Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Ryan Revisited by Sam Davis

One of the best things about attending book signings, besides totally fangirling all over your favorites, is finding new authors to read and befriend. As I was talking with Amy Miles, one of my favorites and the hostess with the mostest of Penned Con, she pointed across the aisle and said to me, "You need to go over there and meet Samantha Davis. She is a new author and this is her first signing. Her book is really good." Well, I don't know about you but when a guru speaks you listen. I marched my not so little hiney right over to that table and said, "Hi, My name is Valerie and Amy Miles just gave you a glowing recommendation. I want to buy your book but I'll have to come back because I need to take all these books up to my room." I know.......suave! In my defense I suck at small talk and my arms really were full of all the pre-orders I had picked up. Anyway, I did go back, I had a much more meaningful conversation with Sam and her husband Justin, bought the book and enjoyed the rest of the weekend 'getting to know them'.

(I would love to insert my picture with Sam, but apparently it has disappeared - which a running theme for me at Penned Con! :( So here is a pic of the book...)

Even though I often give off a confidence I don't feel I can't imagine what it feels like to work on something and put it out for the world to critique. Terrifying! I honestly and truly want the best for good people and I could tell that the Davis' were good people. So, I picked Ryan Revisited as my first Penned Con book to do whatever I can to help get the word out.

I read RR in the car on the 12 hour car ride back home. Because I always have lots of questions about books when I finish I approached Sam about a Q&A and she agreed. The questions contain content that is specific to the story line of the book so if you haven't read it, please don't proceed to the questions. The following review also contains spoilers!

Check out Sam's Author page for her bio and buy links for the book!


Stop here if you haven't read the book!!!!!! Continuing to read will result in spoilers!!!!!!

I have to be honest and say that it took me a few chapters to get into this book but after that I was committed. I think that I am such a black & white kind of person and the way the Prologue was written had me convinced she had a mental illness or something......I kept waiting to see what was 'wrong' with Ryan, but it was in front of me the whole time! We can chalk that up to a blonde moment! Outside of attending frat parties while in college I have had no experiences with the Greek system. This story was educational in that aspect and reaffirmed that I made the right decision to never take that route. LOL! It also made me ask a question that we should all ask ourselves. Who am I? The honest answer is that I am not just one thing, just as Ryan isn't just one thing. Unfortunately for Ryan her past has her struggling to figure out the answer to this question. She also struggles to see if the Ryan she is today is the Ryan she is supposed to be. She embarks on a quest to discover her true self and to find her place in this world. While I would have made different decisions than Ryan, her journey was her own and I enjoyed it!


1.) Ryan Revisited took me on a journey someplace I am not familiar with - the world of the Greeks! I have to ask - were you a Sorority girl? If so, which one? How much of the story is based on factual people or events?

Yes. I was the worst sorority girl ever. LOL Like Ryan, I came from high school in MT, so I didn't exactly "fit in" to the Southern sorority scene. LOL But I met some wonderful girls there, too. One of which was a best friend, and we were in each other's weddings. smile emoticon

Well... wink emoticon None of the characters or events in RR took place in real life. However, there was a teeter-totter-a-thon because I remember seeing the flyer, but I didn't go. LOL And the way sorority rush was organized is pretty similar to the way it happened when I rushed.

2.) Ryan really annoyed me in several different places but only because we are so different. What is/was it about her personality that made her react the way she did to her Father's leaving/returning? A lot of people (me) would have just said screw it! Are you like Ryan?

Ryan annoyed me a lot, too!! Correction--she made me so mad!! LOL Her character was built over the course of the novel through a lot of bad decisions and screwed-up thinking. Because Ryan didn't know how to process her father's loss and because she thought it was because of her, she was desperate for his approval. Not having a father in her life, left her void of identity. Constantly trying to fill the void with outside influences. She was chasing his affections and she let him influence her decisions and who she was because she hadn't yet figured out who she was on her own.

I can relate to the identity issues she had moving across country to two VERY different places and trying to fit in during such vulnerable stages of her youth. I struggled with trying to define me because I had to learn identity is rooted on the inside, like Ryan did. But nope, I'm not like Ryan in the sense of her daddy-issues. (But sadly, I've known a lot of Ryans.) My dad is awesome! Always has been and always will be. Loves me and supports me unconditionally! smile emoticon

3.) I am a 'right' fighter so I wasn't very happy with Ryan's decision to side with the majority to kick Savannah out of the house. Why did you decide to go that route vs. having her tell the truth or telling others to try & sway their vote?
*** I didn't like Callydee & had her pegged from the beginning! I know several real life versions of her. Ugh! smile emoticon

I wasn't happy with her decision, either. I also feel like she didn't have a good choice. That was what sent her to rock-bottom. She knew she had been forced into becoming like CD--reinventing herself yet again. That horrible decision and situation was the final straw for her to face her own issues. I think Ryan just wanted a clean break to fix what was going on inside her own heart and mind. I think maybe she felt like she could never win against CD. It would take someone like MB to do that.

