Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Reading Goals

Just like in 2012, I'm setting a goal for myself for 2013.  Another TBR Challenge if you will, except this time it will be my contest.  I plan to read (and review) a certain number of books in 2013.  In 2012, I read over 200 ebooks and 30 print books.  In 2013, I want to continue that trend.  I found some amazing new books this year and can't wait to see what next year brings me.

My challenge - read and review at least 36 ebooks or books in 2013

You guys have to hold me to it!  That equals out to 3 books or ebooks a month.  Think I can do it?  Join my challenge, set yourself a reading goal (book bloggers, set yourself a book review goal) and see how you do.  If you meet the goal early, keep going!  See how far past the goal you can get.  I can't wait to see what happens in 2013.  I have a feeling it is going to be a phenomenal year.  Good luck and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

TBR Challenge 2012

In January of 2012, I accepted the TBR challenge.  The challenge was simple enough - read books only from your TBR (To Be Read) list that you did not purchase in 2012.  Here's all the info on the challenge.  I went for the "A Sweet Kiss" level, which meant I had to read 21-30 books from my TBR list.  Did I finish?

My TBR list in January contained exactly 267 ebooks on it.  The list now contains only 147 ebooks.  Here are some of the highlights from that list...

Best of 2012

My friends, this has been the best year for books.  I have found some of the most incredible novels I have ever read this year.  I am over joyed with each and every one on this list, and can't even tell you how much I love these books.  Some of them you've heard me talk about so much it's probably nauseating, but that's just how good they are.  Below are my favorites of my favorites from 2012. (This post should really be called "Favorites of my Favorites from 2012" but that's way too long).  I've narrowed my favorites from 2012 (the list has over 200 books on it!) down to these, uhm... relatively few.  Click on each of the titles to see my glowing reviews.  If my reviews don't express how much I love them - simply bring up the title and I won't stop talking about it for hours.  I hope you find some new books to read - if by chance you've read all of these (because you talk to me all the time) ask for the rest of my favs list!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The BEST holiday books EVER!

This year, I will take a break from blogging to allow myself and you time to spend with our friends and family.  I love this time of year - so full of yummy food, amazing decorations, cheerful music, chilly weather, cozy clothing and so much fun!  This will be my last post until December 26.  Happy Holidays from my little family to yours. <3

During your breaks, take some time for yourself and relax with a great holiday classic.  Here are my top four favorites that I re-read and watch the movies of each year.  They will fill your hearts with warmth, happiness, laughter and holiday cheer.  If you don't celebrate any holidays...these are still fun to read!

Here are some classic books for the holidays that have even been made into movies.  Enjoy these with your friends and family this season.

"Cruel miser Ebeneezer Scrooge has never met a shilling he doesn’t like...and hardly a man he does. And he hates Christmas most of all. When Scrooge is visited by his old partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, he learns eternal lessons of charity, kindness, and goodwill. Experience a true Victorian Christmas"  Made into tons of different movies, my favorite is the Mickey Mouse version (yeah..yeah...not the most "realistic" version but hey! it's cute!).

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

ANSA: John Catennaci

WELCOME everyone to another meeting of ANSA!  John Catennaci is our newest member, keep reading to get to know him!

John Catennaci is an fiction author for adults.  He currently lives in Michigan with his Golden Retriever puppy and enjoying his retired life dedicated to Dianna's Way - his recently released novel.  Here's his official bio....

"All his life, John has felt fortunate to be doing work he felt passionate  about, supported by amazing family, friends, and coworkers.  While doing cement construction work at a tender age under his father’s watchful eye, he was tossed into a bundle of Italian immigrants and black laborers who shared their way of living with him—homemade wine, genuine Italian-bread-roasted-pepper sandwiches, fried chicken and drenched-in-oil-right-out-of-the-can sardines, garnished with a simple wisdom bathed in a luminosity that shaped his life.

Discovering molecules and atoms in high school, he was instantly drawn into chemical engineering. After twenty-five years of an immensely satisfying camaraderie only engineers can understand, the white collar/blue collar divide caught his attention, stimulating a curiosity about group dynamics, leading to a twenty-year, team-building career that took him across the US, Canada, Europe, and Saudi Arabia.

A common thread throughout has been a passion for writing, with a sprinkling of published short stories and articles in small magazines along the way, including a couple of Chicken Soup for the Soul stories. Dianna’s Way is his first book."

