Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review: I Kill Me: Tales of A Jilted Hypochondriac by Tracy H. Tucker

Christine Bacon has a fatal attraction. To all things fatal. A veteran hypochondriac, her near-death experiences are exacerbated when her husband proposes they have a menage a trois with Eleanor, his busty British massage therapist, to "shake things up." Christine reluctantly agrees (although she is more wholesome than threesome), never expecting just how much she'd be rattled. As her marriage to Richard, a/k/a "Dick," falls apart, so, too, does Christine, whose fear of her own demise causes her to research every freckle, blemish, cough, bump, lump, tingle and hiccup. She isn't a doctor, but she plays one on the internet.

There is solace for Christine: in raising daughters Lily and Carli, leaning on her friends, and wearing out the shower massager. In order to heal, she struggles to become her own person and to view her symptoms (and ex-husband) as less malignant, while searching for that special someone who will love her--despite her grave condition.


Part hilarious antics, part disturbing situations, all around enjoyable read.  I'm a slight hypochondriac myself so those parts of this book were a little hard for me to read as they disturbed me, but overall, I liked the story of Christine. Spunky daughters, solid friends, a promising new relationship, and a meddling mother all combined into a story of a woman that has to learn to overcome her issues and stand on her own, moving forward from her sleazy ex-husband and the life that she had been stuck in.  Tracy Tucker has a talent for writing uniquely individual characters and mixing them up with each other. She writes Christine as a strong, albeit flawed, character that understands how frustrating her issues are to other people while being unable to control herself from the compulsive obsessions. When Christine has her ultimate breakthrough, I wanted to cheer for her and give her a hug for finally "getting it", gaining control.  Tracy writes with compassion and humor, mixing them together expertly and leaving you feeling that you have had a fulfilling journey, alongside her characters.

The Mighty Mighty Indies - Guest post by Tracy Tucker

The Mighty Mighty Indies

Hope. Despair. Celebrate. Lament. Repeat.

Why didn’t anyone tell me the world of indie publishing would be so…stressful? overwhelming? agonizing? Ohh wait a minute, they did. But I thought they were talking about other authors’ experiences, which wouldn’t apply to me. Now, as I sit here trying to coax my tweet-fried, over-clicked brain into writing this post while my husband plays on his iPad and sings to the cat, I am in full and utter appreciation of all indies who have come before me: people who have (other) full-time jobs, and children, and pets, and…and…and…but who still make the time to market, promote, research, email, read, blog, tweet, update Goodreads, search for groups and book clubs and reviewers, network with authors, reply to threads–and if they’re lucky, maybe even shower. And write. This is not for the faint of heart. Even as a newbie, I took offense to the recent comments by established, traditional authors who labeled indies as “lazy.” That’s like saying hummingbirds need to step it up.

In fact, that’s a damned good analogy. Sometimes, I feel exactly like a hummingbird: zipping over to dip my beak in the feeder for a taste of delish sugar water, then flitting to the telephone wire to chill for a sec before beelining it to a very attractive petunia and zooming to nest in a pine tree. Except the sugar water is a delish review, the telephone wire is where I balance precariously between self-labels of success and failure, the petunia is bestseller status, and the pine tree is the shelter and safety of my pre-indie life.

I knew self-pubbing would take time, I knew it would take determination, I knew it would take effort. I didn’t know you would need to add “tremendous” in front of each of those characteristics, and I didn’t know it would take so much courage. It’s scary as hell to put your book out there – to leave it all alone like a frightened toddler in a dark and tangled jungle of a million other unfamiliar creatures (some of which bite). Kimberly Llewellyn, my first professional reviewer to whom I will always be immensely grateful, thanked me for trusting her with my “baby.” She got it. From what I have seen, indie reviewers are kind, professional and know what’s at stake. Still, mailing out a paperback or pressing the button to send your ebook prompts a deep, here-we-go, I-hope-they-like-it sigh. It takes courage to believe in yourself when a flurry of sales slows down, and when you realize how staggering the odds are against you to get noticed, let alone make it big.

In the midst of all this indie-induced stress, it certainly helps to keep a sense of humor. The night after my book went live, my husband and I had dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants, wanting to celebrate the beginning of my new journey as an author. Our waiter, a/k/a The Weakest Link, was a very nice young man, but forgot the lemon for my water (twice), didn’t give us chips and salsa, and brought us the wrong meals. I told my husband I wanted to grab the waiter by the shirt and say, “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? I’ve sold EIGHT COPIES on Amazon!” I’m sure he would have been impressed.

I know I am far from alone in what I’ve experienced with indie publishing. And I know this is just the first step on a long, long road. I will draw upon the strength, tenacity and courage of other indies as we all strive to realize The Dream. I’ll call forth the kind words and advice of authors and reviewers who were truthfully too busy to offer support to a newbie, but who did it anyway. Here’s to all the inhabitants of our brain-straining, heart-hammering, soul-stirring indie world. Fellow hummingbirds, take flight!

