Book Review: Hunger Moon by Melissa Snark

Guest Review by Lisa Lester

book review hunger moon by melissa snarkWerewolf Victoria Storm knows all about duty.  Alpha to a dwindling pack decimated by war with the Barrett family, and with new pups on the way, she must find safe harbor away from the pursuing human hunters that have sworn to wipe her pack from the face of the Earth. After praying to her goddess Freya for guidance, Victoria is led to Sierra Pines, California to find an Alpha to protect and shelter her pack.  Arik Koenig, a powerful alpha male with a murky past, promises to be the protector her pack so desperately needs, and agrees to be Victoria’s mate.  Yet nothing is ever easy, and Victoria soon finds that the wickedly handsome Arik comes with his own baggage; his murdered wife’s spirit cries out to Victoria to protect her son, Logan, who has been rumored to be his mother’s killer.  Can she trust the attraction she feels with Arik, despite the rising contention between father and son?  Or will the mystery of his wife’s death lead to the destruction of her pack?  She has to find the answers, and fast, to keep herself and her pack safe.

This book was literally a page turner for me.  This was one of those books where I would look at the clock, groan aloud at how late it was, and move on to the next chapter, until I finished it in one sitting.  Melissa’s concise writing style keeps up a good pace without slowing down, and the characters are alive and seem to leap off the page.  I also loved the inclusion of Norse mythology into the story; the world and mythos building here is just enough to be immersive without bogging down in the details.  Another aspect of the book I liked was that even in their human forms, the shifters in this world still have characteristics of their animal counterparts, such as showing submissiveness to a dominant pack leader.  I particularly enjoyed the snappy dialogue between Victoria and Logan, as well as the sparks that fly between her and Arik.  Let me tell you, parts of those interactions were definitely hot! While I missed the first book in the series, that is definitely a mistake I will have to rectify.  I’m intrigued to see where Melissa takes Victoria and her pack, and to learn more about the role she plays as a Valkyrie and the dynamic between her and her goddess Freya.  A definite must read for anyone who enjoys urban fantasy.

Book Review Hunger Moon by Melissa Snark

 

About the Book

Valkyrie Victoria Storm desires nothing more than to provide her wolf pack with a safe haven, but her position as priestess to the Goddess Freya also brings with it certain… obligations. Not to mention complications.

War with the Barrett family resulted in the deaths of her parents and most of her pack. Now, hunters are hot on the trail of the remaining pack members. Sawyer Barrett, a human hunter hell bent on revenge, is convinced that Victoria murdered his brother. He will stop at nothing to see her dead.

Victoria must defend the survivors and somehow lead them to safety.  Months on the run has weakened the pack, and there are newborn pups to protect, making swift travel impossible.  Ahead, the promise of refuge beckons.

Their best chance for survival lies in Sierra Pines, California: Arik Koenig, a powerful, dominant male wolf. He promises to protect and provide for the pack, something Victoria knows the pack needs for survival. His mysterious past is riddled with violence and death, including the slaughter of his entire family twenty years before. His wife died under mysterious circumstances and his son, Logan, is rumored to be her killer.

What is truth? Who can she trust? The desperate spirit of Arik’s murdered wife calls out for help, and Logan begs for assistance in clearing his name. Victoria must solve a murder that has pitted father against son, rooted in a mystery reaching back two decades. Her quest starts her on a journey from the human world to Odin’s Valhalla and back again.

Victoria will find salvation or face destruction beneath the Hunger Moon…

About the Author

A friend asked me once how I chose my pen name. I told her the following: “Melissa, because when people mix up my first name, it’s the most common goof up. Snark, because it amuses me. A) I love the word ‘snarky’ and B) I love Lewis Carroll.”

As an individual, I’m sarcastic, stubborn and blunt to a fault. I have a strange sense of humor and I like to laugh (usually at my husband or children), but also at myself. I’m not particularly extroverted, although I do enjoy time with my family and close friends a great deal.

At the moment, I’m a stay at home mom who writes in my spare time. I’ve got a B.S. from Arizona State University in Business, and I’ve worked a variety of different jobs, including as a medical device documentation specialist, a technical writer, and an auto liability adjuster.

I live in the San Francisco East Bay of Northern California with my husband, three kids, and three cats. My hobbies include roleplaying, cooking and reading.

Follow Melissa on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, and her website. She also invites readers to email.

