The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson

opposite of maybe

Rosie has been stuck the past several years of her life. The problem is, she doesn’t realize how stuck she is. She thinks her life is fine, and she’s satisfied for the most part. She is forty-four when her partner of fifteen years is offered a job across the country and he proposes to her, everything in her life starts to shift. Does Jonathan really understand her? What’s going to happen to her outspoken and cantankerous grandmother, Soapie? The woman is over eighty and prone to falling. Someone needs to take care of her. Sopie tells Rosie that she’s got a boy living with her to pour her gin and tonics. Tony Cavaletti has his own tangled relationships that he’s working through.

As Rosie helps care for her grandmother, she starts learning more about herself and her family. Some things devastate her, others help her grow, and still others scare her to death.

I was really into this book at first, but then Rosie actually started to irritate me. I just wanted to shake her until she put everything together. She is so intent on trying to fix everyone else’s problems because she doesn’t want to face her own. The characters were well-developed and most of them were likable. When Rosie finally, finally made her decision, the book ended abruptly. I would have liked to see a little more of her life after her decision and how it worked out for her.

***Blogging for books has changed their program is now offering more than Christian fiction. Please note, this book was not Christian fiction (which is what I normally review). There was foul language, the Lord’s name was taken in vain several times, and a few sex scenes in this book.

Blogging for books provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I was not compensated in any way for either a negative or a positive review.

Hacker by Ted Dekker

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Seventeen-year-old Nyah Parks is a genius, and she is desperate. After a tragedy stole her father and brother, she is willing to do anything to save her mother. She hatches a not-so-brilliant plan that gets her into trouble. Trouble so deep, there is only one person she knows to turn to, another hacker she met while waiting on her mom at doctor’s appointments. Austin Hartt is another genius with a terminal brain tumor.

When Nyah finds Austin, she believes he is bordering on madness. But she’s willing to go there with Austin in hopes that this will be the thing that will help keep her mother with her. As Austin and Nyah try to hack their own brains, they are taken into realities they could never guess existed. There they learn more about life, and what lies beyond life.

I tend to forget how much I enjoy Ted Dekker’s books until I read a new one. His take on science fiction is intriguing and engaging. Hacker (book three in the Outlaw Chronicles) was full of suspense, conflict, and insight that kept intrigued with the story. At times I felt like the BlakBox storyline was a little contrived, put in there just to tie the beginning with what was going on with Nyah and Austin and their hacks, but the overall flow of the story made up for that.

This story pushes the readers outside of what they believe to be true. It is an excellent allegory for faith: believing in something unseen. Of course, Nyah and Austin don’t believe until they see, but once they do, there is no turning back.

hacker cover

Hacker is available June 10, 2014. Pre order from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or CBD.

****Worthy Publishing provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Silenced Book Giveaway and Review

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Kayden McKenna is tough. She doesn’t need to rely on anyone, and after losing both her father and mother when she was a teenager, she doesn’t want to rely on anyone. So when she is unexplicably drawn to Jake Cavanaugh, she is not thrilled about it. What she doesn’t know is she already has Jake’s heart. When the two of them are thrown together to investigate the death of a climber (Jake as a deputy and Kayden because of her climbing experience), the two of them struggle with their feelings for the other. Can love grow out of an investigation? And, even more important, will they be able to solve the mystery of what happened to the climber before the threats they keep receiving are acted upon?

Silenced is book four in Dani Pettrey’s Alaskan Courage series. It was also the first Dani Pettrey book I’ve read. I’m now going to have to read the previous three books. While the book works pretty well as a stand alone, there are some references to things that happened in previous books. You also get a feel for the romance that will be coming up in the next book (each book involving one of the McKenna siblings).

Pettrey does an excellent job of weaving the romance with the mystery, suspense and action in her book. You want the hero and heroine to solve the mystery and to overcome the obstacles that litter their paths to a happily ever after.

silenced dani pettrey

To learn more about the book and read a sample chapter, visit Dani Pettrey’s website.

Click for more information about the author.

book giveaway

Dani Pettrey & Bethany House Publishers are graciously offering to give away a copy of Silenced to one lucky visitor to this blog.

The contest begins on 5/12/14 and concludes on 5/30/14. I will announce the winner here on my blog on 5/31/14. The winner will also receive an email notifying them that they have won. The winner will have one week to reply to me with their physical address, or a new winner will be chosen. Obtain multiple entries by completing the tasks. Winners will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter.

To enter:

· No purchase is necessary.
· Odds of winning are based on number of entries.
· You may only complete each Rafflecopter task once.
· Comment on this post to enter. Make sure to leave your name and email in a safe format.
· US residents, 18 and older are eligible to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

tamsen littlejohn

Tamsen Littlejohn follows Jesse Bird into an unknown wilderness filled with treacherous terrain, threat of Indian attacks, and a looming war, but what Tamsen is running from is even darker. In order escape her stepfather’s plan to force her into an arranged marriage, Tamsen decides to escape. Jesse Bird has offered his assistance, and she is going to take it.

The first time Jesse Bird lays eyes on Tamsen Littlejohn, he is entranced. He feels like he knows this woman. When he finds her in a situation that is bound to get worse for her, he does the only thing he can think of and offers to take her away from it. As Jesse and Tamsen travel west, they are met with challenges from nature, humanity, and the stepfather and would-be husband who are giving chase. Tamsen is not prepared for this life, and Jesse knows it, but knows no other way to keep this woman safe, which he is determined to do.

