Thursday, August 27, 2015

Interview with Rosanna Rae, author of Lola's Money

RM: Hello,
          My Name is Dhivya Balaji and I am a book blogger and reviewer with Readers Muse. I am participating in the tour organised by iRead book tours and am reviewing your book ‘Lola’s Money’. Thank you for agreeing to answer some questions that I have for you.
Hello, Dhivya.
          I’m really pleased that you enjoyed reading ‘Lola’s Money’. That’s the main thing every author wants to hear from readers. I hope the following answers to your questions are the kind of replies you’re looking for.
RM Note: Special thanks to the author for patiently answering the questions. I enjoyed reading these as much as reading the book!
Q.     Usually people think winning the lottery is the ultimate luck. What prompted you to write a story that mentions the difficulties faced once the lottery is won? Is this based on some real events?
A.      I had been sitting at my desk finishing my previous novel (April’s Man) and wondering if I would soon get an idea for another one. Before I closed my laptop for the night, I decided to check my Lottery ticket. That made me think about what it would be like to win the jackpot and the changes it would bring. The idea of starting a new story began to merge with thoughts of what it would be like to win a great deal of money – and ‘Lola’s Money’ was conceived. I have no personal experience of substantial monetary wins, unfortunately! I simply projected my thoughts into the practical changes a big win would bring and the attitudes other people would be likely to display, given the basic instincts inherent in human nature.
Q.     What do you think is the most exciting part of actually winning a lottery?
A.      All of a sudden you would have a great deal of freedom, including freedom from financial worries, and you would have the power to do anything you wanted to do, including helping others. It’s a ‘wish fulfilment’ dream come true. You would feel that Fate or Lady Luck had smiled on you, and that would be very pleasant and exciting in itself. If it happened to me, I think it would instantly make me feel enriched and empowered in every way. No other financial event could touch every corner of your life quite so overwhelmingly.
Q.     Have you ever been on a cruise? If so, could you share any memorable anecdotes? (I really wanted to go on a cruise after reading this book!)
A.      My husband and I went on a Mediterranean cruise a few years ago to celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary. We both enjoyed it very much. The friendliness and attentiveness of the Filipino staff (which I mention in the book) was something that stayed with us long after the cruise. When they served a course at the evening meal, they would always say, “Enjoy your soup!” or Enjoy your meal! ”. Alex and I still say that to each other now and again, when sitting down to a meal or when being served in a restaurant. Also, as soon as someone leaves their cabin on a cruise ship, the staff re-make the bed and tidy anything else that needs tidied. We used to joke that, on coming out of the ensuite bathroom, you almost expected to find the bed re-made!
Q.     Which character is your favourite among all those you have created?
A.      My favourite character in ‘Lola’s Money’ is Betty French, Lola’s mother. She is an honest, no-nonsense sort of person who puts herself out for her daughter without being pushy or interfering. She talks to her as an equal and tries to give her good advice when she feels it’s needed. I don’t have a daughter myself – I have three lovely sons – but I hope I have achieved the kind of good parenting balance that Betty achieved with Lola. In fact, I think Betty is my favourite character out of all those I have created, including those in my four previous novels.
Q.     The title for the book is so direct that we could immediately understand what it was about. Was this intentional? Is there any specific reason behind choosing this title (and subsequently any significance behind the cover page?)
A.      I had a bad experience with my first novel, which I originally called ‘Living a Lie’. I presumed titles came under copyright laws, as they always used to do, and that if my publisher accepted it, then no one had already used it. But when I went online to view my book after publication I was dismayed to discover that I had used the same title as one of Josephine Cox’s novels! Since then, I keep my titles very specific. I wanted to use a picture of a cruise ship sailing across open seas for the front cover of ‘Lola’s Money’, but liners are all individually named and belong to shipping companies, so I would have had to get permission from the company and also make sure that that particular ship cruises the areas covered in my book. I didn’t want to do that, so I browsed CreateSpace’s picture gallery and saw the champagne bottle picture. It fitted the bill perfectly. In conjunction with the title, it conveys the book’s theme very effectively.
Q.     Do you have any literary inspiration? (A particular author whose works interest and influence you?)
A.      I was first inspired to become a writer after reading Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’. I liked everything about the book: the direct writing style, the characters and the story itself. I felt that the things Jane was passionate about were a reflection of what Charlotte herself was passionate about. It all came from the heart. In my teens, I read Evelyn Anthony’s books and enjoyed them very much, despite not being a politically-minded person myself. There was so much awareness of the human condition in them and also strong psychological profiles of wrongdoers and their motivations. My most recent enjoyment within my own genre of romantic fiction has been reading several of the novels of Nora Roberts, whom I admire very much.
Q.               Could we expect any more books from you?

