My interview over at The Art and Craft of Writing Creatively is HERE

Purchase my book Images of America: Detroit Lakes HERE

Monday, January 31, 2011

Author Guest Post: Sean Beaudoin

from author's website
You Killed Wesley Payne has bullet holes on the dust jacket. The holes were originally supposed to be die-cut through to the hardcover, but, like a lot of decisions made in the course of producing a book, that one was sort of mysteriously shelved. I found this interesting from a design standpoint, because one of the central tenets of the book that I wanted to write was no guns. The book you intend to write and the book you end up with are frequently two very different things. I didn't want guns because I don't believe in glorifying them, even if I'm prepared to acknowledge their inevitability. I also didn't want them because I think from a narrative standpoint, they're frequently an easy way out. Get a bunch of characters in a room, have them all want the same thing, let them point guns at one another until they get it. One trend that really bothers me in movies lately is how often people duck to avoid bullets. They're driving a car, someone is chasing them, the rear window is shot out, the driver ducks and takes a hard left. Or a guy is holding a woman's hand, running through a corn field. There's a helicopter above them with a CIA dude aiming his rifle, firing wildly. The couple ducks, bullets pang around them, they scamper to safety. I could be wrong, but I am under the impression that ducking from a bullet rarely helps. 
You Killed Wesley PayneSo, why are there bullet holes on the cover of my book? Well, there is a gun. One gun. In the fictional school where You Killed Wesley Payne is set, Salt River High, only one person is allowed to have a gun. And that person has made a vow to shoot anyone else who carries one. Sort of like a strapped hall monitor. Enforcing de-armament. The gangs, or cliques, at this school don't like it, but grudgingly go along with it. If they have any problems, those problems have to be solved with fists. Or words. Wit is a weapon. And dialog is a lot harder to drive a scene with than hollow points. Different cliques milk different advantages; beauty, music, muscle, depression, leather mini-skirts. All of them work to some degree. It's the job of the hero, Dalton Rev, who has transferred to Salt River to find out who did Wesley Payne, to see beyond each ruse. Armed only with a steel toe boots, an underestimated intellect, and one stylish haircut.

~ Sean Beaudoin

Free Excerpt for a Tweet at:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox: January 24-30

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Anyone can participate in IMM and you are not limited to only sharing books that arrive via your mailbox. You can also share books that you've bought or books that you've gotten at the library. If interested please click the link above and sign up!

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland (love the cover of this one)
Rocket Men by Craig Nelson (for my hubby)


Captive Queen by Alison Weir (started this one right away!!)
Darkfever (Fever, Bk 1) by Karen Marie Moning (been hearing a lot about this series)

I also received some sweet swag from Melissa Marr

Friday, January 28, 2011

Memetastic Award

So, the graphics and concept of this blog award are hideous. Here is what the original author’s rules (word for word):

“1. You must proudly display the absolutely disgusting graphic that I have created for these purposes (put it in your post, you don’t have to put it in your sidebar, I think that would seriously be asking too much). It’s so bad that not only did I use COMIC SANS, but there’s even a little jumping, celebrating kitten down there at the bottom. It’s horrifying! But its presence in your award celebration is crucial to the memetastic process we’re creating here. If you need a higher resolution version… I totally have one!!

2. You must list 5 things about yourself, and 4 of them must be bold-faced lies. Just make some shit up, we’ll never know; one of them has to be true, though. Of course, nobody will ever know the difference, so we’re just on the honor system here. I trust you. Except for the 4 that you lied about, you lying bastards! But don’t go crazy trying to think of stuff, you’ll see by the example I’ve set below that we’re not really interested in quality here.

3. You must pass this award on to 5 bloggers that you either like or don’t like or don’t really have much of an opinion about. I don’t care who you pick, and nobody needs to know why. I mean, you can give a reason if you want, but I don’t really care.

4. If you fail to follow any of the above rules, I will hunt you down and harass you incessantly until you either block me on Twitter or ban my IP address from visiting your blog. I don’t know if you can actually do that last thing, but I will become so annoying to you that you will actually go out and hire an IT professional to train you on how to ban IP addresses just so that I’ll leave you alone. I’m serious. I’m going to do these things.

5. This one isn’t actually a rule, but once you do the above, please come back here and link up to the Memetastic Hop so that I can keep track of where this thing goes.”

Thanks Kelsey for honoring me with this award! (I did make sure she actually liked me and not the other options..LOL)

So, here are lies and one truth:

1. My love of flamenco dancing and music came from when I was introduced to it when I visited Spain.

2. I once told a friend in grade school that my mom changes into a unicorn at night and flies out my window.

3. At a Dixie Chicks concert me and my friend were chosen to get upgraded tickets (we ended up in the 2nd row)

4. One time when I was horseback riding, the horse decided to take me onto a pile of rocks and then got so scared she started trying to buck me off. She didn't succeed but I did go for the ride of my life.