5.) This is not a normal love story & has not one but two triangles.
Manny - Ryan - Geoffrey and Manny - Ryan - Svea. Did you always know Manny & Ryan would end up together? Do Geoffrey & Svea get a HEA?

Ha! It's not your normal love story!! I think RR is triangle-ish, but in the sense that both R and M didn't know they still had an option in each other. They were never really trying to choose whether they wanted to be with each other. They were trying to cover up the pain of thinking they didn't think they could. smile emoticon 

Always. But my heart sure broke for G! Which again was kind of the point. That R's bad choices or failure to make tough decisions and act left casualties.

I would like to think so. Would you want to read that??? wink emoticon
BTW - YES! I would so read those stories.....maybe they end up together???? LOL!

6.) Do you have a Swedish background? If not, where did all that.come from? I've never had to look up so any words in a book before. LOL! I LOVE TOR! He would be my friend too!

Nope. Hahahaha!! You're so funny. I LOVE TOR, TOO!!! He is one of my favorites! I did A. LOT. of research on Tor! smile emoticon

7.) Father's play a major role in this book in how involved or absent they were/are in their kids' lives. What.is your relationship with your Father?

I kinda already answered this one, but my dad and I are very close. He was my second reader after Justin read it. He is NOTHING like Mr. Ester other than he is from the South and I attended his alma mater. Which I LOVED!! I absolutely loved attending college in the South. I am an Auburn girl through and through! War Eagle! LOL My dad is super awesome! smile emoticon

8.) I'm guessing Justin is a great Dad. If you had to give him a letter grade what would it be? Would it be different if you had boys? LOL!

Justin definitely gets an A++! He is such a man's man, but when it comes to his girls, he plays princess, dances as the prince, lets them "fix" his hair, and laughs at how many times he's found glitter on his person. LOL He takes them to theme parks, movies, but his favorite place to take them is "Fish & Bear Store," aka Bass Pro Shop! LOL He loves the outdoors (grew up in Montana), so he loves hiking, fishing, and exploring with them, too. A lot of Daddy-daughter dates happen when I'm writing. (Thank you, Justin xoxo) I know he'd be just as awesome as a father of boys, too. smile emoticon

9.) Do you think Manny & Ryan will have kids? How will Manny rate? 

Yes! I think M's quiet strength and his unconditional love will make him a great dad. He knows all too well the impact fathers have on their kids. He'll get to be the father to their kids that he and R never had!

Ok...these are.more personal than book related:

1.) Do you have a day job outside of writing?

I taught elementary school before my girls were born. Since then, I have worked at my church, done some freelance writing and editing, volunteered as a women's group leader several times, and have written for women's blog. smile emoticon

2.) What are your future writing plans? Anything in the works?

Keep writing! That's my plan. smile emoticon Now that I have signed with an amazing agent, Italia Gandolfo with Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management (ghliterary.com), I have someone prodding me along to get the next book done. smile emoticon I'm working on a totally different project right now than RR. Different genre entirely! It's title right now is The Sifting. Stay tuned!!

3.) Besides PC2016 do you have any other scheduled signings?

Right now PC2016 is the only big signing I have scheduled. I do have a local Barnes and Noble signing coming up on Aug 15 here in San Antonio. Any other signings will be posted on my website. www.authorsamdavis.com smile emoticon

4.) Who are some of your favorite authors? 

That's a tough question. I adore some amazing authors as people...AnnaLisa Grant, LP Dover, Shelly Crane, Rachel Higginson, Michele Miller, Amy Bartol, Fisher Amelie, Eric Asher, Casey Peeler...and a TON more! (But I haven't read all of them...YET!) It's easier for me to tell you SOME wink emoticon of my favorite books... Emma by Jane Austen, Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, Star-Crossed series by Rachel Higginson, Callum & Harper by Fisher Amelie, Collide AND Significance both by Shelly Crane, Twilight Saga smile emoticon (seems like people either loved it or hated it. You?), The Outsiders, Where the Red Fern Grows, Hunger Games, Flat-out Love by Jessica Park, Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire... so many more, but I'll stop now. smile emoticon

5.) Quick Fire Questions (because I was too lame to do it at PC!)

Coke or Pepsi?
Peanut Butter or Jelly?
Sweet or Salty?
Crunchy or Chewy?
Fruits or Vegetables?
McDonald's or Burger King?
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Salt or Pepper?
Fork or Spoon?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hell's Ink by Nicole Reed

Click for OptionsIf you have read Beautiful Ink (and I sincerely hope you have) you know that at the end Mr. Holden Dawson was riding that fence between good guy & bad guy. Where I come from 'good-guys' don't do some of the things that he did BUT when you know he had good intentions it makes it a little more palatable. Sort of! Well in Hell's Ink we get to see the repercussions of Hold's actions.

While I am inexplicable drawn to this Motorcycle Club atmosphere I am appalled at the way they treat the women! I wouldn't last very long :D Joining this type of family is a choice and I guess if they didn't want to be there they wouldn't be. With that being said, it's a hard life & one I am glad I am not a part of.

