Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Final Call by Rachel Ann Nunes

Autumn Rain is accustomed to using her ability to read imprints to solve seemingly unsolvable cases. Yet when she goes searching for the sister of a friend, she is embroiled in the make-believe world of live theater, where it's difficult to tell reality from playacting and where everyone appears to have something to hide.

Autumn must team up again with Detective Shannon Martin to learn the truth about an eight-year-old mystery that involves a new murder and more missing actors. Working so closely with the compelling detective further complicates their uncertain relationship and tests her loyalty to her once-boyfriend Jake Ryan.

When her sister, Tawnia, becomes involved in the case, Autumn finds herself in a deadly struggle to save them both from facing their own final call.

My review:
Final Call pulled me in from the first page and is truly one of those books that you can't put down. I've loved all the Autumn Rain books and this one is just as entertaining and exciting as the others. I had a moment of panic believing that Final Call was our last Autumn book but I was mistaken. Hallelujiah! I'd be so sad if this series was over. I really, really need the story to keep going.
I enjoyed the theater settings and the complex family dynamics that this author is a master at. The romance keeps you guessing until the end, it was fun trying to decide who Autumn would choose.
I would definitely recommend this book and the entire Autumn Rain series: Eyes of a Stranger, Imprints, Shades of Gray, and Final Call.

Rachel Ann Nunes Website - Sample chapters of Final Call and her many other books are on Rachel's website.
Rachel Ann Nunes Blog
Buy Final Call
Rachel on Facebook
Monday, February 27, 2012

Gifts and Consequences by Daniel Coleman

I had to share more about the amazing Gifts and Consequences. You may have guessed that the author is a friend. I'm so proud of how well the book is selling but not at all surprised. Daniel is one of those who comes to critique group, reads his pages, and we all look at each other and say, "Wow, um, wish I could think of something critical to say." He is truly a gifted writer. My oldest son is reading one of Daniel's ya titles, Hatter, right now and absolutely loving it. If I haven't convinced you to read Gifts and Consequences, click here to read a sample.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’d do anything if…”?
Jonathan Wheeler is determined to find out if they mean it.
Jonathan agreed to his deteriorating wife’s request – that he give away most of his fortune – but his methods are dangerously unconventional.
A man agrees to walk across the country to save a life. Another attempts to lose 100 pounds. And a boy is given tickets to the concert of the century, with the caveat that he take the least popular girl in school. Each encounters obstacles. Some succeed, some fail. Jonathan is always standing by, ready to deliver the consequences, whether good or bad.
Along with the gifts, come consequences for those who fail to complete the terms, and lives hang in the balance when Jonathan goes too far.
Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vote on Dead Running Cover

My fourth novel, Dead Running, will be available as an e-book on March 16th and in print May 1st. I am stressing about which cover to use. I know they are very similar, it's like at the eye-doctor when he's saying, "Which is better, #1 or #2?" But I really need help. Please vote on your favorite or give any suggestions for improvement. Also, please let me know if you would pick up the book based on the cover. Thanks!

Gifts and Consequences by Daniel Coleman

If you're looking for a great book, you need to check out Gifts and Consequences. Daniel Coleman is an amazing writer and the book is getting a lot of attention on Amazon (#24 in women's fiction). On Monday I'll share some more information on the book and hopefully will have my review done soon. Go to Amazon to read an excerpt.

Back cover blurb:
How far would you go? Jonathan Wheeler is determined to find out.

The eccentric billionaire agrees to his dying wife’s request—that he give away his fortune—but his methods are dangerously unconventional. He offers a teenager tickets to the concert of the century as long as the boy takes the school’s least popular girl. He pays a son’s tuition if the mother gives up drugs. He offers life-saving medical treatment to a man’s wife, if he walks across the country.

But there’s a catch—along with the gifts come consequences if they don’t succeed. But who will suffer the consequences when Jonathan goes too far?
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Giveaway - Out of the Classroom Lessons in Success

I am so thrilled to be able to give away Out of the Classroom Lessons in Success. If you read my review yesterday I truly feel every person can benefit from these lessons whether they're in school now or years away from school (like me).

Please leave a comment below to enter the giveaway. Please include contact information and follow this blog.
For extra entries (one each):
Follow me on Twitter or Facebook or mention the contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your personal blog.

