Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Accidental Lover

Source: Author for review on A Cozy Reader's Corner
Contributing Reviewer: Angie Holtz

A moving tale of a young man down on his luck who has aspirations for something more.

Angie's Review:
The main character Freddie is a bit slow, and the story is told from his perspective. He is quick to anger, but usually quick to forgive as well. He works in a copy room of a large company and develops a close friendship with Pete, the owner's son who also works in the copy room. The other employee in that copy room, Joe becomes his worst enemy. Freddie's mother died when he was younger, and he lives with his aging and diabetic father - who is a bit of a crab as well. The characters are realistic, sometimes likable.

I was surprised by the plot in this story. As I said, Freddie has a passion for the violin and one day when he want to see a violinist play on a very rare Stradivarius, he finds a violin case sitting in an alley without anyone else around. He nabs the case and thus begins his "accidental love affair" with the violin. He also begins to feel the stress of being a big time thief, this wasn't some little thing from the store, this one was huge...there was a $100,000 reward offered for the violin.

I really enjoyed this story, especially that it was from Freddie's p0int of view. You may not always know what everyone else is thinking, but the author keeps the story moving and provides enough details that usually you can figure out what is really happening in a situation without Freddie's unique coloring.

I read this as a PDF file and didn't see the cover art. I thought it was going to end up in a romance, but after knowing Freddie I can see why it went the way it did.

This novel had an interesting pace. I felt it was perfect, it never felt too slow...well maybe when Joe was making fun of Pete and Freddie, but that's because I thought Joe was a big jerk.

I'm not sure where the story takes place, but it wasn't that important to the story. It could have been anywhere, but being that there was a concert hall that managed to borrow a Stradivarius from a London's probably a larger city.

Overall I really enjoyed this story, it drew me in and I couldn't put it down. It's also very sad, so I may not read it again for awhile. lol I will leave you with this, the ending is much more upbeat and surprising than I expected.

*Angie can also be found on her blog:*

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rock Bottom

Rock BottomAuthors: Erin Brockovich with CJ Lyon
ISBN: 978-1593156251
Published by Vanguard Press
Purchase link: Rock Bottom
Source: FSB Associates

From New York Times bestselling author and internationally renowned environmental and consumer advocate Erin Brockovich, comes Rock Bottom, a debut thriller and first in a series of novels that introduces one of the most fascinating and memorable characters in suspense fiction.

Ten years ago, a pregnant seventeen-year-old Angela Joy Palladino fled her hometown, Scotia, West Virginia, as a pariah. Over time, AJ succeeded in establishing herself as an environmental activist, dubbed "The People's Champion," only to be forced to retreat from the spotlight in the wake of a crushing media disaster.

When AJ is offered a job with a lawyer who is crusading against mountaintop removal mining, she is torn. As a single mother of a special needs nine-year-old boy, AJ can use any work she can get. But doing so will mean returning to the West Virginia hometown she left in disgrace so long ago.

Upon arriving to Scotia, AJ learns of the sudden death of the lawyer who hired her. Soon after joining forces with his daughter, Elizabeth, threats begin to surface, bodies begin to pile up, and AJ discovers her own secrets aren't the only ones her mountain hometown has kept buried. Hitting rock bottom, AJ must face the betrayal of those once closest to her and confront the harrowing past she thought she had left behind.

In Rock Bottom, Erin Brockovich combines passionate intensity, first-rate story-telling, and her real-life experiences in a novel that will leave you breathless.

Cardinal Rule #1; the book is ALWAYS better than the movie! This rule is yet again proven with Rock Bottom, the story of Erin Brockovich. Though it’s hard to say the movie, featuring Julia Roberts, is not as good as the book, it’s true. Erin’s story is written with powerful emotion and detail. It displays so much of Erin’s heart and soul as she pens a tale about her fascinating journey and hardships while working for the greater good of others. The mystery, intrigue and emotional attachment make this a book that is hard to put down, yet is also infuriating.

