WWW Wednesday…What I’m Reading…

What I’m Reading…

It’s been a very busy month so I haven’t posted as often as I would have liked to. Also, I haven’t read as many books as I wanted to! But here’s my list for this week. It includes Star Wars, Boy Bands, Paris Bookshops and Percy Jackson.

Happy Reading!

WWW WednesdayWWW Wednesday…

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions about what you’re reading in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:

  1. WHAT I’M READING

  2. WHAT I FINISHED READING

  3. WHAT WILL I READ NEXT

What I’m Reading…

Heir_to_the_Jedi

I went to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s presentation of the music of John Williams last week which included music from the Star Wars movies. This prompted me to pick this up. I’ve read tons of the Star Wars novels but not any in the last few years. I got this in the hopes it gives some clues to who Rey’s family is! I’ll let you know if I figure it out!

 

 

 

 

What I Read…

kill bandBlurb – Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.

We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next.

We swear.

From thrilling new talent Goldy Moldavsky comes a pitch-black, hilarious take on fandom and the badass girls who have the power to make—or break—the people we call “celebrities.”

There is a lot of love for this book…and a lot of dislike, just like boy bands. I enjoyed it, even though I couldn’t relate as well as fangirls of boy bands might. I’ve had my loves and obsessions but never, ever have I dreamed of going as far as these girls did! This book had the potential to go over the top, but the author reined things in nicely.Each situation was more implausible than the last one, but seemed totally possible. The characters were interesting and diverse, with the layers unfolding with perfect timing. And I loved the 80s movies references!

paris bookshopBlurb – “There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives.

This was a perfectly enjoyable book that made me want to travel the rivers of France! The characters were lovely, settings were incredible and the book references were fun and interesting. The only problem I have was that it took Perdu over 20 years to get over a lost love. It’s too bad he wasted all that time but he was a much more interesting character once he began to find himself. It’s a sweet book.

Rick-Riordan-The-Hidden-Oracle1Blurb – How do you punish an immortal? By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.

But Apollo has many enemies – gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

I loved reading the Percy Jackson series with my kids. But I need to read the Heroes of Olympus series to better understand who’s who in this book. Lots of new characters! Mortal Apollo starts off as irritating but soon begins to grow on me.

What I’ll Read Next…

wolf by wolf appassionata-jilly-cooper-book-cover-art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about you? What’s in your list this week?

Movies to music to books

I went to hear the Toronto Symphony Orchestra this week.

I’ve always loved music. While I tend to stick to the tried and true styles like pop, alternative, punk-pop and 80s classics, there is a fair amount of classical on my iTunes playlist. So it’s not unheard of my to attend a concert. My father-in-law had an extra ticket and I was happy to accompany him.

And then I found out the symphony was featuring the music of John Williams. John Williams, who scored the music for the Star Wars movies, and all but two of Steven Spielberg films.

Interest turned to excitement.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a HUGE Star Wars fan.

What I found interesting and enjoyable is that as I listened to the music, it wasn’t the movies I was thinking about. I kept going back to books.

appassionata-jilly-cooper-book-cover-artWatching the musicians reminded me of a Jilly Cooper book Appassionata. I’m a huge fan of Jilly Cooper and most of my collection of her novels are pretty beat up due to countless re-reading. Appassionata is about a orchestra in Rutminister, England and the shenanigans of the musicians. Gazing up at the rows of violins and cellos, I couldn’t help wondering if the behaviour of the Toronto Symphony was as scandalous as their counterparts in the Jilly Cooper’s world!

On closer observation, I doubt it. But I did come up with some interesting character sketches.

My mind tends to wander at events like this (happens all the time in church) and as I listened to the music, I found myself plotting two short stories I’ve been thinking of writing. And then the music from the Star Wars movies started and that was it – I was transported into the world of George Lucas.

What is it about those movies that draw me in? The writing isn’t that terrific, although the world building is incredible. The characters…I think it’s the characters that I connect with, but it’s not just because of the movies. When I was a teen and early twenties I started reading the Star Wars books. I found out about Leia and Han’s relationship, how Luke Skywalker fell in love (twice), everyone’s children, minor characters given a life…Reading those books really gave more meaning to the movies for me.swbooks

Unfortunately, all of the books I read are no longer ‘canon’ which means any future films won’t follow the timeline of the books. So just because Leia and Han had twins (boy and a girl) doesn’t mean that Rey and Kylo Ren are those kids. Maybe. I won’t know until the next movie.