Contest open to residents of US and Canada.
Contest ends March 10, 2012.

Thanks for stopping by!
Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Review - Out of the Classroom Lessons in Success

In our grade-focused school years, the rules of success seemed as simple as making straight As. However, in the working world, success is often far more complex, and formal education is only the baseline to ensuring career advancement in a highly competitive world, where prospective employees are up against international candidates who have been long schooled in skills. Now, a self-professed over-achiever shares how her professional triumphs wildly strayed from the honor roll tactics in an eye-opening, easy-to-read compilation of truisms from the trenches of real life. Out of the Classroom Lessons in Success: How to Prosper Without Being at the Top of the Class offers hard-won wisdom on achieving professional glory that will serve as an invaluable resource to anyone who is contemplating a career, or for parents who want to help their children lay the groundwork for success in the work place. Inspired by the experience of her daughters, Kocialski realized that many young adults graduate and are completely unaware of a new playing field that is not always predicated by superior grades or talents. In eighteen concise chapters, the author draws from her professional achievements and challenges to debunk common myths that can lead astray aspiring professionals in the early years of forging a career. This slim, indispensable book serves up the “aha!” moments that will assist young hopefuls and parents in navigating the path to success. Does practice really make perfect? Do good things come to those who wait? From teamwork to tooting your own horn, this matter-of-fact guide to greatness underscores that happily, successfully ever after does not just happen; it’s the result of planning, promoting, taking action, and going for it. Inspiring and uplifting, this simply brilliant take on creating a career will help anyone realize their goals, anyone avoid common pitfalls, and lay the groundwork through the secondary talents, skills, and mindset necessary for optimal success.

My Review:

I loved the lessons and advice in this book. They are all applicable for teaching our children how to succeed, but I found myself applying most of them to myself as well. I've already used part of the book as a teaching tool for my children. It will be a valuable resource as I tutor my boys on how to be successful throughout their lives.
I wanted to share one of my favorite thoughts from the book:
"Please don't give up everytime you come across something that is hard to do. Everything is hard the first time. If you give up on everything because it's hard the first time you try to di it, then you will never find your niche-the place where you belong."
The book really focuses on the fact that you have to make your own success and work hard to achieve your goals. I think it's a wonderful resource for parents and for anyone who wants to succeed.

Cynthia's Website
Buy Out of the Classroom Lessons in Success

I will be giving away a copy of Out of the Classroom Lessons in Success on my blog on Wednesday. This is one you definitely want to enter. See you then!
Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day Failure

I have to admit that I'm not the most thoughtful or organized person. Valentine's Day reminded the entire family of this fact. About two p.m. I realized I hadn't made or bought Valentine's for my boys. I was making homemade oreos with pink frosting but they needed a love note. So I cut out some paper hearts, wrote a quick love you, and left them on their pillows. No big deal.
About three-thirty we were all home enjoying our cookies. 9yo comes flying up the stairs and tells 13yo, "You said nobody gave you a Valentine, well you were wrong! Go look on your bed! Hurry!" 13yo looks at me like I am his hero. My heart sinks. He runs downstairs. A few minutes later he plods back up the stairs. The look he gives me is not quite the same as earlier. "Um, thanks, Mom." I hug him and say, "I'm sorry. A paper heart isn't quite as exciting as your brother acted." He starts laughing, "Seriously, I was expecting ... something!"
We're still not sure and don't dare ask if 9yo was really that excited about his paper heart or if he was just setting his brother up. I do know that next year I will put a bit more effort into their Valentine surprise!
How did your Valentine's Day go?
Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Where do you buy your books?

I'm a huge fan of supporting the little guy. I try to shop at hometown grocery stores and buy my clothes at small boutiques. I also try to buy my books from small bookstores or directly from the author but it is getting harder and harder to beat Amazon. It's so easy to click on Amazon and find any book you want, their prices are always competitive, and the free shipping is so nice. I realized today that the last ten books I've bought have been from Amazon or Scholastic Book Order (those I can really justify because they give my child's class a free book each time I order).

What about you? Where do you buy your books? Why? Are you still buying print books or are ebooks more convenient and cost-effective for you?
Saturday, February 11, 2012

Clean Suspense Novels

I'm searching for a clean suspense novel and it would be a wonderful bonus if the book included a spot of romance. I have many favorite suspense authors but Davis Bunn, Clive Cussler, Susan May Warren, Dee Henderson, Rachel Ann Nunes, and Nancy Campbell Allen are at the top of the list.

