Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Author Keri Ford: Telling Us About Writing and Mothering

Making Her Nights (Uninhibited in Apple Trail, Arkansas)It is no news that Beck's Book Picks is a huge fan of author Keri Ford. In case you didn't know,she has a new book out called Making Her Nights. This is book 4 in her Apple Trails Series.

Sit back and relax and enjoy this post on how Keri, a stay at home mom, finds the time to write while raising her son who is currently 4.

Writing and Mothering – A Balancing Act

When I got pregnant, I was already writing for a year or more, was working with the newsletter for one my local writing groups and the head editor suggested I do an article on parenting and kids. A sort of what I expect and tips to balance. She suggested I contact a few authors who had kids for their opinion and for what system they do.
So I did! And I *wish* I still had that article, but I have no idea where it is. Why I don’t remember what sources said what specific thing, I do remember their advice.

1-This is my job. And by doing my job, I’m teaching my son dedication to what I love. He won’t grasp this concept at a young age, but when he’s older, he’ll get it.

My son just turned four, so he’s not getting the dedication, but he is understanding we make money when we work. And we can’t go back to see Mickey Mouse until we make a lot more money. J He started telling me this past week that he would sword fight on the wii and for me to just stay there and work to make money for Mickey Mouse.

2-Set a schedule so he knows what’s going on.

I admit…I slack so hard at this, but we try! My son is just not a schedule kind of kid. Even as an infant, I couldn’t maintain an eat at this hour, stay awake, nap at this hour. The only thing I could count on was nightly bedtime. So, I adjusted my schedule around his needs.
Now that he’s older, I get longer stretches at the computer. Sometimes I work harder in the mornings, sometimes its afternoons. My boy has been brought up knowing while mommy works, it’s time to entertain himself and his imagination is just off the hook for it. I hear him constantly going on “pirate adventures” or “saving the world” with his toys.
Our strongest schedule now is snacks at three and then outside time if he wants after that.
Before he started preschool, we would take ten to fifteen minutes after breakfast to learn our letters. Anything longer and he was too restless and bored with it. Now that he’s writing, I want to get in the habit to practice tracing his letters and basic math so he doesn’t lose those skills over summer.

3-One of the authors told me they would set a blanket up on the floor by their feet with toys so they were nearby.

I used to have a play room and my computer was in there…then the playroom, well, I’m not sure what happened to it. There’s no toys in there anymore. Now Son mostly plays in the living room. That’s where my computer is. I’m right there where I can constantly work through the day while still keeping my eye on him. If he’s doing something he’s proud of, he can holler at me and I can see from my desk, look, then get back where I was on my latest story. I’m not the type of writer who can get lost in my story and forget the world around me.
It can be tough to be jerked in and out, but in the end, it gets a lot of the job done. This is why you find me on twitter pretty much all day long.

It’s all a balancing act. I give a little. He gives a little and we’re in a rhythm that works for us. Some days are better than others. We’re not perfect, that’s for sure. My house suffers for it because there are toys everywhere. I’ve done everything I know to teach son to put toys away after he’s done playing with them, but he just hasn’t grasped that. Maybe one day we’ll figure that out!

Thanks for having me out today Rebecca!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Red Hot Lightening by Stormy Knight

Readers 18 and older

Red Hot Lightning (A "Dirty Bits" Short Story)
Publication Date: February 25, 2011
Series: Part of the Dirty Bits Line
Genre: Short erotica novella
Reviewed For: Turqoise Morning Press/Sapphire Nights
Other Review for This author: Better After Midnight(Three short stories), Blown Away (Dirty Bits)
My Rating:

Book Blurb: Skye Miller is so tense, not even a full set of tennis can unwind her tight muscles—her tension heightened by a raging summer storm that grips the town. But a hot and sweaty set of tennis is not the physical exercise she craves, nor will the pounding rain erase her pain. Thank the sex gods above she remembers a possible remedy just up the street. And he’s already posed the invitation. 