5. I once read 4 books in one day...I even forgot to eat!

Can you guess which one is real??

I am passing this award onto the following 5 bloggers (who I love)

1. To Read or Not To Read
2. Supernatural Snark
3. i swim for oceans
4. Let Them Read Books
5. Freda's Voice

The Friday 56: Captive Queen

Freda over @ Freda's Voice has taken over the hosting of this fun weekly meme. All you have to do is:

* Grab a book, closest.
* Turn to page 56, find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of the blog.

*Post a link along with your post back to Freda's blog
*Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest or most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST!

Captive Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of AquitaineIt's a war, no less," Henry declared. "I must leave for Normandy at once. The rumor is that Louis plans to attack it in my absence."
"Then this is our first farewell," Eleanor said, the last traces of her rancor evaporating.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Possessions by James A. Moore

by James A. Moore
Publisher: Leisure Books
Publication Date: June 2004
Genre: Horror
My Rating: 1 STAR
Challenge: 2011 Books TBR

One by one, a group of teens becomes possessed by a strange and powerful force.

MY REVIEW (might contain some spoilers)
I don't like to write bad reviews. But I have to say that this book just wasn't an enjoyable one for me....:( At times I found it was a bit cheesy. I finished reading it because it was part of a challenge that I am doing (and I was secretly hoping it would be get better). By about page 210 it started to look up because it starts the final fight scene, unfortunately the fight scene was 100+ pages and I lost interest in it rather quickly.

Chris has just lost his mother and won the lottery. Now all of a sudden he is thrust into a battle over the "western key." His little sister is is going through a tough time after losing her mother and now is running off constantly. His best friend Jerry tries to help out the best he can but ends up being caught by the demons and Katie (Jerry's girlfriend) is the mother hen to everyone. Chris also has several flashbacks that don't flow with the book and are very confusing at times. Personally, the characters did not feel very well developed.

Like I said, this book wasn't for me. I am still confused exactly what this book is about. It is called Possessions yet there is no possessing going on. Instead the humans they are imitating are kept in heart shaped pods in the basement of a house. When I finished the book I was just confused and disappointed.

Book was purchased personally by me. My opinions are my own.
Summary taken from Goodreads.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Guest Post: Review of Delirious by Daniel Palmer

I would like to welcome to my blog today, my mom, Ginny. When she heard that I had this book, she immediately HAD to read it and after reading it asked if she could write a review. She has been my biggest supporter since I started this adventure of book blogging. She is also the reason I am such a voracious reader! So below is her review of the book and I have to say, I agree with it! It was an incredible book and will definitely be looking forward to Daniel's next book! The author has also given me another signed ARC of Delirious to giveaway to one of my followers. Look for that coming up on February 8th during the Follower Love Giveaway Hop!

Publisher: Kensington
Publish Date: January 25, 2011
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Format: ARC
Rating: 5 STARS

One day, Charlie Giles is an up-and-coming electronics superstar. The next, he's a prime homicide suspect as his former employers are picked off one by one. Charlie watches his life unravel as his company and inventions are wrenched from his control, and his family is decimated. With nowhere else to turn, he enlists his schizophrenic brother to uncover the dark family secrets that lie at the heart of the unfolding terror. "Delirious" is a mind-bending story where the line between what is real and what is imagined twists and addictive literary puzzle that every reader will want to solve.

When I first started reading this, I felt like I was not going to enjoy it. It wasn't long before it got to the "can't put it down" stage. It kept you in suspense as to who dunnit throughout the book. Your mind was constantly changing directions as to who was the guilty party. The main character was a man who had it all. His past comes back to haunt him. Questioning his own sanity and those around him, the author Daniel Palmer, has you even questioning the sanity of main character. 5 stars to it.

The twists and turns of this book are like a maze. Just when you think you know whodunnit, the author throws you for another loop. I really like the main character as he is very brilliant and has done well in life. Now he must face his family and their issues to conquer the events that are making him question his own sanity. As the reader you are in a constant state of apprehension as you always want the good guys to win. Because of the many twists you have no clue who are the bad guys. Awesome riveting book. He is up there with the best. Readers who love suspense and thrill this is a must read.

Book was received from author in exchange for an honest review. 
I received no commission and my opinions and those of my mother are our own.
Summary taken from Goodreads

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: American Vampire

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two "teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page!

