Saturday, April 16, 2016

RI Author Feature: Into Your Light by Julianne Palumbo

Synopsis: "The chapbook portrays the deeply-treasured and sometimes harrowing experience of raising teenagers examined from the perspective of a mother saying ‘good-bye’ as her children leave for college."

My Review: While Announcing the Thaw was about memories of motherhood from young children all the way through leaving home, this book focuses entirely on those difficult teenage years. While I have yet to experience those with Munchkin, I can definitely relate to the things I put my own mother through in those years. I am seeing things more from her perspective now and am realizing that I wasn't the only one adjusting to new situations and growing up. This collection of poems captures these moments of pride, despair, sentimentality, loss and discovery.
My Rating: This was another beautiful book of poetry, it is definitely geared more towards parents, particularly mothers, than her previous poetry book. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
I have not had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Palumbo, I did pick up this book at a local bookstore that had a section set up for our local authors.
You can find out more about Ms. Palumbo's books on her Website.
You can purchase your own copy of Into Your Light on her Website.

Friday, April 15, 2016

RI Author Feature: Bedtime Story: Edgar Graduates by Mary Ann Shallcross Smith

Synopsis: "Edgar is preparing for his preschool graduation! He thinks back on when he first started school as an infant. Explore the milestones that Edgar has achieved and discover the possibilities that the future may hold. From diapers to diplomas! Families and children will enjoy reading this story together and discussing educational opportunities that are available. By bringing educational words such as Bachelor's Degree, Doctorate Degree, or diploma into the family conversation, it becomes more attainable for all children. There are so many educational opportunities available!"

My Review: I picked this book up at the RI Author Expo for Munchkin. He is in is first year of Preschool (3yr old) and I thought this would be a fun book to read as the year draws to a close. I had no idea Munchkin would enjoy this one so much! We had a lot of fun talking about not only things he has learned in preschool (and daycare before that) but also about what comes after preschool. He has recently taken a real interesting in where school buses go and we have discussed it a few times and this book also helped explain what comes next. I love how it also has a page to list all his graduations, as well as several blank pages at the end where you can write notes, add pictures or have teachers sign.
My Rating: This is a great book to give to young or older graduates, great for young ones to learn about what happens after preschool and for older graduates to look back on what they had to accomplish to get to this point.  We give it a rating of Three Paws and Stump Wag.
I had the benefit of meeting Mary Ann Shallcross Smith at the RI Author Expo in December 2015. I could not find a specific website for her as an author but you can find out some information from her Dr. DayCare Page.
You can obtain your own copy of Edgar Graduates on Amazon.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

RI Author Feature: Interview with Judith Glynn & Giveaway

I hope you have all been enjoying the RI Author Month I have put together for you.  The excitement of the event continues today with an interview with Judith Glynn, the author of A Collector of Affections and The Street or Me (you can see my review posts by clicking on the titles). Don't forget to stick around for the end of the interview, I will have a giveaway where you can win a digital copy of one of these books.
Thank you Judith for taking the time out of your schedule for this interview. Let's just jump right into it with some questions about A Collector of Affections.
Ang: You had said in a previous interview that the basis for A Collector of Affections was a real life experience and a love letter written to a gentleman you met. One of my own hobbies includes letter writing.  Do you often write letters? How was it taking such a personal story and creating a work of fiction?
Judith G: I haven't hand-written a letter in years but what you refer to was a 14,000-word love letter written on a computer. Yes, it was to the gentleman I met on a plane to Spain, and it outlined our trip. ​Once finished, I decided it would look better if in book-form, which led me into the self-publishing world. I went to, chose a stock cover and created a 26-page book; title  "Lorenzo's Abduction," since his name is Lorenzo, not Miguel. And off it went to him through the U.S. mail. 

Somewhere in that process -- done almost 10 years ago -- was the start of self-publishing books for me and other authors. I've always been the creative type (once made my own clothes) so I liked being in charge creatively. The more I reread my tiny book, the more I wanted to turn it into a novel. But I was a non-fiction writer, mostly travel, and unfamiliar with the genre. Regardless, I jumped in using what was a true memory and embellished a great deal. Hence, "A Collector of Affections: Tales from a Woman's Heart" was the result.

