Friday, September 30, 2011

Guest Post - Cynthia Kocialski

Cynthia Kocialski, author of Startup from the Ground Up, is my guest today, sharing with us how to be a more successful enrepeneur. The Many Shades of Entrepreneurship By Cynthia Kocialski All entrepreneurs want to be successful. Everyone knows it’s not as easy as it seems. Every entrepreneur begins a new business with high hopes and enthusiasm; each believes they have the right stuff to be what success stories are made of. Before embarking upon their venture, each would-be entrepreneur is faced with choices. Do you begin with nothing and build a business from the ground up? Do you purchase or take an equity stake in a company that has gotten past the initial stages and just needs to be grown? Perhaps, do you purchase a franchise with a proven formula that simply needs execution? How big is your dream? Do you just want a very comfortable income or do you want to create the next Google and have fame as well? In my experience, these represent different people with different skill sets. The first step to becoming an entrepreneur is to know who you are, what you are best at doing, and what you want from the experience. Put a great entrepreneur in the wrong start-up, the new business will fail. People who like to build something from nothing thrive in ambiguous environments and like to create something of their own design. This type of person is creative, is very good at reaching out to search for answers, and is best when they are handed a general direction without detailed instructions. They like the challenge to see if they can pull it off. They are confident that they can figure it out or find the right people to advise them. They resent being micro-managed. At the opposite side, franchisees are more about execution. They like to be handed step-by-step instructions that are to be implemented according to someone else’s design. A franchisee feels comfort in knowing there is someone in headquarters to help them through the hiccups. Put the ground up person in the franchise, and they will try to change the system. Put a franchisee in the ground up environment and they will be lost, not knowing what to do, or how to effectively go about figuring out what they should be doing. Here is a simple example of creativity versus execution. Two chefs return to their homes at night to make dinner. The first has no specific plans. He opens up the refrigerator and then the pantry, and surveys the possible ingredients. He ponders for a moment, selects a handful and creates a fabulous dish to enjoy. The second chef returns home, opens a recipe book, and takes out all the ingredients he had earlier purchased just for the recipe. He makes a delectable dish too. While many people call themselves entrepreneurs, they are not all cut from the same cloth. It’s the start-up that choses the entrepreneur, not the other way around. About the Author Cynthia Kocialski is the founder of three tech start-ups companies. In the past 15 years, she has been involved in dozens of start-ups. Cynthia writes the Start-up Entrepreneurs’ Blog ( and has written the book, “Startup From The Ground Up - Practical Insights for Entrepreneurs, How to Go from an Idea to New Business” (
Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Witch Song by Amber Argyle

Brusenna is a teen who lives in the forest alone with her mother. The villagers shun them because her mother is a witch. She is shamed and humiliated and basically afraid of contact with other people. An unexpected visitor comes and her mother leaves to try to defeat a truly "wicked witch". Brusenna lives alone until danger faces her at home, it is her turn then to take up her mother's mantle as a witch and try to right the wrongs that have been inflicted due to the evil witches influence. This means that she must face her fears and venture into the outside world, alone. I don't usually read fantasy unless my boys beg, so the fact that I loved Witch Song by Amber Argyle is saying a lot. The pacing is quick, the story is intriguing, the description is vivid, the heroine tugged at my heart (facing danger with only her dog and being pretty tough about it), and the hero is really, really cute. If you enjoy young adult fantasy this is a must-read, if you don't typically read that genre this may be the book that will hook you. I'd definitely recommend Witch Song. Buy Witch Song here. Amber Argyle's website
Saturday, September 17, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway - Seven by Paige Agnew