John began writing at a young age with journals and various publications.  It was just a hobby at first, but blossomed into a stunning novel about his wife years later.  His inspiration for Dianna's Way came from Dianna herself, "Everyone who knew her are in total agreement - she was a remarkable woman."  He was also inspired by other authors and the world around him.  "I write to understand myself and the world around me. I really don't know what I know until I write it down."   Authors that have inspired John are Ernest Hemingway and Khalil Gibran.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Quick Tip: Best of 2012

Today's quick tip is on eBooks gifting.  When you're shopping for eBooks this holiday season, make sure to check out the lists I have below.  The lists feature ebooks and books in every price range, including free, and by tons of authors - Indies and Best/Top Sellers.  You will find some gems on these lists that are worth your time and make great gifts!
I have found sooo many amazing gifts on these lists it's crazy.  I love the end of the year "Best of" lists!   Would you guys be interested in me doing one - "HileBee's Best of 2012" kinda thing... let me know, okay?  Authors, list where to find your eBook in the comments too!  Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

ANSA: Scott Thomas

WELCOME to another meeting of ANSA!  Scott Thomas is taking us on a tour of his writing career and novel.

Scott Thomas is a author of many genres - science fiction, supernatural/ghost stories, and fantasy.   "Primarily I think of myself as a ghost story author or writer of supernatural tales. But, I also have written a fantasy novel FELLENGREY and a fantasy collection called WESTERMEAD. I have also been known to write science fiction.  Some of my work could be called dark fantasy, I suppose, and some work may be described as straddling more than one genre."  He loves old houses, cats, New England, writing poetry, fiction and being an artisit.

He began writing at a young age with his own comic books.  "You could say it began with comic books I wrote and drew. I remember one in particular that I worked on for years, from when I was in the 5th grade on up to 1976 or 1977. In terms of actual fiction, I was writing as far back as 1971 or 1972 when I was 11 or 12-years-old. It’s continued from there on up to the present."  How cool is that?! Comic books first, then novels.

Scott's brother Jeffrey inspired him to write.  "My older brother Jeffrey is the person who really inspired my interest in actually writing fiction, though I always seem to have had a passion for making stories in some form or other. Jeffrey’s writing impressed me, and I began writing following his lead and largely to try to impress him and gain his approval. Jeffrey remains an inspiration to this day, of course! He’s a consummate writer, a brilliant author who should be making the kind of money that dreadful hacks like Danielle Steel (etc.) make. There have been others who have inspired me along the way, authors like Dylan Thomas, the brilliant singer/lyricist/poet Robin Williamson, M.R. James and others. Things that inspire me? New England and the natural world, the past."  Siblings and family are the best sources for inspiration.

Scott loves to read his brother Jeffrey's work, but also those of other authors.  "Authors I love include Dylan Thomas, M.R. James, Lovecraft, Truman Capote, H. Russell Wakefield, Poe, Dickens, Thomas Hardy. I largely like my authors dead, it seems! Living authors that impress me are my brother Jeffrey, Wilum H. Pugmire, Thomas Harris, Jeff VanderMeer."  His favorite novels are by his brother Jeffrey and Peter Blatty’s LEGION."

Here is Scott's official bio... "I am the author of 8 short story collections which include URN AND WILLOW, QUILL AND CANDLE, MIDNIGHT IN NEW ENGLAND, WESTERMEAD, THE GARDEN OF GHOSTS, and OVER THE DARKENING FIELDS. I am also the author of the fantasy novel FELLENGREY.  I have seen print in numerous anthologies, such as THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR #15, THE YEAR’S BEST HORROR #22, THE GHOST IN THE GAZEBO, OCTOBERLAND, LEVIATHAN #3, OTHERWORLDLY MAINE, and THE SOLARIS BOOK OF NEW FANTASY. My work appears with that of my brother Jeffrey Thomas in PUNKTOWN: SHADES OF GREY and THE SEA OF FLESH AND ASH.  I live with my girlfriend Peggy in a small village in coastal Maine."

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dianna's Way Blog Tour!

Welcome to the Dianna's Way blog tour!  Today's spotlight includes a book blurb and author bio.  Follow the rest of the tour here.

Dianna's Way Book Blurb:

Dianna is a young woman in her late 20’s when she meets John, a man in his late 40's. They fall in love and marry. A central feature of their life plan is to have one child to fulfill her fervent lifelong dream of being a mother.

Not to be.

Not long into their marriage, Dianna discovers she has an aggressive form of breast cancer.

Hand in hand, they begin a 17 year spiritual journey into the nature of love and healing. Along the way, she discovers and fulfills her life purpose and, in the process, takes John by the hand, gently helping him to reveal, then fulfill, his own.