Did I like the process? Yes. Writing it wasn't that difficult since I'm a born writer. Learning the ropes about having a professional cover made, finding an editor, the mounting expense and on and on to get the book out was very hard. I eventually went with CreateSpace for the paperback and Kindle for the ebook. Would I write fiction again? Probably not.  
And do I hand-write letters? Never. I'm also getting very bad at sending cards.
Ang: From the beauty and descriptions of Spain and Portugal, they must be favorite destinations for you.  How often to do travel there? Does the atmosphere of those particular places or your own memories attached to them lend to the romantic feel presented in A Collector of Affections?
Judith G: You guessed right. I adore Spain and Portugal, having traveled to Spain about 40 times. In fact, I'm returning to Madrid shortly and for several weeks. I'm so obsessed and comfortable with Spain in general, its people and customs, ​I might have a DNA test done. Surely some long-lost Spanish relatives are in my blood, although I'm a pure-bred Irish-American woman. Wouldn't it be fun to find a Spanish contessa or queen in my lineage! 
Yes, again to your question about romantic memories attached to both countries. There's something about the light; long lunches and dinners; a siesta with a favorite man; relaxing strolls, in-depth conversation and the sensual beat. Spain, for me, has it more than Portugal.
Ang: You know I have always wanted to have a DNA test done, it has always made me a little curious.  But I guess whether something isn't in your blood but your heart is all that matters.
Now, it is my understanding that you really got your start in writing with travel articles.  Let's talk a little bit about those experiences.
Ang: Where have you traveled for writing but never gotten the opportunity to return to? Where haven't you been that you want to experience, International or within the States?
Judith G: Tough question. As a travel writer, the experience of a destination is different than that of a traveler and often shorter. It's not that relaxing looking for a story. However, one place I'd like to return to is Savannah, Georgia. Loved the beat there; the Spanish moss dangling from the trees and the mystery of the place. I immediately bought "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," after that visit. I'm yearning to return to Western Ireland and the town of Doolin where I've been told musicians play the best Irish music. I've never visited Asian countries and don't feel that desire. As for U.S. travel, Key West interests me because I adore writing about funky places. 

As you can see, I'm all over the place with favorite and yearning. Sometimes I regret my travel-writing background since it hampers me. I don't know how to travel as a traveler; hence, I need an itinerary for each day and always find a story I want to write about. But it does make for a curiosity search in a new place, plus I can talk to anyone about anything. Sound familiar for the novel generated when a charming seatmate sat next to me on a flight to Spain?
Ang: If you were writing a travel article for Rhode Island, what would be your hook line?
Judith G: I'd rather not give away a future hook, how about I tell you about a past one entitled "Bite-sized Rhode Island."
Lede paragraph was: Rhode Island, for all its natural beauty and Colonial trappings, has a slice of Americana crisscrossing the state that most visitors miss. Those in the know are the historians who are giving an overdue nod to the American diner and the fact that Providence, Rhode Island's capital, is its birthplace. ​
Ang: Oh that sounds intriguing.  Rhode Island is definitely bite sized in size and also the wealth and variety of dining experiences.
Ang: On to the more serious topic of The Street or Me.  You had stated multiple times throughout the book that Michelle had this draw for you, and you couldn't quite put your finger on the reason you felt it so necessary to help her.  Were you ever able to place that connection? Have you ever felt that draw with another person in a similar situation?
Judith G: I've given up trying to label the reason Michelle and I clicked at such a deep level. We were the least likely of women to become friends. It's not often anyone from the general populace befriends a drunk, smelly homeless woman like I did. I've often thought because I had changed my life so successfully, anyone could do it too. All I had to work with for my change was me, and that's what most of us have at the end of the day. Michelle, at a deep level, had herself, too. Look how long she survived out there.

But I have to pat myself on the back, too. I have a compassionate make-up and will help others. It's easy for me. ​People have helped me along the way. Life is a two-way street. Plus, it takes a long time for me to walk away from anyone who's struggling with life, especially within my circle of friends and family. I will go that extra mile.

