet :)

Jillian Dodd - So nice! She liked my scrapbook page for her. We talked a little about her daughter heading out to Nebraska for school & also about my Origami Owl necklace. She wants to get one with the charms that coincide with her book. I think she should market them :) I told her that I had read every one of her books in a week & that I loved them. She is also a tall, blonde babe. Wish I was. {sigh}

Rebecca Donovan - I couldn't wait to meet her! I haven't read any of her books, but in putting together my scrapbook decided that she had the best website of all the authors hands down. Her web designer was there so I complimented her as well. It's like Sex In The City reads books! She is beautiful & so stylish! Good swag as well.

Karina Halle - grabbed her autograph quickly when we crashed Angstfest. She was very accommodating and had on a cool necklace :)

Colleen Hoover - also grabbed her autograph at Angstfest & wish that I would have had more time to hang with her. She was super nice!

R.K. Lilley - She was one of the authors I grabbed in the lobby outside of Angstfest. She is also tall, blonde & a babe. She had on shorts & wedges & was very leggy. Wish I was!  She liked my book & flipped through to check out her friend's pages. Seemed really nice & wasn't in a hurry to run away from us :)

K.A. Linde - she was really sweet at the signing & didn't even get mad at me when I told her that her main character bugged me. She seemed to have a good sense of humor & at Angstfest I saw her shaking her booty :)

Cherrie Lynn - No one was at her table when I got there either! She signed my scrapbook, my real book & took a pic with me. Her biker looking hubby/boyfriend? became the photographer. She gave out really cute little bags as swag.

R.L. Mathewson -  met her while waiting in line at pre-registration. Let's just say I wasn't impressed, but I like her books.

Jamie McGuire - waited in her line & got to her table at the tail end of the day. She was polite, but I think she was tired. Doesn't matter - she signed my book! Also has a really fun karaoke video on her page today that made me smile :)

Katja Millay - haven't read her book but I bought it for her to sign. She was quiet but nice. Saw her later hanging out in the lobby & she looked like a very dignified Southern lady, but she was sporting pink Chuck's with her floral dress. I had to tell her how much I liked them & we chatted for a minute. Totally nice!

Tina Reber - didn't talk to her too long, but her son was under the table playing while we were there & I loved that. She is just a mom like me. She liked my book & took a picture of it for herself. I hear she's really funny & wish we could have hung out longer.

J.A. Radmerski - once again I don't remember much so....moving on

Elizabeth Reyes - very quiet & I'm not sure that she even spoke to me.

Sylvain Reynard - just sent his publicist & before this event we though he was a she :) Wish HE would have been there!

Aleatha Romig - super super nice! How she wrote such a twisted book is beyond me. Met her at the elevators the night of pre-registration & spent time taking to her at her table. I love her!!!!

Madeline Sheehan - very nice & seemed like a fun person. Very rock-n-roll. She seemed young to me, but I'm old so.....

Charles Sheehan-Miles - such a nice guy. He was serving as photographer at the author's table next to his when we got there. He was very appreciative. They took pics of my book & the people he was with were very appreciative as well. I love his books & was impressed with him! He does need new publicity photos though. Just sayin'

Tara Sivec - what's not to love? She is cool. She is funny. She is cute. She called her friend the 'Photo Bitch'. She gave out condoms as swag. I mean seriously! Her books are hilarious & are a direct reflection of her personality. She was at GNO & is a partier. Good times! I did learn that I always pronounced her name wrong before. Ooops!

S.C. Stephens - very quiet. Met her at Angstfest & she was nice, but not overly outgoing.

Tammara Webber - very quiet. Can't remember her even talking to me at her table.

Jasinda Wilder - caught up to her at GNO & she is super down to earth & nice. I have red hair envy!

Nichole Williams - no one was at her table when I went which was really surprising to me. Very nice & she loved my book. Hers is one of my better pages.