I’m not sure what the premise of this post is – just to share the wanderings of my mind? To show how music can lead me to reminiscence about books?  To make me want to reread books? To show how everything can be interconnected back to books for me? Maybe just to tell you a little about my life.

In any event, thanks for listening and May the Force Be With You!!

About Being a Mom #I’mtired

I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t tired.

Quote_if-you-re-not-tired-you-re-not-doing-it-right

Not the pleaseanextra15minutessleep tired. No, I’m talking about the exhaustion of being responsible for other lives. And not even the big things – the health, happiness, well-being of a family. What really gets me is the little day-to-day things that no one every talks about. Like getting 3 kids straight from school to squash lessons to baseball non-stop, ensuring they have the proper shoes, socks, underwear, not to mention homework finished, forms signed and something somewhat healthy in their stomachs. Or continually having to hunt for something in the house that is actually exactly where you told them it was in the first place. Or the logistics involved getting kids to activities, parties, sports, etc etc…

I gave up on my fourteen year old when it comes to her doing things with her friends. That’s what public transit is for and we’re lucky that it’s so convenient here!

This isn’t a poor me post about the trials and tribulations of being a mother. It would have been a perfect for a mother’s day post. I haven’t been posting much lately due to deadlines, general chaos in my life and the realization that I’m an author, not a blogger. Not that I won’t blog, but I’ve stopped following a strict schedule. (Not that I was very good at following it!)  I’ll still do my what I’m reading posts, because they’re fun and I get lots of good recommendations about what to read, but I’m not going to give myself any more stress about getting to it every week. An author blog needs to allow the writer to connect with readers and potential readers and let them interact and get to know me.

If there’s one thing anyone needs to know about me is that I’m a mother. Which led to the I’m tired post.

I’m sure every mother can relate – this is an exhausting job we’ve signed up for. Fathers, too. I used to think that it was having babies, then toddlers that made you so tired. But no – I’ve got two teenagers and an almost tween and things really haven’t got any easier!

But as exhausted and unappreciated you find yourself raising children, the benefits certainly outweigh the negatives. If you’re a parent, when was the last time you thought of the absolute joy your children brings you?

My kids make me laugh all the time. I’m full of pride and respect at their accomplishments and the people they are becoming. I like to be around them, and sometimes their friends. I like them as people. I hurt for them when they are upset and cheer for when they’re happy. Being a mother may be exhausting and frustrating but it’s always amazing. Incredible. Awesome.

TinaFey_BAMQuoteI’ve managed to turn a morning where I was upset and resentful of the energy I spend just looking for things for my kids into a new appreciation for my kids and a feeling of gratitude that I have them. I may whine and rant and consume copious amounts of wine because of my kids, but I love them more than life itself. And I’m proud of who they are and who they will become.

If you’re reading this to learn something about me, it’s a good place to start. I’m a mom who loves her kids.

(And I write books!)

WWW Wednesday – What I’m Reading…

WWW WednesdayWWW Wednesday…What I’m Reading

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions about what you’re reading in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:

  1. WHAT I’M READING

  2. WHAT I FINISHED READING

  3. WHAT WILL I READ NEXT

What I’m Reading…

kill bandBlurb – Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.

We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next.

We swear.

From thrilling new talent Goldy Moldavsky comes a pitch-black, hilarious take on fandom and the badass girls who have the power to make—or break—the people we call “celebrities.”

I’m not sure what to expect of this book, but I think I’m going to like it!

What I Finished Reading…

kings's mrsBlurb – Set against the volatile backdrop of the English Civil War, dive into this enthralling tale of danger, bravery, and a woman who would do anything for the man she loved.

It’s 1651 and Jane Lane leads a privileged life inside the walls of her family’s home. At 25 years old, her parents are keen to see her settled, but Jane dreams of a union that goes beyond the advantageous match her father desires.

Her quiet world is shattered when Royalists, fighting to restore the crown to King Charles II, arrive at their door, imploring Jane and her family for help. They have been hiding the king, but Cromwell’s forces are close behind them, baying for Charles’ blood — and the blood of anyone who seeks to help him. Putting herself in mortal danger, Jane must help the king escape to safety by disguising him as her manservant.

