11/28/2016

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes ~ Audiobook Review

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person
by
Shonda Rhimes
Audiobook release date: November 10, 2015
Narrator: Shonda Rhimes
Length: 7 hrs and 4 mins
Audiobook Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Genre: Autobiography, Memoir

The mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder chronicles how saying YES for one year changed her life―and how it can change yours, too.

With three hit shows on television and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.

And there was the side-benefit of saying No for an introvert like Shonda: nothing new to fear.

Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed―and the result was nothing short of transformative. In Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying yes had on every aspect of her life―and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes.


AUDIOBOOK
Source: Purchased
This is my honest review.
Rating: 5 Stars ~ Excellent

Engaging and Inspiring!

I have to admit that as a huge fan of Shonda Rhimes’ shows, I really didn’t know that much about her at all. I liked the concept of this book with Ms. Rhimes telling her story through her year of saying yes to opportunities that she would normally decline. Shonda Rhimes is incredibly talented and successful. She seems honest talking about her life and what makes her uncomfortable. I found her journey in this book especially fascinating.

I enjoyed several things about this book, and I’ll highlight a few. I absolutely loved that the audiobook is narrated by Shonda Rhimes herself! It felt more personal and engaging that way. I loved that her actual speeches from the events that she spoke at were included in the audiobook. Not only were these speeches entertaining, but absolutely inspiring as well. I liked that she was real in her feelings about being a working single mother of three children, about her weight loss, and even how her family interact with each other. I found her sarcasm quite humorous! Finally, I’m so glad to see that she gave much love to one of my favorite fictional characters that she’s created to date in this book. I was so captivated with Ms. Rhimes telling the story of how the character of Cristina Yang was created, what she symbolized to many fans, and the moments leading to filming this character’s final scene on the show. It reminded me of how much I miss seeing Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy.

Year of Yes is about the positive things that can happen when making the choice to step out of your comfort zone. This is a motivational read that also made me laugh and smile along the way. I now have a better perspective about the woman behind ShondaLand! The audiobook was a thoroughly enjoyable listen the second time as well.


Book Links:

Questions:
Do you watch any shows created by Shonda Rhimes?
Which ones?

11/25/2016

Real Murders by Charlaine Harris ~ Audiobook Review

Real Murders
by
Charlaine Harris

Series: Aurora Teagarden Mystery
Published: November 19, 2009
Narrator: Therese Plummer
Audiobook Publisher: Recorded Books
6 hrs 7 mins

Though a small town at heart, Lawrenceton, Georgia, has its dark side-and crime buffs. One of whom is librarian Aurora "Roe" Teagarden, a member of the Real Murders Club, which meets once a month to analyze famous cases. It's a harmless pastime -- until the night she finds a member killed in a manner that eerily resembles the crime the club was about to discuss. And as other brutal "copycat" killings follow, Roe will have to uncover the person behind the terrifying game, one that casts all the members of Real Murders, herself included, as prime suspects -- or potential victims.

AUDIOBOOK
Source: Self
Rating: 4 Stars ~ Loved

This was a light murder mystery for all its gruesome murder situations.  'Roe' is a likeable heroine and the story is told from her perspective.  She comes from a divorced home with her mother being one of the leading southern ladies of the town who is gorgeous and graceful.  Roe sees herself as average, but she isn't down on herself.  She likes her life and is happy to work at the library and join with her fellow club members talking murder.

It was interesting to see the situation change for Roe as she gains two suitors.  Robin is a famous mystery writer and guest professor at the university while Arthur is a fellow murder club member and police detective.  It's early days so she is interested in both and enjoying having men interested in her.

The mystery itself was not easy to solve for me.  I got an inkling late in the game, but was happily shocked when it was reveal time.  Each murder is set up with victims who match the MO of earlier famous murder cases and the killer also leaves the weapon with innocent people to get the fingers pointing at each other.  The victims and those who are framed are all connected to the murder club so they are all watching each other warily even as the police track down clues from crime scenes and witnesses.  Roe plays a good amateur detective.

I experienced this book in audio format and really enjoyed my first encounter with Therese Plummer as narrator.  She did a great job with all the voices and her overall storytelling was engaging and captivating.