Author Bio:

Tracy H. Tucker is first and foremost the mother of three of the best people on Earth. She has a Master's in Literacy from the University of Maine and has inspired the youth of America for seventeen years. She's an avid animal lover and would like to publicly thank her husband for putting up with the pet hair, the dogs in the bed, the things the cats hack up and the repeated requests for goats. It's a wonderful life.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Review: A Good Kind of Knowing by Kathy Harris

Imagine if Maeve Binchy grew up in Texas and wrote an old-school Larry McMurtry novel. Think Hope Floats meets High Fidelity. That’s how critics are describing A Good Kind of Knowing—from the author of the highly acclaimed and number-one Amazon bestseller, Blue Straggler. A Good Kind of Knowing is a novel about the power of music and friendship, the relationship two-steps that go on in old Texas dancehalls, and the secret to finding just a little bit of common ground in a world full of distrust. Sera Taylor's store is the one place in Lakeville, Texas, where individuals from all walks of life share a universal love for music and a respect for the gypsy-like woman behind the antique glass counter. Readers get a taste of the unorthodox connection between Sera and Mack, a young local cowboy and musician, and Sera’s previously untested devotion to her husband Bill. They learn of her relationship with Ruby D., the vibrant but misguided mother of five; with Louie, the shy high school band director; with Beverly, the religious, upper-class socialite; with Antonio, a local bar owner striving to make a life for himself; with Tommy Lee, a rich and directionless gigolo; and with Wes, the only out-of-the closet gay man for miles. As Sera battles a serious illness, the characters must overcome long-held stereotypes to save Sera’s store, and in the end, large parts of themselves. 

First word that comes to mind - Heartbreaking.  Followed by fantastic! Kathy Harris needs to put the warning label right on the front page -- You will get sucked in and you will run a gauntlet of emotions. Sera Taylor is that woman that everyone loves (well except the crazy religious socialite, Beverly).  She is genuinely interested in everyone and how they are doing, forming strong bonds with many of the patrons of her music store. When her world is torn apart by a devastating illness, the bond between Sera and the people in her world become everything to her. As all the characters struggle to deal with mortality, love, and loss, you are going to be completely enraptured with the story that is being laid out before you. Husband, Bill, struggles to show his emotions while young singer Mack seems to have a new set of feelings. Best friend, Ruby, provides some sass while Tommy Lee provides the aggravation that keeps Sera going.   When Kathy Harris approached me to do a review for her, I had told her it sounded like a heartwarming and heartbreaking story that I couldn't wait to read.  It was just that.  The characters are not always likable.  They are raw and emotional and sometimes human reaction is just not good. They are, however, all based on their love for Sera and their true feelings shine through in the end.

I give this five stars and warn you that you will need to have the kleenex handy.


Kathy Lynn Harris grew up in rural South Texas—and comes from people who work hard, love the land and know how to have a good time on a Saturday night. In 2001, Kathy made the move from Texas to the Colorado Rockies to focus on her writing and soak up All Things Mountain. She lives in a 1920s log cabin with her husband and son, plus two fairly untrainable golden retriever mixes. Kathy has written two novels, including the Amazon bestseller Blue Straggler; three children's books; a lot of bad poetry; short stories; newspaper and magazine articles; and personal essays. Kathy’s blog, You Can Take the Girl Out of Texas, but, can be found at
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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Quick Ten with author Meredith Schorr

In addition to reviewing Meredith Schorr's novel, "A State of Jane", I'm happy to share an interview with Meredith. She is such a fun lady and she loves pop culture, what is not to adore about her?  Thank you, Meredith, for sharing a few minutes of your time. :)

1. What inspired you to write "A State of Jane"?

My inspiration for A State of Jane was my own dating experiences at the time. I kept meeting guys who seemed to be so interested in me and then *poof* they just disappeared out of nowhere.  One guy disappeared in the middle of an email exchange about who was the better landlord on Three's Company, Mr. Furley or Mr. Roper.  Clearly my preference for Mr. Furley offended him because he never called me again!  I had these fantasies of taking revenge on these flakey men, knew I'd never have the nerve and thus a story was born. 

2. Stephanie Cohen or Jane Frank - which one would you be more apt to be best friends with?

Definitely Stephanie Cohen - she's like my twin!  She likes baseball, beer and just hanging out with her friends.  She also might know even more about television trivia from the 70s, 80s and 90s than me!

3. If you could borrow a character from another author, who would it be and what type of story do you have in mind for them?

I'd like to write a dystopian YA novel starring Jessica Darling from Megan McCafferty Sloppy Firsts YA series.  She has to be one of my favorite heroines of all time.  She's incredibly spunky and I can see her kicking some serious butt if she needed to. 