With the shadow of the gallows dogging their every step, Jane finds herself falling in love…

I’m torn.

Things I liked about this book: pretty much everything. It was interesting to learn more about King Charles and the Restoration and the nine years Jane spent exiled from England moved pretty quickly.

Things I didn’t like: Jane. Or at least I didn’t like how such an intelligent, brave woman let herself be strung along by the King of England for nine years! I mean – come on! She knew he could never marry her, but still kept hope that he may love her for eternity. Of course he loved her – her, as well as the majority of the woman he came across in his life! Talk about a player. Yes, he was the King but still! Don’t be so stupid, Jane!

I also didn’t like how everyone’s name was Elizabeth or Mary or Catherine or William or John or Harry. Yes, I know that’s how it was back then, but it does make for a bit of a confusion when the cast of characters is so long!  🙂 I was so happy that there was a Rupert, if only for something different.

All told, it was a pretty good book. Not sure if I need to search out more by that author, though. We shall see. And as for my surprise for a certain scene early in the book – the other ‘romantic’ bits were pretty tame!

 

What I’ll Read Next…

I don’t usually plan out my next book, let alone my next too, but I know these two books are the next to read on my list…

paris bookshop“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives.

and then

morning starDarrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied – and too glorious to surrender.

So that’s my list for the week. How about you? What are you reading?

Dragon Tour! I had so much fun today!

The Dragon Under the MountainDRAGON ON TOUR!

For my second stop on the DRAGON TOUR I visited Jennifer Flewelling’s Grade 5/6 class at Queensdale Public School in Hamilton.

For the first stop, I went in to Ms. Mohamed’s Grade 4 class at Cedarvale Community School in Toronto. I forgot to take pictures but had a great time!

The visit to Mrs. Flewelling’s class was so much fun! I want to thank the students for the warm welcome and the beautiful card and to Adam and Lucas for taking me on a tour of the school. The kids had a never-ending supply of questions for me about the book and the writing process. Thank you Jen, for inviting me to visit! You have a great bunch of kids!

IMG_4263

IMG_4265IMG_4266I never imagined visiting classrooms would be so much fun!  Next stop on the DRAGON TOUR….?

WWW Wednesday…What I’m Reading

WWW Wednesday…What I’m Reading

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions about what you’re reading in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:

  1. WHAT I’M READING

  2. WHAT I FINISHED READING

  3. WHAT WILL I READ NEXT

What I’m Reading…

kings's mrsBlurb – Set against the volatile backdrop of the English Civil War, dive into this enthralling tale of danger, bravery, and a woman who would do anything for the man she loved.

It’s 1651 and Jane Lane leads a privileged life inside the walls of her family’s home. At 25 years old, her parents are keen to see her settled, but Jane dreams of a union that goes beyond the advantageous match her father desires.

Her quiet world is shattered when Royalists, fighting to restore the crown to King Charles II, arrive at their door, imploring Jane and her family for help. They have been hiding the king, but Cromwell’s forces are close behind them, baying for Charles’ blood — and the blood of anyone who seeks to help him. Putting herself in mortal danger, Jane must help the king escape to safety by disguising him as her manservant.

With the shadow of the gallows dogging their every step, Jane finds herself falling in love…

I picked this up a few months ago at the bargain table at Indigo. It was about Charles II and I haven’t read a lot about him, so I thought I needed a history lesson, historical fiction style.

Well. It’s not exactly as I expected.

Page 7 – Jane comes across a gypsy in her family’s orchard:  “He was not more than ten feet away and what stopped her in her tracks was the jolt of seeing that one of his hands was in motion in his lap, grasping a stalk of vivid ruddy flesh.”

So it’s one of those books!

While I am certainly not opposed to spicy/sexy/bodice ripping type of books, I was not expecting it here! But I’m adjusting my expectations and will continue to read about Jane’s sexual awakening when she meets the king, rather than how she saves the monarchy!

What I Finished Reading…

shadow queenBlurb – From the author of the beloved Josephine B. Trilogy, comes a spellbinding novel inspired by the true story of a young woman who rises from poverty to become confidante to the most powerful, provocative and dangerous woman in the 17th century French court: the mistress of the charismatic Sun King.

