Saturday, September 13, 2014

Trigger by Julia Derek (Book Review - 3 stars)

Sparks fly when struggling actress Nina Tyler meets hot lawyer Dylan Whitman. The chemistry between them is so intense Nina even rethinks her staunch position on relationships. Maybe they’re not a waste of time after all. But there’s something about Dylan that scares her—and she knows it has nothing to do with fear of getting close to a man, like her best friend thinks. It’s something far worse.
Preppy Dylan has had his heart broken and his uncle challenges him to move on by going on five online dates. Dylan ends up on a date with Nina. While her unabashed attitude unsettles him at first, he soon realizes that he really likes her. But as they get closer, she pulls back. It’s as if she's convinced he’d physically hurt her, which he’d never do. Still, if he doesn't figure out what's triggering her fear, she'll never be his. Little does he know her fear is directly tied to him.
Julia Derek grew up in SImage of Julia Derekweden but always knew she was meant to live in America, more specifically, in New York City. A former stand-up comic, she has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. When she doesn't write or read, she spends her time whipping people into shape as a fitness trainer. She is the author of the L.A. Girls Romance Series. The Series follows the steamy love lives of four different girls from Los Angeles. While interconnected, the four standalone novels don't have to be read in order (though Julia recommends you start with LOVE CURSED). TRIGGER, LOVE CURSED and UNDERCOVER LOVERS are currently available. The fourth installment will be out in the beginning of October, 2014.
Her YA romantic thriller, The Smiley Killer, is now available.
Julia loves to hear from her readers. You can find her on FacebookTwitter or by visiting her website: Email her at to get notices about her latest release.
Purchase Trigger in Kindle format on Amazon
My Thoughts:
The following review contains what may be considered a spoiler. Please keep this in mind as you read my review. Thank you. 

After reading the book, I felt the title, "TRIGGER", was an apt name. The book dealt with trigger memories from a prior bullying experience. As this is a topic we are seeing a lot about in the news today, I felt the author touched on a relevant subject for her book.
TRIGGER by Julia Derek is the story of a young woman who finds herself dealing, or in the beginning, not dealing with the after effects of high school bullying as well as survivor's guilt. She becomes involved with a guy and finds herself having strange reactions to the different facial expressions he uses. Through therapy, she is able to begin addressing her delayed reactions. Another twist in the story has a bully showing up in close proximity. 
I thought some of the book meandered. Then, all of a sudden the story came to a conclusion and closed up shop fairly quickly. I am not a fan of sudden endings. I feel that books need to focus as much attention on setting up the endings as the beginnings, and I felt this book was lacking in that respect.
The plus side is that the story topic was good, but I felt the actual writing was more on a 3-3.5 level. Something in the writing just didn't resonate with what I look for in a book. It was almost as though I were reading a book that fluctuated between several grade levels.
I did enjoy the point of view change with each chapter. The author pulled that aspect off quiet well.
I am going to give the book an overall 3 star rating. The book enveloped a good topic with good character development, even though I felt the writing needs some improvement.
My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book may have been provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Southern Porch...

A Southern porch
This is where life happens in the South, or at least some of it.
My porch is not a fancy porch; it is simply my go-to place, my sanctuary; a place to “catch a breeze”.
There is a swing at one end where I sit while my thoughts find form. For the hot summer days that sometimes reach into the high 90s, there’s a Southern Breeze maker – a fan. Here in the South, we make our own breeze more often than not.
A Southern breeze maker
The porch is in need of washing for as soon as the mildew has been scrubbed away, it begins to form again. The floor shows the marks of Sentry, a pet, taking a running start and flying off the end in an attempt to avoid landing in the azaleas that line the porch. More marks are noticeable from Calypso, another pet, chasing her tail. Taking up space is a plant bench that my husband made for a daughter. I’m sure she’ll be by at some point to reclaim it, but until then I’ve piled it high with plants; plants I forget to water.
Two rockers take up residence on the front porch, their red surface marred by the chew marks made by Calypso as a puppy. They sport by contrast, fading yellow putty in need of paint. Across the front steps is a double gate; installed in an attempt to keep our two German ShepherdsRyka and Calypso, off of the porch. Most days, it swings in the breeze as I am not diligent about securing it. I find it comforting to look up and see one, if not both of my dogs, napping at the front door in an attempt to be near me. Some days, all I see is a blur, as they have left their mark, nose prints on the glass, as they have sat watching my every move inside.
German Shepherds
Ryka and Calypso along with the smudges
German Shepherd
Let sleeping dogs lie
We have plans for the front porch. Much discussion flowed about the pros and cons of putting the screening on the inside or the outside of the railings. The porch railings have gone up without the screen. Louvers will eventually be built and installed at either end of the porch for privacy. Landscape will be cut back and the steps widened to accommodate the double screen doors that will be installed.
West German Shepherd
Until that time, the front porch is a place to sit and relax. It is a place to dream of the future and contemplate the mistakes of the past. It is a place to drift in time as we Southerners are known to do.
West German Shepherd