American VampireGraf held his breath. It would be fitting for her to let his secret out in some stupid way, like this. It never came out all big and dramatic. It would be one slip of the tongue and then it was all torches and pitchforks. ~45%

Review: The Countess by Lynsay Sands

The Countess
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: January 25, 2011
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: E-ARC
Challenge: 2011 Historical Romance
Rating: 5 STARS

The fairy tale courtship did not turn into a happily-ever-after . . . 
Not until her husband dropped dead, that is. He had been horrible enough to Christiana during their short marriage, and she was not going to allow the traditional period of mourning to ruin her sisters' debuts as well. So she decides to put him on ice and go on as if nothing's happened . . . 
Until the real earl appears. Richard Fairgrave had every intention of confronting his villainous twin who had robbed him of his name and title . . . only to discover that he had died. Quietly assuming his identity, Richard must now deal with a maddening desire for his ravishing inherited "wife"— certainly a gold digger and possibly a murderess. And Christiana must deal with an unwanted new "husband" . . . and they both must figure out what to do before the ice melts!

Christiana has been married to who she thought was Richard Fairgrave, the Earl of Radnor for the past year. The year has been filled with so much emotional abuse that she is just a shell of the free spirit she once was. One day her sisters show up and tell her that their father has once again gambled away all their money and that Suzette needs to find a husband quick so that she can tap into her dower to save them from ruin. Unfortunately, Richard dies (poisoned by someone) before they can put in motion any plans. Now the sisters have to try and hide the body so that they don't have to go into mourning for a year. I never laughed so hard!

Now enter the real Richard Fairgrave! His twin brother, George, had thought he killed him and then he took over his life. Richard escaped and now has returned to seek his revenge...only to find out George is dead! Kind of puts a crimp in his revenge plans. He also finds out that he is married to Christiana. Bonus! Richard's best friend Daniel convinces him to just step into George's shoes to avoid scandal on Christiana and her sisters. Now it is their turn to figure out what to do with the body!

When the real Richard Fairgrave shows up at the ball that the girls are attending, they are besides themselves thinking he has come back from the dead! Early on Richard reveals to Christiana who he really is and together they try to figure out how to avoid scandal and find out who has killed George. At the same time, they are growing closer to each other and eventually give into their own temptation...:)

This book had me laughing out loud many times! I have been a fan of Lynsay Sands for a long time and have enjoyed her Argeneau and Rogue Hunter series immensely. Her historical romance books are just as good. There are several things going on at once in this book and the interactions between the characters are wicked fun! Even to just read this book to see how many times George's body is moved is worth it! It also sets up for Ms. Sands next book The Heiress which features Richard's friend Daniel and Christiana's sister Suzette. Can't wait!

E-ARC received free from publisher via NetGalley.
I have received no compensation for this review and my opinions are my own. 
Summary taken from Goodreads

Monday, January 24, 2011

Review: Kiss of Darkness by Loribelle Hunt

Kiss of Darkness
Kiss of Darkness
by Loribelle Hunt
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: January 24, 2011
Genre: Romance: Fantasy
Format: E-ARC
Rating: 4.5 STARS


Winter, a hybrid, has spent her life at war. A group of humans who are part demon, the hybrids, along with the lupines and nightwalkers, have dedicated their lives to defeating demons and protecting humanity. Yet, despite their united cause, the three groups share an uneasy alliance.
When hybrid military compounds come under attack from demon insurgents, Winter has no choice but to turn to the lupines and nightwalkers for assistance. It's a partnership based on necessity and she has no intention of letting down her guard with either group.
Marcus, the nightwalker Lord, has other plans. The immediate attraction between him and Winter promises a passion he can't ignore. To claim her as his own, he'll not only have to fight the demons who seem hell-bent on destroying her, but her own misconceptions about him and the nightwalker race. It's a battle he refuses to lose.

In Hunt's world, hybrids have been made out of necessity to fight the demons. The heroine, Winter, is initiated into the Order of Templar and is joined with a demon soul to revenge her husband who was killed my them. The merge makes her stronger, faster and also gives her supernatural powers. The downside, eventually the demon side will take over unless she finds a mate to bond with. After 60 years, she is starting to lose the battle to her demon side. Her two friends and lieutenants, Gia and Dupree, are facing the same dilemma. On top of this problem, demons have started attacking their safe houses and they can't figure out how they are coming by this information.

Our hero in Hunt's story is Marcus Black, Lord of the nightwalkers. He and his twin brother, Luke, have noticed the rise in demon attacks. After bringing the matter up to the council members, they still won't believe it is anything to worry about. While walking back to his house, Marcus senses demons and when he comes upon where they are, he sees Winter being attacked and our hero comes to the rescue...:)

This is a fast paced, captivating read! Fans of J.R. Ward I think would love this one. Hunt leaves the ending wide open and left me saying, "but what about...". I will be on the lookout for another book by this author.

E-ARC received free from publisher via NetGalley.
I have received no compensation for this review and my opinions are my own. 
Summary taken from Goodreads

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In My Mailbox: January 17-23

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Anyone can participate in IMM and you are not limited to only sharing books that arrive via your mailbox. You can also share books that you've bought or books that you've gotten at the library. If interested please click the link above and sign up!