The book is co-written but you would never know it. It is so well done that it is unclear where one author picks up as the other drops off. The two work together very well with each other, which is evident in the writing style of this novel. The novel is fast paced and intriguing, making it easy to read. I find it odd that the book is being written after the movie.  Though the book was better, it took away from the story since I already have knowledge of Erin's story.  Overall, it is an enjoyable read and I enjoyed learning more about Erin and her story.

About the Authors:
Erin Brockovich, author of Rock Bottom, is the real life inspiration behind the Oscar-winning movie that bears her name. Today she continues to perform legal work as a director of environmental research and is involved in consulting on numerous toxic waster investigations. Brockovich is active on the motivational speaking circuit, with a thriving lecture series and a television talk show in development. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

CJ Lyons, co-author of Rock Bottom, is an award-winning medical suspense author of such books as Lifeline, Warning Signs, and Urgent Care. Trained in pediatric emergency medicine, she has assisted police and prosecutors with cases involving child abuse, homicide, and more. She has also worked as a crisis counselor and victim advocate.

For more information please visit and

3.5 out of 5 Photobucket

Friday, May 27, 2011

Exposure Review & Giveaway

ISBN: 978-0-345-51553-7       Publisher: Ballantine Books 
Purchase Link: Exposure: A Novel 

About the Book
In Exposure, Therese Fowler has written her most gripping novel to date—a ripped-from-the-headlines story of ardent young love and a nightmarish legal maelstrom that threatens to destroy two families.

Amelia Wilkes’s strict father does not allow her to date, but that doesn’t stop the talented, winsome high school senior from carrying on a secret romance with her classmate Anthony Winter. Desperately in love, the two envision a life together and plan to tell Amelia’s parents only after she turns eighteen and is legally an adult. Anthony’s mother, Kim, who teaches at their school, knows—and keeps—their secret. But the couple’s passion is exposed sooner than planned: Amelia’s father, Harlan, is shocked and infuriated to find naked pictures of Anthony on his daughter’s computer. Just hours later, Anthony is arrested.

Despite Amelia’s frantic protests, Harlan uses his wealth and influence with local law enforcement and the media to label Anthony a deviant who preyed on his innocent daughter. Spearheaded by a zealous prosecutor anxious to turn the case into a public crusade against “sexting,” the investigation soon takes an even more disturbing and destructive turn.

As events spiral wildly out of control and the scandalous story makes national news, Amelia and Anthony risk everything in a bold and dangerous attempt to clear their names and end the madness once and for all.

A captivating page-turner, Therese Fowler’s Exposure is also a deftly crafted, provocative, and timely novel that serves as a haunting reminder of the consequences of love in the modern age.

My Review

Wow! For awhile after finishing this novel, Wow, is all I could think. I had, and still have, so many thoughts running through my head that it’s nearly impossible to get them all out. Exposure is a must read for every teen, parent of a teen, relatives of teens, or anyone who works with teenagers. The story is not as uncommon as you’d like to think, though varying in nature. There are many teenagers and young adults who are cited with sexual abuse violations due to sexting crimes. Many of these teenagers are young and don’t realize the effect a simple photo can have on their life. The simple mistake of sending or receiving a photo via email, phone or social networking can place a young person on the national sex offender registry because of a sexting violation, even though both parties were consenting. Exposure is a novel that brings exactly this type of crime and it’s out of control spiraling nature to light.

