DANCING NAKED IN DIXIE – WINNER of the WritersType First Chapter Competition, March 2012 Lauren Clark is a former TV anchor and journalist bringing her second novel, Dancing Naked in Dixie, to readers. This contemporary women’s fiction (dare I say chick lit?) is a cute novel in which her heroine undergoes every imaginable problem just to meet her own problems.
Julia is a magazine travel writer living in fast-paced New York City.
She is accustomed to traveling the globe when her editor suddenly sends her to the whopping town of Eufala, Alabama. Yep, you heard it here folks. Paris and Rome have fallen to the Deep South. Oh wait! Did I tell you who her editor is? I think you should find out on your own (yes, I’m laughing slightly wickedly).Upon her arrival, the problems begin. Who would think travel to a
southern town would be so problematic? Well, Julia found out. She gets to experience a unique B&B, sweet tea (if you don’t drink it, you really don’t understand the requirement for the South). She meets a few colorful characters during her trip, and finds out about herself as
well.Dancing Naked in Dixie is a read that you won’t want to miss. Enjoyment, light-hearted humor, and a little self-discovery on the way leads to a great read. I give this a 5 of 5, and add a “Please write more”plea to Lauren Clark :) DISCLAIMER: I purchased this book with my own funds.
Todd Brabander is a man of many talents. He is a
musician, an artist, and an author. He has written a couple of other titles, but his book Hammerhead caught my attention. As a novella, it is a quick and very easy read . . . and oddly compelling.
Step into the head of a serial killer. It really isn’t very gory, honestly! It began honestly enough, then got a little more important as time went on. But, he doesn’t kill for the sake of killing, nor for the art of killing. He has reasons, very logical reasons. His reasoning is the same as yours and mine, he just takes it further than most would. We’ve all (or almost all) thought, “I’d love to kill that jerk because s/he _______ (fill in the blank).” But, we haven’t. We probably don’t even think about how to commit the act.
But with Hammerhead
we get to step into the mind of a calm, cool thinker, and actually LIKE the guy! I mean, you know what he’s going to do, but you almost find yourself cheering him on!
This is a 5 out of 5. It is well-written, well thought out, well executed (pardon the pun). I look forward to more of Mr. Brabander’s renderings!
DISCLAIMER: I received this book as part of Library Thing’s Member Giveaway program without expectation of a review.
Charlene Ann Baumbich
is an inspirational author with over 20
years’ experience in writing and speaking. She uses humor to make points and inspiration to touch her reader. Here is my view of her Finding Our Way Home
The first couple of pages grabbed my attention and empathy for this woman who was obviously injured. The injuries were not only physical, but spiritual. Sasha Davis was a premier ballerina who had been injured while she was dancing. The injury was permanent to her career. Moving back to her childhood home, she realizes she must have help, live-in help. She hires Evelyn Burt, her polar opposite.
Evelyn Burt is large, where Sasha is small. She is capable of, it seems, anything and everything, unlike Sasha. Evelyn enjoys life, even when facing her own personal problems. She happily moves in with Sasha when her parents are opposed to her fiancé, giving them all space to breathe. She takes something broken, such as the fry pan, and turns it into a thing of beauty and life.
The relationship between these two women, and the path to their own individual needs and happiness, is ridden with sadness, discovery, happiness, enlightenment, and a spiritual healing that gave this reader a sense of well-being. These two unlikely companions find a place where they can find the grace they’re seeking. That path, however, is not always an easy path.
I give this a 5 of 5 stars, and look forward to the next book by Charlene Ann Baumbich.
DISCLAIMER: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for an honest review.
Jason Heller is a pop-culture journalist who has made contributions to dozens of publications. His debut novel, Taft 2012
, is a speculative novel primed to coincide with the 2012 elections. What if William Howard Taft, after a deep Rip van Winkle type sleep, awoke in time to consider running for president, 100 years after his own presidency?
Taft, far from today’s presidential hopefuls, never wanted to be president. He was encouraged by Theodore Roosevelt, and finally accepted the nomination. His presidency was not what Roosevelt envisioned for someone he sponsored. Instead, Taft made decisions based on what he felt was good, rather than what was good for the party or progressives. This caused Roosevelt to turn away his support leading to Taft’s defeat.