As for helping another person similar to Michelle, yes I have helped someone. Together we found a cure for the long addiction(s) that worked...and is still working. Michelle was the ultimate gift from live to me. Knowing her helped me help someone else. 
Ang: It sounds like you were trying to share your own optimism and successful rebuilding of your life. I am very happy to hear that you were able to help another person, with hopefully a more successful outcome, and that Michelle was able in a way to give you the tools to help others.
Ang: Your son Dean showed a lot of patience and compassion with Michelle on your journey back to Italy, how did that experience change his outlook? Did he return to being a carpenter? How did sharing the experience with him affect your relationship as a mother and son?
Judith G.: Dean, to this day, is a cool guy. His heart is huge, although many people don't get to experience it because he's somewhat of a loner. Rhode Islanders who know Dean and have read the book are amazed at what he did and his compassion. He would never bring up the subject himself. Although I have a deep love for all my children. Dean and I shared an exalted experience through Michelle, so talking about it gets lost in the translation. Few people would have done what we did; hence; few really understand the depth of our rescue of her. 
Yes, he's still a carpenter (union I might add since he's proud of that); still lives in Rhode Island. He and his wife had a girl several years ago, something neither of them thought would ever happen. Dean and I have had our problems through the years. We are independent people with opinions and a fiery temper when provoked. There was a deep split between us that lasted several years but everything is patched up, better than ever. That little girl helped bring us together.
Ang: You both managed something that most people couldn't even imagine taking on and it is great that you able to reconcile, it is amazing what a little one can bring do to bring a family together.
A huge thank you to Judith Glynn for taking the time to answer my questions with such open and thorough answers.  I hope you will have the opportunity to check out her books!  Get to know more about Judith Glynn on her Goodreads Page and Website.
Judith Glynn's writing life began with travel articles in national newspapers. A favorite destination is Spain. Her memoir, The Street or Me, is a raw, riveting read that chronicles how she returned a New York City homeless woman to her family in Italy. Reviewers say they get a different perspective about helping a stranger. Her novel, A Collector of Affections, reinforces that middle-age romances are hot and alive. Her next book begins when a woman puts on a silk red dress that changes her life. Judith is a mother to four adult children and beaming grandmother to six.
You can also connect with Judith on Facebook at or on Twitter at @JudithGlynn
When I originally met Judith at the Rhode Island Author Expo in December, I picked up a code where you can download either book through Judith's website to give away to one of you!
Of course with anything else we have rules
~You must be 18 or older to enter (though there is nothing adult included)
~Enter the giveaway via the below Rafflecopter methods
 ~This is open internationally too (any incurred customs fees are your responsibility)
~Giveaway ends midnight on the 29th, winners will be announced the next day (I will be contacting you via email after the announcement for shipping information)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

RI Author Feature: The Street or Me by Judith Glynn

Synopsis: "Judith Glynn can barely make ends meet in New York City when she befriends Michelle, a homeless drunk in her neighborhood. Previously a beauty queen in Italy, Michelle had come to the states when an American photographer convinced her that fame and fortune awaited. Drugs and alcohol got in the way of that dream. Putting her life aside and risking her own safety, Judith is determined to recover Michelle’s dignity and return her to her family in Italy. But is Michelle too far gone, preferring street life and possible death in a gutter over Judith’s guiding light back into society?

Present in this inspirational memoir is Judith's personal struggle to overcome her past and change her life. But is she wise to involve her family with Michelle, a woman she's grown to love during their odyssey? All told, nothing is easy in this book. When the story should be ending, it begins all over again."

My Review:  This was an interesting book and outside of my normal reading comfort zone. I must say it was a difficult book for me to read, it was not a happy book by any means, it is a struggle. While the main subject of the book is about Judith's connection to a homeless woman, Michelle, and her struggle to return her to sobriety and her home in Italy, it is also about Judith's own struggle to find herself to solid ground after walking away from her previous life. It is inspirational to read about the courage one person had and was able to change the life, even for a brief time of someone else. While I don't believe I would be able to step up the way Judith did, it is still eye opening to the humanity around us.
My Rating: This book was so far out of my usual comfort zone of reading but it was still a very engaging story. It is also a true story.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.
I had the pleasure of meeting Judith Glynn at the RI Author Expo in December 2015.  You can find out more about Judith and her works on her Website or stay tuned for an interview tomorrow!
You can purchase your own copy of A Collector of Affections on her Website or on Amazon or you can check back tomorrow for the Interview with Judith and a giveaway!


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

RI Author Feature: A Collector of Affections by Judith Glynn

Synopsis: "Years after Leah Lynch's divorce, she's grown tired of dead-end affairs and yearns for a lifelong mate. Although she's a sassy, independent woman living in New York City, she fears attending her daughter's upcoming wedding as an unattached woman. To reflect on her past and invent a new lifestyle with a committed man, she books a flight to Madrid for a soul-searching trip. Not included in her plans is meeting Miguel Santiago, an intriguing seatmate, who sidetracks her straight into bed when they land. A Collector of Affections: Tales from a Woman's Heart is a heartfelt travelogue of Leah's life with Miguel and their love affair, as he struggles with his commitment to another woman. When diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, he faces his sobering truths. Leah also confronts her reality that transcends the magic of travel and chance meetings. It's then they come to grips with life without one another."

My Review: Upon reading this book I found it very interesting and different from just about every other book I have read recently. Many people would classify this as a romance novel (and even I have added it to my romance shelf for lack of better options) but for me it is more a novel about personal value. Both Leah and Miguel have emotional struggles throughout the book and to me it is a journey towards finding inner strength and peace before adding additional outside love and support to it. Granted there are the romantic European trysts and loving words shared by the characters throughout the book too.
My Rating: This book wasn't exclusively a romance, it has so many elements about following your heart, taking a risk, romance, beautiful imagery.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
I had the pleasure of meeting Judith Glynn at the RI Author Expo in December 2015.  You can find out more about Judith and her works on her Website or stay tuned for an interview in a couple of days!
You can purchase your own copy of A Collector of Affections on her Website or on Amazon or you can check back on Thursday for the Interview with Judith and a giveaway!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Rhode Island Author Meet and Greet Event

On Saturday I managed to escape my house to attend a Author Meet and Greet event put on by the Association of Rhode Island Authors.  I had been planning on attending this event for some time, and last check they had expected 20 authors to attend, but it turned out to be so many more than predicted!