Therese Fowler did a wonderful job writing this novel. In a note to the reader at the conclusion of the novel, she states that the novel was written based off her own turmoil and feelings regarding her son’s arrest at the age of 19, though this story is NOT his story or her story. As a reader, I could feel the personal connection Therese had with this novel. It is obvious through her writing that she was discussing issues and situations she wanted others to be aware of. The novel is written in a way that lets each characters thoughts and feelings be displayed to the reader, giving you a well rounded look at the entire situation as it unfolds. This book was engaging yet enraging. I wanted to read on and find out what happens next, but at the same time it was hard to read. I wanted to scream at points. The out of control nature of the novel and injustice, though a truth in everyday life, was hard to read. Exposure reminded me of reading a Jodi Picoult novel. Its topic is something that thousands of people deal with everyday, yet it is not freely talked about and can be controversial.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I think the author does a wonderful job of bring awareness to a very important topic. With social networking, cell phones, email and so many other forms of electronic data at our fingers tips, teens are not properly educated on the dangers of sending private photos and conversations. This book shares a very real possibility of what can happen to the life of a teen, if they are not careful with their actions. It is a wonderful and useful tool for parents, teen support groups, youth groups or teen book clubs to use. The topics of open and honest communication, sexting, safe sex, and more can be discussed because of this novel. Exposure is a riveting and quick paced read that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

About the Author

Therese Fowler is the author of Souvenir and Reunion. She has worked in the U.S. Civil Service, managed a clothing store, lived in the Philippines, had children, sold real estate, earned a B.A. in sociology, sold used cars, returned to school for her M.F.A. in creative writing, and taught college undergrads about literature and fiction writing—roughly in that order. With books published in nine languages and sold worldwide, Fowler writes full-time from her home in Wake Forest, North Carolina, which she shares with her husband, four amiable cats, and four nearly grown-up sons. Her latest book is Exposure: A Novel. You can visit Therese Fowler’s website at

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Purchase Books & Help Stop Bullying!


Books to the Rescue is a fundraiser hosted by The Writer's Lair Books.  They are launching a 72-Hour “Books to the Rescue” Fundraiser starting at 12:01am EST TODAY May 26, 2011 and ending 11:59pm EST May 28, 2011 to support the Severson Sisters Foundation, a foundation dedicated to ending bullying and inspiring girls towards authenticity and confidence.  To learn more about this fundraiser please visit  To participate and help stop bullying visit I know we can get 300 books sold!  You can also help by spreading the word about this fundraiser!  Thanks!!


House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer’s Journey Home

House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer's Journey HomeAuthor: Mark Richard
ISBN: 978-0-3985-51302-9
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Purchase Link: House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer's Journey Home
Source: DoubleDay for Review

Called a “special child,” Southern social code for mentally—and physically—challenged children, Richard was crippled by deformed hips and was told he would spend his adult life in a wheelchair. During his early years in charity hospitals, Richard observed the drama of other broken boys’ lives, children from impoverished Appalachia, tobacco country lowlands, and Richmond’s poorest neighborhoods. The son of a solitary alcoholic father whose hair-trigger temper terrorized his family, and of a mother who sought inner peace through fasting, prayer, and scripture, Richard spent his bedridden childhood withdrawn into the company of books.

As a young man, Richard, defying both his doctors and parents, set out to experience as much of the world as he could—as a disc jockey, fishing trawler deckhand, house painter, naval correspondent, aerial photographer, private investigator, foreign journalist, bartender and unsuccessful seminarian—before his hips failed him. While digging irrigation ditches in east Texas, he discovered that a teacher had sent a story of his to the Atlantic, where it was named a winner in the magazine’s national fiction contest launching a career much in the mold of Jack London and Mark Twain.

A superbly written and irresistible blend of history, travelogue, and personal reflection, House of Prayer No. 2 is a remarkable portrait of a writer’s struggle with his faith, the evolution of his art, and of recognizing one’s singularity in the face of painful disability. Written with humor and a poetic force, this memoir is destined to become a modern classic.

Writing Style - Most Memoirs are told in first person. This story is told in second person. For example, Instead of I fell down the stairs, the text says “you fell down the stairs”. The lack of this first person writing made for an awkward read. I quickly tired of reading your constantly because I was not in the story, nor was I trying to envision myself in the memoir. It was hard to for me to read this book because I would lose concentration.