Well, that is all. Oh wait! I met Alice Clayton too. She wasn't in my book before I went, but she should have been. Super nice lady & we said 'hey' to her again at GNO. Her autograph says, 'Thank you for enjoying the ridiculous' which is a perfect way to end this post!

Book Bash Day 2 - The Main Event!

So so so much to talk about! Yesterday was amazing! In a crazy I-can't-believe-that-I'm-here-doing-this kind of way. I have been a lot of places, Disney, Universal, concerts, etc., but never have seen a crowd like this. Imagine, at least, 1000 men, women & children (but lets be honest - mostly women) crammed into a convention area. Now add at least 2 ginormous bags to each of those people, discounting the people who were rolling huge carts or suitcases full of books. That leads us to a room full of people sweating their arses off & getting hit non-stop with a bag or 2 or 3! But guess what? NO ONE CARED! I cared a little about the sweating because we were taking pics, but not really.

Being in a shared space with people who have the same obsession (yes, we call it like we see it) as you was extremely fun. Talking about fictional characters as if they were real didn't lead to any eye-rolling, weird looks, or comments behind hands. We were all on the same page! Seeing/meeting our favorite authors is equated to meeting a famous movie star. In some cases, certain ones for me, it was like I met the president! Anyway......back to the logistics part of the day.

The event started at noon & people started lining up outside at 8:00. I was not one of those people. I had pre-registered the night before & let's face it - it was HOT! Have you been to FL in the summer? This may be a good time to mention that my hair was curly on this day. I don't fight the humidity while I'm here. I've learned it's pointless. Anyway, hung out with my friend Monica & her hubby for a special BK breakfast and then headed back to get ready for the event. I was conflicted on trying to look cute or be cool/comfortable so I went for in between. I wore my 'Pretty Girls Read Books' shirt & got lots of compliments on it throughout the day. Thankfully Monica had lots of 'people' so one got in line & held our spot as we went up to change. Ended up getting in line at like 11:45 outside. Did I mention it was hot? I melted (a little). Thank goodness for Laura holding our spots or we would have been outside much longer. The doors were opened & upon entering we were given our Book Bash swag bag. (This just added to the # of bags that are now in this getting smaller by the second space. Just sayin') Everyone had a table map so there was a rush to get in line at your favorite author's table.  We headed straight to Kristen Ashley because that is who Monica & Sue wanted to see first & I had the responsibility of getting books signed for a fellow Book Gossiper. (I take my responsibilities seriously.) This line took us an hour and a half so we periodically took turns venturing out to see what autographs we could get quickly before coming back to stand in line. I resigned myself at this point to the fact that I was not going to get all of the 'big' authors that I wanted. Not physically possible given their lines. That meant I had to re-evaluate my plan & make sure to get as many others as possible. There were 83 authors there and I had 36 in my book that I made. Without going through each moment of the 4 hour event, I was successful in getting 27 of the 36. (Not all were gotten at the event, but I'll get to that later.) On one hand the 4 hrs flew by and on the other is the fact that it was such a crazy hectic semi-stressful time it felt like forever. By the end of the day I needed a massage, a drink and a chiropractor. Not necessarily in that order.

When the event was over we had about 2 1/2 hrs before leaving for our GNO event. We had skipped lunch so Monica, Sue & I headed over to TGI Fridays for some food although a nap sounded good too.

With our bellies full we walked back to the hotel & decided not to catch the first shuttles to the event. That gave us more time because we were already tired. Needless to say, if you know me, I did not take a nap. Had to look through my swag bag, organize my books & look through to see what each author wrote. Anywho, got out of the shower to a text from another online friend that they were already at the event (first shuttle people!) and that all of the table were taken. I didn't sweat it because hey......I'm on vacation in Orlando with no kids or husband, hanging around friends & book people. Nothing is bothering me on this trip!