A.      I am currently writing my sixth book. It’s entitled ‘Hazel’s Home’. It’s about a young Scottish woman who works for a large, international advertising agency. When Blake Hennessey, the boss (and owner) of the company, requests that she travel to New York to work on a project for an important new client, she flies off to Manhattan. As soon as Blake and Hazel meet, they fall for each other. Their relationship seems doomed, however, when they have a major argument that causes them to separate. Hazel has a great deal to learn – and to suffer – before she finally finds her true home. I am only about halfway through the first draft, so I don’t expect to complete the new book until well into next year. 

Lola's Money by Rosanna Rae : A Review




BOOK DETAILS:
Book Title Lola's Money by Rosanna Rae
Category:  Adult fiction, 236 pages
Genre:  Contemporary women's fiction with romance
Publisher:  CreateSpace
Release date:  February 18, 2015

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
          Lola French is stunned when she wins millions on the Lottery, and she is sure all her dreams are about to come true. However, right from the start, before she even claims her winnings, things begin to change and she separates abruptly and acrimoniously from the man she has been living with.
          Lola’s colleagues are initially pleased for her, but eventually begin to resent her new status. One of them, Tom, whom she really likes, asks her out; but he does it on the day that news of her win spreads through the office and she sadly turns him down. She decides to leave her job as a Financial Adviser in Edinburgh and explore the limitless possibilities of her new lifestyle.
          When Lola and her mother excitedly set off on a Mediterranean cruise, it’s not long before they both meet men they are interested in. However, their holiday of a lifetime catapults them into a life-changing sequence of dramatic and terrifying events that neither of them will ever forget. When she has to return to reality, Lola unexpectedly finds herself involved with Tom again! But the storm clouds are looming overhead, and as the recent past catches up with her and forces her to confront violence and danger once more, Lola risks losing Tom forever.
REVIEW:
          Lola’s Money – the other side of the coin.
          That sums up the one word description I wanted to give about this book. Usually, most people think winning the lottery would be the ultimate luck and imagine the countless opportunities it would provide. But the reality is a tad different. Lola’s money is a unique take on what really happens after you actually win the lottery – once the hullabaloo surrounding the winning is over. It deals with problems like resentful colleagues, people fishing for money, opportunist people suddenly becoming friends and the whole hassle of not having even a moment of peace and quiet.
          But, the upside is having a lot of money that could be spent in unimaginable ways. Lola’s Money shows both sides of the whole lottery game. The actual process of money transfer is not shown clearly (It isn’t necessary to the plot) but the finer aspects of the lead character’s life are portrayed in great detail. Lola, an unassuming woman in her late twenties wins the lottery. Her first reaction is disbelief then shock. Once she gets over all that, she does a few things she had been waiting to do even before the money came. She plans to have a happy, relaxed life. But what Lola doesn’t count on are the resentful people around her who initially seem happy but are slowly getting antsy.
          Very soon, Lola faces problems wherever she goes. A planned cruise goes horribly wrong and everything she loves is put at stake. How Lola comes out of that and whether or not she keeps the money she has won forms the rest of the story. The plotline has a one word description that slowly spirals in different depths. There is kidnapping, manhunt, failed or turned down romances, office spite, mad exes trying to ruin the money and an estranged father in the plot.
          The author has managed to thankfully paint each and every character clearly, if not deeply. Sometimes you can get so frustrated with the lead character that you feel yourself wanting to shout at her and ask her to see sense. But Lola manages to see her problems through to the end. The supporting characters mostly steal the show with Betty, Lola’s mother, being a top favourite and Tom, her office love interest, being a close second.
          The story has a linear progression and is a clear glass from start to finish. The language is simple and save a few typos and obvious proofreading errors, the overall book reading experience is pleasant. Thanks to the author for bringing out the other end of winning a lottery.      
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  

          Rosanna Rae is married with three grown-up sons and lives in Livingston, Scotland. She has a B.A. (Open) in Social Science subjects and also took a writing course with The Writers Bureau some years ago. She spent 16 years at home raising her family and then returned to full-time secretarial employment in Edinburgh.
          Rosanna has wanted to write fiction since she was ten years of age, after reading an abridged version of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. She is delighted to be now fulfilling that early ambition.
          'Lola's Money' is the author's fifth novel; she is currently writing her sixth book.
PRICE: $9.50 for paperback.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Unexpected Gifts by S.R Mallery : A Review