On the other hand, Mr. Richard is a skilled writer. He is easily able to get a point across with as few sentences as possible. He does not try to embellish and elaborate in unneeded details, but simply tells it like it is. This brought about a sense of honesty to the story.

Storyline - The story is amazing. It has a little something for everyone. The author’s life is a roller coaster ride full of emotion. The challenges he has faced make his accomplishments more impressive and his story more poignant and bittersweet.

Pace – I have mixed feelings with the pace of this story. It begins solid enough, picks up and then drops off. My interest level varied and the book seemed unable to stay entirely consistent.

Overall – This is indeed an unconventional memoir, remarkable story and challenging read. It is a thought provoking read. I had a hard time with the term “special” in this book; it never seems to be defined as a compliment or an insult. It seemed to be used more as word of avoidance rather than the honesty of reality all for the sake of social pleasantry. Thought the memoir has a few obstacles to overcome it also has a wonderful story to tell. It seems to have a little something for everyone within its pages.

About the Author:
MARK RICHARD is the author of two award-winning short story collections, The Ice at the Bottom of the World and Charity, and the novel Fishboy. His short stories and journalism have appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, Vogue, and GQ. He is the recipient of the PEN/Hemingway Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Whiting Foundation Writer’s Award. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their three sons.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Mountains Bow Down

The Mountains Bow Down (A Raleigh Harmon Novel)Author: Sibella Giorello
ISBN: 978-1-59554-535-0
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Purchase Link: The Mountains Bow Down
Source: Litfuse Publicity

Everything's going to work out. Time away always makes things better . . .

That's what FBI Special Agent Raleigh Harmon believes as she boards a cruise to Alaska. A land of mountains and gems and minerals, the Last Frontier is a dream destination for this forensic geologist who's hoping to leave behind a hectic work schedule and an engagement drained of romance.

But when a passenger goes missing and winds up dead, Raleigh's vacation suddenly gets lost at sea. The ship's security chief tries to rule the death a suicide, but Raleigh's forensics background points to a much darker conclusion: Somewhere onboard, a ruthless murderer walks free.

Engulfed by one of her toughest cases yet, Raleigh requests assistance from the FBI and receives her nemesis-handsome Special Agent Jack Stephanson. As the cruise ship sails through the Inside Passage, Raleigh has five days to solve a high-profile murder, provide consultation for a movie filming onboard, and figure out her increasingly complicated feelings for Jack-who might not be as arrogant as she originally thought.

And that's only her work life. Family offers even more challenges. Joined on the cruise by her mother and aunt, Raleigh watches helplessly as disturbing rifts splinter her family.

Like the scenery that surrounds the cruise ship, Raleigh discovers a mystery so daunting that even the mountains might bow down before it.

Wow! If you thought the synopsis wasn’t intriguing enough, you should try reading the story. The book is full of mystery, drama, romance and other tidbits that make this book anything but dull. The writing style of this novel keeps the reader moving effortlessly through the pages while the story captures your attention, keeping you hooked until the end. The characters are well developed, the setting a beautiful back drop to this intriguing story.

Though parts of the story were easier for me to figure out, it didn’t deter me from reading on to find out how the story is executed and played out. The romance in this novel is full of tension between the two characters which works well for this novel. The Christian viewpoint in this book is very relaxed. It is not a novel that will throw beliefs into every other line of the story, nor would that have worked given the complexity of the storyline. Instead, the novel reminds the reader of God’s presence, the characters faith or struggles are evident and the novel leaves room for those who may not have strong beliefs to enjoy a good, decent and clean read without being overwhelmed. In short, this novel is one of the more decently written novels of its genre.

Overall, a well written storyline, interesting concept, established plot and entertaining characters make this story a great one to sink into on a rainy day! If you have a visual mind you’ll enjoy the backdrop of this novel, as it paints a picture of beauty amidst its chaos and mystery.