We get to CRAVE and receive yet another swag bag. To say the place was packed is a gross understatement. I'm not going to go into too much detail about this event other than to say we left 3 hrs before it was supposed to be over. What I will say is this: complete waste of my money!

Moving on.....we decided we needed dessert so we hit the Cheesecake Factory for some cheesecake to go. After a futile attempt to find 'good' coffee (thanks Sue!) we ended up back at the hotel. The other party that was going on (Angstfest) posted on FB that is was open & to come on in - so you know we did. There was a DJ, dancing & fun people. I think this is where I should have been the whole time :) I knew that there were authors here that I didn't get at the event so I stashed some stuff in my room, grabbed my book (Thoughtless) & headed back down. We ate our cheesecake in the lobby and lo & behold if you sit in one spot long enough some of the authors you need autographs for will walk by! Grabbed a few more that way, but not the one I needed. Eventually we decided for one more shot at S.C. Stephens. We walked around and who do I see, but Colleen Hoover! I chickened out approaching (like meeting the President for me) her so my awesome friend Monica went over, got her autograph & then pulled her over to me. OMG! Really? Awesome moment! About this time the lights come on, I turn around & there she is - S.C. Stephens.  I walk up to her, get her autograph & ended my day a happy girl!

That is it in a nutshell, but I've decided to do a separate post with my personal thoughts on the author's that I met. As much for me as for you. See if your impressions mesh with mine.

Happy Reading!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Orlando Book Bash 2013

Day 1 - I ran around like a mad woman this morning making sure that everything was ready for me to leave. This included getting groceries for my family as the cupboard was seriously bare. So, thankful that I packed yesterday!!!!! When I arrived at the airport my flight was already delayed by an hour. (Of course it was!) So, blah, blah, blah & I arrive in Orlando. My beautiful new pink luggage that I was so excited to get was ripped in transit, BUT I was so happy to be going to Book Bash that I really didn't sweat it. Got a new bag from the airline & looking on the bright side, I now have an empty suitcase to fill with books! Oh yeah!!!!  My online friend Monica & her husband Richie met me in the lobby and she is exactly how I knew she would be. So thankful to have met her! Checked into the hotel & went up to my room. That's right - MY ROOM! One that I don't have to share with 2 kids, 2 dogs or a husband. ALL MINE! I can set the thermostat wherever I want & watch whatever I want on TV. Heaven! Got unpacked & logged in on the computer before I decided I was starving. Pre-registration was at 8:00, so I headed down at 7:00 to grab a bite. Not happening. As soon as I hit the lobby I see a huge line already forming. Well the idea of eating went out the window at that point! I jumped in line & my other online friend (Cheri) & I texted. She was a little ahead of me in line. While waiting in line I glanced behind me & saw one of the authors I wanted to meet standing off to the side. I quickly ok'd my departure with the girl behind me & head over to get her autograph & one for my friend CT Oliver that I promised her. Check that off the list :) We proceed to stand in line for an hour. Since I am travelling alone, I spent that time texting Cheri (mostly about who I would see walking by) and Monica (who was at Cirque de Soleil) with the same info wishing she was in line with me. I was literally like a kid in a candy store. It was like seeing movie stars walk by. Not to be too judgemental (but yes) the girl behind me knew no one that walked by. Hello? Why are you here???? I was so proud of my author scrapbook until I looked back & saw these two women with these AMAZING books that they had made. Made mine look like a kindergarten project, but oh well. At least I made mine! Once the line started moving we got up in front of the elevators & that is when it happened. There are several authors that I really wanted to meet this weekend, but there is one who surpasses all the others. So as I stood there it was like a beacon of light shining through the crowd. Aleatha Romig made her way to the elevator right by me! The ladies behind me, who are braver than I, pulled her over for pictures, while I was silently freaking out. I am not one to approach a 'celebrity' on their time. Tomorrow during the event I'll talk your ear off, but not when you are with your friends/family. That's just how I roll. Anyway, she looked my way & I said hi & waved. She walked over & grabbed my hand. I introduced myself - she introduced herself - I said I know who you are & it's such a pleasure to meet you - she said I was sweet & THEN SHE HUGGED ME! Joy!!!!!!! Anyway, we proceeded into the event space & not much was going on in there. I finally caught up to Cheri & her friends though. This means that I have now officially met 2 of my online friends! Amazing! Katie Ashley had been walking around the line & hanging out so I had seen her before, but I decided to take this opportunity to have her sign my book. As I'm talking to her at her table & lay my book out for her to sign, who walks up behind me but the 2 women with the 'cool' books. Really????? So, of course Katie's eye is drawn to the new & shiny & we both start talking about how amazing these books are. So, being the smart aleck that I am I start giving her a hard time about ignoring my book. She is so sweet & funny! We joked around & then she felt bad so she too came around her table & gave me a big hug!  I found Cheri & we all decided we were starving at this point, so we headed over to the Ale House to eat. Basically this translates to me getting in a car with a bunch of strangers that I had never met before today. One of the things they tell you NOT to do on vacation. Hee Hee! We had an amazing dinner & then we came back to the hotel. Not much was going on downstairs so we separated & I ended up back in my ALL MINE hotel room. Which is where I sit now. Can't wait for tomorrow & hope that I have lots of amazing stories to report.

