Friday, December 15, 2017

Book Review: Secrets from Myself by Christine Hart

Today on Carly's View, I will be reviewing Secrets from Myself, the newest book from author Christine Hart. This book is geared toward a middle school audience, but I enjoyed reading it too. To get a taste of what this book is about, take a look at the blurb below.


Eleven-year-old Katelyn has always heard voices and had visions. She's long suspected she is hearing from past lives. But when she runs away from home and hides out with an old friend in Vancouver, her visions become more real. She finds herself writing the words of someone else in a diary, the words of someone whose fate was deeply impacted by the Komagata Maru incident. As Katelyn learns more about the Komagata Maru and the person communicating with her, she realizes that she must correct a wrong from the past.

When I first started reading this book, I assumed it was about older teens, maybe around sixteen or so. I was a bit surprised by how young the characters were. I was intrigued from the beginning of the book and read it straight through. I thought the premise was pretty cool . . . a girl writing in her diary in another language and as somebody else. That would be freaky for any one to deal with, but the character, Katelyn, is only eleven years old. 

The story crosses over between Katelyn's life and the life of the girl writing in her diary, Akasha, who has been dead many many years. Katelyn has to deal with her mother taking her to psychiatrist, being institutionalized, being put in a temporary facility for girls, and meeting with social workers to determine if she is well enough to return to society. Akasha had to deal with her boyfriends overbearing father, an arranged marriage between her love, Sanjay, and a girl he had never met, an attempt to immigrate from their home country to Canada, and a horrible accident that changed their future forever.

Some of the scenes are pretty tough to read, especially some dealing with Akasha's life without Sanjay. Katelyn's life wasn't a picnic either. All she wanted was to prove that this was really happening to her, that Akasha was taking over her body and mind. In the end, everything works out for Katelyn and Akasha.

I found this book to be a really good read. I liked the historical aspects mixed with the modern world. The book has a satisfying ending that wraps up all the story lines. All in all, the book is well-written, the story evokes emotions, both good and bad, from the reader, lessons are learned, and everything works out in the end. I would rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars.

I highly recommend getting a copy of this book for yourself and your middle school child.

To learn more about the author, Christine Hart, read on below:


Award-winning author Christine Hart lives on BC’s beautiful West Coast. She loves writing about places and spaces with rich history and visually fascinating elements as a backdrop for the surreal and spectacular. 

Christine has an undergraduate degree in writing and literature, along with a professional background in communications and design. She is a member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.

When not writing, she breaks stuff and makes stuff – in that order – for the Etsy shop Sleepless Storyteller.

Follow Christine Hart on Social Media:
Email Christine at contact@christine-hart.ca.

Visit her website for a glimpse inside her head: http://www.christine-hart.ca

Like Christine on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christineahart

Follow Christine on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/chris_a_hart

Become a friend or fan on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1335266.Christine_Hart

Follow Christine on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sleeplesss

Connect with Christine on Google+: http://plus.google.com/105318450527223737083

To buy this book and others by Christine Hart, check her out on  Amazon  at www.amazon.com/christine-hart/e/B01BSDU214/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Celebrating Christmas with Beth Carter

Our guest blogger today is author Beth Carter. Beth is an author with Soul Mate Publishing. She also writes children's books and recently tried her hand at indie publishing. Today Beth is talking about her Christmas books, in particular, her new Christmas novella, MIRACLE ON AISLE TWO. Don't forget to enter the giveaway later in the post. Thanks for taking over the blog today, Beth.

Thank you for having me, Carly! I love having the support of a fellow Soul Mate Publishing author. As background, I’ve written four books published by Soul Mate including my debut, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS, (its Book 2 counterpart, CHAOS AT COCONUTS, releases in April 2018); SLEEPING WITH ELVIS; and SANTA BABY, a novelette, for the SMP SIZZLE IN THE SNOW anthology.



Today, I’d like to discuss my Christmas novella, MIRACLE ON AISLE TWO, because, well, it’s the holiday season, it’s a new release, and who doesn’t love sweet, heartwarming Christmas stories?  I adore writing holiday stories. This is my third including my children’s picture book, SANTA’S SECRET.