About the Reviewer

Lisa Lester lives in a humongous house with three cats, three dogs, two dudes (one of which she’s married to, the other one is a refugee from New Jersey) and a partridge in a pear tree…okay, just kidding about the pear tree.  And the partridge too. When she’s not working for the Man. she’s reading or killing stuff on World of Warcraft. She also enjoys nerdy things like Star Wars, crocheting, and pretty much any kind of music.

 


Oh, the Hats You Will Wear!

Living As a Reader, Writer, and Editor

Guest Post by Sandi Layne

reading writing and editing by sandi layne

© Nireus | Dreamstime.com

When I was in Middle School—we called it Junior High, back in my day—a friend of mine told me something that has stayed with me ever since. She said she didn’t want to be a penpal with me when she moved because she thought I’d red-pen her letters.

I kid you not.

For the record, I never red-pen correspondence. Editing has just been something I’ve done without thinking about it since I was quite young. For this, we can blame thank my mother. Not only did she send me to the dictionary when I didn’t understand one of her polysyllabic utterings, but she also corrected my grammar from my earliest spoken sentences.  When I began writing for school, she combed over my paragraphs and essays and short stories (written for extra credit or contests) until my work met her high standards.

I think the first paper I remember her really getting serious about was when I was in third grade and writing an essay about Jesus. (Not for a Christian school; he was just my chosen Famous Person.) From that time until I was in grad school (working on an advanced degree in Theology, yep) my work was often shared with my mother. And often, I did not come up to snuff in her estimation. Thankfully, my teachers loved my words.

Today, people even pay to read them. It’s kind of amazing.

The Green Hat:  Reader

I have been a voracious reader most of my life—just check my bio. When I started this peculiar journey, I began by writing what I read, in a lot of ways. The thing was, I found I didn’t want to read those books anymore, because I wanted to make sure my ideas were mine from that point onward. This severely curtailed my leisure reading and I had to expand my fictional horizons.

Still, I found myself reading hyper-critically once I began writing. On the flip-side, I was also paranoid lest I inadvertently borrow a phrase or idea from another author as I wrote my own romances. Most writers I know have said to themselves (or someone else!) “Oh, I would have said that like this…”

Come on, ‘fess up. You know you have!

But I also marvel when I see how a favorite author has managed to wrap me up in their world. I am just now re-reading Under the Dome, by Stephen King, and even if his style is familiar, it works for me. I lose myself in the tension while simultaneously keeping part of my brain back and taking notes.

“See how he did that?”

Maybe, someone will read my words and think something very similar.

The Blue Hat: Writer

Being critical of someone else’s words makes me feel guilty, as a writer. It really does. Because I know my own words aren’t always the best, either, but they are what I have in my head and so I use them, you know?  I use them fully aware that my readers are like unto me and that they will be saying, “Oh, I could have said this so much better!

Still, I have been known to gloat preen over a choice phrase or two… And I find that, when I do? The phrases are not the ones that stick with my editors or readers. This both depresses and encourages me. I remind myself that some of my favorite phrases might not have been the author’s chosen jewels, either.

As a writer, I find I am more deliberate as I craft some scenes. The scenes that require me to physically get up and work them out on my living room floor, or the moments that I have to push, word by stubborn word, from a crevice in my brain to the emptiness of the screen in front of me. I try to write in a way that will make my ideal reader lose themselves in what I give them.

And while I’m writing? I’m also reading. The green hat is always on my head. It has, after all, been there longest!

The Red Hat: Editor

In many ways, this is the easiest hat for me to wear. Perhaps because I am critical by nature. Perhaps because I’ve been doing it consciously for almost forty years. Perhaps it’s just because it is vastly easier to improve someone else’s writing than to improve my own. Or all of the above!

As I write a first draft, I remind myself it is a first draft. First, meaning there will be more. I am lenient with myself as I write, but I never forget the tips and notes my editors have given me on prior works, either. Be it something as mundane as a notation from the Chicago Manual of Style or something as complicated as separating internal monologue—a valid storytelling tool—from the “telling, not showing” that writers strive to avoid, I have so many things to sort through as I let a scene spill from my imagination to the keyboard and then to the screen in front of me. My internal editor pricks my writing-conscience with reminders that can sometimes get in the way of some serious “writing mojo.”

But! I’m a professional, I remind myself. I focus, create, and then I look over what I’ve typed and tweak it with the recent editorial reminders still sharp in my head.

And then…? I move forward.  There’s a The End I’m trying to reach.