About the Author:
Sibella now makes her home in the mountains just outside of Seattle. When she's not writing break-neck stories of heart and thrill, she can be found running the forested trails near her home and spending time with her favorite people, her husband and two sons. She is currently working on Book 5 in the Raleigh Harmon series, The Stars Shine Bright, available in 2012.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Reading Challenge... Have you joined yet??

Some of my favorite people to work with can be found at Book Sparks PR.  In addition to an awesome staff they have an amazing group of clients!  For avid readers, especially those who enjoy a great chick-lit or other fiction titles, Book Sparks has put together a fun Summer Reading Challenge complete with prizes!  To learn more or join me in the challenge visit the following link:

As always, Happy Reading!!

How Huge the Night

How Huge the Night: A NovelAuthors: Heather Munn & Lydia Munn
ISBN: 978-0-8254-3310-8
Publisher: Kregal Publications
Purchase link: How Huge the Night: A Novel
Source: Litfuse Blog Tour

Fifteen-year-old Julien Losier just wants to fit in. But after his family moves to a small village in central France in hopes of outrunning the Nazis, he is suddenly faced with bigger challenges than the taunting of local teens.

Nina Krenkel left her country to obey her father's dying command: Take your brother and leave Austria. Burn your papers. Tell no one you are Jews. Alone and on the run, she arrives in Tanieux, France, dangerously ill and in despair.

Thrown together by the chaos of war, Julien begins to feel the terrible weight of the looming conflict and Nina fights to survive. As France falls to the Nazis, Julien struggles with doing what is right, even if it is not enough-and wonders whether or not he really can save Nina from almost certain death.

Based on the true story of the town of Le Chambon-the only French town honored by Israel for rescuing Jews from the Holocaust-How Huge the Night is a compelling, coming-of-age drama that will keep teens turning the pages as it teaches them about a fascinating period of history and inspires them to think more deeply about their everyday choices.


How huge the night was a wonderful, young adult, historical fiction novel. I was impressed with how well written the novel is for having two authors, since collaborating as an author can be difficult. The story is not a light read. It chronicles the coming-of-age period in Julien’s life while also telling the story of Nina and her little brother Gustav who are on the run from the Nazis because they are Jews. The stories are told side by side, flipping back and forth between the two, until they meet and merge. From the synopsis on the copy I was provided with for this tour, which is not the same as the synopsis above, I expected that Nina and Julie would meet much earlier in the novel than they did. I also expected their stories to be more of one story than two. This was not the case for a majority of the novel. The stories are very separate for the most part.

Though the story has a slow and thoughtful pace to it, I still enjoyed it. I loved the point of view in this story. Not many historical are written about the children affected by war, though those who survived have grown up with plenty of stories to pass on, fears to overcome and memories of life lessons learned at far too innocent an age. I was also drawn to the setting of this novel. When I think of WWII I don’t immediately thing of Southern France, thought the war did have its place in France. I enjoyed reading a WWII novel that stepped outside the boundaries of Germany. I also enjoyed learning a few new things from the historical facts in this book.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel despite its slow start. The story compels you to keep reading to find out what happens next with the characters. I found the events and circumstances that lead to the choices and actions made by Nina and Julien to be interesting and well written. The story of their lives and how they intertwine amidst a harsh environment and unfortunate reality was eye opening to read. I think the authors did a good job working together and telling this story, which is based on actual events though it is fiction. While it is not your beach read for this summer, it is a thoughtful and compelling story of faith that is tested and tried, friendship, family, loss and turmoil in the midst of war. This story leaves you with plenty to think about and be thankful for.

About the Munn's:
Heather Munn was born in Northern Ireland and grew up in southern France where her parents were missionaries like their parents before them. She has a BA in literature from Wheaton College and now lives in a Christian intentional community in rural Illinois, where she and her husband, Paul, host free spiritual retreats for the poor, especially those transitioning out of homelessness or addiction. When not writing or hosting, she works on the communal farm.