In the beginning, John, being much older, thought he would be her teacher but gradually discovers in the most important dimensions of life quite the opposite is true. With Dianna’s guidance, he ultimately discovers we are all teachers, we are all students and we are all one.

Theirs is a story of courage, determination and a lightness of being, as they descend into the deepest valleys of crushing disappointment, pain and suffering only to rise again to ever higher peaks of appreciation, gratitude and love. Throughout it all, their journey is laced with light and laughter.

Even today, after her passing, they continue their relationship, piercing the Illusion that veils this reality, exploring its limits while continuing a spiritual journey without end. (end)

Friday, December 7, 2012

ANSA: Frank Nappi

Welcome back to ANSA everyone!  This week Frank Nappi is joining the ANSA authors.  Follow along with his current blog tour here.

Frank Nappi is an multi-genre author and a high school English and Creative writing teacher.  I'll let him explain his writing genre..."Well, after the release of my latest novel, Nobody Has To Know, the literary world may have to come up with a new distinction just to classify what it is I have been doing the last eight years. I guess to call my work eclectic would be an understatement. My first novel, Echoes From The Infantry, is an adult novel that delves into the world of a WWII veteran’s damaged psyche and subsequent family drama. That was followed up by The Legend of Mickey Tussler, described as a YA crossover novel that chronicles the exploits of a 17 year old autistic pitcher during the 1940’s. The sequel to that, Sophomore Campaign, is more of a YA story as Mickey's journey continues and now my latest novel, Nobody Has To Know, is  another  adult release, but in the genre of Mystery/Thriller. Some say I am  experiencing a professional identity crisis. I’d like to think of it, as others  have suggested, that I am  just very versatile."

His first memory of writing is when he was a little boy, "I can remember writing a story when I was very young - maybe five or six years old. It was about a king who rescues a girl and makes her his queen. Not really sure where the idea came from, or even how good it was. I just remember my mom typing it for me when I was finished and that image always makes me smile."  He published his first novel in 2005 with St. Martin's Press where he has continued to publish three more novels.  " I have always had this propensity to write - a love for the written word that to the best of my recollection is ineffable. I really believe it is in my DNA."

The biggest inspiration for his writing has come from two WWII veterans.  "When I met two very special 

WWII veterans - Mr. Bill McGinn and Mr. Eddie Hynes -- during a Veterans Speaker Program that I initiated at Oceanside High School for my classes, I was inspired like never before. The stories they told me, and our subsequent friendship, became the basis for my award winning Echoes From The Infantry. I have been writing ever since. Thank you Bill and Eddie."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Review Day: Blissful Lies

It's Review Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Title: Blissful Lies
Author: Jennifer Brown Thomas
Rating: 5 stars

**Stay tuned until the end, you can win your very own copy of this amazing novel plus other prizes!**

Book Blurb:
Things are often not what they seem in the decadent lifestyles of the rich and famous. Life can be messy and at times people do what feels wrong, because in the end it may turn out to be the best decision ever made. A close bond between 5 lifelong friends, now of college age, find the limits of their relationships are tested when multiple secrets and lies begin to surface, which ultimately leave them wondering if it is all too much to move forward as the family they once were. Forbidden love, drug dealing, date rape, betrayal, cheating, and more begin to unravel the strong ties between friends. Can they overcome secrets which warrant a very difficult life altering response?

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Devil's Garden

WELCOME to the The Devil's Garden blog tour!!  I have a special giveaway just for my amazing followers! <3 Read the post and then enter the giveaway!  See where the rest of the tour schedule here.

Just released on November 11, 2012, The Devil's Garden is already making an impact with readers on Amazon.

The Devil's Garden Book Blurb:
A Marine’s past is never far behind him, but sometimes it’s a lot closer than he thinks...

After years of enjoying the soft, quiet, civilian, family life, former Recon Marine Brandon Colson still has a large price on his head…only his family doesn’t know it. That is, until a heavily armed squad of terrorists breaks into his house and tries to kill him and his family. 

After swiftly dispatching the would-be assassins, Colson realizes the ghosts from his past have somehow managed to come back to haunt him. His worst nightmare has come true. His identity—a secret until now—has been mysteriously compromised. Something he did years ago, while on a recon mission during his tour of service, has kept anger burning in the hearts of powerful Arab adversaries. And the men who attacked his house are simply an omen of what is to come. 

With his family in hiding, Colson and local detective Sam Collier set out to locate and neutralize the remainder of the terrorist cell. It’s a race against time, and the plot they uncover along the way defies all expectation. 

Their fates in the balance until the last second, the two men must fight for their lives as they navigate a trail littered with bloodshed and revenge that leads straight to hell on earth: The Devil’s Garden.