Balance or Personality Multitasking?

Picture me sitting here at my iMac at a tiny computer desk in a small room. Behind me, the Spousal Unit has a movie on the flatscreen. In other rooms, the Offspring Units are occupying themselves in that Summer Vacation, Responsibility-Free zone that occurs when duties have been completed, dinner has been eaten, and all there is left to do is relax.

(And they say they want to grow up. Ha!)

I have a novel in progress behind the window in which I am typing this post. The novel involves a real historical character and a cast of fictional folk whom I have grown to care about. I have wanted to write this book for a long time, truly.

On my Kindle, there is a list of books I am going to read as soon as The End has been achieved for this novel in progress. Due to my “No Reading Policy,” I haven’t wanted to read anything that might be remotely connected to what I’m writing. But when the first draft is done? I’m all over the novels that are waiting—I can even see the covers behind my eyes. Tempting…tempting.

I find myself writing a bit more slowly for this story. My head is full of conflicts. Not only are there the conflicts inherent in the plot, but also the way I am approaching this. My lead editor knows the series I’m writing has a certain style and I can’t really deviate from that, but I am thinking always of her comments as I write this final book in the series. How can I improve so that my manuscript will have fewer critiques from her? (If you’re reading this, E, know that this is a good thing, in my estimation. It just slows me down some!) As an editor myself (yep, people pay me to red-pen their words, too) I know how much work she puts into these comments. I’d like her not to have to work so hard on my account.

All of this is in my head with every sentence I write. The anticipation of completion, the attention to detail, the wish to improve as I go—it’s a balancing act.

I do it all joyfully. The challenge is invigorating, the results boost me with such a feeling of accomplishment that makes any effort worth it. I hope the end result is worth it for others, too.

About the Author

Sandi Layne lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons, but no pets. She writes historical fiction and contemporary inspirational romance and can be found on her website: http://sandyquill.com, twitter: http://twitter.com/sandyquill, and Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/sandi_layne  Look for her latest title, An Unexpected Woman, to be released by The Writer’s Coffee Shop on July 11, 2013. The date is also her 21st Wedding Anniversary, which she will celebrate by doing the marketing with her husband.


J to tha M: What We’re Reading

Holding Out for a (Geeky) Hero

geek romance heroes

stock.xchng/Morrhigan

J:  I have a new book to send you

I adored

M:  ooh, what was it?

J:  I think it’s called The Theory of Attraction

looking to see if it’s lendable

Geek dom

you know I love the geek heroes

it is not lendable

but I recommend

I’m about to buy the second in the series

the author is Delphine Dryden

and the series is called The Science of Temptation

M:  I shall check it out

geek doms are fun

J:  pygmalion trope

I know you love that one

M:  mmm, yes.

J:  I’m definitely on a geek hero kick

more than usual, I mean

M:  nothing wrong with that

J:  did you have a free moment to read this week? anything interesting for me?

M:  nothing I think you’d like. I’ve been more on an edgy kick

I read a couple decent ones, but they ended in that damn cliffhangery thing that isn’t really a cliffhanger, more like stopping right in the middle of the damn story so you have to move onto the next book to continue. I find that irritates me more than tantalizes

I’m more excited and liable to by the next if there’s a satisfying ending to the arc but the possibility of more

J:  oh yeah

*grumble*

i haven’t read any of those lately

but reviews sometimes give me the heads up

M:  ugh. me no like

I’m still a little starry eyed over Captive Prince – the writing was only okay, but the twisty turny characters, the manipulation within the story, the perception-mangling interactions…

I love that stuff

J:  you said it was picked up by a publisher?

or is that the version you read?

M:  No, I read the pre-publisher version. I’m not sure when that will come out.

I did really enjoy The Mistress Matchmaker series by Jess Michaels, erotic historical

J:  I’ve been looking at those

the moment I get a craving for historical, I’ll go for it

M:  Well, I liked the first two a lot. The third was a little disappointing

Not the story or characters so much, but more the writing, I think. Or editing. Or something

J:  complacency?

M:  Honestly, I’m not sure. Maybe.

A lot more repeated words, passive, just not as tight

J:  sad.

and jarring when you’ve come to expect so much better

M:  Not horrible, by any means, but noticeably different in my opinion than the first two

But I do recommend the series. I really did enjoy

J:  maybe she just had a different editor

M:  could be. kind of felt that way.

I’m in the middle of a more erotica type one by Kit Rocha. I think it was free.