 Blog Tour Schedule + Giveaway: UNEXPECTED GIFTS by SR Mallery

Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour of Unexpected Gifts by S.R Mallery.  
"Unexpected Gifts" is the story of a confused college student who gains clarity in life when she begins to read the journals and diaries of her ancestors from America's past.
Checkout my post and enter the cool giveaway! :)

Follow the Tour to read Interviews, Excerpts, Reviews and Guest Posts. Checkout the schedule of the Tour: Click Here

~About the Book~

Title and Author: Unexpected Gifts by S.R Mallery
No. of Pages: 317
Publication Date: 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

Can we learn from our ancestral past? Do our relatives’ behaviors help mold our own? 

In "Unexpected Gifts" that is precisely what happens to Sonia, a confused college student, heading for addictions and forever choosing the wrong man. Searching for answers, she begins to read her family’s diaries and journals from America’s past: the Vietnam War, Woodstock, and Timothy Leary era; Tupperware parties, McCarthyism, and Black Power; the Great Depression, dance marathons, and Eleanor Roosevelt; the immigrant experience and the Suffragists. Back and forth the book journeys, linking yesteryear with modern life until finally, by understanding her ancestors' hardships and faults, she gains enough clarity to make some right choices.


My Review:

Having read another book ‘Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads’ by the author S R Mallery previously, I picked up ‘Unexpected Gifts’ with high expectations. And I loved this book every bit as much as I loved the previous one. To say that the author has got a unique gift of story telling would be an understatement.

Unexpected Gifts is a story about how a woman’s past and ancestors indirectly give her a unique gift – the stories of their lives from which she learns how to live her life and stop doing the mistakes she is doing. Sonia is a woman who is spiraling towards addiction in a modern world and does not have much luck in choosing a right man for herself. She makes mistakes even though she knows they aren’t good for her and ends up being confused and borderline OCD most of the time. A chance talk with her mother, Lily, and subsequent discovery of an old family treasure trove that contains various letters, mementoes, artifacts of her ancestors gives her a glimpse into America’s history and what everyone had been through. She applies the lessons from the past in her current life and learns to correct herself and stop making decisions that are bad for her.

The overall plot of the story is its amazing attraction point. It covers the many important parts of the history of America over various periods of time from different perspectives and gives the reader a great sense of having actually lived during those time periods mentioned. The book is almost a time travel classic without the science fiction element. Mallery doesn’t need the help of other devices and high technology gizmos (by including into the storyline) to transport her readers over different time periods – she easily does it with her words.

The story in itself is about a woman’s self discovery by lessons from the past. The plot can be easily explained in one line from which the master quilter weaves a beautiful story that spans generations and sometimes even nations. The story is one of a kind in its simplicity and also the placement of various historical events all through the book. If history books covered the whole history of a nation aided by beautiful prose like this, History would be everyone’s favorite subject.

The story of Sonia and her life is much more about the story of her ancestors and everyone who has a lesson for her life. The final twist with Billy R (not giving away spoilers!) is one of the best turning points I have seen in recent books. Beautifully written, very engaging page turner.


 Add to Goodreads: Unexpected Gifts by S.R Mallery


~HERE'S WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT UNEXPECTED GIFTS BY S. R. MALLERY~
“The author has a remarkable gift. The amazing ability not only to bring rich, historical events to life, but also the ability to perfectly blend different generations…”
“It simply is one of the best books I've ever read. I wish I could give it six stars!”
“I have never read a book that wasn’t a textbook that was able to successfully cover so many time frames in such little space, with the accuracy you really would expect from reading the journals of those who had actually lived in those times.”
“Colorful writing, recreation of periods that prove adept challenges for any films about the influences of the past being made, and all of this is written with such style that it often times is dazzling...”
“SR Mallery has created an important and impressive monument of a novel.”
“If only my history teacher would have taught history like Mallery has, enriching it with living, feeling people that the reader can equate to, I would have been a better student.”
“Long after the completion of the book, I missed the characters and the impact their stories made on me. This one really touched me deeply.”
“Beautifully and sensitively written, anyone who loves a good story interwoven with actual historical events will enjoy this very special novel.”
“A master storyteller has been at work, and this marvelous piece of writing is the result.”
“I'm in awe of how the author could write about the events so realistically, putting the reader firmly into different time periods in America's history.”
“… she blends the past and the present with a seamless texture that only a “true” storyteller can manage.”
“This is a book you can keep on your shelf to read over and over…”

~Buying Links~

Grab the book for just 99c or Rs 61 on Amazon and Kobo!