Lydia Munn, daughter of missionary parents, grew up in Brazil. She received a BA in literature from Wheaton College, and an MA in Bible from Columbia Graduate School of Bible and Missions. With her husband, Jim, she has worked in church planting and Bible teaching since 1983, notably in St. Etienne, near the small town in the central mountains of France which forms the background of How Huge the Night. The Munns now live in Grenoble, France.

About the Giveaway! -- Kregel Publications is sponsoring an $50 giveaway!

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Textual Healing

Textual HealingAuthor: Eric Smith
ISBN: 978-1-4520-6245-7
Publisher: Author House
Purchase Link: Textual Healing
Source: Author for Review

Few people have to deal with a haiku-speaking flower-shop-owning ninja every day on their way to work. Unfortunately for Andrew Connor, he is one of those people.

And poor Andrew, his week has been a rough one. His former bestseller, Chasing Fireflies, is on clearance at Barnes & Noble for $1.37, his girlfriend left him for a corporate America action figure, and he's been tricked into joining Textual Healing, a support group for writers who can't seem to write anymore.

Dealing with his employees at his failing used bookshop, a strange new love interest from the Midwest, and a pet sugar-glider that has somehow managed to destroy his entire apartment... when will he ever find the time to put pen to paper again?

A quirky comedy set in present day New York and New Jersey, Textual Healing follows the story of Andrew, a self-deprecating, once famous author, his small bookstore in Hoboken, and the colorful characters that surround him.

I really enjoyed this novel for a number of different reasons which I outline below. It has been sitting in my review pile for longer than intended, due to my move, which threw off my reading pattern. When I finished this title I was left wishing I was able to read it sooner. It was a highly enjoyable read. Here’s a rundown of the novel.

Originality- This title is highly original in concept as well as the storyline. The novel reminds me of chick-lit in terms of the relationship plot, but has humor mixed within. Don’t be confused, this isn’t a chick-lit novel, everything about it screams I’m male. I rarely read novels that focus on relationships (all kinds) with a male lead character. I appreciated and enjoyed the point of view in this novel.

Setting- The novel is set in modern day NYC, but isn't the typical Central Park, middle of Manhattan novel.  Instead it has a real down home feel as the characters delight in the charm of New York City living within Hobokan.  I really enjoyed getting to know the Ace's corner of the city. 

Pace- I quickly read this novel. Overall it has a steady pace that guides the reader along. There were a few sections that didn’t capture my attention as well, but the novel was never boring! I did not find myself distracted by other things.

Humor- Oh my gosh, did I laugh! This novel is hilarious. If you’ve ever wanted to know exactly how guys think and what runs through their minds, read this book! It is simply entertaining to read. I read multiple passages aloud to my husband and he would laugh as well. It was refreshingly honest.

Uniqueness- This story is one you’d normally expect to read in a chick lit novel. There is a break up, a romance, complications etc. However, the roles are reversed since it’s about a guy. I haven’t read many books that have a male lead and “chick-lit” type story that is completely full of testosterone. The book also takes place mostly in the course of one week. This aspect was wonderfully done!

Overall, I laughed, laughed and laughed some more. I found the characters extremely likeable for the most part. The characters are highly original, well developed and interact with each other beautifully. Each brings a sense of charm or oddity to the story. The book could easily be visualized while I read it. If you’re looking for something different or fun, want to break out of your shell or just want a humorous read, this is a great book! I definitely recommend this read.

About the Author:
 Eric Smith is a 28 year old writer/professor from New Jersey, who currently residing in Philadelphia. He teaches composition and literature at Peirce College, runs the popular hyperlocal Philadelphia blog Geekadelphia with a legion of local geeks, and work in publishing.  You can connect with him via his website or Twitter @ericsmithrocks or Facebook.