Avoiding Intimacy by K.A. Linde

This is a companion book to the Avoiding series.

The characters in the series are mentioned in this book and Lexi plays a small roll, but this book is all about Chyna.

Pursuing a modeling career in Milan Chyna feels like she is finally achieving her dreams. Professionally, life has fallen in line. Personally, life continues to fall apart.

Growing up a pawn in her parents estranged relationship, and denied their love, Chyna has scars that affect her relationships.  Her thought process is that it's better to stay single than end up as unhappy as her parents.

One relationship, in Milan, has her running scared, and a chance meeting, in a nightclub, has her reeling.

This was a much more enjoyable read to me than the actual series. I view Chyna as more of a 'real' character than Lexi. She is also not as annoying. While she also has dysfunctional relationships I don't think she's as 'stupid' about it!

Here are my questions for you from this book: How do you know if love is real? Why is it so hard to do the right thing? Finally, can nice guys finish first?

Happy reading!

Avoiding Responsibility by K.A. Linde

Still crossing authors of my TBR list that I am going to see at Book Bash this weekend. K.A. Linde is one of those authors.

The follow up book to Avoiding Commitment continues the story of Lexi, Jack & Ramsey. Lexi is still feeling the pull toward Jack, but has hopes of being distracted by Ramsey. Jack is still planning his wedding to Bekah and Ramsey is trying to make up for past behavior.

I can honestly say that while I have no tolerance for these characters I still like this series. Like. Not love.

Even though they are fictional - why are these people so stupid? Hormones trump logic. Hearts trump heads. Lies are easily forgiven. And the bad guy is so romanticized that you start thinking he's the good guy.

In real life I would not be caught dead cheating with a guy who has a girlfriend. I would not put myself into situations where I would be around said guy or his (now) fiancĂ©e. I sure as heck wouldn't go to their wedding, but in case we have forgotten.......this isn't real life!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

That Wedding by Jillian Dodd

Yes, the love story continues. This is the sequel to That Boy which I loved & have put on my Favorites list.

Can't give too much away with this review because I don't want to ruin the first book. Here is what I can say:

JJ is marrying her prince. Planning a wedding is a lot harder than she imagined. Everyone has an opinion. Marriage counseling is not going well. The synopsis of the book spells it out well.

"Should best friends get married?
Will my past affect our relationship?
Are my horrible dreams a warning?
Will I ever find a dress?
Could his sexiness be clouding my judgment?
Am I going to ruin everything?
Or is it a case of cold feet?"

Another drool worthy love story.