As background, I wrote my novella quicker than any other book (even my kids’ books) because I was determined to get it published by November 1. I had never indie published before (I love Soul Mate but decided to do this in order to get my book out this holiday season!) Working 9-11 hour days for weeks, I ended up wearing wrist braces to meet my deadline and barely made it.
I’m humbled by several very positive reviews. In fact, I just received my first editorial review from UnCaged Book Reviews for MIRACLE ON AISLE TWO. It was five stars!! I’m still dancing around the house. Here’s what other reviewers are saying: “Perfect story to kick off the holidays.” “…got me blubbering happy tears. Loved the setting, storyline, especially the characters.” “Generates a feel-good Christmas spirit.” “…good things can happen—even during a teary moment at the customer service counter.” “…carried me through a whole range of emotions. Awesome Christmas story of giving.” “Single mom gets fired just before Christmas - dashing hero enters the picture ... but then there's so much more! This story is at once a fairy-tale and at the same time so grounded in detail that it feels so real - what a treat!”

The blurb will give you a good feel for the sweet tone, yet alarming dilemma in my novella, as well as the two adults, Madison and Adam. There’s also a five-year-old kindergartner, Betsy, who asks for just four gifts, which unbeknownst to her, are in dire jeopardy after her single mom gets fired two weeks before Christmas!
**GIVEAWAY** Tell me what gifts you loved as a kid? What did you whisper to Santa when you sat on his lap? I’ll choose one commenter to win an eBook of MIRACLE ON AISLE TWO!

Thank you for having me, Carly. Everyone, please follow me on social media, visit my website, and check out my books.  Merry Christmas!
Blurb for MIRACLE ON AISLE TWO:
Fired two weeks before Christmas, distraught single mom Madison wonders how she’ll afford to pay for her young daughter’s Christmas gifts and still keep a roof over their heads. Sleigh bells and twinkling lights are the last thing on her mind—until a handsome stranger intervenes.

Successful architect Adam Donovan dives into his work by renovating an elaborate hotel after his wife leaves him. He barely notices it’s Christmastime until he overhears a young mother’s tearful plea. Stepping in makes Adam feel like Old Saint Nick himself.

Will Madison and Adam find holiday joy—and possibly love—after discovering Adam’s secret or will it tear them apart?
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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Carly did her first 5K and other news

Hey Guys, it's Carly! I haven't had any guest scheduled for October, so I decided to write about a new experience, my very first ever 5k.


I made a promise to a friend before he passed away that I would train and complete a 5k. The goal being for me to get healthier in the process. He's been gone for three years now so I thought it was time for me to keep that promise. I started walking which I have posted about before. Check out my past blog on the top ten strangest things to happen in the cemetery while I was walking. 

I have also been trying to watch  what I eat. I am down 13 pounds and just completed my first 5k on Saturday. The day was cold and wet. We had a down-pouring of rain on Friday night and were calling for a rain/snow mix on Saturday morning. It was like 36 degrees and miserable. We considered cancelling, but it wasn't raining yet so we decided to go for it. 

I decided I wasn't going to run because the trail was really wet and had debris. I was afraid of falling and that would really mess me up. I did surprisingly well. I walked the complete 3.1 miles in 1 hour 11 minutes. The was my best time ever. I had gone 3.0 miles before and took 1 hour 15 minutes so I went farther and shaved some off my time. We even took a couple of selfies with some cows and pretty trees.

We all got a fun medal and a cape for participating. It was a lot of fun and I fullfilled my promise to my friend. Now that the pressure is off, I think I want to participate in some more 5k's and get to a better me. 

I really want to thank my "girls" who supported me and showed up to battle the elements on Saturday morning with me. Many thanks to Joanne, Deanna, Heather, and Sandy. Also to Lanna who moved recently and did the 5k in her new hometown. We had two other ladies, Debbie and Lisa who had things come up with their kids and couldn't make it, but I value their support all the same.

Earlier in the month, I took my daughter and mom to Tennessee for a little getaway in Pigeon Forge. My daughter was actually at school the day we left. She had no idea we were going. I signed her out early, put her in the Jeep, and announced we were going to Tennessee for the long weekend. She was so surprised she didn't know how to react. We had a wonderful time visiting the Dixie Stampede, Titanic, and the Island. It was so worth it to see the joy and excitement on my daughter's face. 



On the writing front, I have been working hard on Forest of the Mist: Guardians, Sasha Bishop: The Return, and The Last Girlfriend. I'm hoping to have Guardian done by the end of the year. My goal is to finish the Return by March. Those two books will complete both of those series. I can then concentrate on promoting two complete series while finishing The Last Girlfriend.  

Well, that is all for now. Hope you guys have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas. I hope to have some new guests on the blog soon.