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Marriage by Design by Elley Arden (Tour, Review, Spotlight, Giveaway)

Elley Arden is back with a new sexy and emotional romance that will make you cry and swoon, all at the same time, with MARRIAGE BY DESIGN, book 2 of the Designing Love series.
When carpenter Angie Corcarelli goes steel-toe boot to high-polished loafer with her best friend’s ex, construction engineer Stuart Perrault, sparks fly in Elley Arden’s latest Designing Love novel, Marriage by Design.
Want to get to know Elley better? Check out this exclusive interview!
Rafflecopter code for tour-wide giveaway:
Marriage by DesignAbout MARRIAGE BY DESIGN:
Family first. That motto led Angie Corcarelli to become a carpenter and take over the family construction business when she was barely out of her teens. And now it’s leading her into battle against her best friend’s ex. Stuart Perrault and his swanky, family-run construction engineering firm have been tapped to oversee a highway project that includes demolishing a stretch of row homes. Over her dead body will it come to that. Stuart Perrault knows a thing or two about family allegiance. For the past fifteen years, he’s been working alongside his brother and father, dreaming about the day he’d be named CEO of the Perrault Group. But then came the bridge debacle in Paris. And now his dream seems a little further away. As he fights his way back to the top of the company, he isn’t about to watch another project fall apart just because his ex-girlfriend’s best friend is a loose cannon.
When Stuart’s father insists he take Angie out to dinner and neutralize things, he obliges. But has he bitten off more than he can chew? Angie isn’t at all what he expected, and his usual self-control doesn’t seem to work when he’s around her.
The more time Angie spends with Stuart, the harder it is to see him as the bad guy she’d believed him to be. But falling for each other would mean going against their respective families. Are they strong enough for that?
Goodreads | Amazon
Also in the Designing Love series: BABY BY DESIGN
E Arden auth picElley Arden is a born and bred Pennsylvanian who has lived as far west as Utah and as far north as Wisconsin. She drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness.
Charming characters. Emotional stories. Sexy romance.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Purchase Marriage by Design in the following format (Click):
My thoughts on the book:
Due to unforeseen circumstances, my review will posted in a couple of days. 

What a Lady Craves by Ashlyn Macnamara (Tour, Review, Excerpt, Giveaway)

Ashlyn Macnamara weaves a delicious tale of two souls torn apart by circumstance and reunited by fate—perfect for fans of Julia QuinnEloisa James, and Sabrina Jeffries.
Henrietta Upperton is about to marry Alexander Sanford when he rushes off to India to salvage his family’s fortune. Then comes the devastating news that he has wed another. Eight agonizing years later, a storm washes Alexander ashore—injured, widowed, and hunted—and one glimpse of his ruggedly handsome face reawakens the desire Henrietta thought she had buried deep inside. Her body still yearns for his touch, but she’s determined not let him wound her again . . . not this time.
For Alexander, honor always comes first. But only now does he realize that when given the choice between two virtuous deeds, he picked the wrong one. On the run with his life in tatters and a pair of daughters in tow, Alexander burns for Henrietta. He knows he does not deserve forgiveness. And yet he longs to wrap his arms around her warm body once again. What’s more, he is sure the lady craves the same.
Get your copy of WHAT A LADY CRAVES
Ashlyn MacnamaraAshlyn Macnamara is the author of A Most Scandalous Proposal. She lives in the wilds of suburbia outside of Montreal with her husband and two teenage daughters. When not writing, she looks for other excuses to neglect the housework, among them knitting, reading, and wasting time on the Internet in the guise of doing research.
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(Chapter Three)
Alexander took a none-too-steady step back from the counter. “I’ll see you to the manor.”
Oh, how she wanted to refuse, but he was clearly in no condition to make it up the hill on his own, and he needed to return to his chamber. To his bed. Otherwise, he was likely to keel over once more and spend the rest of the day on Tilly’s rough and filthy floorboards. She wouldn’t relegate even him to such a fate.
He proffered an elbow, the gesture oddly formal in a derelict shop owned by a scavenger. Ever the gentleman, Alexander. Just as she remembered him.
She closed her eyes against another flurry of memories, ones that had her dressed in silk and him in cravat and black topcoat, dancing, laughing, stealing off to the terrace for a few stealthy kisses. Yes, he’d been all that to her, but he’d also broken her heart. She’d need the memory of that pain to steel herself against his charm.
For he could charm her again, all too easily.
She took his arm, ignoring the flex of lean muscle beneath her fingers, and tipped her head so Tilly could not overhear. “Are you certain you can make it back to the manor?”
One side of his mouth tilted upward. “No, actually. In fact, you may have to carry me.”
Please, let that be a joke. He was already standing too close—enough that she caught a breath of his scent, at once familiar and foreign. The clean sharpness she recalled so well, overlain by a hint of exotic spice, the enticing scent of India, if she didn’t miss her guess.
Damn her heart. It insisted on pulsing all the harder, as if it had forgotten the way he’d broken it. And that was the last thing she needed.
“Shall—” For some reason her voice emerged on an oddly husky note. She cleared her throat before trying again. “Shall I leave you here and send the footmen down? Your aunt might even have a sedan chair spirited away somewhere.”
He gave a soft laugh. “If anyone still owns a sedan chair in this day and age, it would be my aunt. I believe I’d rather rely on my own two legs as far as they’ll carry me.”
And wasn’t that just like him to insist on self-reliance? The very thing that had called him to the East India Company eight years ago when his father died, leaving the family’s finances in a disastrous state. Alexander had taken his father’s remaining ship and chanced everything the Sanfords had left on a voyage to the Orient.
Her lips tingled at the memory of their last kiss. It had tasted of poignancy, sadness mingled with hope. In delaying his personal happiness to restore his family’s fortunes, she’d thought him admirable. Noble. Everything a hero out of a fairy tale should be. Surely such a man would keep his promise to come home and marry her. What a naïve little chit she’d been.
My thoughts on the book:
First off, I thought the cover was enticing and definitely draws those readers that determine if they'll read the book or not by the cover. I may or may not be one of those. The cover was a plus.
I am a great fan of this era and thought the book was well written and had a great storyline. I was not disappointed with any part of the book. I enjoyed the characters, the setting, and the adventure.
I also found no errors in the book, which really pleased me. If there is one error, I am the one who catches it; and that is a pet peeve of mine. I am giving What a Lady Craves five stars. I know that any reader who enjoys the era will love this book.
My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book may have been provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