~Meet the Author~

S.R. Mallery has worn various hats in her life. First, a classical/pop singer/composer, she moved on to the professional world of production art and calligraphy.
Next came a long career as an award winning quilt artist/teacher and an ESL/Reading instructor. Her short stories have been published in descant 2008, Snowy Egret, Transcendent Visions, The Storyteller, and Down In the Dirt.

Website/Blog:  www.srmallery.com
Twitter:  @SarahMallery1
Goodreads:
Pinterest:  (I have some good history boards that are getting a lot of attention—history, vintage clothing, older films)
Amazon Author page:   http://www.amazon.com/S.-R.-Mallery/e/B00CIUW3W8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1


~Giveaway~
Prize: 10 Ebooks of Unexpected Gifts by SR Mallery
Ends 13th September
Open Worldwide.

Open only to those who can legally enter and receive the prize. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded.No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Nikita (Njkinny) from Njkinny Tours & Promotions and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

~Organized by~


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Golden Heat by Ju Ephraime : A Review




 Review Tour Signup and Schedule: Golden Heat by Ju Ephraime (18-21 August)





Welcome to my stop on the Review Tour of Golden Heat by Ju Ephraime. This is a spicy romance with an intriguing twist of mystery.




Check out the complete Tour Schedule here




~About the Book~




Genre: Contemporary Romance, Native American



Blurb:



Andy Redfield is a hard-nose real estate developer, trying to settle his father’s estate and locate the treasure that was mentioned in his father’s will. Bernie Harp is a no-nonsense, private investigator, and who specializes in locating lost objects. When Andy hires her to find his dad’s treasure, she anticipates working alone, as was her custom. She communicates this to Andy in no uncertain terms, but Andy was having none of it. If anything, he was more determined than ever to lend his assistance. When finding the treasure becomes more than a routine job, and the presence of a suspicious intruder is discovered, tempers flare and sparks fly. While they have difficulty seeing eye-to-eye, Andy and Bernie agree on one thing: They need to capture the intruder and locate his father’s treasure.


 
Kicking and screaming, Bernie is forced to accept his presence on the job, even though it was distracting as hell. With them rubbing each other the wrong way, before they know it, the friction they generate turns to love’s golden heat, igniting a fire neither expected, and neither could deny. So, when Bernie unexpectedly disappears, Andy realizes she was more precious to him than all the treasures in the world, and he’d give up anything to find her—anything, including the treasure, only is he prepared for what he finds?




REVIEW:

Andy Redfield – Alpha male, refuses to accept, even to himself, that women have an allure that has the power to bring men to their knees. Bernie Harp – a strong willed woman who wishes, ardently, that men would stop judging her based on her looks (being too beautiful) and instead give her credit for the intelligent work that she does. She tries to prove that it is not her good looks alone but her talent that should make men respect her.

What happens when both these people meet forms the rest of the story. Andy needs an investigator to find out property his father has hidden. He has searched all expected places and has turned up empty. He requests the help of his friend James, who in turn suggests Bernie. Andy knows since the moment he first lays eyes on her that this was going to be a difficult job because he would have a hard time controlling mingling business with pleasure. Little did he expect that someone with a name like Bernie would be a woman – and such a hot one at that!

The story traverses on the predictable path from then on. The lead characters are both strong willed and refuse to accept the obvious attraction and even though the readers could guess where the story is heading, one cannot simply put the book down once started because of two reasons. It is smaller than the regular book and therefore you justify reading with ‘Just this page and I am done’… which eventually doesn’t happen because at no point in the book is there a gap where you could keep it down and sit in peace. The book is racy from start to finish.

The plot is not very elaborate. Two people who are attracted but refuse to bow down to the obvious pressure and try to act superior while hiding their real intentions. They meet and sparks fly from scene one. What happens to the business that actually brought them together and how they end up is everyone’s guess. There is nothing much to comment on the story except that it is very, very engaging and sometimes so… hot. The reviewer has a tongue in cheek while writing this review because it is one hell of a ride that was very loved!