Crystal's Thoughts: Very good short.  Loved the fact that you are left wondering about things until the end. She ties it all up neatly with a sweet little bow, and a girly giggle from me.  I found myself drawn to the characters immensely, chuckling throughout and I was satisfied at the end.  Well written!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Forever After by Deborah Raney

Forever After: A Hanover Falls Novel
Publication Date: June 14, 2011
Series: A Hanover Falls Novel (can be read alone)
Genre: Christan Romance
Reviewed For: Glass House
My Rating:

Book Blurb: A fire killed his best friend and his lifelong dream of being a firefighter. The same fire killed her husband and hopes for a family. Can new dreams replace old?
Lucas Vermontez was a proud firefighter like his father. Now, not only has he lost his father and his best friend, Zach, in the fire at the Grove Street homeless shelter, but the devoted rookie can no longer do the work he loves after being crippled in the tragic event. When friendship with his buddy’s beautiful widow turns into more, he wonders, what could he possibly offer Jenna? Jenna Morgan is trying to grieve her husband’s death like a proper widow, but the truth is, she never really loved Zach. His death feels more like a relief to her. But that relief is short-lived when she loses her home and the financial support of her in-laws. Now the secrets of her past threaten to destroy her future.
Can the two forget the painful past and discover new reasons to live and love?

My Thoughts: This was a very heartwarming story, that was impossible to put down. I had to know what was going to happen to Zach and to Jenna.  Each of them was going through so much in their lives as they hit the one year mark where Lucas lost his father and partner in a fire, and Jenna lost her husband, whom was Lucas's partner. Lucas is left not able to work as a firefighter and may never be able too.  When seeing Jenna again, he wants her, but knows how wrong this is. However somehow the two lives keep interweaving and a friendship builds. One they each want more of, but Jenna is hesitant. Jenna is learning who she is. Her in-laws are rich and controlling and she has to learn to break free from them and stand up for herself.

This book is remarkable. We see each character change and grow. These two come together in the end and as a reader it just warms you hears. Your happy and excited to see these two get their happy ending. I did not read book 1 in this series called Almost Forever. I am sure it is the background story to this book, however not positive. When I was contacted to review this, I was told I was able to review this one as a standalone and they were correct. 

I recommend this book to anyone who likes christan romance and a good clean heartfelt romance. No hanky panky in this book, only a little kissing. I think you will enjoy it as much as I did though!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Winner: Jockey Box by Liz Crowe

Jockey Box (Brewing Passion)Its time to announce the winner to the e-book giveaway of Jockey Box by Liz Crowe. Thank you to everyone who entered! Clicking the book will take you to amazon if you didn't win and you want to buy your own copy.

The winner is:

Congrats and an email is on its way!


Friday, June 24, 2011

Wish You Were Here by Phillipa Ashley

Wish You Were Here
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Genre: Chick-lit
Reviewed For: Sourcebooks
Add to your Goodreads List
My Rating:

Book Blurb: When Jack proposes to Beth at the end of a holiday romance, she doesn't think twice--she knows he's The One. But then Jack walks out soon after their return, with no explanation, no nothing. 
Eight years on and Beth finds a fantastic new job--working for Jack. She could definitely do without having to face him everyday, but then shecan't do without the job... 
As the two of them are forced to spend time together, Beth unravels the mystery of Jack's disappearance. Is there too much baggage for them to try again--or could they finally be in the right place at the right time?

My Thoughts: This book was hilarious! I don't get to read chick-lit as much as I used too and I really enjoyed getting in touch with this genre again. Jack and Beth were both fun characters. Jack being the "Big Bad Scary Boss", when you meet him as a reader he just seems so mellow.

When you start the book you know where its going of coarse. Beth is almost engaged to a man named Marcus who would like her to just be a stay at home wife, while Beth has other ideas. She wants to see the world. She just can't in vision herself in that other life. So, when the family needs money due to her father's motorcycle accident, she decides to try and get a job at Big Outdoors where she will get to travel to different places. This is when she sees Jack again. After purposing to her 8 years earlier and then leaving her right before the wedding, Jack is looking forward to this interview, however Beth goes into it with a blind eye, thinking she is being interviewed by a woman.

This then starts a whirlwind romance as they like to call it. Jack wants Beth, Beth wants Jack, but no one is acting on it. So let the tension build between the two as Beth struts Marcus in front of Jack and Jack struts Camilla in front of Beth. Then, the two get stranded alone on a vacation spot they are checking out together.

I recommend this book to any of my readers who like chick-lit, a funny read, or a clean romance. This was a fun book!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

There is a new blog on the block!

My sister in law is new to the blogging scene, however she is not new to reading. In fact I think with me averaging 3 books away, she probably averages 6! I remember when I read the first Twilight, it took me about 2-3 days. I brought the book to her to read. She read the whole book in an afternoon. Now, my reading speed has picked up and I could probably finish Twilight in a day but not an afternoon.

Anyway, check her out. If you are into more of the paranormal scene, then you will definitely enjoy her blog. So, please stop by and say hi!

Her blog is called My Escape.