1660, Paris

Claudette’s life is like an ever-revolving stage set. From an impoverished childhood wandering the French countryside with her family’s acting troupe, Claudette finally witnesses her mother’s astonishing rise to stardom in Parisian theaters. Working with playwrights Corneille, Molière and Racine, Claudette’s life is culturally rich, but like all in the theatrical world at the time, she’s socially scorned.

A series of chance encounters gradually pull Claudette into the alluring orbit of Athénaïs de Montespan, mistress to Louis XIV and reigning “Shadow Queen.” Needing someone to safeguard her secrets, Athénaïs offers to hire Claudette as her personal attendant.

Enticed by the promise of riches and respectability, Claudette leaves the world of the theater only to find that court is very much like a stage, with outward shows of loyalty masking more devious intentions. This parallel is not lost on Athénaïs, who fears political enemies are plotting her ruin as young courtesans angle to take the coveted spot in the king’s bed.

Indeed, Claudette’s “reputable” new position is marked by spying, illicit trysts and titanic power struggles. As Athénaïs, becomes ever more desperate to hold onto the King’s favor, innocent love charms move into the realm of deadly Black Magic, and Claudette is forced to consider a move that will put her own life—and the family she loves so dearly—at risk.

Set against the gilded opulence of a newly-constructed Versailles and the War of Theaters, THE SHADOW QUEEN is a seductive, gripping novel about the lure of wealth, the illusion of power, and the increasingly uneasy relationship between two strong-willed women whose actions could shape the future of France.

I loved Sandra Gulland’s Josephine B.’s trilogy and didn’t expect to find the same enjoyment here. The Shadow Queen was good, but I wanted more. There was a lot of skipped years and dropped subplots that the author could have continued with had the book been longer or even a trilogy. And I would have liked more on Claudette and Athenais’ relationship. But it was fun reading about court intrigues and Parisian theater…just wish there was more about it.

yellow brickBlurb – In this dark, action-packed third book in the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, Amy Gumm—the new girl from Kansas—must do everything in her power to save Kansas, kill Dorothy, and make Oz a free land once more.

Amy Gumm’s mission to take down Dorothy Gale is not going according to plan. Dorothy has found a way to bridge the worlds of Oz and Kansas, and if the power-hungry dictator of Oz has her way, Kansas will be destroyed forever. Now, Amy has to team up with the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to save her home, restore the balance between the magic and nonmagic worlds, maybe get the guy—and kill that not-so-sweet Kansas farm girl once and for all.

In the third installment of the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, Danielle Paige’s twisted versions of beloved Oz characters are back, including the biggest, baddest, most famous of all: the Wicked Witch of the West.

Welcome to the other side of the rainbow. Here there’s danger around every corner, and magic shoes won’t be able to save you.

There’s a fourth book. Didn’t know about that.

Again, I love how the author uses the setting and characters of Oz; there is so much potential here, but a disappointing outcome. Sigh. 🙁

What I’ll Read next…

Let’s see if The King’s Mistress is good enough for me to continue on my historical fiction kick. Somehow, I doubt it!

Tales of an indie author – My feelings have been hurt

Dr.-Who

Ready for a bit of a pity-party?

I feel like I’ve been a blog tour forever, first for my alter-ego Anna Ellis and then promoting The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd.

It’s not my first rodeo, so I do know what to expect. It’s a lot of fun as I race to check for reviews and posts each morning, but the preparation needs a lot of work. Luckily, when you sign up with a company that organizes these things, they do the majority of the work. I went with Chick Lit Plus, for the second time (Absinthe Doesn’t Make the Heart Grow Fonder in 2015) and would recommend Samantha to anyone in the chick lit/women’s fiction field. I had great results; good reviews, positive feedback, got to know some new bloggers.

I’ve been promoting Charlotte as much as I can recently. I feel like I’ve been scrounging for reviews (please, if you’ve read Charlotte or any of my other books, PLEASE PLEASE review on Amazon or Goodreads!) and for bloggers to feature me on their site. Again, great response, lots of support from everyone I’ve come across. Yay! Charlotte is loved!

Until this week. The last day of my tour was Monday but I had connected with a couple of bloggers who agreed to feature me Tuesday and Wednesday. That would be good timing, I thought to myself. Prolong my tour for a couple of days.