Who are your favorite suspense novelists?
Friday, February 3, 2012

LDS Storymakers Conference

If you're a writer and haven't been to the LDS Storymakers Conference, you need to sign up this year. I have been to many different writer's conferences, even Book Expo America in New York City, and I have been most impressed with Storymakers. The funny thing is it's also one of the least expensive conferences. Check out all the info here. Hope to see you there!
Thursday, February 2, 2012

Out of the Classroom Lessons in Success by Cynthia Kocialski

Why the Average Child is Perfect?
By Cynthia Kocialski

When children are born, parents have no idea what lies ahead for them in the future. As parents we hope, but we don’t know.  As they grow up, teachers, relatives, and strangers love to encourage the child as well as parents. They tell us how talented or how smart our kids are. But do they really believe it, or are these people just presenting hypocritical praise. Should we be skeptical?
Most parents realize that only a rare few have an extreme talent for anything. Somewhere we embraced the notion that those superstars and those most successful are those that are the most talented in the world at something. Is this true? Is there no hope for those who are just average?
Of course not, there is always hope and in fact, the odds of success are actually in their favor.  Over my career, what I’ve learned is success in life doesn’t hinge upon having an extreme ability or getting the top grades. There are lots of average people who are highly successful. If talent alone were the determining factor, we wouldn’t see drop outs being billionaires. The biggest and best corporations would be headed by the alumni of the top universities, and that’s not true either. Scientific breakthroughs would be discovered only by those with the highest IQ’s, and studies have disproved this as well. It seems contradictory to what we’ve been led to believe. Why is this?
Most of us and our children spend our early impressionable years focused on school.  Our lives centered around the school system. For those of us who have passed through our school years and have reached the middle of our careers, we realize that what we needed to know was so much more than what was taught in school. Schools pass on the wealth of human knowledge to the next generation. This is not say that there is anything wrong with the school system; I don’t know any better way to pass on this knowledge. But in this process, we got it stuck in our heads that success simply requires talent.
To achieve, it all begins with a shift in thinking as to what is truly required. It starts by accepting that an extreme talent isn’t necessary. It begins by dispelling some of those concepts we learned in school, notions meant to help us learn the subjects, but don’t necessarily hold true for reaching our dreams.
In the first chapter, Out of the Classroom Lessons in Success opens with why straight A grades are not required for success.  Too many people equate academic success with future professional success, and this book begs to differ.  Why average works for success is because it’s not one single talent that matters as much as the combination of qualities. So any one talent simply needs to be ‘good enough’. It’s those secondary skills and soft talents that carry the day.
The book further discusses some of those misconceptions and half-truths, which when taken for literal or face value will hinder success.
-Every school child has heard it, “Good things come to those that wait”.  Is this really wise advice if you want to reach your dreams? Shouldn’t it be “Good things come to those that wait, better things come to those that ask, and the best things come to those who go out and get what they want.” Now imagine what would happen in a classroom if children knew more than the opening, could a teacher keep control?
-Happily and successfully ever after don’t just happen. School children are always asked what are their dreams or what do they want to become. Why does no one ever follow that up with asking how they are going to make that vision a reality? Why don’t they help plan a detailed strategy to accomplish the goal? An objective with no plan is nothing more than wishful thinking. I don’t think our children want their dreams to stay just dreams.
- The words “effort and reward” are used in conjunction, almost as if they are married to each other.  Effort alone doesn’t bring reward. The reward comes when the effort yields a result. It’s the accomplishment that brings the reward. Somewhere we left out the middleman. It should be effort, result, and then reward.
-Everyone wants to fit in, often rushing to get the things everyone else has and do what everyone else does. Why try to be like everyone else?  Success demands standing out from the crowd. This means being different and unique, not the same.
There is no big secret to success that needs to be uncovered. Superstars weren’t preordained for stardom. It is possible for just about anyone to be successful.
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 www.cynthiakocialski.com. Cynthia has written the book, “Out of the Classroom Lessons in Success: How to Prosper Without Being at the Top of the Class.” The book serves up tips, insight, and wisdom to enable young adults and parents of kids to know what it will take to forge a successful career, no matter what their academic achievement.
More info about the book here.

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