One Dirty Bowl: Fast Baking, Faster Cleanup by Christina Dymock (Book Review)

Front CoverBaking doesn't have to take all day or make a mess in the kitchen. With One Dirty Bowl: Fast Desserts, Faster Cleanup, you'll have the recipes and easy-to-follow instructions to help you make show-stopping from-scratch desserts in no time. All you need is a little time and one bowl! And, since you'll only have one bowl to clean, you'll use these recipes over and over again.
Image of Christina Dymock
Christina Dymock was once at a dinner party where her husband was teasing her about the frosting-to-cupcake ratio on her dessert. The woman sitting across from them sniffed her delicate nose and said, "If my husband gave me a hard time about my frosting I'd quit baking. That'd show him." To which Christina's husband replied while pointing at his speechless wife, "Try to stop her!"
Christina divides her time between the kitchen and her computer and books and her family of six. (Naturally, the family gets the biggest share.) Because she reads everything, she also feels compelled to write in several genres.
Purchase on Amazon in these formats (click one):
Here’s what others are saying about the book:
“As a busy mother of five and cookbook author, I dirty a load of dishes daily. With recipes from One Dirty Bowl, I now can whip up a delicious dessert in minutes while only dirtying one bowl. That is a win-win for everyone. Spending less time in the kitchen means more time with my family. Bravo for One Dirty Bowl                       -Shauna Evans, author of Sweet and Savory, Skinny-licious, and 30-Minute Meals for Families.
“From cookies to mini cakes and cheesecakes, One Dirty Bowl is full of sweet little bites that are perfect for the busy dessert-lover! It’s a delicious go-to!”                    -Courtney Whitmore, author of Frostings, Push-up Pops, and Candy Making for Kids.
My thoughts on the book:
I really enjoyed this cookbook, One dirty Bowl. As the title suggests, you only need one bowl (besides all of the measuring cups, spoons, etc.) At 136 pages, it is a nice size cookbook that would be the perfect starting point for a novice baker.
The cover of the book is nice and draws the reader to the book and the beautiful pictures inside of the book help you to visualize what your product should look like when all the baking is said and done. I would have appreciated more pictures as I am a visual person, but there was a nice selection. The book contains six chapters, covering small treats, brownies, bars, breads, cookies, candies, cakes, cobblers, and pies. The recipes have anywhere from two to sixteen ingredients.
A few of the recipes that I thought were excellent were the Cookie-Bottom Individual Cheesecakes (Pg. 8-9), Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Pg. 56-57), Raspberry Meringue Cookies (Pg. 60-61), and the Moist Chocolate Cake (Pg. 94-95).
I felt the recipes were well-written and quite easy to follow, even for the novice, although I consider myself an advanced baker. The pictures were beautiful and enticing. I am giving One Dirty Bowl four stars. It would be a lovely addition to anyone's collection or a gift for a new bride.
My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book may have been provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55.