All in all, this was a wonderful start to a series.  I particularly thought it was fun to dip back into times of less technology- no smart phones and laptops.  I think mystery, cozy mystery, and romantic suspense fans would find this a good one to try.
Sophia Rose regularly blogs and reviews at Delighted Reader.

Book Links:

11/16/2016

Snowbound at Christmas ~ Jennifer Ryan, Lia Riley, Maisey Yates Q&A + Excerpt


When a snowstorm pummels the western half of the country, 
three couples find once off-limits love just in time for Christmas.


SNOWBOUND AT CHRISTMAS
Holiday Anthology
Jennifer Ryan, Lia Riley & Maisey Yates
Releasing Nov 15th, 2016


When a snowstorm pummels the western half of the country, three couples find once off-limits love just in time for Christmas. An unforgettable holiday anthology from bestselling authors Jennifer Ryan, Maisey Yates, and Lia Riley.

Close to Perfect: A Montana Men Novella by Jennifer Ryan

At sixteen, Abigail gave Dex the gift of a lifetime, but the cost of it was more than he ever knew. Now she’s back in town with a secret that has been ten years in the making and this time it’s Dex’s turn to make the ultimate sacrifice or risk losing her forever.

Snowed in at Copper Ridge: A Copper Ridge Novella by Maisey Yates

Mia Landry has always had it bad for brooding cowboy Devlin Grayson. Too bad he’s her best friend’s older brother. But when they find themselves snowed in at Copper Ridge Lodge, Mia finally has the chance to tell the man of her dreams exactly what she wants… him.

Hot Winter’s Night: A Brightwater Novella by Lia Riley

While Brightwater is being covered in snow, Goldie Flint is stuck in her flower shop. She never expected her hero to be Kit Kane, the former love of her life. Kit knows that what he had with Goldie isn’t just in the past and with the help of a little bet, an ornery grandmother, and a lot of snow, he’s ready to show her that what he really wants for Christmas is a second chance.


~*~ Q&A ~*~

Jennifer Ryan
What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?
The first kiss. I love the buildup to that moment, the anticipation, and the spark that finally ignites when two people give in to the connection that draws them together.


What are some books that you enjoyed recently?
All Chained Up by Sophie Jordan
Troublemaker by Linda Howard
Breath of Scandal by Sandra Brown

What comes next?
Why, another Montana Men novel, of course.
Ford Kendrick gave up his one true love ten years ago to save the legacy his parents left behind for him and his brothers and get Jamie away from her abusive mother. He thought he sent Jamie away for her own good, but when she returns from the military broken in body, heart, and soul, he’ll do everything in his power to make his Firefly happy and shine again. When a friend from her past shows up and a secret revealed puts Jamie’s life at risk, Ford will put HIS COWBOY HEART on the line to protect Jamie.


Lia Riley
A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.
Wise-cracking ex marine gets stranded in blizzard with the ex-girlfriend who never forgave him for breaking her heart

What gave you the most trouble with this story?
Keeping it short, novellas are such fun to write, but a little challenging because there is always a little more you wish you could include.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Somewhere Over the Rainbow


Maisey Yates
How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
Well, I love a cheerful heroine and a grumpy hero, especially for a holiday story. And I also love a good girl and a bad boy (with tattoos no less). Adding that forbidden element of her being his younger sister’s BFF, and a snowstorm, just seemed logical. ;)


What 5 things should readers know about you?
I don’t take myself very seriously. I really do love sweet potato fries (which is why they’re mentioned in a lot of my books). I LOVE writing, I really do. I’m left handed. I can sing a mean country song.


How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I’ve always fiddled around with stories, but I first finished a book in 2007. I was inspired by reading the Harlequin Presents line, and then by a contest Harlequin ran. I thought: Well, I should write something and enter the contest! That won’t feel like real rejection! I didn’t place in the contest, but at that point I’d written so much of the book I knew I had to finish. I did, and I sent it in, and eventually sold that book.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thanks for all the support. Readers are so important, and I’m so, so grateful for mine!