Taft 2012 Brings William Howard Taft to a time of fast-moving cars, people, and electronics. He’s thrust into a new world with a wonder at all the changes, and a huge feeling of loss for those left behind. His introduction to 2012 is a bullet wound by secret service after he mysteriously appears. After he’s recovered, that same secret service agent is appointed to helping him and a friendship develops.
He’s introduced to his relatives, one is in government, and introduced to the new world he will face. As Taft finds out bars and women are legal and frequented by many he discovers a loss of the feeling of love for the one he left behind. He’s invited to run for president by independents and, eventually, accepts the nomination.
Taft will make good discoveries and not-so-good discoveries in his quest for a new presidency in a new world. The fly in the ointment will tell the tale. Does he go on to the primaries? You’ll have to read and see how he adjusts to this new world. Taft might just surprise you.
I give Taft 2012 a 4 out of 5, just because it did drag in a couple of places (but not horribly!).
Ann Gabhart is a writer of inspirational novels. She doesn’t sugar coat, nor is she “in your face,” with situations her characters experience. She was born and raised in the Outer Bluegrass region of Kentucky, so grew up on a farm. She has been writing since she was just 10 years old. She first published a historical romance in 1978 and continues to give us fodder for our eyes, spirits, and hearts. Angel Sister
is a touching novel set between World War I and World War II. The depression era brings Lorena Birdsong to a poor family where she adopts Kate as her Sister Angel. The family isn’t one that is stable, except in its love. They are poor, dad is an functioning alcoholic, Kate has two sisters (one older, one younger), and mom loves them all. They survive by growing their own vegetables, milking a cow, and running a tab at the general store which happens to be owned and run by Kate’s paternal grandfather.
Speaking of grandfathers, the family is blessed with two, yet neither are loving. Grandfather Merritt is stiff, stern, and unbending in his disappointment of Victor (Kate’s father). He has a heart bent on self-destruction and if it destroys Victor in the process, so much the better. Grandfather Reece is a strict Southern Baptist pastor. He is determined that Kate is belligerent and going to the devil. Together, although the two grandfathers can barely stand each other, they work to remove Lorena from Kate’s home.
Lorena is 5 years old and sees Kate as her angel. The one person that God sent to save her from being lonely and starving after her parents left her at the pastor’s front steps because they were unable to care for her during this horrible depression. Kate was swept away by the love and trust that Lorena gave and was determined to save and keep her until her natural parents could return.
In the meantime, grandfathers are trying to take Lorena away, there are emotional upheavals for the family with man-made problems. They re-find their faith and it grows stronger as this little family work so hard with the help of Aunt Hattie to find their way.
As a plus, Ms. Gabhart is working on a sequel to this novel so that her readers can find out what happens to Rosey Corner after Sister Angel ends.
I give this a 5 of 5 stars. The book is interesting, entertaining, and you fall in love with her very real characters, warts and all.
Amy Clipston has written several Amish-themed novels. Her books are Christian
novels, some even include Amish recipes. As a best-selling author, Clipston
writes Young Adult inspirational fiction and Adult inspirational fiction. From
what I’ve read so far, you don’t want to miss any of them. Reckless Heart
is a novel about a 16-year-old Amish girl faced with
challenges that would give many girls pause. Her youngest sister, Ruth, is sickly, then the family finds out it’s leukemia. Leukemia is a daunting disease for the well-insured, for an Amish family it brings extra challenges on the financial side.
As a responsible Amish youth, Lydia takes the added burden of caring for her younger siblings while her mother and Ruthie are battling leukemia. Lydia also works two part-time jobs, as a teacher’s assistant and in the family bakery. She faces challenges of feeling left out as her friends go to the sing-alongs here the bloom of first love begins in the Amish community. She finds out the boy she likes may be seeing another girl, that her friends are having fun, and then meets a new neighbor family, Englishers.