Seven strangers. One purpose. One horrible thing in common - kidnapped. When seven people are pulled from their ordinary lives to be pawns in a madman's game of chess, the only way they will make it out alive is to put aside their differences and work together to escape to freedom. My review: This is one of the most intriguing books I have read. Paige Agnew's imagination is unreal. Seven is a book I didn't want to put down but also found a bit creepy (in a good way). I don't honestly know what to say without giving away too much information and ruining the novel for you. Read the book and then e-mail me so we can chat about it. What I liked: Loved the crazy plot twists. Very impressed with the way the author developed seven different characters so well. What I didn't like: A lot of typos and grammatical errors. Audience: Any age would enjoy the book but definitely targetted to the young adult market. Paige Agnew's Website Buy Seven here. Win a free copy of Seven. Please leave a comment below to win Seven (must be a follower of this blog). For extra entries: 1 extra entry for following me on Twitter or Facebook. 2 extra entries for sharing the contest on Twitter or Facebook. 4 extra entries for sharing the contest on your personal blog or adding the contest to your sidebar. Contest ends Septmeber 26, 2011 Open to residents of U.S. and Canada Please leave an e-mail address with your comment. Facebook Pre Virtual Book Tour Contest PRIZE - $25 Barnes and Noble gift card and other goodies for book lovers Submit your answers to Deadline September 12th Answer this question correctly to enter the drawing: If life without love is like a starless sky, what is the moon? Learn More Here
Thursday, September 15, 2011

A.R. Tests

My 9yo asked me why I was reading a book that was obviously outside of my preferred genre. I told him I had been asked to review it on my blog. He cocked his cute head to the side and said, "Oh, so you take an A.R. test on it and then if you do good on it other people will listen to what you think about the book." I laughed and told him I graduated from college and was done with tests. He didn't like that very much! I explained to my son that Book reviews are mostly a personal opinion. There is no formula or test to show if the reviewer understood what they read. It made me think that I need to work harder to understand each book I've been asked to review and make sure my review is helpful to both the author and the reader. When's the last time you took a test? Do you think an A.R. test for reviewers would be helpful or just a waste of time?
Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fall by Jennifer Hurst Book Review and Giveaway

Women and construction shouldn’t mix. At least, that is what the client, Mr. Blackwell, thinks when Twenty-one year old Julia D. Halstead is promoted to project manager and tasked with remodeling a turn-of-the-century schoolhouse into a bed and breakfast in the tourist town of Torrey, Utah. However, the schoolhouse contains a dark secret that has been hidden for over a hundred years. A secret that will unleash the furies of Hell and cause the Angels in Heaven to weep as ethereal brothers, Matthew and Nathan battle over Julia’s very soul. My Review: Yesterday I realized that my review of Fall was scheduled for today and I was only halfway through. I put the boys to bed early and read until midnight. The truth is I would've read until midnight even if the review wasn't scheduled for today. This book was amazing. I loved the romance, the suspense, the characterization, the paranormal aspects (which is saying a lot for me, I usually only read paranormal for my boys). There were so many wonderful twists woven into this book. This book kind of reminded me of the Twilight series but for me it was more realistic (I actually believe in guardian angels but werewolves? Not so much). I can't wait to read the sequel. My only hope is the author doesn't take too long getting the next book out. What I liked: I liked it all. What I didn't like: That I had to read it so fast. When I have some time I'm going to read it again (slowly). Audience: Young adult on up Buy Fall here. Jennifer Hurst's website Thanks to Tristi Pinkston Blog Tours for including me in this tour. In conjunction with this blog tour, Jennifer is holding a contest. It will involve any of the blogs that Jennifer visits or where her book is featured and will close on December 31st, 2011. The entrants have to answer three questions about the book they’ve read (bought, borrowed, or stolen - shame on you) and post a link to Jennifer's website on their Twitter, Facebook, or blog (need link for verification). Then the names will be entered in a random name picker generator ( and announced on Jennifer's website ( on January 31st, 2012. The winner will receive a gift certificate for a night’s stay at the actual bed and breakfast where the story takes place. Other prizes include an autographed copy of FALL, and she will randomly select 3 contestants’ names to use in the sequel to FALL. Plus, they will receive a free copy of that book when it is published. Each blog that Jennifer Hurst visits will have a different set of questions people can answer, and they may enter as many times as they want - but they can enter once per blog site that they visit. So the more sites you visit, the more you can enter your name, thus increasing your chances of winning the gift certificate, a copy of the book FALL, and your name in the sequel. Get the book, read the book, and then read over the questions below. Once you have your answers, e-mail them to Jennifer. Your privacy is respected and your email address will NOT be used for anything but the contest. Once the contest is over - your email address will be deleted from the database. Here are the questions for you to answer: Who captured Quabin the first time? Who is the youngest Parker child? What kind of work did Matthew do for the project? If you would like to visit the other sites, go here for the master list of all participating sites: Best of luck, and thanks for participating!

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Rescued by Love: Park City Firefighter Romance

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Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology

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