A little about her: As the mother of three boys, there are times I just want to get away. Somehow they always end up coming with me. Reading has been my escape for as long as I can remember. I inherited my love of books from my mother, and I will always be grateful. The journey into an authors world can take me out of my mundane home and into a place where there are no bills waiting to be paid, no dinner to make or laundry to be folded.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Giveaway: Beg For Mercy by Jami Alden

I loved this book and I am so excited to be having a giveaway for it too! Check out my review HERE and to learn a little more about the book. Then fill out the form below. This giveaway will end on July 5th and is for US and Canada only.

Beg for Mercy
 Megan Flynn thought she was falling in love. Cole Williams wasn't just handsome and passionate, he was one of the good guys. Or so she thought, until he arrested her brother - the only family she has left - for a murder she knows he couldn't have possibly committed. Now, with her heart broken and her brother's life hanging in the balance, Megan will risk everything to prove his innocence. Even if that means throwing herself into the path of a sadistic killer with a hauntingly familiar MO. Seattle Detective Cole Williams had given up on making Megan see reason where her brother is concerned. But when she insinuates herself into the most shockingly brutal case Cole has ever worked, he can't stand idly by. Plunged into a secret world where the city's elite indulge their darkest desires, Cole will do whatever it takes to bring down a madman who has made Megan his most coveted prey.


Beg For Mercy by Jami Alden

Beg for Mercy
Publication Date: June 1st, 2011
Genre: Thriller/ Romantic Suspense
Series: Book 1 of Trilogy
Reviewed For: Forever Romance
My Rating:

Book Blurb: Megan Flynn thought she was falling in love. Cole Williams wasn't just handsome and passionate, he was one of the good guys. Or so she thought, until he arrested her brother - the only family she has left - for a murder she knows he couldn't have possibly committed. Now, with her heart broken and her brother's life hanging in the balance, Megan will risk everything to prove his innocence. Even if that means throwing herself into the path of a sadistic killer with a hauntingly familiar MO. 
Seattle Detective Cole Williams had given up on making Megan see reason where her brother is concerned. But when she insinuates herself into the most shockingly brutal case Cole has ever worked, he can't stand idly by. Plunged into a secret world where the city's elite indulge their darkest desires, Cole will do whatever it takes to bring down a madman who has made Megan his most coveted prey.

My Thoughts: This book was tough to put down. Once I sat down and began this book, there was no turning back. This is one of those books where I can not go into too much depth in review without giving away a lot of the book. I really enjoyed reading about Megan fighting to prove her brothers innocence, even when he had already given up.

Some scenes in this book were graphic. This author takes you into scenes with the murderer. Its one of those book where you just think this guy is sick and can't belive you just read what you did. An example would be that the killer kills the women while he is having sex with them and the author goes into depth on the sex scene along with how the girls are being killed.

Even though I had the killer figured out from the beginning, it didn't take away from the enjoyment of this story. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a book that is really going to real you in. If you can get past the graphic parts, your going to stay up late into the night with this one.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blown Away by Stormy Knight

Readers 18 and older

Blown Away (A "Dirty Bits" Short Story)
Publication Date: April 1, 2011
Genre: Short story erotica
Part of the Dirty Bits line from Sapphire Nights
Reviewed For: Sapphire Nights
Add to your Goodreads List HERE
Other reviews for this author: Better After Midnight (3 short stories)
My Rating:

Book Blurb: Ace McAllister used to be what Greer Patrick lived for. Now ten years later, he’s how she stays alive. Caught together outside during an F-3 tornado, they shield each other from the wrath of the storm. But, with their sizzling reunion, is Ace’s truck the only thing that’s blown away? 

My Thoughts: This was like a short story erotica, meets contemporary romance, meets western romance all in a short 30 something pages on my Sony E-Reader. Greer and Ace have a history that spans out for 10 years in this book. They are right for one another, but Ace wants one thing from Greer, and she is having a hard time giving it to him, she is too concerned with what others think of her. The two are drawn to one another and sparks fly anytime the touch each other.

I really enjoyed this short story. As I mentioned in a previous review, I like this writers style. I would love to get lost in a 300 page book by this author and spend more time with some of these characters. She reminds me a lot of another favorite author, Keri Ford. She can weave such a tale in just a few short pages and leave you feeling as though you read a whole book.

Keep your eye out for this one to load up on whatever e-reader you prefer.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Keri Ford's New Release

Making Her Nights (Uninhibited in Apple Trail, Arkansas)
I am a huge fan of Keri Ford. So far I have read everything by her, well except for this new one, but believe me, I will read it So, I wanted to take a moment to let fellow readers of mine know she has a new book out. This book also goes along with her Uninhibited In Apple Trails series.