Carly




Friday, October 6, 2017

Sofie Darling: Author Interview and Book Feature

Carly's View welcomes writer Sofie Darling, author of Three Lessons in Seduction. 

Sofie spent much of her twenties raising two boys and reading every book she could get her hands on. Once she realized that she was no longer satisfied with simply reading the books she loved, that she must write them, too, she decided to finish her degree and embark on a writing career. Mr. Darling and the boys gave her their wholehearted blessing.


When she’s not writing heroes who make her swoon, she runs a marathon in a different state every year, visits crumbling medieval castles whenever she gets a chance, and enjoys a slightly codependent relationship with her beagle, Bosco.

What made you decide to become a writer?

I went to university as a Biology major, but, like everyone else, had to take a few basic English classes. I’d always been a reader, so this was no great burden. At the top of an essay I’d written, a professor wrote, “By the way, you write beautifully.” Well, that was it. I was hooked.
Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

I love George Eliot, and her masterpiece, Middlemarch, for her ability to create a complex plot structure while never losing sight of the characters who drive the narrative. I love Judith Ivory’s novels not only for their exquisite writing, but mostly for the unforgettable chemistry between her heroes and heroines.

If you could be any character in any book, who would it be and why?


Oh, this is an easy one: Elizabeth Bennett. Why? I could say she’s an intelligent woman who speaks her mind, but is also willing to change it, and that would be true. But the real reason? She makes Mr. Darcy fall madly in love with her. And she gets Pemberley. :)

Do you have any hobbies you would like to share?
For whatever mad reason I became a distance runner about ten years ago. To this day, I can’t say I particularly enjoy it, but it’s something I feel compelled to do, if that makes any sense. Distance running is a lot like novel writing in that way. Both are work, but provoke a strange love in me.

Tell me about your first kiss? Was it magical or not so magical?

Well, I hope my Darling boys won’t read this, but my first kiss was pretty magical. I was sixteen and visiting my cousin in East Texas. Ever the wilder one of the two of us, she encouraged me to sneak out of the house one night with her and some boys. After a good bit of country road driving, we found ourselves at the Lake O’ the Pines. The sky that night was so clear we could see the Milky Way above and its reflection on the ink-black water below. One of the boys had long blonde hair and was just different enough to catch my city-girl eye. Anyway, we ended up kissing on the hood of his car beneath that star-bright sky. I never saw that boy again, and I didn’t have another kiss for over a year.

What’s an item on your bucket list that you haven’t done yet?
I’ve never gone blonde.

Tell us the best vacation you have ever been on.

Last year, I visited Ireland with Mr. Darling and the Darling boys. The eldest had just graduated from high school, so the entire trip had this lovely sweetness to it as we drove all over, hiked glorious cliffs, stomped around ruined castles, and just enjoyed being together as a family. It was wonderful.

Where do you find the inspiration for your books?

I generally find inspiration in other genres, mostly historical non-fiction.


Thank you for joining me today, Sofie.

BLURB FOR THREE LESSONS IN SEDUCTION:

Paris, September 1824

Lord Nicholas Asquith needs his wife. Too bad he broke her heart ten years ago.
Can he resist a second chance at the love he lost?

When Mariana catches the eye of the man at the center of an assassination plot, Nick puts aside their painful past and enlists her to obtain information by any means necessary, even if it means seducing the enemy agent. Even if the thought makes his blood boil. Only by keeping his distance from Mariana these last ten years was he able to pretend indifference to her. With every moment spent with her, he feels his tightly held control slipping . . .

Can she trust the spy who broke her heart?

Mariana spent the last decade forgetting Nick. Now she has the chance to best him at his own game, an opportunity she can’t resist, even as her view of him begins to shift. Increasingly, she wants nothing more than to seduce her own husband . . .

It’s only a matter of time before mad passion ignites, a passion never convincingly extinguished. A passion that insists on surrendering to the yearning of the flesh and, quite possibly, of the heart.

EXCERPT:

Nick watched Lady Mariana slip through a crack in the exterior French doors. He paused. A man like him had no business following virgins into the night for he had no intention of ever marrying. Marriage and children crippled a man involved in espionage.

Yet the hesitation lasted only long enough for him to set down his brandy. In three short strides, he was through the doors and beneath an indigo sky dotted with a million stars, the sort of sky only possible outside the fog-bound city. He stood uncertainly on the stone portico feeling exposed and a thousand ways a fool.

Where had she gone?

Instinct guided him down the wide staircase and onto a crushed granite path lined with all manner of flowers. Montfort’s was the quintessential English garden with its riots of overgrown blooms of every hue, tonight rendered monochromatic by the stark rays of the moon.