The community interferes with her English friendship, possibly mainly because that family has a young boy the likes Lydia, although he knows and she knows they’re friends and each like someone in their own communities, those not involved in the friendship see danger of outside influences (without merit, I might add). Lydia gives the money she earns to help her family in its time of need, feels the call of two possible professions (until she becomes a wife anyway) between teaching and the bakery. She has normal teenage angst of wanting to be with friends, while needing to stay home and help. Lydia lashes out, mildly according to worldly standards, but it’s rather large according to a secluded community, about her need to be with friends. Her father responds that she’s disrespectful and punishes her.
All through the book I found myself alternately rooting for Lydia, being angry at dad, and hoping for Ruthie. While some of these issues are the same issues all teens face, some are bigger than some teens face and some are smaller than some teens face, I can see how it can be confusing for a teenager. Her responsibilities increase as she shows she’s capable of dealing with them until she feels overwhelmed.
I won’t go further without disclosing the ending. Lydia shows us that, no matter what your background is, there are problems to deal with, some large, some small, and some are simply misunderstandings. No one is exempt. This is a fun read and I’ll give it a 4 out of 5 stars.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.
The Rosary Murders
, first published in 1978, is coming to readers again. This cozy mystery is fun, easily followed, and easily read. The Rosary Murders was made into a movie, starring Donald Sutherland, in 1987. This book is one of some twenty-four crime novels featuring Father Robert Koesler.
William X. Kienzle spent twenty years in the priesthood after leaving due to a disagreement with policy. He was editor of MPLS Magazine in Minneapolis, then later was director of Center for Contemplative Studies at University of Dallas. His wife carries on his publishing career today.
Kienzle leads us on a merry chase as the seemingly innocuous death of a priest near death in a hospital becomes more important as the first death in a series of murders. Key elements are the joking between colleagues in the police department and the conversations between priests during meals. The trust the Catholic priests and nuns place in their parishioners is important. Not only in real life, but in The Rosary Murders, that trust is what makes priests and nuns so susceptible to danger, especially when working in the less desirable areas. The police wisely pay attention to Fr. Koesler as he offers his help and is open to their suggestions to catch the culprit and solve the crime.
This is a short, easy read. Fun and not complicated. The Rosary Murders makes a good read for a quiet day or to lull to sleep at night.
Because the reader may be accustomed to today’s technology, please remember this is an older book. Cell phones are not around every corner.
All in all, I’d give this a 4 out of 5 stars for its ingenuity of the time and the easy writing style.
So what are you waiting for? Go read it!
NOTE: I was provided this book by request to NetGalley in return
for an honest review.
Book Two: Publishing – Real Life Tips for: Writing, Publishing, and Promoting Your Own Books. (On a budget of almost
By Michael Esser
I was interested in Mr. Esser’s book because I am an aspiring novelist. Also, because I want to know how self-published authors get from their word processor to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the like. Mr. Esser did have some interesting information.
He suggests proofreading and getting a professional editor for the self-publisher. He is correct in that suggestion. As an editor for a small publishing company, and as a reader, this is a very important step that should not at any time be ignored. Good friends and family, even if they’re quite adept at the English language, spelling, and punctuation, are sometimes too lenient on you. Hiring a professional means you’re probably going to find better editing, making your book a better seller. There’s little more upsetting than people talking about your book because the editing, or even the formatting, was horrible. The public expects more, even in the day of the self-publisher.
His tips on where and how to format seem appropriate without going forward and attempting it myself. He tells his readers where and how the ISBN is appropriated. He discusses marketing, but slightly misses the mark without more specific information. He tells how to figure out pricing of your published piece.
Mr. Esser, however, falls short in his own work by not following his own advice. Spelling is incorrect (“by” instead of “buy” for example), bad formatting in spots, etc. His sentence structure and wording are lacking in places, which is something a good, or even half-good, editor would have helped fix. Considering this is a how-to for self-publishers, I expect much more from him.
If you want some information in the self-publishing steps, go ahead and get it. This book as of today (May 30, 2012) is a free download for nook. As long as you remember he did not follow his own advice, there are some helpful tips here. Do not let this be your only resource, however. There are more appropriate books available for the self-publisher to become more prepared with their self-publishing journey.