Thank you Jennifer Ryan, Lia Riley, and Maisey Yates for answering a few questions.
Congratulations on this festive holiday release!



From Jennifer Ryan's Close to Perfect

Ten years ago…
Dex sat on the hard bench outside the Sheriff’s office knowing he hadn’t done anything wrong, but shaking in his Converse just the same after a deputy showed up at the high school batting cage, cuffed him, and brought him down to the station. They charged him with stealing a car, drinking and driving, and in a drunken stupor, ditching the car in Crawford Pond.
The car had been pulled out of the murky water, a case of beer in the back seat—mostly empty cans—along with his baseball cap with the MVP pin the team awarded him last season.
How the hell did it get there?                              
Laurie walked out of her father’s office and turned the butterflies in his stomach into hummingbirds.
Oh God. I’m in deep shit.
He’d thought landing Laurie as his girlfriend made him big shit. Hell, he was seventeen and she had a hot body he wanted to get his hands on, even if she never let him past second base.
Then he met someone...different. Interesting. Nice.
Abigail Swain was barely sixteen and in the senior class. She was that smart. Really smart.
Paired together for a science class project, he’d gotten to know her and wondered why he’d never really noticed her. Small town, small school, still, she kept under the radar. Her parents believed school was more important than friends. Instead of spending her free time playing sports or hanging out at the diner downtown with other girls, she spent every spare minute at church or studying.
Abigail might come off weird and brainy, but really she was shy...quiet. And genuinely nice. A perfect target for Laurie, who made it known she didn’t like him spending time with Abigail, even for a class project.
Five days into working with Abigail something inside him shifted while she explained the intricacies of photosynthesis right off the top of her head. The way her eyes lit up. She planted her chin in her palm and looked right at him. Open and filled with kindness, she did something to his insides. He moved without thinking about it, leaned across the coffee table in his living room, and tentatively pressed his lips to hers in a soft kiss. He didn’t know why he had to do it until their lips touched and the wonder and softening in her eyes undid him. To his surprise, she kissed him back, and if he hadn’t been sitting on the floor already, he’d have hit his knees.
That kiss changed everything and put a lot of things into perspective. Like he’d rather be with someone he liked and enjoyed spending time with. He and Laurie had more fights than good times and it wore thin. Quick. Despite Laurie’s many protests, he ended things with her with a promise that he wouldn’t back out of taking her to the dance so she wouldn’t be humiliated and have to go alone.
From that moment on, he secretly spent more and more time with Abigail, though they kept their relationship hidden. Something about the way her overprotective father hovered nearby when they worked on their project at her house warned him that she’d get into deep trouble if her parents knew about them. Abby never said so, but he got the sense she feared her own dad.
As the mayor of their town, he had a reputation for advocating strict morals. A lot of people outside their church congregation found him judgmental. Including Dex.
He might not be valedictorian material, but he made better than good grades, was the best pitcher and hitter Crystal Creek High ever had, and he planned to take his team to the championships this spring. He had baseball and college to look forward to over the next couple of years and still Mayor Swain looked at him like he was nothing but a thing.
His dad sat beside him, ready to do battle, and nudged him with an elbow in his side. “Laurie’s here. She probably told her father the two of you were at the dance all night, and you couldn’t have stolen that car.” The hope in his father’s voice destroyed Dex.
I am so screwed.
Laurie walked right past him, smiling that sweet smile he and the other guys she’d caught in her web knew hid her devious side. She was out for blood. Since her dad was the sheriff, he had a feeling she was going to get it. Every last drop she thought she deserved because he’d had the audacity to dump her and ruined her plan to get back together at the dance.
The sheriff waved them into his office. “Let’s go, Dex. You’ve got some explaining to do.”
“Listen, Sheriff, Dex had nothing to do with the theft of that car, or how it ended up in the pond. Dex was at the dance with Laurie last night.”
Dex wished he deserved his father’s devotion and unwavering confidence. He wasn’t guilty of the charges, but he wasn’t innocent either.
“Step into my office, Steve. We’ll just see what Dex has to say about what really happened last night.”
His father turned and gave him one of those dad looks, telling him without words that Dex had better have a good explanation for not telling the whole truth this morning over breakfast about how great the dance was last night.
Dex took a seat in front of the Sheriff’s desk and refused to say anything. Not until the Sheriff gave up whatever he thought he knew. Or rather, what Laurie wanted her father to believe.
Dex stared up at his father, standing with anger flashing in his eyes after the sheriff laid out the evidence against Dex.
“Why didn’t you take Laurie home?” his father asked.
“She didn’t want to leave with me, said she’d get a friend to take her home, so I left.”
“And you can’t account for your time after leaving the dance,” the sheriff pointed out, an angry I’ve-got-you gleam in his eyes.
“I drove around in my truck for a while to cool down after the fight with Laurie.”
The sheriff snorted and rolled his eyes. “I suggest you call a lawyer and come up with a better defense than the bullshit you’re feeding your father.” The sheriff stood and waved them out of the office.
Dex walked out behind his dad in a daze. Even his father seemed at a loss for words. Dex wanted to explain what really happened, but couldn’t give them the whole truth. If Abigail’s strict parents found out he was seeing her behind their backs, she’d be in deep shit.
His father pulled out his cell and dialed.
“Who are you calling?”
“A lawyer,” he snapped, then moved a few steps away.
The sheriff stepped out of his office ready to process Dex and lock him up.
His dad glared and bit out, “Sheriff, you don’t have any proof he was in that car. I could drive a truck through the holes in that story. It’s Dex’s word against Laurie’s.”
“His hat was found in the vehicle. He claims he’s never been in the vehicle, nor does he know or associate with Mr. Fowler. Laurie, along with her friend, saw him on their way home.” The sheriff turned on Dex. “We’ll book you for DUI, grand theft auto, and destruction of property. You’re looking at three years minimum.”
Abigail stepped through the door and stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes wide with shock as the sheriff’s last words sank into Dex’s head. He’d spend the next three years in jail. No scholarship. No college education. No life as he’d planned it. This charge would follow him the rest of his life.
He’d lost everything. 