Tuesday came along – I checked the blog that was suppose to feature me. Nothing there.

okay, maybe she’s late with the post. I’ll check again later.

Nothing later. Or the next day.

The blog that was supposed to feature me Wednesday…there’s nothing there either.

What’s going on? Did I mess up the dates? Have these two bloggers banded together with some vendetta for me? (writer’s imagination) Is it an unfortunate coincidence? Is it still April?

As of now, two bloggers who claim to support indie authors by featuring them on their sites haven’t put up the guest posts I wrote for them. (actually, make that 3 – I wrote this really neat Charlotte dossier for a post a month ago and it’s still never appeared). I worked hard on those posts and while they will eventually appear on my site, it would have been nice for my work to find new readers, which is the point of doing guest posts. I understand that it isn’t easy to be a blogger – these aren’t paid positions, people support others out of the goodness of their hearts. I know – I’ve done it. I’ve had bloggers who couldn’t post of the promised day before, but they contacted me beforehand. Is it fair that I think it’s irresponsible and actually rude not to hold up your end of a commitment? Yes, they could have an emergency and a very plausible reason for not posting my work on the agreed on date, but 3 of them? That seems a strange coincidence.

If I was angrier and less paranoid about a vendetta towards me, I’d list the blogs and perhaps turn high school-ish and insist they be ignored by all. I’m not going to do that. I’m not even sure I’ll contact them. They lost a reader and they lost my support. I like to think that means something, but obviously not to these bloggers.

Indie authors – has this ever happened to you? Is this a common occurrence that just hasn’t happened to me before?

How Charlotte Dodd Stuck with me

How I refused to give up on the character of Charlotte Dodd.

One of the spots on my blog tour with CLP Blog Tours was Connect with Click Lit Club. Here’s the guest post featured on the site.

I really think I’d like to be a superhero.

holly kerr1Or maybe a secret agent. Nothing too dangerous of course. I am a forty-something mother and I like to think my kids still need me around! But have you ever wondered … wanted … fantasized a bit about having a little more excitement in your life? A little danger? Have you thought about what it would be like to jump out of a plane onto the roof of a building, sneak in, have to fight your way through the bad guys with such awesome moves that you manage this with your hair still in place and not a bruise on your body to rescue your man or someone equally deserving?

I have to admit, I have had such daydreams.

The Secret Life of Charlotte DoddAnd that’s why I wrote The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd.

I’m not a violent person in any means. I’m an average, baseball mom of three. I’m an author. And one of the more enjoyable aspects of being a writer is that you get to imagine your characters (yourself!) in all sorts of situations.

I first came up with the idea for The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd years ago. I had finished writing my first novel (then titled Baby! Baby? Baby?!, now Unexpecting), a chick lit novel about a woman who wants to have a baby, and was debating what my next book would be. At this time, I had been quite taken with the Jennifer Garner show Alias. Watching the show – along with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, another of my favourites – really strengthened my little secret agent/super hero fantasy. I loved the idea of a strong, confident, independent woman being able to take control of any situation.

There were a few moments in those two television shows that inspired The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd. Sydney Bristow sucking the air from a submerged car tire keep from drowning. A car doing a 360 turn during a car chase. And Buffy’s signature fight move – rolling back onto the shoulders and flipping to her feet. Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to do things like that?

And that’s when I came up with the character of Charlotte Dodd. She was part Sydney Bristow, part Buffy with a little Jason Bourne thrown in.

She would be an agent with a super-secret government organization. She was recruited at a very young age and from a family of spies. Her grandfather was the co-creator of the National Intelligence and Information Agency, a super secret government organization that catapulted Canada to the forefront of worldwide espionage. (I know, I know – Canada? Fiction, remember?!)

I came up with other characters – Charlotte’s brothers and their roles in the NIIA, fellow agents Benjy and Payton. I came up with a bit of a love triangle with Ham and Luke. I devised the fight scene where she first meets Benjy, who reminded Charlotte of Neil Patrick Harris. You can tell how long ago I first came up with the story because the early reversions mention Neil Patrick Harris’ childhood character, Doogie Howser!
And that’s where the story stalled. But never forgotten, never far from my thoughts. I had all these characters – I had Charlotte – and they needed something to do.