4. Is there a genre that you want to write in?

Besides chicklit, not really aside from the aforementioned dystopian YA novel.  I would like to try to write deeper women's fiction but whenever I make the attempt, my characters do or say something funny and it winds up being chicklit.

5. What are your biggest pet peeves as a writer?

I have several of these:

1. I don't like when a reviewer agrees to read my book and then never does.
2. I am a firm believer in supporting other authors who are in similar stages of their career.  I get a bit upset when I take the time to read and review a fellow author's book (someone who I have engaged with) and she thanks me enthusiastically and yet never returns the love. 
3. I don't like when authors write scathing reviews of other books since, as a writer, they should know how much reviews mean to us. If the book is bad, someone else will write the bad reviews - let them.    
4.  I hate when someone "adds" my book to Goodreads without leaving at least a rating. 
5. I hate when someone gives my book a worse review than a book that I didn't like all that much.

I think I should stop now!

6. What have you read lately and absolutely loved? 
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, Haole Wood by Dee Desario, Here by Denise Grover Swank and Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey

7. Who are your favorite authors?

Sophie Kinsella, Adena Halpern, Julie Buxbaum, Emily Giffin (although I still have not read Where We Belong...).  Newer, less well-known favorites include Denise Grover Swank, Tallie Roland and Samantha Stroh Bailey.

8. Who is your celebrity crush? 

I have to limit it to one?  *pout* Adam Levine from Maroon 5 and Bradley Cooper are current favorites.

9. What are you working on next?

I just finished my third novel.  It is a chicklit romance about a very popular book reviewer/blogger who is asked to review the debut novel of her high school nemesis, i.e. "the mean girl."  A legal secretary by day, she starts dating a hottie attorney from her law firm who insists that she is hiding behind other people's books because she secretly wants to be a writer herself. 

10.  What needs to be done to fix those Yankees for next season!?! Such a disappointing post season they had this year.

Oh, Michelle, you are killing me! I was this close to moving on!  *Sigh*

Normally, I would say the Yankees need to improve upon their pitching but their pitching was pretty fantastic, even in the post season and without Mariano Rivera.  They need to hit the damn ball!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And they need to stop stranding players on base.  They need to get rid of A-fraud... 

Author Bio:

 A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to, and was famous among her friends for writing witty birthday cards. After dabbling in children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing “real chick lit for real chicks." When Meredith is not hard at work on her current work in progress, she spends her days as a trademark paralegal at a law firm in New York City. Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. She also loves to read and is always on the lookout for her new favorite author. A State of Jane is her second novel.

Review: A State of Jane by Meredith Schorr

Jane Frank is ready to fall in love.

It's been a year since her long term relationship ended and far too long since the last time she was kissed. With the LSAT coming up she needs to find a long term boyfriend (or husband) before acing law school and becoming a partner at her father's law firm.

There's just one problem: All the guys in New York are flakes. They seemingly drop off the face of the earth with no warning and no explanation.

Should she join her best friend Marissa in singlehood, making cupcakes and watching True Blood? Or should she follow her co-worker Andrew's advice and turn the game back on those who've scorned her? As Jane attempts to juggle her own responsibilities and put up with the problems of everyone around her, she starts to realize that the dating life isn't as easy as she originally thought.


Fitting to kick off 2013 with an absolutely fantastic book by the lovely Meredith Schorr. Jane Frank is tired of flaky guys that don't know how to handle relationships. So she decides to date like a man - love 'em and leave 'em. One little problem, though.  Jane doesn't handle it very well.  She alienates her family, her best friend, the people that are trying to be in her corner rooting for her and helping her. Jane is at time self absorbed, at times downright annoying, but she is always completely Jane.  She breaks up with her "boring" boyfriend, Bob, in hopes of finding a more exciting Mr. Right.  Unfortunately, Bob slipping happily into a new serious relationship is not what Jane expected to happen and her lack of a mate sends her on quite the loopy journey.  Her hijinks that ensue are laugh out loud and you will be kept completely entertained as she meets man after man. A fun supporting cast, witty dialogues, an embarrassing strip tease, and an ending that you won't see coming will have you clamoring for more.

Meredith Schorr's debut novel, "Just Friends With Benefits", was full of sharp characters and vivid storytelling.  Her talent does not fade with her second novel.  Meredith writes characters that you want to hang out with, even when you want to smack them upside the head and yell at them to wake up.  (Besides she is a Yankees fan and that means that she is pretty much amazing.)

Five stars and a guarantee that you will love this book are what I have to offer.


Author Bio:

A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to, and was famous among her friends for writing witty birthday cards. After dabbling in children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing “real chick lit for real chicks." When Meredith is not hard at work on her current work in progress, she spends her days as a trademark paralegal at a law firm in New York City. Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. She also loves to read and is always on the lookout for her new favorite author. A State of Jane is her second novel.

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