The Strain (The Strain Trilogy)The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.
In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . .
So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city—a city that includes his wife and son—before it is too late. 

The Little HouseThe Little House by Philippa Gregory
In a tantalizing departure for the bestselling author of Wideacre and A Respectable Trade, Philippa Gregory now turns to a contemporary setting to tell the story of Ruth Cleary, a young woman who finds herself manipulated by an unbearable set of circumstances - and ultimately pushed beyond her limits.

The Poyson Garden (Elizabeth I Mysteries, Book 1)The Poyson Garden (An Elizabethan Mystery) by Karen Harper
Imagine a cross between the films Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love (without the latter's jokes) and you'll get some idea of this first entry in Karen Harper's Bess Tudor series of historical mysteries. It's 1558, and the 25-year-old Elizabeth, her life and family threatened by the dying, jealous Queen Mary, actually dresses up like a boy and slips off to Hever Castle. There she bonds with the spirit of her mother, Anne Boleyn, and solves several murders.

I received the following ARC from the author that will be released in February

You Killed Wesley PayneYou Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin
He's come to do a job.
A job that involves a body.
A body wrapped in duct tape found hanging from the goal posts at the end of the football field.
You Killed Wesley Payne
is a truly original and darkly hilarious update of classic pulp-noir, in which hard-boiled seventeen year-old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn't whether Dalton's going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he's gonna get the girl. He always (sometimes) gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of "The Body" before it solves him.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Making Smiles on Faces Award

After the week from hell that I have had this week, it was a wonderful surprise to hear from Kelsey @ Ketch Tavern that she has chosen my blog as one that makes her smile...:D  I have known Kelsey since the beginning of my blogging experience and she has just been wonderful! Go over and check out her blog  and watch her trailer for her first novel "Death's Island" or read excerpts!

Now, I’m to pass this on to blogs that make me smile. I just want to say that I have many blogs I would love to give this too!! But since I don't have space to list them all, I will just name a few....:D

1. To Read or Not To Read
2. Fangs Wands & Fairy Dust (she is an award free zone, but I thought I would mention her)
3. i swim for oceans
4. Let Them Read Books
5. Supernatural Snark

The Friday 56: The Poyson Garden by Karen Harper

Freda over @ Freda's Voice has taken over the hosting of this fun weekly meme. All you have to do is:

* Grab a book, closest.
* Turn to page 56, find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of the blog.

*Post a link along with your post back to Freda's blog
*Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest or most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST!

The Poyson Garden (Elizabeth I Mysteries, Book 1)She came to an arched door and saw the girl just beyond. Positioning her nosegay carefully, she was hanging it up on a string that held many other herbal bouquets. Then she pulled something-a vial-from her bosom and uncorked it to pour a tiny stream of liquid into a wooded firkin.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Cujo by Stephen King

Cujo (Signet)
Publisher: The Viking Press
Publish Date: 1981
Genre: Horror
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 5 STARS

A big, friendly dog chases a rabbit into a hidden underground cave--and stirs a sleeping evil crueler than death itself. A terrified four-year-old boy sees his bedroom closet door swing open untouched by human hands, and screams at the unholy red eyes gleaming in the darkness. The little Maine town of Castle Rock is about to be invaded by the most hideous menace ever to savage the flesh and devour the mind....

I forgot that there is more to this incredible book than just a dog with rabies. This is classic Stephen King horror...:) It is remarkable how he writes an entire story around a rabid dog!

There are two main families that are involved in this nightmare. The Camber family, owners of Cujo, consists of Joe, his wife Charity and their son Brett. Joe is man that is hard on his family and very controlling. He doesn't let his wife or son go very far without him. Charity wants to visit her sister (and get away from him for awhile) and to do this she must bribe Joe. Luckily she is able to do since she won the lottery. Charity is very torn between wanting to leave Joe and staying with him for her son's sake. Cujo was given to the Camber family as payment from one of Joe's clients and has become Brett's beloved dog.

Vic Trenton's family is been shattered. He has just learned that his wife, Donna, has been cheating on him. On top of this, he is about to lose his biggest account and his job in advertising. To save his job, he must fly to New York and come up with a way to save it. Donna has ended the affair and wants to reconnect with her husband. Vic's trip gives them the space they need to figure out what to do. King has added the special element of the monster in the closet for their son Tad, which foreshadows all the horror he will go through. After Cujo's reign of terror the surviving members of the families must pick up the pieces of their lives.

Stephen King even writes from the point of view of Cujo several times. We see that this was man's best friend and that he didn't want to hurt the people but the disease took over his body and he had no free will left.

Book was purchased personally by me.
Summary taken from Goodreads