It was a great event to attend, there were some authors I had met before, some that were even featured in this year's RI Author Month, but there were also so many new authors.
Teen author Jenna O'del, so impressed with this young woman, already publishing a fantasy novel called Hidden Presences!

Meeting author Joshua Blum, I actually won his giveaway for an ebook copy of his book Falling Leaves Don't Weep

Author Julien Ayotte just had a new book released last week, all of his books are full of suspense!
I had a great time, I met some great authors, had some wonderful conversations with them. Even conducted my first face to face interview (I usually interview over email). I did purchase several new books and have already started planning my event for next year!
Here are the books I picked up at the event
Telep the Diamond by Rich Feitelberg
Hidden Presences by Jenna O'del
The Overlords: Legend of the Treasure by J. Michael Squatrito, Jr.
The Longest Game by Steven Krasner
Cody the Cloud by Kevin Mulhern
Rhode Island's Friendly Faces by Roberta Mudge Humble
Hidden Deep by Amy Patrick (Ebook - Kindle)
Falling Leaves Don't Weep by Joshua Blum (Ebook - Kindle - giveaway prize!)
It was a great event and I am so glad I have started to find local events to meet and talk to authors. I had a lot of fun and can't wait until the next event!

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

A Cat Named Dog and a Dog Named Cat by David W. Christner
Announcing the Thaw by Julianne Palumbo
Ducky Ducky Likes to Moo by Eric Sturtevant
Hippo Hippo's Cranky Day by Eric Sturtevant
Collecting Seashells by the Seashore by Christie O'Neil Harrison

 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

His Wicked Games = 3pts
Truth or Dare = 3pts
Sweet Victory = 3pts
Little Cloud = 1pt
Red = 1pt
Mansis = 3pts
Anathema = 3pts
More than Cookies = 5pts
Currently Reading:

 Books to be Read Soon:


Total Points Earned
133 points + 22 points earned = 155 points

Total Points Earned this Year: 410
Total Points Spent this Year: 259

Pages Read/ Time Listened
78:15 Hours Listened (5:06 listened this week)
13,614 Pages Read (1,314 this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



Wow, what a difference a week can make! I am feeling so much better, just a little head congestion but I think it is just my spring allergies kicking in again. Munchkin has also made a drastic turn around in his attitude and we are finally reaching a peaceful point in our relationship (if you guys want to hear more about it I can do a post next month about how we finally worked through some 3 year old attitude problems). 

I have been insanely busy in the office this week but it was almost nice because I was finally feeling like I could take it on and not get completely drained.  I also feel like I got a lot accomplished, granted when it is so busy I don't get nearly as much time to read during the day.  I still did read a bunch though but it was at night (the house did take a little bit of a hit but I really didn't care).  I also worked hard on the RI Author Month, I completed 2 more interviews and went to another Meet and Greet Event to meet some more authors (and get started on next year's event so I am not so tight on time).  I only have one more book to read for this month and one more interview as well.  I hope you are all enjoying the event! 

Don't forget to enter the giveaways!
Rhode Island Author Month Giveaway
Ducky Ducky Likes To Moo

Sunday, April 10, 2016

RI Author Feature: Collecting Seashells by the Seashore by Christie O'Neil Harrison

Synopsis: A collection of poems and essays from childhood through the struggles and joys of adulthood.

My Review: It has been far too long since I have enjoyed poetry and I am glad that I chose this book from a local author to bring me back into it. Normally I prefer my collections to be cohesive with subject matter or time frame, I rather enjoyed the variety offered here. I loved that you get to see the things a child writes poetry about all the way through adulthood. I also enjoyed the wide range of styles of poetry contained within this one book. My favorites poems were Narnia, Where is the Moon? and New Your Thoughts- Ode to the City. I also really enjoyed some of the essays, especially the ones revolving around education and reaching a new outlook on life.
My Rating: I really enjoyed this book, it had such a variety of poems and even a couple essays.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.
I had the pleasure of meeting Christie O'Neil Harrison at the RI Author Expo in December 2015. I was unable to find a website for you or any upcoming events.
You can purchase your own copy of Collecting Seashells by the Seashore on Amazon and other book purchasing websites.