Jennifer Ryan is the New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted Series and The McBrides Series. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are filled with love, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find.
Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home and in how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.

After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, LIA RILEY scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling fourex with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author MAISEY YATES lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.

~*~ TOUR-WIDE GIVEAWAY ~*~

11/11/2016

For All the Evers by Debra Anastasia ~ Cover Reveal



Debra would like to share a letter with you:

Uncle Tommy,

I wish I had known you. You died in World War II. I know you had no wife, no kids, no descendants other than your brother’s children. I’ve often wondered how life would have been different if you’d lived.

My mom never met you, but you’re talked about a lot. My grandpa, your brother, told us your stories. He was hilarious, and I guess you’re together now. That’s a good thing. I know he missed you. And I was proud of the stories I heard about you.

I’ve felt helpless because there’s no fixing the past, but now I realize maybe I can. This letter is to thank you for your sacrifice, but I went further than that. I finished the book I promised your niece I would write.

Hopefully, after people read this, you will be known. It is my dearest hope that you will be remembered. My readers are incredibly generous with their hearts, so I know you will be loved.

We haven’t forgotten you.

And we love you.

Deb


Releasing December 18, 2016

Summary:

Fallen Billow should be in college like most of her friends, but instead she’s raising her brother and working as a housekeeper at a vintage local hotel. It’s back-breaking work, but not nearly as challenging as fending off unwanted advances from the hotel’s owner.

Thomas McHugh is fighting for our country, across the globe and decades before Fallen Billow was even born. So there’s no way they’re soul mates. There’s no way he can be desperate to see her, hold her, kiss her. Except there is.

Is it a dream when he inks his name on her skin? Is it a delusion when she puts her hands on his face and says she loves him? Nothing has ever felt more real.

Fate has etched paths for Thomas and Fallen that even time cannot touch. A Purple Heart proclaims Thomas’ valor and bravery. And his death. But Fallen dares to dream of the impossible. She wants Thomas to stay. Just stay.

A tribute to all who have served our country, this novel honors the impossible beauty of love and the endless power of hope. Come open your heart and celebrate the many facets of bravery with Fallen and Thomas.