Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review "Finding Our Way Home" by Charlene Ann Baumbich

Sasha and Evelyn are two very unlikely friends. 
After Sasha’s accident she loses everything. Her career as a ballerina was finished and instead of seeing others pity she shuts out everyone important in her life. She escapes to a small town and lives in the house where her mother had lived.
Evelyn is young, vibrant, boisterous, and madly in love for the first time. After high school Evelyn decides to get a job instead of going to college. She is engaged to the cutest guy in town and of course her parents are against the marriage because she is to young.  Evelyn promises she will put off the marriage for two years while she works and makes money. When a job to work for Sasha opens up and it includes room and board Evelyn jumps on the opportunity to get out of her parents house. Evelyn’s positive outlook on everything gets on Sasha’s nerves while she wallows in depression. Sasha struggles with her physical therapy and the biggest question of all, why me? Evelyn struggles with breaking free and being her own person but still respecting her parent’s knowledge and advice.
This story is touching as it shows that sometimes people come into our lives to help us in ways we couldn’t do for ourselves. The characters were well defined and true to their traits. At first they were flawed but slowly with understanding and love they strengthened and walked away better people. I was a little sad at Evelyn’s ending and wish the story could go on but maybe the author will in another book. Sasha’s triumphs over her disabilities, mentally and physically were inspiring and real.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Thursday, April 26, 2012

To those who fight for justice

Looking for your next series of books to sink your teeth into? Want a strong female to bet on? Move over Bella and Katniss, here comes ZENOBIA.

Russ Wallace will be doing a bookstore-event for ZENOBIA - Birth of a Legend 

April 28th 2012 from 11am – 2pm @ The Book Rack – 1752 S Signal Butte Rd. Suite #108 Mesa, AZ 85209  (480) 380-0044

Come on down for a stimulating discussions about a great historical figure.

Come meet Russ Wallace and learn all about Zenobia and why Russ wanted to write her amazing story. Brilliant and beautiful, Zenobia carried the greatest female military mind in history. Inspiring to people of all ages, Zenobia uses the skills of both a warrior and a queen to fight against injustice. The series spans her entire life from her birth to when her love of justice brought her into conflict with the strongest empire on earth - Rome.

Zenobia- Birth of a Legend traces her life from age nine to fifteen, setting the stage for her amazing rise to power. It includes the beginning of her legend and her budding romances. Zenobia learns that she will have to be both a warrior and a diplomat in her pursuit of justice. She was a true historical figure and one of the most fascinating women who ever lived. History buffs, young adults, young at heart, and all who search for truth and knowledge will find her story captivating.

For more information about this exciting new series of books about Zenobia’s life, see To schedule an interview or book signing, please contact Jason Wallace at (480) 305-4373 or email “Like”

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Book review - The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal

Please go to my other blog (click on link below) to read my review and enter the contest to win a copy of  THE LIFEGUARD.

I received this book for free and didn't receive any compensation for this review.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A story about faith, love, loss, and letting go of the past.

Book Review -“Wildflowers from Winter” by Katie Ganshert

Bethany hates everything about the small hometown she grew up in. Every memory is a bad one with the exception of her Grandpa Dan and his farm. Bethany has tried to erase the bad memories by moving far away. She lost contact with her best friend Robin who still lives in Peaks, Iowa. Ten years later, Bethany is living her dream in Chicago as an architect with her lawyer boyfriend. She gets a call from her estranged Mother to tell her about Robin’s husband who is in the hospital. When her mom calls again she tells her Grandpa Dan had a heart attack. She has to return to that horrible town. When Bethany comes to visit her Grandpa she’s surprised to find he has a houseguest, Evan who works on the farm. Evan is extremely distraught and distracted while she is there. Then she finds out that Evan’s brother is married to her best friend Robin. Robin has to make the hard decision to turn off the life support after her husbands been in the hospital a week.