It’s actually pretty interesting and well written

I saw someone mentioned it was edgy and a bit subversive, so I was all “sign me up”

and I’m into it so far

Now, if it ends in a damn cliffhanger thing…argh

J:  what’s the name? I’m looking it up

M:  Beyond Shame

but it’s so much more than the title so far

J:  it’s 99 cents now

M:  it is the first in a series, I see

J:  huh. it actually looks interesting

M:  I saw “subversive” and “dystopian porn” mentioned in the reviews, and I was “huh”

sounds interesting

and it’s pretty solid so far

I’m a little confused about the hero’s attitude, but I think at the point I’m at in the story, that might be the intent

J:  think he’s pretending to be something he’s not?

M:  No, not like that. More either the author is going for more of a reveal – like he’s waiting for the heroine to discover her true self by herself and is just leading her along slowly to help, or his character isn’t as developed as it should be

could go either way right now. Hoping for the former

he’s giving me and the heroine mixed signals

so it’s either going to be an eye-roller or awesome

J:  well, I’ll give this one a shot if you end up liking it

I’m interested enough in the premise

When’s Kate SeRine’s next one come out again?

M:  August 1, I think

J:  that’s not soon enough

M: You could buy it now, and it will show up as soon as it’s released.

J: Ooh, good idea!

brb


Book Review: This Girl by Colleen Hoover

Guest Review by Michelle Schaffer

Book Review This Girl by Colleen HooverFirst, let me say that the Slammed series is what made me love self-published authors. I came across Slammed when it popped up on my recommended reading list. I read it in one sitting and bought the second book before finishing the first. When I found out that This Girl was coming out, and it was a look back on the first book from Will’s point of view, I was counting the days and pre-ordered it the first day it was available. To say I had high expectations is an understatement, and I was a little anxious it wouldn’t live up to them. This Girl not only lived up to those expectations, it went beyond anything I could imagine.

This Girl is a look back on the beginning of Will and Layken’s (Lake) story and other parts in Will’s life that impacted them, all from Will’s perspective. It picks up immediately where Point of Retreat leaves off. Lake wants to understand what was in Will’s head when they met and everything that happened before today. “I have your future, now I want to know your past” as Lake says it. Will is hesitant to relive some very painful memories and open up on some things that Lake is unaware, but he concedes and begins to tell his side of the story. It flashes back to different stories of the past and brings you to the present to see the consequences.  As he explains his POV, it gives you the complete picture. It allows you to crawl in the mind of Will, to understand the what, when, why and how. When you read a book from one point of view, you make many assumptions as to why a story goes in one direction versus another; you wonder what is happening to the other side of the story. This Girl answers all those questions and in some of the most unexpected ways. It is written beautifully & executed perfectly. I had my doubts that it could work so well, I should know better to doubt Colleen, she is brilliant. I wanted so much to read Slammed and Point of Retreat again before reading This Girl, but I was impatient. Yet reading this took me back to some of my most favorite parts of their story, and some of the more painful parts. This book made me love Lake and Will even more. The book ends with a beautiful epilogue that made me laugh and cry.

Reading This Girl is bittersweet for me. I loved reading it, couldn’t put it down, and yet never wanted it to end. I am sad to see this brilliant series come to an end. I adored each character, each story line, and each butterflying word. (Yes, I meant to put butterflying and when you read the first book you will understand why)  If you have not read this series, you need to. This is not a standalone book, to understand the story you need to start from the beginning. The story is beautiful, heartbreaking, sad, joyous, and every emotion in between. And this book…THIS book, completed the story. I look forward to reading these books again & again for many years to come.

Book Review This Girl by Colleen Hoover

About the Book

There are two sides to every love story. Now hear Will’s.

Colleen Hoover’s New York Times bestselling Slammed series has brought countless readers to their knees with a whirlwind of love, passion, and heartache. Layken and Will’s love has managed to withstand the toughest of circumstances and the young lovers, now married, are beginning to feel safe and secure in their union. As much as Layken relishes their new life together, she finds herself wanting to know everything there is to know about her husband, even though Will makes it clear he prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong. Still, he can’t resist his wife’s pleas and so he begins to untangle his side of the story, revealing for the first time his most intimate feelings and thoughts, retelling both the good and bad moments, and sharing a few shocking confessions of his own from the time when they first met.

In This Girl, Will tells the story of their complicated relationship from his point of view. Their future rests on how well they deal with the past in this final installment of the beloved Slammed series.