The book needs some obvious editing and proofreading. And sometimes you wish that the other characters had more scenes allotted to them. Sometimes it does feel like everything revolves around these two leads. But other than that, this book is a perfect afternoon read that would leave you with a grin in place for various reasons. I have not read other books by this author so I could not comment on the usual style. But overall, this is one book you won’t regret picking up!


 
 Add-to-Goodreads: Golden Heat by Ju Ephraime





~Buying Links~

 

~About the Author~


Ju Ephraime began writing professionally at age 19; at that time, she wrote short stories for the local radio station in her home town. She gave up writing to pursue her education and has since earned several degrees, including two Masters and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University in Boston. During the course of her schooling, she wrote and published a working curriculum for a career school, a business manual and its answer key, as well as other literary work. In 2010 she revisited her first love, writing for fun and enjoyment. She writes high heat, steamy, romance novels. The first was, State of Ecstasy in the LaCasse series, which was soon followed by, Temptation to Sin, Loving Therèse, #2 in the LaCasse series. Ju has gone on to write several more books, including, The Odor of Violet, on tour this month, Complete Surrender, #3 in the LaCasse series; as well as, a Christmas Novella, Footsteps in the Sand and her award winning paranormal, White Magic Woman, Quarterfinalist in Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest, 2013, out of over 10,000 entrants.

Ju lives in Connecticut, where she is very active in her community. She is the administrator of a business school and the president of a non-profit organization that dresses individuals for job interviews.

Visit her blog at http://www.juephraime.blogspot.com or her personal page at http://www.juliaeantoine.com where you can sign up for e-mail updates and be the first to hear about new releases.

Find Ju on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/juephraimeauthor. She loves to chat with readers.

Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JuEphraime
 

 ~Giveaway~

Prize: $15 Gift Card for either Amazon, B&N, kobo, iTunes

Open Worldwide
Ends 6th Spetember

Open only to those who can legally enter and receive the prize. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded.No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Nikita (Njkinny) from Njkinny Tours & Promotions and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
 
 
~Hosted by~
 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Life, Eureka and Transumanism : Guest post by Cassia Cassitas, author of Riding

Life, Eureka and Transumanism

Discuting about ways to overcome limitations, I create the doctor Eureka to talk about Transumanism:

“Everybody thinks I work with prosthetics, implants, technology… Let me tell you: I work with lives. I restore part of the opportunities people have lost. They think I’m helping them, which I find rather amusing. I can’t take steps for them, nor can I remove the obstacles along the way as they adapt themselves to their electronic limbs and artificial organs controlled via Bluetooth. They are the ones who decided that they are ‘normal’ and stop looking at what they don’t have to focus on what they want to do with their lives.
That is the secret that transhumanism depends upon. Science isn’t everything; otherwise, androids could be super humans, when in fact the opposite happens: A disabled individual gives life to a technological apparatus. Literally, they must choose to continue living, to fight organ or prosthetics rejection. Their choices aren’t a solution. And I only support what they’ve already decided to do, by adjusting the software inside a microprocessor. How could I ever withstand my own existence if I told them they couldn’t live theirs?”

He knows what he's talking about and want to make himself understood:

“Have you ever heard of Neil Harbisson?”
- The boy who developed the Eyeborg?
“The one and only. Harbisson was born in a black-and-white world due to a disease called achromatopsia. He developed the Eyeborg so he could ‘hear’ colors. In 2004, he had a microchip implanted into his cranium to translate into sounds the frequency of light contained in an image. To him, London is red and yellow. São Paulo is blue and red. Isn’t that wonderful?”
- Yes, it is. As far as I remember, he is considered the first ‘cyborg’ in the planet.
“So, Mario, he is a poet who said ‘no’ to death. He decided to live, my friend.”

His words defend the right of everyone to a happier life:

“How is it possible to see these children crossing the streets at the community, in a hurry to do things, to arrive at places, and to live, then try to stop them?”
(...)
 “I face the end every day, as death does its rounds in the operating room, Mario. It often gets so close that it takes a lot of effort to keep death at bay. You must face it and say, ‘Not today!’ It stops, listens, and takes a few steps back, but it never goes away. It’s always there.”
(…)
“There’s no safe place, Mario. I have patients who only showed any improvement because they started practicing sports. Others have complications when trying to use their prosthetics, but they aren’t defeated because they’ve decided that it’s time to live. Listen to your son - he only wants to exist. Believe me, there isn’t a more powerful way to protect yourself from death than to follow your dream.”

So his name must be ”Eureka.”