Bethany goes back to Chicago to find out that she’s been downsized at her job. When things seem like they couldn’t get any worse she gets a call that her Grandpa Dan had another heart attack and didn’t make it. Back in Peaks for the funeral Bethany plans to leave as soon as the funeral is over with. One quick meeting with the lawyer and she was hitting the road. When the will is read she finds out that Grandpa left her all the land on the farm but left Evan the house, farm equipment, and the animals. When the lawyer tells Bethany she could sell her Grandpa’s farm and get millions she thinks all her problems have been solved. Evan is angered by her desire to sell. He feels her Grandpa wouldn’t have given her the land to sell. Bethany needs Evan on her side since she can’t very easily sell the land without including the house on the land. Evan thinks Bethany is extremely selfish. When Bethany’s boyfriend takes a job in Atlanta and doesn’t really invite her along she is faced with a bleak reality; no job, no house, no boyfriend, and the only way to get money is to sell the land her Grandpa loved so much.

After Robin’s husband passed away she finds out she’s pregnant and not sure how she will go on without him. Bethany decides to stay with her, with the understanding that she will move as soon as she gets an architect job. In the meantime, trying to help Robin pull out of her depression Bethany helps her with the dream of building a cafe in town. Living in Peaks again Bethany has to face the dark secrets of her past and feels like she is in her own personal purgatory. Will she be able to forget the past so she can accept what the future has in store for her?

This is a sad story about the realities of losing loved ones and trying to figure out how to move on. It’s also an uplifting story about leaning on those who love you and see you through the hard times. I liked the little flashbacks throughout the story giving us a better insight of Bethany. I’m excited that the author is writing a second book about Robin. You can’t help but fall in love with these characters as your heart is touched by them.

To get more information about Katie and her books, check out her webstie:

Release date: May, 8 2012
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
ISBN-13: 978-0307730381
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A modern day Pride and Prejudice

Book review “Echoes of Pemberley” by Cynthia Ingram Hensley

This story would make Jane Austen proud. What a fun story to read about Mr. Darcy’s descendants who now occupy the famous Pemberley, where Elizabeth Bennet first fell in love with her Mr. Darcy.

Bennet and Catie Darcy were orphaned eight years ago by their father. Catie never knew her mother who died during childbirth. They now live with Bennet’s wife Sarah and twin boys George and Geoffrey. Catie has lived a sheltered life and Bennet became like a Dad to her. She looked up to him and wanted to please him. At age 16, Catie’s starting to come into her own and now she and Bennet are always butting heads. Bennet insists Catie take riding lessons over her summer break to improve her skills. Sean Kelly from Ireland, the nephew of Catie’s nanny Rose, has been summons to do the job. Sean isn’t looking forward to training Catie because she’s spoiled and hard headed. Catie takes an instant disliking to Sean. He’s another man trying to boss her around.

Catie finds a secret hiding spot where an old diary and letters were kept. It’s from her ancestor Mary Darcy who lived in Pemberley during WWI. As Catie reads about Mary’s secret love affair she can’t help fanaticizes about her own love story. When Catie shows the letters to Bennet it helps him through a difficult financial issue but he doesn’t show any thanks to Catie.
After spending all summer together Catie starts to fall for Sean Kelly and Sean starts seeing Catie’s as more than just a rich girl but a beautiful women. Sean and Catie live in two different worlds and it can never work. Bennet tries to steer Catie’s interests to some of the more affluent young men. Aiden comes from a rich family and is all charm. He takes an instant liking to Catie. Thankful they no longer have arranged marriages but Catie knows she is expected to do the right thing as a Darcy.  If she chooses Sean she will be the talk of the town. And does Sean even return her love? 

Catie grows in one summer leaps and bounds as she faces heartbreak and the importance of overcoming her fears.