He’d begun to doubt his instinct when he rounded a bend in the path and spotted her some ten yards ahead, seeming to be in no particular hurry. Her ease was apparent in the relaxed set of her shoulders and the way her hand trailed idly above the flowers, allowing their velvety petals to brush the bare flesh of her palm. The way the light washed over and embraced her called to mind Selene, goddess of the moon.

He should turn back before they ruined each other.

Just as he made to retrace his steps toward the house, she called out over her shoulder, “Are you going to skulk behind me all night?”

They were the first words she ever spoke to him. His heart kicked up a notch, and his tongue became a sodden blanket in his mouth as a series of facts occurred to him:

He’d followed her. He was alone with her. And he wanted nothing more than to touch her and know the scent of her. His stride increased in length to catch her.

“Do we need a formal introduction before you will speak to me?” she teased, presenting him her flawless profile. The moon above limned her features in a contradictory soft, yet crisp, glow. “Or are you simply shy?”

“You must know who I am,” he called out to her back.

“He speaks.” An enchanting giggle floated over her shoulder. “I know you are one of many young men who venture out to my uncle’s estate to discuss England’s politics. But who you are specifically, I can’t say.”

They reached the ha-ha, and he watched her clear its low wall with ease before turning toward the edge of the woods, him following at her heels like a lap dog hungry for the tiniest crumb of her attention.

He found himself close behind her, close enough to catch her scent of jasmine and neroli. It struck him that this wasn’t the one-note scent of a debutante. On the surface, the floral jasmine indicated the shallow innocence of her peers, but the deep bitter-orange neroli complicated that assessment and made for a more interesting conclusion. She was different.

“Why did you leave the house?” he asked.

His lips curved into a half-smile when she jumped at his words. Words so close she might have felt their dewy warmth on the nape of her neck.

“I was hot.”

Three simpler words didn’t exist in the English language. Yet that one simple word—hot—sent a spike of longing straight through him. “I suppose the air was a bit stale,” he rasped.

They climbed a short rise that overlooked a small pond, wavy beams of moonlight rippling across its fluid surface. What was he doing in the woods with this moon goddess? It wasn’t too late to turn back.

Then she spoke the next words, and he was lost.

“I wasn’t hot from stale air.” She faced him, her amber eyes, clear and unflinching, gauging his reaction. “It was you. I was hot because of you.”

No longer could he keep his emotions under a tight rein. She’d negated that control with a few careless words that struck his core with the precision of a well-aimed arrow.

“Did no one ever teach you not to say such things to strange men?”

“They tried,” she said with the assuredness of a woman with far too much experience, or maybe it was far too little. “There is nothing strange about you.”

“You should try those words on a different man,” he said, straining for a tone of paternal guidance. If she believed it, he might, too. “One who would marry you.”

“Oh, I care naught for that,” she said on a laugh.

Instinctively, protectively, he reached out and pulled her close, her upturned lips a hairsbreadth away from his, her playful eyes inviting him to bridge the distance. “Society doesn’t tolerate ladies who entertain loose morals.”

With feelings of longing, desire, and bewilderment warring inside him, he lowered his head and touched his mouth to hers, unprepared for the responding punch of electricity. His hands slid to her waist, and her fingers found the back of his neck, her nails tickling across sensitive skin, her body swaying into his in surrender.

Kisses had the power to reveal truths about two people that extended far beyond trivialities like compatibility and incompatibility. This kiss revealed a single unshakeable truth: she was the only woman for him.

It was a truth that shook him clear through to his bones.

His eyes flew open, and he broke the kiss, eliciting a tiny gasp of protest from her. He watched with a mixture of self-loathing and thwarted passion as she opened desire-glazed eyes and closed kiss-crushed lips.

“A girl like you is a girl one could marry,” he murmured. They were heedless and dangerous words that fell from his lips, and he couldn’t understand why he spoke them.

“A girl like me?”

“You.”

“One could marry?”

“I.”

“Careful,” she whispered into the space between their lips. It was the only space that mattered in the universe. “I might hold you to such words.”

“I might hope you do.”

Again, words fell from his mouth of their own accord, and he’d proposed to her. There had been no biting it back.

And he hadn’t wanted to.

At least, not for another five seconds.

He’d proposed to Lady Mariana Montfort, a girl he didn’t know.

That wasn’t precisely true.

In the ways that mattered, he knew her.


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