About the Author

I love music. LOVE music. Namely The Avett Brothers, Lumineers, Pink, Eminem. I have eclectic taste? If you have any recommendations, send them my way!

I’m addicted to diet pepsi and could tell you in a taste-test which restaurant it came from. It’s a serious addiction, I tell you.

I get stoked whenever I get a message from goodreads saying I have a new friend request…so request me, dangit!

If you want to know when I have new books out or just want to be inundated by random, pointless blog posts, follow me at www.colleenhoover.com

Avoid my Twitter at all cost. It’s propaganda.

About the Reviewer

Michelle is a lover of books, all shapes and sizes, but a big sucker for a great romance and the search for a new fictional boyfriend! When not taking care of three demanding persons in her home, one being the man she married and the other two co-created with her husband, she works full time in a job that pays the bills. She dreams of down time to lose herself in another book since she has more books on her TBR list than she does food in her refrigerator.


The Importance of Professional Cover Design

Judging a Book by Its Cover

(J recently appeared on the Writers’ Collective blog with advice on cover design. Read the beginning of the blog below. If you’re interested in the rest, head on over to the Writers’ Collective blog by clicking the link at the bottom.)

professional book cover design

freedigitalphotos.net/Salvatore Vuono

It really does happen; people judge books by the cover. Maybe it’s not fair to assume a crappy package means a crappy present inside, or maybe the cover tells a potential reader exactly what they need to know: This author didn’t think enough of the story to find a great designer.

Before you skewer me, or worse, run off to look at my cover designs ready to judge, consider a few things. First, why exactly would you attempt designing your own cover? Second, how much would a professional cover designer cost? And last, just how important is a cover that reaches out to potential readers? Your answers should be: I wouldn’t, as much as it takes, and very, very important. Now, let’s consider how you can get a great cover for an affordable price.

Genre First

I write this blog under the assumption that any reader interested in this subject is considering self-publishing. After all, even small publishing houses have in-house cover designers. If you’re going it alone, your first step is to determine your genre. This is so bloody important, and yet so many cast it aside with a flick of the fingers. Write a romance novel? Why on earth would you design a minimal cover without a hint of love or sex? Penned a thriller? Whimsical fonts will confuse readers every time. Plan your cover around your genre, and you’re one huge step closer to hooking readers right away.

Check the Trends

When you’re certain you have your genre nailed down, cruise the bookstore to find other books in your genre. No bookstores close by? It’s a tragedy, but we do still have Amazon. In fact, Amazon will show you all those covers you don’t want to imitate. Take note of the images, fonts, and colors you like. Absorb the many different ways to show the very same thing. You’ll be shocked and amazed, but most of all, you’ll be inspired.

For the rest of the post, click here.


The Importance of Professional Cover Design

Judging a Book by Its Cover

(J recently appeared on the Writers’ Collective blog with advice on cover design. Read the beginning of the blog below. If you’re interested in the rest, head on over to the Writers’ Collective blog by clicking the link at the bottom.)

professional book cover design

freedigitalphotos.net/Salvatore Vuono

It really does happen; people judge books by the cover. Maybe it’s not fair to assume a crappy package means a crappy present inside, or maybe the cover tells a potential reader exactly what they need to know: This author didn’t think enough of the story to find a great designer.

Before you skewer me, or worse, run off to look at my cover designs ready to judge, consider a few things. First, why exactly would you attempt designing your own cover? Second, how much would a professional cover designer cost? And last, just how important is a cover that reaches out to potential readers? Your answers should be: I wouldn’t, as much as it takes, and very, very important. Now, let’s consider how you can get a great cover for an affordable price.

Genre First

I write this blog under the assumption that any reader interested in this subject is considering self-publishing. After all, even small publishing houses have in-house cover designers. If you’re going it alone, your first step is to determine your genre. This is so bloody important, and yet so many cast it aside with a flick of the fingers. Write a romance novel? Why on earth would you design a minimal cover without a hint of love or sex? Penned a thriller? Whimsical fonts will confuse readers every time. Plan your cover around your genre, and you’re one huge step closer to hooking readers right away.

Check the Trends

When you’re certain you have your genre nailed down, cruise the bookstore to find other books in your genre. No bookstores close by? It’s a tragedy, but we do still have Amazon. In fact, Amazon will show you all those covers you don’t want to imitate. Take note of the images, fonts, and colors you like. Absorb the many different ways to show the very same thing. You’ll be shocked and amazed, but most of all, you’ll be inspired.