More information about Cynthia Ingram Hensley -

To purchase this book - 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Book Review "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett

Wow! What an amazing story. I went through every emotion while reading "The Help". I was angry, laughing, and crying throughout. I like the way the author changed points of view from the three main characters. It really allowed you to get into each characters life and you wanted them to succeed. I watched the movie before I read this and I couldn't stop picturing Emma Stone as Skeeter. The movie didn't even scratch the surface of what a great book this is. The characters are all believable and as real as ever. You hate some of them and love some of them. Aibileen is my favorite because she’s brave and loving to all mankind. I'll always remember her affirmation she instilled in Baby Girl. “You is Kind. You is smart. You is important”. Those are words to live by. Skeeter was awkward, different and trying to fit in at the beginning and changed the most throughout the story. She broke free from the prejudice of her time and learned to stand up for things she believed in. She desired a career instead of being a housewife like her mother and friends. Minny was a hoot and you'd never want to get on her bad side. She may have acted tough on the exterior but you learned that Minny was softhearted and unselfish in her actions. The story followed all three ladies as they developed a friendship that was unheard of for their time and they paved the way for a better world.
Good story and very moving, I give it a double thumbs up. If you haven't read it, do it!

Monday, April 9, 2012


If you love my blog, than show me the love by voting for my blog for the Independent Book Blogger Award

If I win I get to go to New York to a book expo in June. I'm turning 40 that month and wouldn't that be a great present. See the nice "Vote" box on my blog? Click on it starting on 12:00am EST April 10th -  April 23rd 11:59pm EST. You get one vote per category and I'm in the Adult fiction, subcategory - historical fiction. 

Happy Voting!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bookstore events

Bookstore events and book signings haven't completely gone away in this digital world, right? 

Jason and I are helping my father n law organize a bookstore event at the end of April in Mesa, Arizona. More information to come on that in a future blog.

Russ Wallace is the author of ZENOBIA-Birth of a Legend. It's a Young Adult Historical Fiction that follows ZENOBIA in her pursuit of justice. The complete series will cover how ZENOBIA becomes a Warrior and a Queen. In book one you get to know ZENOBIA and her great strength. As a true historical figure you can't help look to her as a role model that we can all champion.

Did I spark your interest? Want to read more? To purchase or to read sample chapters, go to:

Back to the bookstore event , I'm no marketing pro but  reading blogs and different articles have given me some great ideas. I found one article about bookstore events and thought I'd share with you.

"How to have a successful Bookstore event"- by Melissa M. Williams from the IBPA magazine

      ·         Announce a schedule of activities that will happen throughout the day to keep the fans there.
      ·        Months before – let manager know what you will need day of your event.
      ·         Never rely on the bookstore to market for you, but do ask the manager to take fliers you will provide and display them on the counter a week or two before your event.
  •  Also, talk with the manager about realistic numbers of books to order.
  • Weeks before treat your event like a huge party or fundraiser. If you’re excited about your book, the energy will be contagious.
  • Create a standout flyer that can be posted and attached to email announcements. The flyer should include an image of the book along with information about it and a list of activities that will take place at the bookstore event.
  • Order giveaways, such as posters of your book cover, bookmarks, or character stickers.
  • Have posters and bookmarks made ahead of time (sites like offer good quality at a good rate, and they are quick). *I also found a good print company called*
  • Utilize every major social media outlet. Invite all your facebook friends to your event individually and also make the event public. It is very important to do both.
  • Create a blog post with all the details of the event, and ask you colleges to link to it on their facebook walls.
  • Submit an article to local publications in the bookstores area. Send an announcement to your contact through an email blast program like Constant Contact.
  • Send direct and personalized emails to people who bought your earlier books and people who have hosted previous events with you.
  • Send a press release to media outlets in the area, including radio, TV, magazines, and newspapers.
  • Paid for advertising in local city magazine and neighborhood newsletters.
  • Saturate the market, make the event stand out.
  • On the day of the event, take pictures and let everyone know the photographs will be posted on your blog and/ or website (this is an easy way to build traffic). And always bring picture release forms and get them signed.
  • Provide a sign up sheet so you’ll be able to add to your contact lists after the event.
  • After the event, blog immediately while the memories of the day are still fresh.
  • Share the excitement of this event, again using social media, so people who missed out will want to go to your next event.
  •  Don’t forget to tell everyone how to order your book after the event.