Click for OptionsHell's INK follows Holden through the trials and tribulations of constant fighting against his Father for control of the Hell's Highwaymen Motorcyle Club, falling in love unexpectedly with Shyla Pass, and trying to let go of his first love Helen/Keller.

I have to honestly say that I wasn't too sure about Holden at the end of Beautiful Ink and I still wasn't sure at the end of Hell's INK.........until I got to the Epilogue. That tipped me over to his side :D

I can't wait to read more.......of Mikey's story, which I am SURE is going to be next considering the way this one ended.

I love well-built, bad-ass tattooed biker men and I love me some Nicole Reed! This goes on the favorite list next to the first one!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Thicker Than Blood by Madeline Sheehan & Claire C. Riley

This is a book about best friends. Friends that are as close, if not closer than sisters. This story is about something that I don't have. When I was young I had a best friend named Shannon. She & I were like Liesel & Evelyn. We spent all our time together & I loved her. In a nutshell Shannon got meningitis and died when we were in the 5th grade. I haven't had a best friend like that since, but I do remember what it was like. This little stroll down memory lane will make more sense to you after you read the book, but it affected how I viewed the story.

As far as a zombie books goes this one is pretty good. The harsh realities of what would happen in a world overrun by the walking dead are not pretty. No matter how much I may want them to be! After reading I had some thoughts & feels that I wanted to run by the authors so I joined the discussion group. They were so awesome at corresponding with me & I wanted to share some of our conversations. After reviewing them I found that they contain too many spoilers so you'll just have to read the book & then join the discussion group! LOL! 

While the authors and I respectfully disagreed on what a HEA entailed for this character I will tell you that I was completely engrossed in the story and engaged with all of the characters. That is why I had so many opinions on the book. I encourage you to give it a try and check back in to let me know what YOU thought. Don't forget to leave a review!




Friday, January 9, 2015

All Good Deeds by Stacy Green

If you love a good mystery/suspense book this lady is for you. I first fell in love with her when I read Welcome to Las Vegas after my first trip to Las Vegas. We began corresponding and I became a lifelong fan. It's nice to take a break from the romances that I usually read to delve into the minds of some amazing characters. Her latest series starts with the book All Good Deeds and here is my short & sweet review:

Stacy has done it again. Following Lucy Kendall on her voyage of vigilante justice has us falling in love with people we wouldn't normal find ourselves endeared to. A child pedophile who has been released from prison. A self-proclaimed sociopath who knows all her secret...Read More
Following Lucy Kendall on her voyage of vigilante justice has us falling in love with people we wouldn't normal find ourselves endeared to. A child pedophile who has been released from prison. A self-proclaimed sociopath who knows all her secrets because he's been stalking her. A cop who may or may not follow the letter of the law when a suspect is his brother. Somehow the 'villians' in this story become the he
roes and I LOVED it.!



I will soon be delving into book 2 in this series (See Them Run) and look forward to continuing on the journey with Lucy & the gang as the line between right & wrong continues to be blurred!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Top Reads of 2014

Took me awhile to compile a list, but when pressured here is what I came up with. They are not in the order I liked them, but alphabetical. I can't pick which ones I like better - I like them all! I also couldn't condense down to a Top 10 so you get the Top 15.

1. Apolonia - Jamie McGuire
2. Burned - Tara Sived
3. Easy Virtue - Mia Asher
4. Eyes of the Woods - Eden Fierce
5. Forbidden - Amy Miles
6. Heller's Regret - JD Nixon
7. In the Stillness - Andrea Randall
8. Love in Spanish - Karina Halle
9. Maybe Not - Colleen Hoover
10. Maybe Someday - Colleen Hoover
11. Red Hill - Jamie McGuire
12. Tears of Tess - Pepper Winters
13. What If - Rebecca Donovan
14. Wither - Amy Miles
15. Ugly Love - Colleen Hoover

Which ones have you read? What did you think? What books are on your list?????????

Please share :D

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Welcome to 2015!

Anyone else a little freaked out at how quickly 2014 ended? A lot happened last year & I'm sure even more is in store for the coming one. The two things that I love most in life are movies & reading or reading & movies. So, here are some things that I'm looking forward to in 2015:


Fifty Shades of Grey (duh!)                releases 2/13
Insurgent  (Divergent Series)                            3/20
Avengers                                                           5/1
Pitch Perfect 2 (can you acca-believe-it?)        5/15
Magic Mike XXL (swoon)                               7/1
Mockingjay 2                                                    11/20
Fallen (Based on the book by Lauren Kate - no release date yet)

TV Shows

Outlander (based on the book by Diana Galbadon)


Confess - Colleen Hoover
Never Never - Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
Beyond the Consequences - Aleatha Romig
Last Call - Alice Clayton
Beautiful Redemption - Jamie McGuire
First Comes Love - Z.B. Heller
Heller #7 - JD Nixon (I hope)
Little Town #5 - JD Nixon (I hope)

I'm sure there are a gazillion more that I forgot, but this is a good start. What are you guys looking forward to in 2015?

Blessings to you all & happy reading!