Lori Benton weaves intrigue, history, and romance throughout The Pursuit of Tamsen Litlejohn. Readers will travel the country of North Carolina along with Tamsen and Jesse, feel the uncertainty of wars brewing between the state of North Carolina and the State of Franklin as well as the war brewing between the Indians and the white settlers, and long for the relationship between the two main characters to take root and grow. The supporting characters add depth and insight. Historical fiction isn’t usually my first choice when it comes to books I’d like to read, but this one was worth it.

****Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I was not compensated in any way for either a positive or a negative review.

Things I Learned from Self Publishing

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a few weeks. I’m finally sitting down this evening to write out my thoughts. I hope it might be useful to some aspiring artists out there. I’m currently working on self publishing my second book in the Remembrance series. There will be four books total in this series, and I’m aiming to release a new one every six months. Book two is due out in September.

My journey with self publishing began with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month). I was encouraged to sign up for NaNoWriMo last November. It was something I always heard about, but it was usually in the middle of the month or even December. This year, I learned about it in October so I signed up. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in one month’s time. I had no problem with this. The story just flowed out of me. The next month, another story came together. As I was writing the second book, the idea for the third one came. And a month after that was written, I knew what I wanted to write for the fourth one. In case you are wondering, I am not currently working on a fifth book. I’m in the process of editing book two for publication.

At the end of NaNoWriMo, people who “won” (or finished their 50,000 words), got some special perks. One of those special perks led me to CreateSpace, Amazon’s self publishing website. I started looking into it a little more and realized how simple self publishing has become over the years. It appealed to me because I didn’t have to send query letters and sample chapters to a bunch of publishing houses that I might or might no hear back from, I could offer my book in both Kindle and paperback format, and I controlled the pace.

There were several things that stood out to me after I published my first book, things I’m doing differently with my second book.

Everything took longer than I thought it should

Yes, I can be impatient, and yes, I was in a hurry to get that first book printed and out there, but EVERYTHING took longer than I thought it would. I would be writing and know I was nearing the end of the book, but hours later I would still be nearing the end of the book. Editing is an on-going process. I think I self-edited that first book four times. I would hand it off to someone to read and tell them to mark it up, then when they returned it, I would read through the book again and mark it up even more. I paid an editor to look at the book before I ordered the proofs, which took longer than projected, and even getting the proofs took some time. Finally, I had to wait a few days before the paperback became available on Amazon.

An editor is a great investment, but…

Yes, at the strong suggestion of a friend, I hired a copy editor for my book. Now, if you pick up my book and read it, you are going to find some errors in there despite the fact that I hired a copy editor. First of all, let me tell you that this is going to cost you some money. I researched a lot of editors and the prices ranged from five hundred dollars to fifteen hundred dollars, depending on your needs. This was the biggest expense I incurred (other than the hours of my time) with my first book. I was discouraged when my book was printed and I found errors in it. And while I learned a lot from my editor, the biggest lesson I took away from that is that I needed more people to look at my book after the editor sent it back. If I would have had three or four more people read through my proof copies, some more of those errors would have been found.

Spread it out

When I finish a self edit of one of my books, I know that if I turned around and read it again, I would miss a lot. I have been very mindful of giving myself a break after editing my second book. What I’ve been doing is editing it and then handing it off for someone else to read and mark up. When I get it back, I read through it again and make changes after I’ve been away from it for a little while.

Find a support group

Last month I was part of a street team of blogger that promoted Tamera Alexander’s newest book, A Beauty So Rare. A group of about fifty of us spent a month on Facebook getting to know each other. It was nice hearing ideas, suggestions, and encouragement. Tamera Alexander asked if any of us in the group were writers and suggested joining ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). At her suggestion, I looked into it. I was amazed at the level of information a person can get their hands on for the price of membership. In ACFW there are critique groups, monthly courses (this month’s course is a timely one on proofreading), and regional email loops. They offer a yearly writer’s conference with many popular authors and even more classes. I’m already planning to make the 2015 conference in Dallas.

Your first book will not make you rich

I’ve sold a little over fifty copies of my first book and given away at least that many. I’ve made less than a hundred dollars off of royalties. Thankfully I have a stable, full-time job that allows me to use my free time to write and edit. I lucked out and didn’t have to pay someone to create a cover for my first book. My sister offered to do it for me. I graduated from college with a degree in English so I didn’t have to hire a copy editor as opposed to a content editor. A copy editor will charge one to two cents per word while a content editor will charge five or seven cents per word. Costs will add up and you probably aren’t going to make five to seven hundred dollars on your first book, maybe not even your second book. The majority people who will purchase that first novel are going to be your friends and family, and unless you have thousands of friends, you’re not going to recoup your costs.

Getting the word out there will take work

With Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads things are a little bit easier than they probably were five or ten years ago, but you will definitely need to keep getting the word out there. I learned that you can sign up as an author on Goodreads and do a giveaway of your books. This was by far the best way I have found for getting word out. I ran my first giveaway for a month and had over six hundred people enter the giveway while half of those people added my book to their “to read” list. Now, I’m not sure how many of those people will ever get around to reading my book, but they are now aware of it.

Those are a few of the thoughts I’ve had since my first book came out in March. I hope that sharing them here might help you along your journey.

My first book, Remembrance is available on Amazon. You can click the book cover to the left to order. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you have other things you learned from self publishing.