I hope this article will help you in your bookstore events.
Coming soon more information about the bookstore event for ZENOBIA - Birth of a Legend.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

And the winner for Twilight journal is Taffy

Congrats to Taffy, you won the Twilight journal giveaway from my interview with author of "Dangerous Favor" Joyce DiPastena. 

Email me your address at and I'll ship off your wonderful journals. Happy Writing! I've been having fun with these giveaways and have plenty more Twilight journals to giveaway, so keep checking back for my next contest.

In my previous blog about doing book reviews it was suggested by  Blogging for Books  to get free books to review is to enter contests. I've already won two free books from contests I've entered. I'm excited to read the first book I just received, "Echoes of Pemberley" by Cynthia Ingram Hensley.  I read the first chapter and I'm already hooked. I won this contest from A Jane Austen book club. 

I also won a free book from contest and I won the "The Lifeguard" By Deborah Blumenthal. You should check out , not only do they have many great book giveaways but they are a great place to send your book for them to review. I found them through Twilight Series Theories website.

I'm off to read now, so you can look forward to my book reviews soon. Happy Reading!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Don't we all want to get more traffic to our blogs or websites? No one likes to hear the crickets when they post something on their blog or website. I receive a weekly newsletter from AME and have found it very helpful.To subscribe to newsletter, click I especially loved this article by Joel, it's just what I needed to know. I share this in hopes that it can help you too.

"Author Blogging 101: Simple SEO for Authors  "  
Article by Joel Friedlander
"Attract search engine traffic to your blog with these tips for keywords, links, anchor text and more: 
Author-blogging 101 
If you have a blog you may have already run into a lot of the terms used in simple SEO. These make up the basic building blocks we’ll be using in our SEO strategy. You’ll need to understand these to get anything out of your efforts:
Building blocks of SEO: 

Keywords - The term people type into search bar.
Links - The way our website connects to other websites.
Anchor text - The actual text used to create a link.
Referring sites - a site that contains a link to another site.
Target site - A site linked to by a referring site.
Domain name - The URL website. Some are more effective than others, and when you study keywords this will be apparent.
Scannable - Text broken up with list and sub-headers to make it easy to take in what the post is about from a glance.
Page rank - A measure of websites general level of influence and authority, as determined by Google. Google assigns a page rank to every web page, from 1 - 9. is a 9, whenever you start a blog yours in a 1. Links from higher page ranks have more beneficial effect on your own ranking.
Link Juice - Authority or influence passed from a website to another through a link.
Organic traffic - Traffic from links you create. Traffic from link other people create.
Visitors - Someone visiting another website can click a link that will bring them to your blog or website.
"Juice" - A link from a site with more authority, a higher rank with search engines or longer lifespan can offer some of that authority to your site by linking to it. (Due to a fair amount of people trying to artificially enhance their site ranking, many sites now tags the links people leave in comments on a blog as "No Follow links" meaning none of the blog's authority will "follow" the link to the site being linked to.)


  1. Blog comments - the link to your site is embedded in your name.
  2. Guest post- When you post an article on someone else's blog as a guest author, you have a chance to link back to a couple of relevant articles on your own blog. You'll also get to add an author bio with links.
  3. Status updates - FB, Google+ link to direct people to that content.
  4. Twitter links - Short headliners and combine it with link.
  5. Forum discussions- there are forums for every interest online, finding a couple in your subject area can be a real boon. Posting useful content will allow you to link back, when appropriate to your own blog. 
  6. Social signature - every time you create an account you'll be asked to complete your profile. Don't neglect these opportunities to link to your blog, and don't neglect your "Signature" file either. Which appears whenever you post something, link in signatures can be creatively crafted and quite effective. 
  7. Good profile - In Google + it's well worth having a good profile.
  8. Email signatures - Do you link to your writers blog or website or mention recent books?
  9. Article marketing - (see article marketing) how-self-publishers-can-sell-more-books-with-article-marketing-part-1/
  10. Online press release - spread news and updates about your book.
  11. New social sites- like pinterest, they have gained big followings.

*Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.