Over the years, Charlotte has stayed with me but the story has gone through a lot of changes. I wrote at least five versions of Charlotte, trunking each one. Charlotte lost her memory, got it back. One memorable version had Charlotte as part vampire, which made her an excellent vampire hunter!

And then last year, after my third book was published – Absinthe Doesn’t Make the Heart Grow Fonder – I pulled Charlotte out again. I had found critique partners and I needed to give them something to critique! This time, Charlotte was still a spy but had no memory of her time as a secret agent. I took few parts of my original story and started again.

I think this is the best revision of Charlotte I could have come up with. She’s a character that I fell in love with, one who wouldn’t leave me alone. It’s been over ten years since I first came up with the idea of Charlotte and so finally publishing the story was a very happy moment. It was great to finally finish what I started so long ago, and let my daydreams of the life of a secret agent run wild!

But Charlotte wasn’t enough for me. I’m ready for my next mission. I’m working on a sequel!

For the full post, check out Connect with Chick Lit Club

 

WWW Wednesday – What I’m Reading…

WWW WednesdayWWW Wednesday…What I’m Reading

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:

  1. WHAT I’M READING

  2. WHAT I FINISHED READING

  3. WHAT WILL I READ NEXT

What I’m Reading…

yellow brickBlurb – In this dark, action-packed third book in the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, Amy Gumm—the new girl from Kansas—must do everything in her power to save Kansas, kill Dorothy, and make Oz a free land once more.

Amy Gumm’s mission to take down Dorothy Gale is not going according to plan. Dorothy has found a way to bridge the worlds of Oz and Kansas, and if the power-hungry dictator of Oz has her way, Kansas will be destroyed forever. Now, Amy has to team up with the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to save her home, restore the balance between the magic and nonmagic worlds, maybe get the guy—and kill that not-so-sweet Kansas farm girl once and for all.

In the third installment of the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, Danielle Paige’s twisted versions of beloved Oz characters are back, including the biggest, baddest, most famous of all: the Wicked Witch of the West.

Welcome to the other side of the rainbow. Here there’s danger around every corner, and magic shoes won’t be able to save you.

Along with the Red Queen series (see below) this series should have been a no-brainer for me. It’s about Oz: the wicked witches are good and Glinda is bad and Dorothy is a freak and there’s a new girl from Kansas (with a rat instead of Toto). I grew up reading the Oz books – not just the Wicked of Oz, but all of them. That is what makes this series fun – Danielle Paige pulls out all sort of characters from the L.Frank Baum archives and twists them around.

I should love this series. Everything about it begs for me to worship it. But I can’t. 🙁

It’s okay. Just okay. The third in the series doesn’t start as disappointing as the last one because Amy is back in Kansas. I think the problem is that the author isn’t that proficient in writing this kind of fantasy. This world was ready made for her, and while I never expected it to live up to the original (ok, maybe I hoped at bit!) it’s not even in the ball park. I doubt it’s in the same city the ball park is in.

Maybe something will happen in the last thirty pages or so that will change my mind, but I’m not hopeful.

What I Read…

glass swordBlurb – Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

So…well…what do I say about Glass Sword?

It’s my own fault. I was sucked in to the hype about the first book in the series Red Queen when it came out, and had to read it. Dystopian YA – sounded perfect for me. But then I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would have. As much as I really should have…and I really didn’t know why.

Now I know why – Mare Barrow. Or Bone Marrow!! She’s back in Glass Sword and does her best to ruin it!  She’s not a good narrator, not a likable character. She’s too full of herself and her whoaisme is tedious at times, tiresome at best. The book itself is good – full of action, well-written, great characters…except for Mare. Keep her out of it! This may be difficult because she’s the main character, but c’mon Victoria Aveyard – you can find a way. Because if you don’t, I’m not sure I can read the third book. I’m already regretting getting Glass Sword.

I gave this a disappointed 2 stars on Goodreads.

What I’ll Read Next…

My comments are a bit on the negative side today, mainly because I feel let down and disappointed by my last few books. I need something that won’t let me down! I’m a bit afraid to pick anything that isn’t tried and true. Suggestions would be helpful!

 

The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd features on Jersey Girl Book Reviews today

The Serect Life ofCharlotte Dodd cpl tourI’ve taken The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd on a blog tour with CLP Tours! This is the last day of my tour and today I’m featured on Jersey Girl Book Reviews.  I thought I’d share the guest post and review!  Another 4 stars!