For the rest of the post, click here.


J to tha M: Music as Inspiration

Gettin’ Our Jam On

music as inspiration for writing

freedigitalphotos.net/imagerymajestic

M:  You use music to write quite a lot, don’t you?

J:  oh, yes

it’s my favorite

and it’s important to me

M:  we use music with writing so differently

J:  I think so, too

you’re usually a silence only

M:  I can’t have any distraction while I’m actually sitting in front of the computer writing

J:  exactly

and sometimes I can’t write that first word unless music is filling my head

M:  when I listen to songs, I get distracted by the music and the lyrics and tend to sing out loud and get into it too much

J:  for me, it becomes a setting, a mood

if I’m writing action, I like to have driving, hard, fast music going

and for romance, something lush and chill-inducing

M:  I use it before I sit down to write, but pretty much for the same things

I use it more during my mulling stages for a scene or a character

Listen to songs that fit my character, what they would like

or ones that fit a scene, or ones that inspire a scene

J:  I actually use it that way, too

but accidentally

sometimes I’ll hear a new song out somewhere, and a scene will come to me

maybe something I’ve been contemplating for a while but couldn’t get quite right

and all it took was that tiny door opening

whatever trigger that song tripped

M:  I love that inspiration

when a melody or lyric or combo of the two hits a nerve – an emotion

and I want to translate that into a story or scene

J:  music has always been so important to anything I do

it is my first love

I can’t imagine not including it in my daily activities

I’m listening to music right now

while I chat and work and train. I think I’d freeze up without it

M:  music has been a huge part of your life – more than just a basic appreciation

and it’s interesting how you integrate them in your creative processes

J:  I imagine most musicians would be the same–even when they’re not creating more music

like, I wonder if some of them need music in their head just to walk around

can’t function without it

M:  just like writers

finding constant inspiration, ideas, scenes and stories floating around in their heads

J:  what song inspired you most recently?

M:  oh boy

the oddest things inspire me from songs. A line, a thought, an emotion

One of my all time favorites is “The pleasure, the feast, and the memory, the soar of kissing her lips”

just yes

from Bobby Long’s “Being a Mockingbird”

and Foo Fighters’ “These Days” was a big inspiration for our hockey hero Brody. The song itself, and as something he’d listen to.

It’s so great to have a song trigger a visceral response – happy, sad, romantic, tragic – and then try to interpret and take that feeling, that response, and put it into a story and character. I love that tug right in your heart or belly

That’s the response I think we all aspire to, no matter what you write in any discipline

J:  I have a playlist for every story

like a soundtrack of sorts. And an unofficial/official song for each. Like “Do Not Hang Your Head” by Elizabeth and the Catapult for Side Effects, and “Visions Part II” by The Ugly Club for Oracles.

M:  a lot of people do, and a lot of readers really enjoy them

I just am not that organized

J:  I think it helps me keep the mood consistent throughout the story

but I often add to the list as I find new music

M:  Inspiration is great no matter where you get it

J:  Getting some right now

brb


Book Review: I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

Guest Review by Tiff Nichols

Book review I've Got Your NumberEvery once in a while, a gal needs something light to read—a good, funny romance with endearing characters, hilarity, and hijinks. When I find myself pining for a fun read that really pulls me in, I turn to one of my favorite authors of romantic comedies, Sophie Kinsella. You might recognize her as the author of the popular Shopaholic series, but Kinsella has written quite a few hilarious standalone novels as well. The one I read most recently is I’ve Got Your Number.

Sophie Kinsella is a champ at creating lovable characters, and she doesn’t disappoint here. I adored Poppy Wyatt from the first chapter. She’s a bright, caring, and witty physiotherapist in London who is all set to marry Magnus Tavish, the man of her (and many other girls’) dreams. Like most of Kinsella’s female leads, Poppy finds herself the heroine in a comedy of errors.

During an afternoon tea with her girlfriends, Poppy manages to lose both her heirloom engagement ring and her cell phone in quick succession. As luck would have it, she finds a discarded phone in a trash bin. Poppy grabs the phone in a panic and gives the number to the hotel’s employees, who have promised to keep an eye out for her ring.