Here is a blurb about this book:
Chief Deputy Mike Gabel is the man in charge in Apple Trail. No one gives him more trouble than a certain blonde. While her stunts are frustrating to deal with, it’s the constant way she keeps him trapped in knots. Tiffany McBride has a reputation for being a trouble maker. She’s been betting and causing trouble since her parents died when she was a teenager. What looks like a young woman sewing her oats, it’s actually desperate measures to gamble for extra money to put food on the table. When these two acknowledge their attraction, sparks fly…that is if Mike’s public position can survive Tiffany’s frowned upon reputation.

So be sure to check your favorite place to buy e-books for this one. Even though I haven't read it yet, well it just sounds appetizing anyway. Be sure to look for a review soon on here. 

Other books by Keri Ford:

Through the Wall (Uninhibited in Apple Trail, Arkansas)On The Fence (Uninhibited in Apple Trail, Arkansas) In The Hay (Uninhibited in Apple Trail, Arkansas)


Upcoming Reviews

The kids are home for the summer and keeping me rather busy between play dates to the pool and friends houses. They are 4 and almost 7. I have gotten a little behind in my review schedule, so in case you submitted a book for review to me, I promise to get to it soon. I have no reviews scheduled for July so I hope to play catch up. However, if you and I agreed to a date for the review to be done by, then I will still honor that.

Also, I made the mistake about a month ago and I deleted my entire inbox!!!! Yeah, I know. I was on the phone and distracted. I meant to hit archive to clean up my inbox and instead I deleted over 1000 messages. I tried to recover most, but I know I have lost some. There were two authors I think I had agreed to review in the month of June and I had yet to load the book up on my e-reader. I apologize. If you sent me your book and I never reviewed it, please contact me from my contact page above and I will get right on it.

Thanks for the understanding (hopefully).


Better After Midnight by Stormy Knight

Readers 18 and older

Better After Midnight (Steaming Quickies)
Publication Date: April 26th 2011
Genre: Short stories, erotica
Reviewed For: Sapphire Nights
Add to your Goodreads list HERE
My Rating:

My Thoughts: Short stories can often be harder to review, however this one is easy; it was great! When I first sat down to read this, I was a little unsure, reading the blurb seeing that this dealt with people meeting a total stranger and then being together. Honestly I thought, this is so unlikely and  I doubt I will feel the chemistry between the two. I was wrong. I think a lot of it had to do with the author, her writing is very good. She really knows how to write a good story and draw you in. In each short story I was caught up with the couple as they found themselves drawn to one another. I wasn't left thinking that this would never happen.

I think anyone who enjoys short, quick, and to the point stories, this one will be a hit for sure. I can't read wait to read another story by this author!

Book Blurb: Three steaming short stories--Steam, Sizzle and Scorch--to satisfy your quick fix for an erotic read. Perfect for your lunch hour or your afternoon break! Got your cell phone reader app?

Steam leaves you wanting in the sauna.
Sizzle takes you to the boardroom after hours.
And Scorch brings a woman back for a second helping of hot and satisfying


Friday, June 17, 2011

Management Skills by January Rowe

Readers 18 and older

Management Skills
Publication Date: March 7, 2011
Genre: Erotica Romance
Format: E-book
Reviewed For: NetGalley
My Rating:

Book Blurb: When CEO Grant Edmonds meets with his new production manager, he immediately recognizes her as Silver, an exotic dancer who once mesmerized him at an exclusive fetish club. Though he was forbidden from pursuing her back then, there's nothing standing in his way now. He's not looking for an after-hours fling—he wants to own her. In every way.
As much as Allie Fairfax tries to deny her past, and the way her body responds to Grant, she soon finds herself having mind-blowing sex with the boss. Despite her own desire to surrender to Grant's sexual authority, she's not willing to risk her career. After all, she's been owned before, and it ended badly.
It's all or nothing for Grant. If Allie wants more of the fiercest orgasms she's ever experienced, she must consent to his rules.

My Thoughts: This is a very fast read. You enter the world of bondage and dominatrix with this book. So, if this isn't your style, you will want to avoid this one. This usually isn't my style, but the plot to this book really caught my interest. The biggest reason I only rated this a 2 is that I just didn't feel the chemistry between Grant and Allie. I didn't feel their connection. I felt mainly that Grant was possessive from the beginning and wanted to be in control of everything; to the point he would dictate when she could have an orgasm. I was happy at the end, she told him how she felt about this and maybe after that their relationship changed. The book ends, so we can only assume so.

I recommend this book to those who like a little more then regular erotica.