*Side note: I devoured ALL of Jillian Dodds books in 3 days! Just saying :)

That Boy by Jillian Dodd

I have become fascinated with books where the love interests have known each other basically their whole lives. I think that would be so cool. In theory of course, because that is not my story :)

It is not a secret that for a lot of women, my self included, having friends who are guys is so much better than having friends who are girls. So much less drama! Once theory.

Jadyn (JJ) Reynolds has known Phillip Mackenzie her whole entire life. Their fathers are best friends & frat brothers. This means that there are lots of naked baby pics of them together which the parents think is hilarious to show everyone.

Danny Diamond is the boy who moves into the neighborhood and tries to elbow JJ out of the equation. After a swift kick in the pants, AKA punches to the face & gut, three ceases to be a crowd.

Years will pass and no one will break the bonds of these three friends. Their friendship is enviable!

"One boy will give me my very first kiss.
One boy will teach me to make out.
One boy will take me to prom.
And finally, one boy will ask me to marry him.
They will both be my best friends.
But only one of them will be the boy I fall in love with. Only one of them is That Boy."

Drool worthy love story that I was reluctant to finish!

Faking It by Cora Carmack

A fantastic read about being who you are and being accepted for whoever that is!

Max Miller has just been ambushed by her parents who are expecting to meet her nice upstanding boyfriend. Thankfully she has managed to keep her purple hair, tattooed neck, piercings and rocker boyfriend Mace a secret. Panicking she enlists Cade, an aspiring actor, to fill in for Mace and dupe her parents.

Of course they fall in love with him and are happy that Mackenzie has finally started to fit into their ideal mold of what a daughter should be.  Cade plays his role to perfection causing them to have to continue the ruse far past the intended time.

Begging the question how long can you fake it until it begins to feel real?

Savor You by Emily Snow

Kylie Wolfe and the bassist Wyatt McRae have a toxic relationship that has spanned many years. Kylie knows that the best thing for her would be to never see Wyatt again, but she is unable to break away from the pull he has over her. Deciding that it's finally time she takes off to New Orleans for a week long vacation, at Mardi Gras, with her best friend. Distance is just what she needs especially since Wyatt doesn't know where she is.

Unfortunately being the assistant to the lead singer of Your Toxic Sequel means they have too many mutual connections to keep her location a secret for long. Of course, Wyatt shows up and is determined to remind her of their New Orleans trip seven years ago. She agrees to travel with him and promises herself one last fling before she cuts ties for good. Of course Wyatt has decided that he doesn't want to let her go and sets out to remind her of all their good times together and why they should have a future - together. Will this be the end or will Wyatt be successful in his endeavors? DUH!

Volatile relationships make me a little nervous when I read them. I always try to put myself in their place and think that I wouldn't have put up with being treated like crap for years & years, but then I look around and see what people put up with everyday and think....maybe. I guess love, true love, really can conquer all.

Perfection: A Neighbor From Hell Novel by RL Mathewson

Before typing I would have told you that I really liked this book. Now that I think about it I think it's more of a love/hate relationship.

I love the romance aspect of the book, but I hate the way the female is portrayed. Numerous references to her being unattractive and fat put me off a little bit.

Zoe is used to being on her own and is very self-reliant. Getting fired from, a job from hell, for something that should have gotten her a raise leaves her jobless and slightly desperate.  The last place she expected to get help is from her egotistical loud neighbor Trevor Bradford.

Trevor likes his life simple. Work, food & the perfect woman are the only things on his radar. He has only dated blonde thin beautiful women and knows that is what he is looking for in a wife. When he starts being attracted to his frumpy neighbor he decides there is only one way to get rid of those thoughts. He will just 'work her out of his system'. Yes, friends with benefits. Has this ever worked out they way it was originally intended?

Seeing as I can separate fact from fiction I would still recommend this book based on the outcome, but being a 'bigger' girl - if any of that shit ever happened to me in real life the assholes responsible would have gotten an earful!