The hijinks begin immediately. Turns out the phone belonged to successful businessman Sam Roxton, whose personal assistant chucked the phone into the trash after abruptly quitting her job. Poppy convinces Sam to let her keep the phone until the hotel calls to tell her they’ve found her engagement ring. She soon finds herself immersed in Sam’s electronic life—both business and personal. Sam, of course, is none too happy about her snooping, but Poppy, with her wit, common sense, and desire to help in every situation, eventually becomes invaluable to Sam.

It was fun to watch the unconventional alliance develop between Poppy and Sam. They go from complete strangers, a bit annoyed at one another and reluctantly sharing a cell phone, to acquaintances who give each other advice via text and phone conversations.

The story is fun, the characters are endearing, and the laughs are abundant. There’s enough mystery on all fronts to keep you guessing throughout. Also, there are footnotes, a clever nod to Poppy’s distinguished and scholarly in-laws-to-be. (“Magnus says footnotes are for things which aren’t your main concern but nevertheless hold some interest for you. So. This is my footnote about footnotes.”) They’re filled with fun little tidbits that are intended as asides to the reader, e.g. “What kind of movie starts with a mother fish and all her little glowy eggs being eaten by a shark, FFS? It’s supposed to be for children.”

If you’re looking for a serious read that you can really think about, a protagonist who will be a role model for the ages, or something to satisfy your feminist side, this is one of the last books I’d recommend. But if you’re like me and enjoy the occasional jaunt to the land of “chick lit,” then I highly recommend I’ve Got Your Number. I give the book five monkeys, because anything that makes me stay up all night giggling and reading is worth it.

Book Review I've Got Your Number

About the Book

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill, but in the panic that follows, het phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents, she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

About the Author

Sophie Kinsella is the author of the bestselling Shopaholic series, as well as Twenties Girl, Remember Me?, The Undomestic Goddess, and Can You Keep a Secret? She lives with her husband and children in London, UK.

About the Reviewer

Tiffany Nichols is a writer, editor, and avid reader who lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband and two dogs.  She enjoys music, crocheting, craft beers, and not sharing her cell phone with strangers. You can find her at WriteEditRepeat.com.


FREE BOOKS!

Because We Love You

free books

freedigitalphotos.net/adamr

Free reads. Scary and yet so tempting. Actually, we’ve found some stories, series, and authors we love by taking a chance and downloading that free ebook.

In the spirit of being helpful this week, we’ve compiled a list of a few free reads by small press and self-publishers. The list is not by any means complete or all-inclusive, just titles that came to our attention this week that we thought we’d post. Most of the links are to Amazon and Kindle, but you can click on the publisher’s page to go to their website for other versions. Some we’ve read, some we haven’t, so if you have, give us the scoop! Or if you have any to add, definitely let us know! We love hearing about new books and new authors.

Carina

Fatal Affair – Marie Force

Photographs & Phantoms – Cindy Spencer Pape

Ellora’s Cave

Stolen Hearts – Karen Erickson

Masks – Evangeline Anderson

Second Sight Dating – Marianne Stephens

Harlequin

Has a ton free, check their website here

Samhain

Temporary Arrangement – Karen Erickson

Hotter Than Hot – Tina Leonard

An Introduction to Pleasure – Jess Michaels

The Wild Rose Press

Moondrops – Sarita Leone

A Reason to Fly – Aysel Quinn

Under the Moon Gate – Marilyn Baron

Marrying Molly – Linda Hope Lee

Tempted by Adam – May Williams

Self and other Pub

A Hidden Fire – Elizabeth Hunter

The Governess Affair – Courtney Milan

Measure of Devotion – Caethes Faron

Dancing with the Duke – Suzanna Medeiros


Current Calls for Submission

Just Do It

calls for submission

freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles

The pain and anguish of writing a book is topped only by the sheer torture of writing cover letters, synopses, and blurbs. Then, it’s time to submit.

Yikes.

Still, submitting is easier if you know the publishers in question are seeking books just like the masterpiece you just finished. To help you find these gems, we’ve rounded up a small collection of small presses who’ve announced calls for submissions within the last few weeks.

After all, your dreams won’t come to you. It’s up to you to chase them.

Entangled Publishing – Scandalous

Samhain Publishing – Gothic Horror Anthology

Noble Romance – Dare to Be Different

Harlequin Mills & Boon – Rapid Response Unit

Bloomsbury – Spark (a new imprint)

Sirens Call Publications – Flowers are Overrated

Check the due dates and start preparing! We’ll try to bring you more calls for submission as we learn of them, but this should get you off to a great start.

Good luck!