Jersey Girl Review: The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd

 Book Review:

The Secret Life of Charlotte DoddWhat’s a girl to do when she doesn’t remember that she has a secret life …. as a spy?!

Author Holly Kerr weaves an intriguing chick lit tale with a spy thriller twist that will easily keep the reader engaged and guessing what will happen next.

Set in Toronto, twenty-seven year old Charlotte “Lottie” Dodd takes the reader along for the ride when her quiet life is turned upside down after she helps a man named Benjamin “Benjy” Lionel get away from two big Russian mobsters. A touch of deja vu and a wild car chase through the streets of Toronto leads Charlotte and Benjy on a wild adventure, and it gets even crazier when Charlotte’s flashbacks become reality when she is told that she is really a spy for the Canadian government, and that her services are needed because her family is in danger!

The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd is a fast paced and action packed tale that follows Charlotte as she tries to remember her past secret life in order to save her family and the agency from a rival secret intelligence organization that views them as a threat and is trying to destroy them. As the story unfolds, the reader is kept on their toes with intriguing twists and turns that will keep them guessing what will happen next to this sassy spy during her crazy adventure.

The story starts out slow and is a bit confusing as the reader tries to figure out what the heck is going on with Charlotte, but then the author turns it up a notch and gets the reader engaged when Charlotte is told about her past and the secret life that she has led as a spy. That’s when the thrilling adventure begins as her recollections resurface and she has to sort out the questions involving her family, her boyfriend Luke, and the rival organization that is after her family.

So if you are interested in reading a chick lit tale with an intriguing twist added into the mix, then look no further, The Secret Life of Charlotte Doddis the book for you!
RATING: 4 STARS 

Guest Post

 Getting to know me

One of the nicest parts about gong on a blog tour is being featured on different blogs, being able to do interviews and guests posts. Like this one! Authors are always looking to find new readers and a great way to do that is let the potential readers get to know you, the person behind the books.
So let’s get to know me.
The most important thing, the reason I’m visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews Is that I wrote a book. I’ve written a few actually, but my fourth and latest novel, is The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd. It’s about a spy who had her memory wiped and needs to remember her previous life in order to save the man she loves. I call it chick lit/spy thriller because there’s lots of action.
When I don’t have my author hat on, I’m wearing my mommy cap. I have three amazing kids running havoc in my life. That’s also very important to know about me. I’m a mother first, writer second, but since I’m here promoting my book and not my kids, I thought I’d put the writing first!
My eldest daughter thinks I’m weird, which translates in me having a greater than average knowledge of pop culture, including super heroes, Star Wars and Joss Whedon television shows. In the eyes of a fourteen year old, this knowledge apparently makes me a geek. I’m okay with that moniker.
The number one thing on my bucket list is to run a marathon. I’ve come close – if you consider finishing a half marathon close. I’ve actually run three halves and I’m thinking this may be the year I make it all the way. Running relaxes me and it’s a great time to plan out my novels. I don’t plot out my books, but I do need some time to plan out scenes or get into the heads of my characters. Plus, the exercise does a great job offsetting the glass of wine I enjoy while cooking.
Along with the running, some other things I enjoy are cooking (I make the best mushroom risotto), movies (one of the reasons I have that geek thing going on), spending time in my gardens and spending time with friends. We live in a great neighborhood and got into the habit of inviting neighbors over on Friday nights for wine and pizza. The kids run around in a pack, the adults get to unwind and socialize after the week at work and everyone has a good time.
Along with my three other novels (since I’m on a book tour, let’s go ahead and talk about all of them, shall we?) Unexpecting, Coming Home andAbsinthe Doesn’t Make the Heart Grow Fonder, I’ve also written a children’s book. I wrote The Dragon Under the Mountain for my kids’ Christmas present last year. They always complained about not being able to read my books, so I decided to write them one, and gave them a starring role. I read a few chapters to my youngest daughter’s class, and I’ll also be going on a ‘Dragon Tour‘, visiting a few classrooms in the area.
So that’s me in a nutshell. Thanks for allowing me to introduce myself!

Check out the full feature here and don’t forget to sign up for the the $20 Amazon Gift Card