Unfortunately, I hate to give bad reviews, but this can only get a 2 of 5 stars from me and that is for content.
by Thomasina Burke
Thomasina Burke, in her debut novel, has brought reading to a level that touches your heart and soul. Her characters, Bridgette and Matt, are friends, then lovers, then soul mates. They have a typical life in facing challenges and surmounting them, but that is not where and how the story ends. Magic Bridge takes us to the heart of their lives. Bridgette, a nurse and volunteer rescuer in Crown King AZ, is a damaged soul that isn’t open to love. Matt is a construction worker and bicyclist who is caring and giving. Their meeting is unique, their courtship is fun, and their end is not an end.
It is not a spoiler to let future readers know that Matt will not finish the story; Ms. Burke points that out in her prologue. What she does not do in the prologue is explain to her reader that she is going to touch your heart and soul in ways it may not have been touched before. Development of the characters, including the cast of secondary characters, allows Bridgette and Matt to have a fullness that is not often found in novels.
Travelling the globe, Bridgette and Matt find new dimensions to their relationship and fall in love over and over again. The description of their visits is fully developed, allowing the reader to see the landscape and feel the breezes. This home-body is almost ready to hop on a plane to experience these travels with Bridgette and Matt.
On the editing side, this is one of the best-edited self-published novels I’ve read. Ms. Burke did not skimp in her endeavor. On the emotional side, I was touched. I am not a “crier” yet I cried as Bridgette dealt with her sense of loss and mourning.
I was given this book by the author, upon request. She is a friend of a friend. Frankly, I was prepared to think it was an “okay” book. It’s not. I was blown out of the water. I sincerely hope Ms. Burke is working on a new book now. Magic Bridge left me wanting more. Not more of Bridgette and Matt, she gave it all in Magic Bridge, but she left me wanting more of her powerful writing.
Overall, if you don’t read this book, you’re going to miss an experience. Fair warning to future readers: read this book with tissues close by. Although there is sadness in the book, it is more than that. It is a power of love and devotion that is often missed in today’s fast-paced dog-eat-dog world. If possible I would give this novel 10 out of 5 stars.
Thank you Thomasina Burke, for allowing me to read and experience emotions and feelings that I thought I could never feel. I am praying that this book has given you the impetus to write another.
Dalya Moon is an independent author with several books under her belt. The Smart Mouth Waitress
is the second book of her Life in Saltwater City Series
. Her books in this series have characters that might appear in other novels, but are very stand-alone reads.
Peridot, Perry to her friends or Dottie to her mother, is an 18-year-old young lady that wants a boyfriend. She thinks she’s very individual and off-beat, yet her wants and needs are very mainstream. She finds herself agreeing with things her mom has done or said, which is slightly disgruntling yet normal for a young lady transitioning from teenage crazies to adulthood. Her friend, Courtney, has a new lover that brings a bit of angst to their relationship. Britain (the new lover) and Perry do not see eye-to-eye, yet Courtney thinks they all should be friends. Of course, this brings some scenes that require Perry to make decisions about their friendship.
Perry’s two possible boyfriends bring different things to her decision making. She finds herself drawn to both of them, and they’re friends with each other. Then, she finds that “getting” a boyfriend is not as easy as she thought. She changes her looks hoping to catch the eye of the first one, only to catch the eye of the second. They go through the come-hither, go-away issues until Perry’s mind is made up for her.
Her work place is a fun place where being a smart mouth is a plus. It brings fun, engaging conversation and embarrassing occasions to Perry. She takes on added responsibilities as her mom leaves town to pursue her career and Perry is left in charge at home. Her younger brother is fun, gets in a spot of trouble, yet we get to see the sibling interaction as realistic. Her dad has some issues with ADD and anxiety yet is still the “dad” for the family.
Overall, I’d say The Smart Mouth Waitress
is a fun read that is easy to read as well. As an independent I only found one typo in it, which is a huge plus with indie publishing.
NOTE: I won this book through MemberGiveaways on LibraryThing.