Sudden Response by RL Mathewson

Know anyone who is an EMT, Dispatcher or other emergency personnel? I do. This book pays great tribute to these unsung heroes & I give high praise to Mathewson for shedding light on them.

Eric has been best friends with Joe since they were both 8 years old. Now all grown up, they are EMT partners and 'family'. Their daily routine is as second nature to them as breathing. When a potentially life threatening event happens something shifts in them both.  Acting on thoughts that they have both had for years they take their relationship to a new level. Can their friendship survive? Did I mention Joe(sephine) was a girl? :)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Entwined With You by Sylvia Day

It depends on what time of year it is or what wild hair I've come across that I am a 'blonde'. So, it's not unusual that miss a few things here & there. Even on the off times I have been known to miss out on some things. I feel that with this book I have REALLY missed something.

I did what any good reviewer does and didn't read any reviews prior to reading this book. I did however see many Facebook posts referencing how many people were disappointed in it. I even had people asking me if I'd read the unhappy posts. I did not. I'm not sure if you heard the same things that I did, but the main reference was to the fact that it just 'ends'. Well, I have read the book cover to cover and I have to tell you......I have missed something big.

The first thing I 'missed' was that I thought this was a trilogy and that this was the last book. Nope! The second thing I 'missed' is where this book just ends. The story, in my opinion, is as complete as the previous ones. The story can't 'end' when there are other books to follow.

The good news is that Gideon Cross is back! I love him. I love his name. I love how he loves Eva. It's intense. It's emotional. It's terrifying. I love every single solitary second of his dysfunction.

Eva is everything that I could possibly want in a female character. She is a good friend. She is sexy. She is driven. She is in love with her man. Most importantly she is strong and doesn't 'need' a man to take care of her.

Still reeling from the repercussions of Nathan's death, Gideon & Eva muddle through this book as they are hit from every direction with obstacles trying to tear them a part. The good news is that no trial or tribulation will come between these two great loves. {sigh}

Move over Christian Grey. Move over Anthony Rawlings. Gideon Cross has stolen my heart.

The Last Hour by Charles Sheehan-Miles

I like to think that I am at a time in my life where I know what I want and don't want in most things. When I read books I like romance. I like mystery. I like paranormal. I like a hot male protagonist, I like a strong female character, I like a LITTLE turmoil but most of all I like a happily ever after ending.

Charles Sheehan-Miles is not my typical author that I turn to for all the things I 'like', but from the moment I read A Song For Julia (reviewed earlier on my blog) I was hooked. He has now made it onto the 'must read' list. Which is why I started in on The Last Hour without a second thought as to whether or not I would like it.

With that being said, The Last Hour has pretty much none of what I like or wanted and everything that I needed. It is another lesson on how I need to expand my horizons and branch out in my reading material.

The Last Hour is a stand alone book, but I HIGHLY recommend you go back and read the previous books about the Thompson Sisters as they are all referenced in this book.

I get a little held up on reviews where I might reveal spoilers & this is one of them. So, I will do my best not to reveal too much.

Ray Sherman is the love of Carrie's life. An Army Infantry Soldier who has come back from Afghanistan with more than just your average baggage.  Doing the right thing will jeopardize everything that he has worked for, but not being able to live with the secret has him doing just that.

Carrie is the Thompson sister who has always been the glue holding the other sisters together. She is the caregiver. The one that protects, provides, and accepts all the sisters just as they are. So, what happens when Carrie is the one in desperate need of support and caregiving on the single most devastating day of her life?

This book goes through the hours following a life threatening accident involving Ray, Carrie & Carrie's sister Sarah. It is intense, heart wrenching and devastating. Flashbacks through the war in Afghanistan and the love story of Ray & Carrie make the story even more poignant.

I would reveal too much if I tell you why this story is not what I 'like', but should you read it? Abso-freaking-lutely!